Grovers go agonisingly close at states

Ocean Grove's Zak Abro, Owen Clark, Mick Sloper and Tyson Cromie. (Supplied) 402228_01

A quartet of Ocean Grove bowlers have repeated their Victorian Championships result from last year, winning silver at Bendigo East Bowling Club on Monday, April 15.

In a remarkable show of consistency, skip Tyson Cromie’s fours team of Zak Abro, Owen Clark and Mick Sloper narrowly missed out on gold for the second year in a row, losing 10-15 to a Glenroy/Moonee Valley side skipped by Dylan Fisher.

Cromie said while he was proud of his side, coming up short in the final for the second year running was tough to swallow.

“It’s a bit of a kick in the guts, as nice as it is to be a silver medallist within your state,” he said.

“It’s hard enough to get there once, but to get there two years in a row was a fantastic effort by our boys. I couldn’t be prouder of the other three, it was a good team effort.”

Earlier in the day the Grovers won through to the final with a dominant 19-4 win over Clayton in what Cromie described as “close to the best performance we’ve played together as a team”.

The rink, which has only bowled together since mid-2023, kept pace with their opponents in the early stages of the final, trailing 5-6 after the first seven ends of the 15-end match.

“It was always going to be a tough contest, so the plan was to try to stick with them early and keep the game as close as we could for as long as we could if we were behind,” Cromie said.

“And we sort of did that to some extent (in the first half), but then our opposition played very well to get a bit of a gap on us.”

The Grovers lost the next five ends, trailing 5 shots to 14 with only three ends to play.

“Their leader was playing really well, he constantly put us under pressure from the start, getting his bowls close to the jack and making life difficult for us,” Cromie said.

“But it’s one thing that I always believe in, is that you never give up until it’s mathematically impossible. And we’ve got four very competitive blokes and we were never going to lay down.”

The Ocean Grove team gave themselves every chance in the 13th and 14th ends, closing the gap to only four shots with one end to play, but their metro opponents took the last end by a shot, winning 15-10.

Cromie said his team would “definitely be back together next year” to try to win the Victorian title and qualify for the national championships.

“Not getting that ultimate success… I know that me personally, and I’m sure the other three boys will be the same, we’ll want to go together again next year to try and hopefully go that one step further.”