Lower Murray Bowling Association grand final preview

Bowls fever has hit Murray Bridge as the club prepares to host the grand final in all three divisions, Blue in one, Green in two and Purple in three.

Final fight: Jervois' Garry Mason will feature in the division one grand final against Murray Bridge Blue this weekend as his side competes for four flags in a row. Photo: William Bailey.

Final fight: Jervois' Garry Mason will feature in the division one grand final against Murray Bridge Blue this weekend as his side competes for four flags in a row. Photo: William Bailey.

While that is a high achievement, the job is yet to be completed.

Jervois will be competing in divisions one and three with Mannum lining up in division two. 

There is no doubt the scene is now set for a tremendous day’s bowling, the best sides during the minor round have qualified ensuring the heat will be on in all three divisions.

Division One

Bridge Blue v Jervois

Jervois is going for four premierships straight while Blue is out to erase the memories of last season’s defeat, and the ones before that, and break the drought of flags for the Bridge club in division one.

There is little doubt that the Blue’s players will feel the extreme pressure placed on them to emerge as the heroes who can release the pressure valve bringing huge relief around the club.

The Bridge hierarchy has put everything on the line to get through, and while a win will do wonders, another loss will be perhaps an irreversible setback.

How many times can you tackle the mountain and not reach the peak? 

The players are skilled enough to get the job done, now it is up to the skippers Paul Smart, Bruce Attrill and John Jackson to extract the very best from them in a match that will determine their future as top level bowlers.

Attrill has Lynton Keen, Brian Traeger and Tom Griffiths, Smart will embrace Gerry Penta, Helen Linder and Ron Goodwin while Jackson will be in charge of Hugh Smythe, Mario Grande and Jim Freak.

You have to be in it to win it and Blue has shown enough to be right in it, but can they break the hoodoo?

Jervois are likely to go in unchanged for the grand final, Andrew Stasinowsky, David Kempe, Derek Vanderzon and Martin Beaumont entered the finals on the back of successive losses, but performed strong in both finals with double-digit wins in each.

Beaumont is the new addition to division one this season.

Blake Fiebig, Garry Mason, Rodger Zarantonello and Denis Hicks make up one rink, while Graeme Herbert, Russell Schutz, Graham Schenke and Shaun Hicks are the third.

Schenke and Denis Hicks swapped positions after Saturday’s loss to provide better balance.

Fiebig is 1-1 for the finals and Herbert, 0-2.

10 of the 12 have participated in the last three finals series wins so they know what it is all about.

Jervois will be aiming for their fourth consecutive title, the previous three have all come at the expense of Murray Bridge.

The last grand final at the Murray Bridge venue two years ago saw a one-shot win to Jervois in a thriller, this could be a repeat.

The ledger stands at two all this season, both sides have had a win at home and also in the opposition camp.   

I am tipping Jervois to be crowned winners, Blues conquered them in the qualifying final and went straight through to the big one, that gives them a genuine chance but it may have given the Jervois contingent a real wake up call, I’ll make the margin 1-10 shots.

Division Two

Mannum v Bridge Green

For most of the season, Mannum seemed impregnable then all of a sudden, the favourites were beaten by Green in a semi final.

It certainly came as a shock but they got over it to front up again in the one that counts the most.

Mannum reacted swiftly to that loss by making three bold overnight changes that evidently worked.

The side is all talent that enjoyed an outstanding minor round run with just the one loss in the last minor round game, they were well beaten by Green which cost them hosting the grand final.

They eventually made it by beating Tailem Bend Blue in the next final.

They will line up with skipper Jerry Pannell, Mike Pethick, Steve Wilkinson and Max Greer, skipper Lynton Jones, John Sage, Trevor Dicker and Maurie Davey and skipper Stephen Gregory, Di Leathers, Graeme Leathers and Grant Bormann.

I am not taking anything away from the other two skippers but Jones could hold the key.

Green was walking tall after taking the short cut into the grand final, an enormous confidence booster.

Their season has been credible with 10 wins and a draw but it was the preliminary final that made everyone take notice. 

They were even surprised by the win, but have had plenty of time to settle down and they do have plenty of experience at hand to get the job done again and playing at home is a bonus.

Skipper Barry Kirchner honed his skills at Tailem Bend so he knows what finals are all about and he will be well supported by teammates Peter White, Joan Jackson and Mike Ferris.

Peter Shilton will have Ken Carter, Rod Kennedy and Malcolm Carter who will be out to avenge their loss in the semi final.

Kurt Weinmann is a hardened skipper also well equipped with players Graham Rolton, Brian Welch and Kerry Pascoe, so it all points to a tough contest that should go down to the wire.

 At the end of the minor round, Mannum finished a whopping 40 points ahead of Green on the ladder and that must be considered when looking for the winner.

Consistency is important and that is where Mannum dazzled, it makes me think the players will go on with it and get the badges by 11-20 shots. 

Division Three

Bridge Purple v Jervois

Bridge Purple finished in top spot but it seems that very little separates the two sides, both sides recorded 13 wins, excluding forfeits.

Jervois made it into second spot in the 14th round but couldn’t bridge the gap to host the grand final.

Purple was on top for a long time and kept doing enough to hold the challengers at bay.

They started the season well but lost top on the fifth end, regained it on the sixth and wasn’t headed again.

Brian Densley and Kaye Simes skippered the rinks from day one, while Jervois chopped and changed until settling for Jim Foster and Ivy Kluske in round 10 who held the roles to this juncture very successfully.     

Simes will skipper three veteran stalwarts who know the game inside out in Colin Ribbons, John Gyss and Eric Lewis.

Densley will be well prepared with Kay Edson, Rob Geiser and Anne Ratsch.

In-form Jervois skipper Jim Foster missed the two semi-final games and if he misses this one it could swing the pendulum slightly in the opposition’s favour.

For Jervois the sides that could front up are skipper Jim Foster or Elaine Atkins with Terry Morgan, Greg Miller, John Atkins.

Skipper Ivy Kluske with Des Kluske, Peter Phillips, John McGowan and John White is a possibility.

It all adds to what will be a crackerjack contest between the best two sides to come out of the minor round and there is no doubt as evenly as they are matched it will be a superb game, I am going for Purple to win by 1-10 shots.

The Skipper of the year and Golden Bowl winner is Bridge Blue’s Paul Smart, he has had a tremendous season with his team winning 13 of the 16 games contested for a total of 26 points.

Runner up was Jervois’ Graeme Herbert, his team finished on 22 points for 11 won and 16 played.