BALLARAT has been given a huge fright in the lead-up to the Ballarat District Bowls division one finals series, coming from behind to secure a one-shot victory over Smeaton in round 14 action on Saturday.
The visiting side found itself 15 shots down at the afternoon tea break but rallied late to secure a 90-89 win.
The match came down to the very last end, with skipper Brad Fothergill turning the tide Ballarat’s way on his second-last bowl of the day when the scores were drawn at 89 apiece.
“They’re (Smeaton) not a bad side at all and they always seem to get up and about for us – there was only a one-shot difference the first time we played them this season,” Ballarat selector Mark Fothergill said.
“We’ve spoken a lot about not giving up our second spot and the double chance in finals, but there were some nerve-wracking moments in the end there.
“It was a match that we thought would have been a routine win for us, but we really had to grind out the win and it will be handy for fine-tuning ourselves with the finals just four weeks away.”
Brad Fothergill’s rink defeated Smeaton skipper Jim Taylor’s rink 24-18, while Mick Sloper’s four put in a strong performance against Greg May’s four for a 30-24 victory.
Two of Smeaton’s skippers in Bill Cosgrave and Geoff Toose tasted success, with Cosgrave’s team defeating Brett Forrest’s four 26-17, while Toose’s rink outclassed Greg Brown’s four 21-19.
Ballarat remains in second position on the ladder, while Smeaton is still on the bottom, just two points and 51 shots away from ninth-placed Daylesford.
LADDER: CITY OVAL 199 points + 278 shots, BALLARAT 189 + 213, BMS 155 + 92, CENTRAL WENDOUREE 152 + 172, Learmonth 139 + 4, Buninyong 132 + 70, Mt Xavier 96 + -70, Webbcona 68 + -200, Daylesford 66 + -308, Smeaton 64 + -251.