Bulldogs celebrate lawn bowls flag

GOLDEN Square snapped a 51-year premiership drought in thrilling style when it defeated Eaglehawk 94-89 in Sunday's Bendigo Bowls Division pennant grand final.

The Bulldogs went into the clash with Eaglehawk as the underdog, but they proved to be the top dog after an enthralling battle.

"This is absolutely awesome,'' an elated Golden Square coach Marc Smith said.

"For Golden Square not to have won a flag for 51 years and for the guys to win on this stage is amazing.

"Eaglehawk has been the best team all year and for our guys to come out on top of them is a super effort."

Golden Square didn't show any grand final nerves and jumped out of the blocks to grab an 18-shot lead.

Eaglehawk kept grinding away and by the time the teams had played 70 ends the Borough had grabbed the lead for the first time in the match.

Experienced Eaglehawk skip Phil Godkin led the recovery. His rink raced to a 20-12 lead on Marc Smith.

The Borough had the momentum and the crowd sensed the minor premier was about to surge clear of Golden Square.

However, the Bulldogs dug deep.

It was Smith's contest with Godkin that proved to be decisive.

From 20-12 down, Smith fought back brilliantly.

Godkin still led Smith 21-14 with six ends to play in their match, but end 20 proved to be a game changer.

Set up by some brilliant bowls from John Berry, Smith picked up five shots to bring the Square crowd to life.

Golden Square's Garri Conforti played consistently well all day and proved too strong for Tony Ellis 27-17.

With nine ends to play the overall scores were tied at 91. 

Godkin picked up a shot on end 92 to give the Borough a 92-91 lead.

Square's Tas Wallis replied with a one-shot gain in his clash with Ken Rusbridge and scores were tied after 93 ends.

Square's Gary Beckham, a premiership player with Eaglehawk, produced one of the bowls of the match when it mattered most.

With the final bowl of his clash with Simon Carter, Beckham picked up three shots to win the rink 23-20 and, more importantly, give the Bulldogs an 88-85 lead. 

Smith came to the party again, picking up three shots to extend Square's lead to 91-85 with four ends to play.

Eaglehawk's Rusbridge, who was the Borough's best on the day, gave his side a lifeline when he picked up three shots against Wallis to cut the deficit to three with three ends to play.

The final end of the Godkin-Smith clash was critical.

Berry once again showed his class to give the Bulldogs the edge.

With Square holding four shots, Godkin's last bowl had to do some damage.

His attempt did disrupt the head, but Square still picked up two shots.

Smith won the rink 28-22, collecting 16 of the final 18 shots.

That gave Square a five shot lead with two ends to play.

Rusbridge picked up one shot on the penultimate end to leave the Bulldogs with a four-shot lead.

Eaglehawk needed a miracle on the final end, but it didn't eventuate.

Rusbridge's gallant attempt to disrupt the head with his final bowl of the match only managed to give Wallis two shots and the Bulldogs' players invaded the green to celebrate their long-awaited premiership.

DIVISION 1: Eaglehawk 89 lt Golden Square 94. S. Carter 20 lt G. Beckham 23, P. Godkin 22 lt M. Smith 28, T. Ellis 17 lt G. Conforti 27, K. Rusbridge 30 d T. Wallis 16.

Golden Square will now play Moama in the Region Final at Rich River next Saturday.

DIVISION 2: Golden Square 78 lt  Bendigo East 94. G. Swatton 29 d T. Dalwood 20, J. Morris 20 d L. Hull 19, G. Cronk 12 lt B. Deller 31, B. Hogan 17 lt M. Boyd 24.

DIVISION 3: Bendigo East  91 d South Bendigo 86. S. Howes 16 lt L. Wilkinson 28, P. Judd 26 d J. Geldart 17, N. Kilby 26 d N. Gaskill 16, B. Liddle 23 lt T. Marshall 25.

DIVISION  4:  Marong 99 d Bendigo East 77. J. Rathbone 18 lt M. O'Connor 24, V. Drewitt 26 d G. Hall 14, M. Dickins 32 d G. Mills 19, W. Honeyman 23 d I. Cail 20. 

DIVISION  5: Qualifying final - South Bendigo v   Golden Square: no result submitted.

Elimination final - Eaglehawk 104 d Castlemaine 68. P. Doherty 19 lt M. Barker 20, L. Morgan 29 d J. Grant 18, N. Grenfell 26 d T. Robinson 19, K. Grenfell 30 d D. Frost 11.

DIVISION  6: Dingee 85 lt Calivil 96. K. Murphy 28 d B. Meighan 18, R. Robertson 20 lt J. Pickles 24, N. Lister 16 lt A. Leech 29, D. Fiedler 21 lt W. Miles 25.  

DIVISION  7: Inglewood 89 d Marong 49. K. Rowley 19 lt B. Salau 21, G. Roberts 38 d N. Tate 7, B. Dowling 32 d P. Mylon 21. 

DIVISION 8: South Bendigo 90 d Eaglehawk 37. B. Wood 30 d D. Mieklejohn 14, D. Goulding 22 d F. Lynch 10, E. Wright 38 d T. Verryt 13.  

DIVISION 9: Dingee 65 d Castlemaine 29. R. Thompson 36 def K. Earl 8, N. Davis 29 d P. Roache 21.

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