Bowls rivalry continues

Highton captain Scott McLachlan is looking forward to the grand final qualifier against old foes Ocean Grove. (Ivan Kemp)

Highton takes on Ocean Grove in what will continue a four-year rivalry of playing off in major bowls finals.

The two teams do battle in the Geelong Bowls Region Premier Division grand-final qualifier at Belmont on Saturday March 2 and have met in the past four grand finals.

Highton captain Scott McLachlan can’t wait.

“We’ve split the regular season games one each so there’s definitely a mutual respect,” he said.

“It’s always a pretty high intensity game between the two of us whenever we play. Ocean Grove have a lot of talent with their Victorian players and we’ve worked more on depth, so there are two pretty good sides.”

The winner of the clash will go directly to the grand final while the loser will play the winner of the Queenscliff vs Drysdale clash in the preliminary final.

Highton is fresh from a 39-shot thrashing of third-placed Queenscliff in the final round.

“The last five weeks we’ve seemed to have gotten better each week,” McLachlan said.

“We’re really finding our form at the end of the season and that was a really good win against the team that finished third.”

McLachlan said the side had been settled for most of the season and that his own rink, comprising Stephen Macklin, Dallan Klemke and Stewart Shuttleworth, had lost only once this season.

“We had one or two changes early just due to people leaving the area and moving and, but other than that, we’ve been pretty steady with our sides,” he said.

“We haven’t really changed the entire season.”

Both sides are stacked with talent and McLachlan named Ocean Grove coach Matt Flapper and young gun Brad Pavey as dangermen.

“He’s (Pavey) definitely an up and comer and has a lot of ability and has been a very good bowler for a very long time and very steady, so that’s always going to be a hard game,” he said.

“But you’d say that, say, the game changer for them is probably Matty Flapper.”

McLachlan said David Priddle was primed for a big game for Highton.

“He just had a massive win against Queenscliff and he’s been bowling unbelievably,” he said.

“He’s our club singles champion at the moment and he’s been bowling the house down.”

Queenscliff takes on Drysdale in the elimination final with the loser to bow out. Both finals begin at 1pm at Belmont Bowls Club.