BALLARAT’S hopes of claiming an elusive premier division bowls flag have been dealt a fatal blow, with district’s only surviving club in Sebastopol bundled out of Saturday’s semi-final against Ocean Grove.
The Grovers shook off the cobwebs to defeat the Kookaburras 97-82 in stellar conditions at Victoria Bowling Club.
Both sides entered the fray displaying solid if not outstanding form, but it was Grove that put on the stronger showing in the wake of last week’s disappointing loss to Bareena.
Ocean Grove skipper Matt Flapper said the cut-throat final situation and the knowledge that Sebastopol belted his side the first time around weighed heavily on his players, but he was pleased with the way they responded to grind out the win.
“The boys played pretty well and we had a bit too much firepower on the day,” Flapper said.
“Sebastopol gave us a thrashing earlier in the season and we had that in the back of our minds this week, but at the same time I knew that if all of our guys clicked, we’d be hard to beat.
“The tag of reigning premier doesn’t mean much. We just have to try and control these remaining matches and I said to my players before the game that the winner would go a long way to deciding the finals series.”
Grove entered the tea break 40-38 down but stamped its authority on the latter half of the match, extending its lead to 21 shots with 12 ends remaining before Sebastopol launched a spirited fightback.
Flapper’s rink did most of the damage for Grove, with his four beating Simon Cornock’s rink 33-16, while Mick West’s team defeated Rob Baker’s rink 22-20.
Sebastopol’s Scott Roberts defeated Craig Hodges 21-17, while the rinks of Andrew Myers (Sebastopol) and Paul Cameron (Ocean Grove) played out a draw with 25 shots apiece.
Saturday’s first semi-final saw Geelong West hold off Queenscliff in thrilling circumstances, eventually securing a 91-88 win and earning a week’s break as it prepares for the grand final.
Grove and Queencliff will now square off for the remaining grand final spot in this Saturday’s preliminary final.