Departures: Shane Wilson (year off), Stan Barnett (year off), Ralph Brommer (Learmonth)
last season: Third
WITH a 2012 strong season, little is holding back Ballarat from making the finals again.
Club senior vice president Mark Fothergill said he hopes the club can go as far, if not further than last year, but there is no guarantee.
“Last season was so tight and so competitive, you could lose one game and drop four places on the ladder. We’d love to make finals again,” Fothergill said.
“There’s been a bit of moving around with the hole left by some of the players, but it’s left an opportunity for some of the other players to step up.”
With only three sides in the entire tournament, Ballarat is doing well for their top side to perform well in division one.
“We’re an older club, so we don’t attract the high profile players like some other clubs do. But we have players that bring a lot of experience to the side.”
Recruits: Luke Whitehead (Sebastopol)
LAST SEASON: Fifth
THE PAST season was a major disappointment for the double blues, who are keen to bounce right back this time.
They believe they have the firepower to do so.
“We’ve had a few practice matches which we haven’t done in the past,” East chairman of selectors Peter Dean says.
“With Luke Whitehead coming across from Sebas’s premier division team, he’ll go straight in as a skipper. It has a trickle down effect if you get someone right at the top.
“There is a lot more hurt from missing the finals and we’re hungry for more success.
“We’d consider not making the four to be a major fail.”
Whitehead was a junior at East before moving to the Burra via Central Wendouree.
BALLARAT MEMORIAL SPORT
Recruits: Ryan Bedggood, Jake Clarke
Departures: Ian Anderson (Point Arlington), Neil Keating (Season off)
LAST SEASON: 10th premier division
After moving between the premier division and division one back and forth for the past few years, BMS this year will be concentrating on rebuilding their team.
President Phil Clamp said losing two of their key players will have an impact, but the young guys coming through will be a great step in rebuilding.
“Last year, inconsistent bowling held us back. We need to be more consistent, with the right mix of bowls,” Clamp said.
“We hope to play in finals and be competitive, but we’re not too confident to win and move back up. We’re in a rebuilding stage.
“Des Williams will be with us for the second season. He’s had a lot of experience, playing for winning premier sides. He brings a lot to the side.”
LAST SEASON: Seventh
Shuffling in their lower divisions has meant Buninyong isn’t sourcing from outside for their division one team.
Chairman of selectors Vin Fay said although there will challenges over the season, the team is quietly confident they will have a good run this year.
“We’ve learnt a lot from last year,” Fay said.
“We’d like to finish in the top five, hopefully maybe in the finals.”
Buninyong spent last season adjusting to division one after being promoted, and Fay hopes their experience from last year will be a great advantage to them this year.
“It’s a new game up in division one, but we’ll continue to keep improving.”
Departures: Stan Meale (Ararat)
LAST SEASON: Fourth
After making it to the finals last year but finishing fourth, City Oval is working with their existing side to make it further, with only one departure.
City Oval president and division one bowler Wayne Roberts said not many other changes were expected.
“Our side is pretty settled,” he said.
“We were happy to make the finals last year, but we were disappointed we couldn’t make the final step,” Roberts said.
Stan Meale, who has travelled for the past seasons from Ararat to play for City Oval, made the decision to discontinue the commute.
“We pride ourselves as a happy club. We make sure we put a team on the park as opposed to a team of singles.”
Recruits: David Kelly (Woomelang) and Ralph Boremmer (Ballarat)
Departures: Grant Bourke, Leon Davey
LAST SEASON: Eighth
Although Learmonth didn’t finish high on the ladder last year, the side is feeling strong about the season ahead.
Selector Mick Casey said a top four finish is achievable for the side.
“We’ve got a good mix of players, so making the finals is definitely within sight for the side,” he said.
“We’re structurally stronger, so we expect to play stronger this year.”
Recruits: Beau Adams (Webbcona), Luke Glasson (returning)
Departures: Jeff Grieve (Cairns)
LAST SEASON: Sixth
ANOTHER side that missed finals and wants to make sure that doesn’t become a habit.
Beau Adams is back after two years at Webbcona while Luke Glasson also returns to the fold. “I think it will settle down into a better side this year,” tournament director Brian McKeegan says.
“It is our first time since being back in division one where we didn’t make the play-offs. The ones who were in the side last year will have improved.
“Our aim is to be back in the four.”
Mt Xavier also has a new grass green, using new “Bent 007” turf.
“It is the best presentation of the green at the start of the season in my 40 years at the club,” McKeegan says.
LAST SEASON: Champion, division two
IT has been many years since Smeaton has had a side in division one, so the club has a challenge ahead that they are ready to tackle.
Club president Graeme Perry said although the season will have some obstacles, the side is feeling relaxed.
“It was a great achievement for the club to get back into division one, so everyone is just excited about it,” Perry said.
The side will remain the same at the moment with last year, but the club has new recruits in lower divisions which may affect sides later in the season.
“We’ve got a new green at Smeaton, which looks and plays beautifully which is a huge positive for the club.”
Recruits: Shane Bromilow (Midlands), Brian McGuigan (returning)
LAST SEASON: Ninth
VICTORIAN Bowls Club is more modest than others, after a slow start to the season last year.
Sector Alan Callow said with a couple of younger blokes promoted to the division one team, so that will put them in a better position from the early stages.
“We’re aiming for finals, but realistically I don’t know if we’ll make it this early on,” Callow said.
“The way we finished the season was really enouraging. If we can build on the last six weeks of last season, the finals will be within sight.”
Recruits: Brett Collins, Clive Allen (division 3), and Derek Pattie (Premier division)
Departures: Trevor Jones, Ron Richie and Ross Brown (Webbcona Premier Division)
LAST SEASON: Champion, division one
Webbcona is in a comfortable position going into the 2012/13 season after winning last season’s title.
Division one manager Harold Worsley said he hopes the team will continue in its form and have another good season.
“There are a couple of small changes, but we’re pretty consistent. We still have all the same skippers in the teams,” Worsley said.
Webbcona worked hard for the shield last year, only just making the finals in fourth position, but taking the title.
“We’ve got a good stable side, so we should be in shape for another strong season.”