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Pennant Report Sectional Finals 2020’2021

PAKENHAM BOWLS CLUB – PENNANT REPORT AND SECTIONAL FINALS

SATURDAY

At the end of a home and away season in which they won many of the hard games yet lost others which were quite winnable, Pakenham’s Division One side finished on the fourth rung of the ladder, thus booking a berth in the finals but not on their home green.   Their opponent in Saturday’s First Semi Final was the clear ladder leader Keysborough, which had experienced only one loss for the season and had beaten Pakenham twice over the journey – although on their most recent meeting that win had been by just two shots.

With the runs on the board and the home ground advantage, Keysborough approached the contest with anything but quiet confidence – yes they were confident but they were also up and about and very rowdy!  However Pakenham’s players expected nothing less and with the exception of a couple of isolated incidents where a little heat bubbled to the surface, it did not affect them one way or the other.  The home side got away to a strong start and after the completion of the first twenty ends had established a lead of 19 shots to 11, with both teams having two rinks up at that stage.  However the Lions then hit their straps and began to pour on the pressure and by the half way mark had three rinks in front and had turned the game around to hold a 46/38 lead.  From that point forward the game developed into an arm wrestle and by the start of the business ends both sides again had two rinks up and Pakenham’s lead had been cut back to just five shots.  Then in the run home the Lions were marginally outscored and briefly relinquished the lead; however they regained it in time to record a memorable and nail biting win, 79 shots to 75.

In the second semi final, Mulgrave Country Club easily disposed of Berwick at Mulgrave.  It was Pakenham and Mulgrave therefore, who lined up on a neutral green (grass) at Noble Park on Sunday for the Sectional Grand Final.  Although coming off a good win on Saturday, Mulgrave’s team mindset would have been completely different to that of Keysborough as it approached the contest – true, they had finished the season in second position to Pakenham’s fourth, but they had not beaten the Lions in season 2020/21 and had in fact lost a home game to them in the second half of the season.  Pakenham’s approach on the other hand was simple – they were there to win.

The Lions quickly established a small lead and by the completion of 20 ends, despite having only one rink up and one all square, had their noses in front by six shots.  By the half way mark, the margin was still six shots, although at that stage Pakenham had two rinks up and one level pegging.  The game continued in that vein and although the Lions briefly held a twenty shot lead the scores were generally very close all afternoon.   Then as the weather came in and the green began to get wet, Mulgrave made inroads into Pakenham’s lead – however their run was too late and with two rinks up, the Lions held on for a memorable 75/72 Grand Final Win.  In no particular order, the players who participated in this wonderful event were:  “Big Dev” Neil Devlin (S), Ned Courtin (3), “Big G” Gian Pianezzola (2) and David Wood (L); Geoff “Voota” Van Vugt (S), Stephen “Krusty” Bentley (3), Des “Grizzly” Leigh (2) and Graeme “Wildman” Wilde (L); Keith “Golden Arm” Archer (S), Glenn “Google” Bainbridge (3), Peter Bott (2) and Terry “TMac” McRedmond (L); Brad Martin (S), Chris “Foxy” Fox (3), Kevin “Murph” Murphy (2) and Jennifer Bainbridge (L) who filled in admirably as sub for Ian “Lefty/Ando” Anderson who retired ill part way through the game.  Special mention must also be made of David Laird who played the majority of the 2020/21season with the Ones but missed the finals.

Next Saturday the Ones will turn out again to compete in the Divisional Finals.

MIDWEEK

Pakenham One (Div 2) had a disappointing finish to their season with a loss down the road at Narre Warren.  Although the Lions held a slender lead in the early stages of that game they had relinquished it by the lunch break and found themselves on a downhill slide from that point forward, eventually losing by 48 shots to 76 with just one rink up.  The winning rink which staged a comeback to finish with 24/21 was Keith “Golden Arm” Archer (S), Glenn “Google” Bainbridge (3), David Laird (2) and Sandra “Wildwoman” Wilde (L).   The Ones finished the season on the fifth rung of the ladder.

Pakenham Two also played Narre Warren – however they had the home ground advantage.   Theirs was a see-sawing game with a number of lead changes but by outscoring their opponents 14 shots to six in the run home they snatched a 58/55 win.   The only winning rink with 28/14 was Peter Wilson (S), Reg “Wombat” Mattingly (3), “Razor” Ray Pigdon (2) and Jan Moore (L).  Richard Burns’ rink won the last five ends in a row to fall just short at 16/17.   The Twos finished the season in fourth place – weather permitting, they play the first Semi Final against ladder leaders Cranbourne RSL at the RSL on Tuesday 23 March.  If you can make it, be there to give them the support they deserve.

Hopefully, Pakenham Three will find that they are more competitive next season in Division Five as they have not had a happy time of it in Division Four.  Unfortunately they were never in the hunt last Tuesday at Cardinia Waters and were comprehensively beaten 88 shots to 55.

Des Leigh