One could have thought they were watching a version of David vs Goliath last week when Ocean Grove’s Golden Girls stole the show in Warrnambool at the Victorian Ladies State Triples Bowls Championships.
Muriel Williams, Patricia Virtue and skipper Faye Richardson climbed the mountain to return home as state champions and in the process earned the right to contest for an Australian title in October.
Sixteen teams from across the state converged on the coastal facility at City Memorial Bowls Club. It was the Ocean Grove Triple that started with a bang, 22-3 winners in game one against the powerful outfit from Moama.
Grove went into round two as underdogs against a Yarra Region team of state representatives led by Anne Draffen.
However Ocean Grove lifted to the occasion and raised some eyebrows in a 20 to 11 victory.
If there were any nerves when they stepped on the greens for their semi-final showdown, they certainly didn’t show.
Another win 20 to 13 and it was down to the last two in the state, Ocean Grove v Sandbelt Region.
Sandbelt Region was led by former Australian representative and two-time Australian Open Singles Champion Lisa Phillips.
Not many in the venue would have put money on the Grovers, but end by end and bowl by bowl they matched it with their more fancied opponents.
Entering the penultimate end, Richardson’s triple was one shot behind on the card. Scoring the single forced the final into an extra end.
Ocean Grove held its composure and it was then only a matter of minutes before the ‘Golden Girls’ had a gold medal around their necks.
Silver medal for Grove pair
Marg Carroll and Matt Flapper could not have gotten any closer to glory when they advanced to the State Mixed Pairs final.
Wins over Eastern Ranges by a single shot, Central Victoria by nine and Strzelecki by three earned a chance for championship glory.
Taking on the powerful combination of Australian and world champion Carla Krizanic with skipper Todd Trewarne the final game also went the distance before the Grover pair succumbed walking away with a silver medal.
Ocean Grove also featured in the Men’s Triples (Craig Pavey, Brad Pavey and Matt Flapper), Over 60s Ladies Singles (Jo Whitehead) and Mens Fours (Craig Rippon, Cal Hanna, Mick West and Matt Flapper).
The Men’s Triples lost out by four to the eventual winners in the quarter final while at the same stage Whitehead fell to Alison Hall from the MCC club, 15-21.
Hall went on to claim the title.
The men’s fours fell in a nailbiter in the final round of 16 by the narrowest of margins.
National finals for quartet
Ocean Grove’s Mick West, Craig Rippon, Brad Pavey and Matt Flapper have won their way through to the national finals of the Bowls Premier League.
BPL is a club based event run similar to the popular televised event broadcast live on Fox Sports.
Two rounds of qualifying, region finals then led to state finals at Dandenong Club last Sunday where the Grover’s dominated to win all five games and advance to the national playoffs to be held in Moama at the end of February.
It was back to back for the Grovers who also earned their way to the national finals last year in Brisbane.