State champs again

Ocean Grove won the Champion of State Pennant midweek final in Moama. (supplied)

Ocean Grove’s habit of winning state bowls titles continued with a victory in the final of the Champion of State Pennant midweek final in Moama.

Ocean Grove has a history of success, achieving the title of State Champions in 2013, 2016, and 2017. Adding to their accomplishments, in 2023, the club’s Premier Division Team emerged victorious as the best in the state, securing the State Pennant Championship.

Ocean Grove defeated Bendigo 48 to 29 in the final at Moama after beating reigning champs Frankston in the opening round.

Ocean Grove bowls coordinator and player Tyson Cromie said it was a “special feeling” to win.

“Not too often you get to go away as a group of 15 with a chance to win a state title,” he said.

“So to be able to do that, there were a lot of positive emotions running high. A couple of the players even shed a tear or two just highlighting how much it means to some of them. A lot of hard work had gone into getting through region level to get to state level and it was a feeling of elation amongst the group knowing that all our hard work and effort had paid off.”

In round two Ocean Grove defeated Cohuna by three shots and then they disposed of Horsham City by 26.

Heading into day two, the Grovers defeated last year’s finalists Wangaratta and then went down by one shot to Gisborne, but by then a spot in the final was already guaranteed.

The final against Bendigo lived up to expectations as the two best teams battled fiercely. Despite facing a strong challenge from Bendigo, which briefly took the lead midway through the match, the Grovers rallied to mount a comeback, emerging victorious with a 19-shot win, etching their names into history as just the second team to win three State Midweek Pennant titles.

“Like any event you can’t be at 100 percent of your best the whole way through, but overall as a collective we played extremely well, with everyone doing their part one way or another,” Cromie said.

“We won our first four sectional games, and had a narrow one-shot loss in our last sectional game. I think the final was our best performance as a collective as we won all three rinks in that match when at various stages it was looking like that may not happen.”

Ocean Grove’s team consisted of Casper John, Mick West, Alan Drury, Matt Flapper, Jen Le Cerf, Sue Collins, Patria McGrath, Jenny Keep, Tom Warren, Garry Bowyer, Rod Brehaut and Tyson Cromie. Ian Donald was manager and Bashia Speed and Faye Richardson were emergencies.