Reigning Ballarat-Geelong premier bowls premiers Victoria Bowling Club got its 2016-17 season off to a positive start against premier division newcomer Bareena.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Victoria, who boast a vastly different side to the one that took out last year’s title, which trailed after the opening two rinks.
Victoria’s Stephen Britt said it was difficult given the side had not been able to get as much practice leading into the season given the greens had only been open twice due the recent poor weather.
The weather again had an impact on Saturday, with the early-week rain slowing up the greens.
Nonetheless, Victoria put an emphasis on starting the ends better after the break and finished strongly to notch up a 108-80 victory.
“We were five shots down at half-time. After afternoon tea we really got cracking, we had a bit of a chat,” Britt said.
“We needed to get in first, get the leaders and seconds on the jack and put the pressure on them. Because when you’re on the jack they’re hard to get off on a slow green.
“The longer the day went, the better we’d get and it panned out that way.”
The trying preseason coupled with the changeover in premier side has provided the club with some challenges.
The loss of skippers Jarrod Burt and Shaun Clark will obviously hurt the club, but Britt felt its depth was well prepared to cover the losses.
“We’re hoping to win the title, but two of our better players aren’t playing this year – they’re hard to cover.
“We’ve got some depth, but at this stage we’re just trying to make the four, we’re not looking for top spot or anything like that.
“You just want to win early games to establish yourself in the top bracket.”
Bareena, who has spent time in the premier division in the last three seasons, made an impressive return to the premier division.
Britt expected it to be a competitive side given its experience at the top level.
“They’re always competitive, they’ve got some very good players.”
Fellow premier division newcomer Buninyong lost its round one encounter to City Oval by 17 shots. After claiming the opening rink, City Oval pulled away to claim a 97-80 victory.
Sebastopol were the biggest winners of the round, putting City of Geelong to the sword early in the piece. It opened with a 40-12 first rink to eventually run out 117-68 victors.
Lara led from start to finish on its way to a 98-80 triumph over Webbcona. It didn’t lose a rink, with one drawn rink among three close encounters. Ocean Grove ensured its season got off to a winning start with a promising first half, a 19-shot second rink advantage gave it the edge over Queenscliff where it would eventually take home a 14-shot win.
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