Ballarat out to shake ‘chokers’ tag in division one bowls

Ballarat bowler Mark Fothergill is fully aware that his club is known as “chokers” when it comes to the division one weekend pennant finals.

And he’s sick of it.

Fothergill and his side is sitting nicely clear at the top of the Ballarat District Bowls Division table as the Christmas-New Year break closes in.

It’s a great place to be, but it’s at the business end of the campaign that the team needs to lift.

Despite missing in 2016-17, Fothergill said the club had made division one finals in the eight seasons prior to that and didn’t have any premierships to show for it.

Fothergill said there was a different feel around the club this season, with the division one side taking a much more professional approach in 2017-18. He said players were gathering for training three times a week.

“It is working well and we’re not going to change what we are doing now,” he said.

FEELING GOOD: Mark Fothergill said there is a good feeling around the club after a strong start to the season.

FEELING GOOD: Mark Fothergill said there is a good feeling around the club after a strong start to the season.

Ballarat has prevailed in its past three matches, and following last Saturday’s competition-wide wash out, is 21 points ahead of second-placed Buninyong, which it beat during the current winning streak.

Fothergill said Ballarat was close to full strength at the moment, but anticipated the return of top bowler Andrew Dalgleish after the mid-season break.

The side will meet Central Wendouree this Saturday in another big test.

The Bears are currently third on the table and sit among a group of sides between second and sixth that are separated by less than 10 points.

Other division one fixtures this Saturday will see Buninyong battle Learmonth, Mt Xavier host Ballarat East, Sebastopol clash with City Oval and Webbcona take on Creswick.

The Geelong-Ballarat Premier Bowls competition was also washed out last weekend, but resumes with round nine games on Saturday.

BMS will host Webbcona, Eastern Park is at home to Bareena, Lara and City of Geelong are set to meet, Ocean Grove is booked to battle Queenscliff and Victoria has a meeting with Sebastopol to plan for.