It may be early in the campaign, but Victoria faces a crucial test against Ballarat-Geelong premier bowls pacesetters Lara this Saturday afternoon.
The reigning champions missed out on a chance to claim success against promoted side Buninyong when last weekend’s fixtures were declared a wash-out and remain fourth on the ladder after a mixed start to 2016-17.
Victoria won its round one encounter with Bareena before it was beaten by Queenscliff the following weekend.
While inside the four, the team is only three points clear of eighth-placed Bareena with a log-jam of sides through the middle of the table.
Victoria player Stephen Britt said his club’s sights were focused on claiming back-to-back flags and agreed that it is an important battle this weekend against a tough opponent.
Britt said Lara’s gun skipper John O'Donnell is back at the club after a brief stint playing in Melbourne and poses a threat along with the likes of recruit Brendan Umbers, who has joined from City of Geelong.
“We need to win. We are well aware of that and I’m sure we’ll be striving to do that on Saturday,” Britt told The Courier.
Britt said the current Victoria squad isn’t as strong as the one that went all the way last season, with skippers Jarrod Burt and Shaun Clark absent from the premier ranks so far this campaign. Burt is having a year away from the game, but Clark is named to play in the division two competition on Saturday and could make a return to the top side later in the season.
“You can’t take two blokes like that out and not be weakened,” he said.
“Shaun Clark and Jarrod Burt were playing fantastic bowls when we were in the finals last year.”
Lara has been impressive in its two outings so far this season, with wins over Webbcona and City Oval lifting it to a three-point lead at the top.
Saturday’s contest will be played at Victoria, a venue the Vics failed to drop a game at throughout 2015-16.
Elsewhere this weekend, Sebastopol will look to keep its undefeated start to the season in tact when it travels to Webbcona.
The Kookaburras are second on the ladder after wins over City of Geelong and Ocean Grove, while Webbcona is fifth.
In other round four fixtures, Queenscliff welcomes Buninyong to town, City Oval battles with Ocean Grove and Bareena hosts City of Geelong.
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