Pennant Report Divisional Finals 2020/2021
PAKENHAM BOWLS CLUB – PENNANT FINALS – 2020/21 SEASON
At one stage it seemed that Pakenham’s Division One side would finish the season in the lower half of the Pennant ladder and would not participate in the 2020/21 finals. However they put together a number of good wins in the latter part of the season and scraped into finals contention by finishing in fourth place. They were not expected to win the first semi final against the clear ladder leaders Keysborough, particularly as Keysborough had the home ground advantage – however they won a nail biter by just four shots. The Grand Final against Mulgrave Country Club produced another close finish, with the Lions victorious by three shots and winning the Premiership.
As winners of their section, Pakenham then lined up to play off against the winners of the other four Division One sections for the Divisional title and the chance of promotion to Premier Division for season 2021/22.
Their first game, against Brighton One, was played on Saturday at Murrumbeena Park on grass greens which had received a fair bit of rain late in the week. Most Pakenham players could not remember the last time they played on such a heavy track but accepted that both sides had to play under the same conditions and it was simply a matter of making the most of it and just getting on with the job.
After the completion of the first twenty ends the Lions had two rinks up, one all square and a slender lead of five shots. With approximately half the game behind them, Pakenham had doubled that lead to 10 shots and had three rinks up. Geoff “Voota” Van Vugt’s rink was playing particularly well with the big man putting on an absolute clinic and demoralising the opposition. At the other end of the scale, Keith “Golden Arm” Archer again found himself in damage limitation mode as he battled to cope with Australian team representative, Aaron “Disco” Wilson. By the start of the business ends the game had tightened up considerably and Brighton was really making a contest of it, having narrowed the gap to just four shots – however the Lions scored almost two to one in the final leg to run out winners by 17 shots.
The Pakenham players involved were Geoff “Voota” Van Vugt (S), Stephen “Krusty” Bentley (3), Des “Grizzly” Leigh (2) and Graeme “Wildman” Wilde (L); Neil “Big Dev” Devlin (S), Ned Courtin (3), Gian “Big G” Pianezzola (2) and David “Woody” Wood (L); Brad “Braddles” Martin (S), Chris “Foxy” Fox (3), Kevin “Murph” Murphy (2) and Ian “Lefty/Ando” Anderson (L); Keith “Golden Arm” Archer (S), Glenn “Google” Bainbridge (3), Peter Bott (2) and Terry “Tmac” McRedmond (L) with emergencies David Laird and Jennifer Bainbridge who replaced Gian Pianezzola on the Sunday as he was unavailable.
The second of the knockout finals was played on Sunday against Lilydale at the MCC Bowls Section where conditions were a vast improvement on those encountered on Saturday. From the outset, Lilydale were up and about and pushed the Lions at every opportunity but the scores remained close for most of the game – after twenty ends Lilydale led by three shots with each side having two rinks up and at the half way mark their lead was just two shots, again with two rinks apiece. However by the start of the business ends the margin had grown to 10 shots and at that stage only one Pakenham rink had its nose in front, although it was all square on a second. Lilydale then outscored the Lions in the run home to grab a spot in the Divisional Grand Final and a berth in Premier Division next season.
And so, Pakenham’s Division One journey for season 2020-21 has come to an end – it has been a magnificent ride and a great deal of fun. Many thanks to the wonderful band of supporters who followed the team for the duration of the finals trip.
Pakenham’s Division Three Midweek side finished the home and away season in splendid isolation in fourth position, more than a full round ahead of Mulgrave but also more than a round behind Ferntree Gully – nevertheless, they qualified for the finals. They turned out on Tuesday 16 March for their Section semi-final against ladder leaders Cranbourne RSL, at the RSL. It quickly became apparent why the hosts had finished on top of the ladder – they established a lead in the early stages of the game and continued to build on that lead as the game progressed. By the completion of play with an overall score of 81 shots to 43, the RSL won all three rinks and the Lions’ season was over. Pakenham’s team was Peter Wilson (S), Gary “Crow” Crowley (3), Reg “Wombat” Mattingly (2) and Jan Moore (L); Richard Burns (S), Ken Clifton (3), Vince Bevilacqua (2) and David Saint (L); and Brian Norton (S), Bill Bosch (3), Alan Waterson (2) and Kevin “Digger” Goonan (L).