FOUR flags in a row for Bendigo East, or the end of a 33-year premiership drought for Bendigo.
One of those scenarios will be the story out of tomorrow’s Bendigo Bowls Division grand final between East and Bendigo at Eaglehawk.
And if tomorrow’s game is anything like their semi-final clash a fortnight ago when Bendigo East snuck home by one shot, it will be a grand final to remember.
Bendigo last week overcame the disappointment of its one-shot semi-final defeat against East to belt Eaglehawk by 30 shots in the preliminary final and deny the Hawks a 10th-straight grand final appearance.
After last week’s win, Bendigo now carries 33 years of expectation into the grand final.
Bendigo last won the division one premiership in 1980 when it defeated Eaglehawk by eight shots.
Since then it has lost eight grand finals, the last being in 2009 when it went down to Eaglehawk by five shots in an extra end classic.
Bendigo, which recruited strongly after last year’s preliminary final exit, was the most consistent team over the home and away season, finishing 30 points clear at the top of the ladder.
“It has been a long time between premierships for the club, but we have an opportunity to go down in the history books as the side that broke the drought,” Bendigo’s Brian Mansbridge said yesterday.
“We’re confident that if we keep doing what we’ve been doing all year and play good bowls, then the result we’re after will come.
“As far as pressure goes with being such a long time, there are six new players this year, which is almost one third of the side, so it’s completely different to past years where the pressure has been mounted on a bit more.
“We’re looking forward to getting out there on Sunday and giving it a good crack.”
A win tomorrow will ensure Bendigo East becomes the first club since Bendigo in 1974-77 to win four flags in a row.
“You don’t get opportunities like this every year, so you’ve got to make the most of them when they come,” Bendigo East coach Brad Holland said.
“We’ve got better with each game we’ve played and we’ve been working solidly as a whole 16.
“Each player in each team is doing their job, which is what you need at this time of the year.”
Bendigo and Bendigo East last met in a grand final in 2003 when East won by 20 shots.
Tomorrow’s grand final at Eaglehawk starts at 1.30pm.