AT ONE stage late in a thrilling South Gippsland District Bowls Division One Pennant Grand Final, Inverloch led by as much as 20 shots across the three rinks at Korumburra.
But this was quickly closed down to just one shot as Phillip Island surged back into contention over the final five ends as the likes of Daryl Major’s four took six shots from Andrew Rowe’s four on the 20th end alone.
It was well and truly “game on”.
But with barely a shot between the two teams in last year’s final, it was always going to be close. They all knew it.
There were wild swings in the scores all the way to the line on all three rinks.
As a supporter, you didn’t know where to look for your team to gain the advantage.
With the last end (25th) still to play in the match between David Hanlon’s (PI) and Frank Seaton’s (Inv) fours, Inverloch had a handy advantage of four but the Island claimed four scoring shots on the final end to even it up as a 20-all final score. After 20 ends, Seaton’s four had held a seven-shot advantage but didn’t win an end from that stage onwards.
The next rink to finish was the match between Phillip Island’s Daryl Major and Andrew Rowe’s Inverloch four.
This four had been the hope of the side for the Islanders but on the 25th end, Andrew Rowe’s group pulled back three crucial shots to cut their loss to 26-20 Phillip Island’s way.
At that stage, Phillip Island had a lead of six shots in the shed.
But the final rink was still playing and for much of the day Mick Coram’s Inverloch four had led their opponents, under the direction of Russell May comfortably, and by as many as 11 shots with only a couple of ends to play.
This rink was significantly behind the others after a couple of dead ends.
On the back of some superb draw bowling by Hans Olierwook (PI), using his arm to perfection, the Island had closed that lead down to eight shots making it just two shots overall as the players started the last end.
Kevin Wagner of Phillip Island put down a pressure bowl to take the shot half-way through and it only needed for the Island to get one scorer to tie and another to win.
But Inverloch’s Ross Gabb had other ideas and with a superbly weighted delivery, he trailed the jack away from the head, leaving it nearest the target but protected by the bowls in front – it was the ‘premiership shot’ of the day.
Inverloch’s skipper Mick Coram played safe trying to cover off on danger bowls in case Phillip Island’s Russell May found a way through but didn’t and in the end it was a five-shot win to Inverloch – next to nothing in the scheme of things.
Bowls final a thriller