BENDIGO broke a 33-year premiership drought with a thrilling 92-88 win over Bendigo East in yesterday’s Bendigo Bowls Division grand final.
In front of a big crowd at Eaglehawk, it took a brilliant bowl from skipper Andrew Brown on the penultimate end to secure Bendigo’s first title since 1980.
With two ends to play Bendigo led by just three shots, but when East’s David Keenan held seven shots with only one bowl to come from Brown it appeared as though Bendigo’s premiership drought would continue.
Brown, whose previous bowl on that end fell well short, stepped up and produced the shot of his career.
He collected the kitty and turned a seven-shot deficit into a two-shot gain.
That gave Bendigo a five-shot lead with one to end to play in the Torie Babitsch and Aaron Tomkins clash.
Tomkins could only manage one shot on the final end and Bendigo celebrated a long-awaited victory.
“This is just beautiful,’’ Bendigo coach Ian Ross said.
“This club was looking down the gurgler. We dropped from seven teams down to five, went on a recruiting drive and picked up some good players.
“The good players pushed down the others and we’ve made it through to a grand final and finally won one.
“We’ve got a good group of young players and it’s great for them and great for the club.”
Bendigo East led the grand final in the early stages, before Bendigo bounced back to grab a 13-shot lead with 20 ends to play.
East, who were aiming for a fourth-straight premiership, slowly but surely eroded the margin and with eight ends to play the scores were level.
Ross and Gary Carberry picked up a valuable five shots between them in two ends to give Bendigo a handy buffer. Babitsch added a single to make it six shots up with five ends to play.
East made another charge by picking up four shots in two ends through Keenan and Darren Burgess.
Another single to Babitsch made it three shots with two ends to play before Brown rolled down his match-winning bowl.
“I took a tight line and hoped the wind would hold it and it did,’’ Brown, who had previously played in three flags with Eaglehawk, said.
“Luckily it took the jack and we got two shots. Sometimes you’ve got to come up with shots like that. I’m just glad we won the game.”
BBD grand final scores:
Division 1: Bendigo 92 d Bendigo East 88.
T. Babitsch 28 d A. Tomkins 17, A. Brown 17 lt D. Keenan 25, G. Carberry 25 lt B. Holland 26, I. Ross 22 d D. Burgess 20.
Div. 2: South Bendigo 2-86 lt Bendigo East 16-93.
J. Knott 22 lt M. Boyd 26, R. McCumber 24 dr J. Garlick 24, T. Sessions 18 lt A. Clough 21, G. Sherman 22 dr L. Hull 22.
Div. 3: Bendigo East 16-101 d Harcourt 2-82.
D. Coles 21 lt L. Moloney 24, G. Howes 26 d K. Holschier 19, N. Kilby 26 d G. Maddern 13, S. O’Connor 28 d S. Douglas 26.
Div. 4: Bendigo 14-90 d Marong 4-87.
J. Beecham 27 d J. Rathbone 15, P. Dumont 29 d V. Drewitt 17, D. Keanelly 16 lt W. Honeyman 35, J. Moore 18 lt M. Dickins 20.
Div. 5: North Bendigo 16-93 d Eaglehawk 2-76.
R. Doidge 19 lt G. Pickering 23, B. Hartland 28 d L. Vernon 15, W. McCurdy 20 d J. Brereton 19, M. Starr 26 d N. Grenfell 19.
Div. 6: Bendigo East 14-102 d Bendigo 4-96.
T. Hyland 20 lt M. Lalor 31, G. Mills 16 lt I. DeAraugo 25, C. Rutherford 31 d E. Aisbett 26, W. Schimdt 35 d W. Morrison 14.
Div. 7: Golden Square 14-70 d Woodbury 2-55.
W. Hamblin 19 lt G. Poulton 21, A. Lowes 27 d M. Macdonald 14, F. Underwood 24 d N. Burgess 20.
Div. 8: Marong 14-69 d Bendigo 2-63.
H. McCarthy 15 lt K. Gullick 29, D. Penfold 29 d V. Greenwood 14, J. Weston 25 d A. Gallagher 20.
Div. 9: Castlemaine 0-26 lt Marong 14-73. C. Frost 18 lt J. McKinley 24, R. Roberts 8 lt R. Mills 49.