Shepparton Park will be doing everything in its power to put an end to the dream run of Goulburn Valley Bowls Division midweek pennant division one newcomers Shepparton Golf in today's grand final.By Marc McGowan
It might be extraordinary to think any reigning division two champion would be favourite over a three-time defending division one titleholder.
Welcome to today’s Goulburn Valley Bowls Division midweek pennant division one grand final.
Shepparton Golf, which locks horns with Shepparton Park at Euroa today, scrapped its way to the elite grade with a 39-shot defeat of Avenel in last season’s division two decider.
No-one in the team would have been bold enough to predict they would be back there a year later at division one level.
Golf finished last and was relegated the last time it played at this standard in the 2006-07 season.
Fast-forward to today and it has beaten the Parkers twice in a row, including a come-from-behind 13-shot triumph in the pressure-cooker environment of the major semi-final three weeks ago.
There is one change to Shepparton Golf’s line-up, with Pauline Naughton replacing Marie Clurey (personal reasons) as skipper.
Shepparton Park is unchanged, but Sandra Wallace and ex-Mooroopna Golf bowler Marg Smyth are the newcomers since the Parkers won last season’s pennant.
‘‘I can’t believe we’re here. We never dreamed this was going to happen at the start of the season,’’ Naughton said.
‘‘We played fairly consistently through the year and had mostly the same teams and we just jelled and did our best all the time.
‘‘I hope we win again, but you can never underestimate Shepparton Park. They’re so strong and experienced and we’re the underdogs in that area.’’
That last part is what Parkers skipper Bev Thorn is banking on.
They have been to this stage many times in the past, but the underdog position is foreign to them.
Not that Thorn and her clubmates would see themselves that way, particularly since their crushing 39-shot preliminary final win over Tatura last week.
‘‘It’s crunch time. There are a little bit of nerves — you’ve got to have some — but we were happy last week and we’ve got a very good chance if we all play the same standard as that,’’ Thorn said.
‘‘We’ve had a pretty good year, but most of the other clubs have, too, and they have lifted their standard.’’
Thorn said a premiership today — which would be Shepparton Park’s fourth on the trot — would mean more than last season’s undefeated romp, because it has been harder to get to this point.
She also said there had already been a discussion among the team about Golf’s star thirds John Dagger and Jock Hastie.
‘‘I hope our girls are not (intimidated) and if everybody plays fairly and in the right essence of sportsmanship nobody intimidates anybody,’’ Thorn said.
‘‘We’ve already talked about it, we know the situation and we just have to play our best.’’
Naughton said the topic of the men in her side was a non-issue.
‘‘They bring their own style to our game and when you’re on the green you don’t think of that,’’ Naughton said.
‘‘You just take it bowl by bowl and do your best.’’
Naughton said it had been a wonderful season for Shepparton Golf, whereas Thorn spoke of the hurt she and her Parkers teammates felt at losing the semi-final.
There could be different emotions by the end of today, or more of the same.
Goulburn Valley Health’s renal patients have seven new hand-sewn quilts to call their own.
The winning form continued for the Mulwala seniors against Deniliquin at Lonsdale Reserve on Saturday.
The Tatura Hospital and Parkvilla Aged Care Facility, part of Goulburn Valley Health, held its annual June Hospital Collection and Open Day on Sunday with a small crowd in attendance.
Murray and Campaspe shire have decided to withdraw membership from Committee for Echuca-Moama.
Rochester Motorsport Complex will host the third round of the Golden Power Series karting championships on the weekend.
Kyabram’s first tourism booklet is to be launched in late September.
Seymour College P-4 students delight in their new surroundings.
Berrigan and Jerilderie Shires will be in separate state electorates if boundary redistributions announced on Monday come in to effect.
Heathcote Health is finalising its service plan.
Barooga Sports Club chief executive officer Greg Ryan recently celebrated 30 years of service surrounded by friends, family and past and present staff.
Former AFL player Heath Black sent an inspiring message to Deniliquin youths last week.
Goulburn Valley fruit growers may face a battle against pests and diseases this season as growers hit by SPC Ardmona’s fruit cutbacks abandon their orchards or can’t find money to properly maintain them.
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