South Bendigo primed for shot at reigning premier in BBD pennant

NEW COLOURS: South Bendigo's Brad Holland comes up against his former team Bendigo East for the first time on Saturday. Picture: LUKE WEST

NEW COLOURS: South Bendigo's Brad Holland comes up against his former team Bendigo East for the first time on Saturday. Picture: LUKE WEST

BRAD Holland is accustomed to up-and-coming Bendigo Bowls Division sides wanting to test themselves against Bendigo East.

Through seven seasons with Bendigo East, in which he skippered in four premiership teams, more often than not Holland and the Beasties had a target on their backs as one of the most prized scalps in BBD pennant.

Again, the Beasties will be hunted on Saturday, this time by South Bendigo.

Only this time it will be Holland doing the hunting as he comes up against his former side for the first time in round six.

In what was a major coup for South Bendigo during the off-season, the club lured Holland away from Lansell Street to take on the role as club coach.

For so long a lynchpin at Bendigo East, it will no doubt be a strange sight on Saturday seeing Holland in combat against his premiership team-mates of years gone by.

While Holland admits he’s looking forward to catching up with his old mates again, all he’s treating Saturday’s clash at home as is just what so many clubs have done before against the Beasties over the years – a chance for South to test itself against one of the competition’s yardsticks.

“They are obviously playing some fairly good bowls at the moment and are the team to beat, so it will be good to get a bit of a view of just where we’re at,” Holland said on Friday.

Ryan Tainton

Ryan Tainton

“It’s going to be a big challenge and it’s not every week you get the chance to take on the best, so that’s what this week is all about… we’ll give it our best shot and see what happens.”

Having found the going tough since returning to division one three seasons ago and finishing 7th, 7th and 8th, South took the stance over winter that enough was enough and the club needed to no longer just make up the numbers in division one.

Their recruiting included three new skippers in Holland, Ryan Tainton and Liam Crapper and five rounds in the side is on the up.

After losing its first three games, South has since won its past two against Golden Square (9 shots) and Kangaroo Flat (17) and is only four points outside the top four.

The club is now chasing three wins in a row for the first time since rejoining division one.

“We’ve improved each week, which is the main thing we’ve been trying to do,” Holland said.

“We’ve still got a lot to work on… it wasn’t going to all come together straight away, but everyone is getting familiar with each other.

“Hopefully, with a couple more tweaks we’ll have the right mix and then off we go.”

Tainton’s rink is one of the form combinations of the BBD having won its past four games.

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