Moama and Tongala will play for a spot in the division one pennant grand final tomorrow.LUKE MCMANUS February 28, 2014 4:05am
The two best teams in division one pennant will do battle tomorrow for a cherished spot in the grand final.
Ladder leaders Moama and Tongala will contest the first semi-final at Ky Valley View, with minor premiers Moama fresh from a demolition job of fellow finals contender Rich River just six days ago.
Moama, led by skips Barry Brennan, Mark ‘Bluey’ Chaplin and Michael Walker, dispelled doubts stemming from its loss to Echuca in round 17 by claiming a massive 40-shot win (97-57) against fourth placed Rich River, sending an ominous message to its opposition along the way.
‘‘It doesn’t hurt to have a big win going into finals,’’ Brennan said.
‘‘We’ve had a pretty settled team with very few changes all season and it’s nice to head into finals in some good form.’’
The ledger is squared with both sides scoring a win against each other this season.
‘‘We’re anticipating a close match. We’ve had some great matches (with Tongala) throughout the year so there’s no reason why it won’t be the same (tomorrow),’’ the skip said.
Tongala may have finished the regular season in second but would feel cheated out of a chance at the minor premiership after its round 17 clash with Rochester was washed out, the only fixture called off that weekend.
The rain only added to Tongala’s frustration after the heat policy wrecked havoc on the competition the previous fortnight.
Tongala returned to the green with a close four-shot win against Mathoura (68-64) last week, the match providing valuable match practice after three weeks off.
‘‘I actually missed last week so it has been four weeks for me,’’ skipper Mick Humphreys said.
‘‘The game was crucial for us, not only for game time but we could have lost second place to Echuca. Luckily the boys held on.’’
Humphreys is going into the match ‘‘quietly confident’’ and is looking forward to stepping on to the green at Ky Valley View.
‘‘It should be very interesting,’’ he said.
‘‘A lot depends on the draw for both sides. They have a very nice green over there, it’s a tremendous green.
‘‘It’s going to be level pegging for most of the match.’’
Moama: G Pettigrove, G O’Brien, G Dorward, B Brennan (s); B Davie, A Bailey, B Reiner, M Chaplin (s); R Bunting, J Hogan, V Rehe, M Walker (s).
City of Echuca v Rich River
In round one of the CVBD season, Echuca delivered a commanding 41-shot win against Rich River, opening its 2014 account in fine style.
Fast forward seven rounds, Echuca found itself at the other end of the spectrum, going down in a thriller (80-77) to Rich River in what was a dramatic turn of events.
The see-saw affair between the two clubs is set to continue tomorrow when Ky Valley View hosts Echuca and Rich River in the second semi-final.
This time around there are no second chances, with the winner progressing to the preliminary final and the defeated sent packing.
‘‘We’re confident without being over confident,’’ John Dinsdale said, one of three skippers to help lead the City of Echuca team.
‘‘We’re definitely excited, it’s always a battle against Rich River. There hasn’t been much in it all season and I’m sure it will be similar this time around.’’
Despite finishing third, Echuca boasted the second highest percentage on the ladder, second to Moama’s healthy point ratio.
Dinsdale said possessing a settled line-up for most of the season contributed to Echuca holding a strong position on the ladder.
Right behind Echuca is Rich River.
Mel Velt, bowls co-ordinator at Rich River, said an air of excitement had engulfed the club this week after four out of five teams made it through to finals.
Velt is confident tomorrow’s teams will be strong enough in their respective matches to get the job done but admitted the loss of Max Kosch would be a big loss to division one.
‘‘It’s been a very pleasing end to the season for us, we’re certainly a happy club at the moment,’’ Veldt said of Rich River’s presence this coming finals series.
‘‘Hopefully we can eventually take out at least one or two pennants.
‘‘Over the year our results have been fairly level and we will certainly give ourselves a chance against Echuca.
‘‘It will be a challenge for us but we’ve picked the best possible side available.
‘‘We’ve (division one) been reasonably settled all season, out of the maximum 12 we’ve had about eight or nine who have been regulars.
‘‘We will miss Max (Kosch) through unavailability but we’re confident blokes can step up.’’
City of Echuca: R Milne, J Brown, E Berryman, P Thorn (s); W Brooks, K Jones, C Larcombe, S Cunnington (s); S Glasser, T Hawley, P Phyland, J Dinsdale (s). Emergency: G Halden.
Rich River: M Velt, T Nagorcka, N Dixon, R Jackson (s); K Martin, M Griffiths, B O’Neale, S Barker (s); C Pavone, J Preston, G George, R Taylor (s). Emergency: J Henwood.
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Benalla GP Paul Kelly receives an award in recognition of his 37 years as a doctor in rural Victoria.
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