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THREE Ocean Grove Pennant sides have enjoyed the ultimate glory as the bowls season comes to a close.
The minor premiers were slow to bounce out of the blocks in the grand final and COG took control early, leading by 13 after 25 ends. Lorraine Myers, Ray Moloney, Troy Thomson and Skipper Peter Jolley started their run on the scoreboard and kept Grove in contention heading the scoreboard 16-4 after 10 ends. Struggling to get a score on the board the Luke Benson skipped rink with Peter Lewis, Peter Uthmeyer and Ocean Grove legend Norm Thomas after nine ends had not registered on the card. Down 0-13, their first score and the change in momentum came on the 10th end when they carded a four which got the rink on its way. Jolley continued his charge on the board, with Troy Thomson firing on all cylinders at three and a 23-4 advantage had the momentum with the Grovers.
Benson fought his way back into the match and incredibly hit the front on the 17th end 17-15. All the momentum was now with the Grove side. Dave Mackay, Geoff Fry, Warren Davis and Rod Swan were holding the dangerous Brad Shiells rink from COG and scores were never more than two or three the difference. Peter Patterson Skipping his side of Terry Thomas, Drew Young and Trevor Turnley were able to outscore their opposition 12-1 between ends 10-15. This followed up with from 20 ends, Patterson playing five last bowl draw shots in a row to seal the deal on their rink winning 26-18. Benson charged home to take a memorable rink win 23-20, while Jolley managed to return the card with a 30-19 victory. The Swan rink was left to play the remaining ends and fortunately the margin was out of the reach of COG. Not needing to play the final two ends of the match, the Swan team ended the day 19-21 in a low-scoring tussle.
Double success came on Tuesday when the Grovers’ Midweek section travelled to Torquay to contest the Division One and Division Three grand finals. For Division One it was a chance to take out the top grade premiership for the second successive year against Queenscliff and it was Ocean Grove who would take control of the match early with Elaine Price, John McConville, Matt Flapper and Skip Pat Virtue laying the foundation early getting away to a 9-0 head start. At the same stage Joan Tennent had her side taking back to back ends to level the scores 6-6 after 7. Lorraine Myers, Marg Carroll and Kim McConville were laying the foundation for Tennent with consistent bowls as they then started to make their move on the scoreboard.
The closest of the Ocean Grove v Queenscliff match-ups was happening on the Gail Hjorth v Di Roberts rink, which was locked in a battle up until lunch. Eight ends on the trot to the coutas after the lunch break resulting in 12-0 on the scoreboard showed a mini comeback from the Queenscliff side but at the same stage Virtue had increased her lead and Tennent stretched out to a nine-shot margin.
The Virtue rink were the first to walk off the green with their heads held high after a great day out on the green and at the completion of their 25 ends registered a 26-11 scoreline while Tennent finished strongly to record their solid 25-16 victory. Current Australian Bowlers Arm representative Adele Ryan led the way in the closing stages of the match with Andra Kuschert, Gary Burkett and Skipper Hjorth to fight back from 11-18 down to card two fours to finish 19-20 and put finishing touches on another successful year for the Grovers’ number one side. Side by side playing on the adjacent green at Torquay the Grover Threes did not have it all their way against Leopold. In fact far from it, and a match that they had to fight for the entire 75 ends.
The early stages of the match were neck and neck, with only a handful of shots separating the two teams up until the main break. Lyn Stonehouse, Nancy Quinton, Bob Poole and Skip Pauline Almond locked at 13-13 while John Forde, Dot Sutcliffe, Doug Gorwell and Madam President Joyce Fraser 17-17 and incredibly Shirley Olsen, Judith Jenkins, Peter Uthmeyer and Kerri Simpson 15-15 at a similar stage.
This laid the foundation for a close finish and a game that could go either way. Almond finished strongly, winning six of the last eight ends to go down by four 23-27 coming back from 15-25 down. Fraser held on to concede a single on the final end to also go down 23-26 but it was the Simpson rink that would prove the difference on the overall board as the Grovers went into the final end. At 74-72 with one to play, Shirley Olsen stood tall to play a match-winning bomb with her second bowl which enabled Jenkins and Uthmeyer to protect the shot with cover bowls to try and restrict Leopold from scoring a multiple. As the spectators sat on the edge of their seat in the final stages and div one standing their cheering them on, it was tense up until the final bowl. A near-miss by the Leopold Skip and it was a double celebration for the Grovers. Simpson carded a 30-20 win and they captured their third flag for the season.

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