LOOKING BACK - The season preview from October
SUNDAY'S Bendigo Bowls Division weekend pennant grand final promised plenty and delivered as Bendigo East overcame Eaglehawk by nine shots to capture the premiership.
However, the nine-shot margin doesn't do justice to just how gripping a contest it was as the competition's two power sides went nip and tuck in front of a big crowd at South Bendigo.
In a game that was level 82-all after 92 ends, it was the Beasties that finished the stronger to clinch a 94-85 victory and win its 14th division one premiership.
Fittingly, the result of the game hinged on the season's two standout rinks - that of East's Lee Schraner and the Hawks' Darren Burgess, who were left to play the final two ends of the game.
Bendigo East had skipped out to a six-shot lead entering the last two ends - but only one end was needed for the much-more vocal Beasties to capture the flag.
With the Beasties holding two shots on the 99th end, Schraner drew for a third shot that pushed Bendigo East's advantage out to an unloseable nine shots and it was game over.
There was plenty of anticipation pre-match for the clash between Schraner and Burgess, but what happened early left the crowd stunned.
Burgess picked up four shots on the opening end and it began a wave of momentum for the star rink, which also featured Tony Ellis, Russell Simmonds and Steve Carn.
After six ends Burgess led 15-0 and with the Hawks' Brayden Byrne also getting away to an 8-0 lead over Marc Smith, Eaglehawk was off to an early flyer.
However, by the tea break the game was right in the balance with the Hawks leading by one, 40-39, after 45 ends, albeit Bendigo East having three rinks up - Smith 12-10 over Byrne after 11 ends; Brad Marron 15-5 over Dean Carter after 12; and Aaron Tomkins 10-6 over Simon Carter after 12.
It was the Burgess rink doing all the damage for the Hawks as it led Schraner 19-2 after 10 ends at the tea break.
Schraner's rink lifted after the break, outscoring Burgess 20-11 to cut its final deficit to eight shots.
Burgess won 30-22 to inflict only the second loss of the season on Schraner.
Smith's rink overcame its slow start to defeat Byrne 27-20 in a strong response given it had lost its previous four games.
Smith's rink started rolling when it picked up a five on its sixth end, which was part of a run of 12-consecutive shots at one stage.
Their contest had been tied 17-all after 19 ends before Smith finished with a 10-3 burst over the final six ends.
The first of the completed rinks was Marron's 27-18 win over Dean Carter.
While the Burgess and Byrne rinks were dominating for Eaglehawk on either side of it early, Marron's rink asserted its authority from the outset, racing to an 8-1 advantage after five ends.
Marron's lead at one stage got out to 13 shots when it led 21-8 after 15 ends as it never allowed Carter's rink to get into the contest.
The closest of the match-ups was the tussle between East's Tomkins and the Hawks' Simon Carter.
While Tomkins' rink performed far superior to that of Carter's during the season, there was only one shot the difference, with Tomkins edging out Carter 18-17.
"We knew it was going to be close; our rink struggled, but the other boys bowled fantastic," an exhausted East coach Schraner said after the game.
"Eaglehawk is a quality opposition and I'm rapt for the club."
As well as winning the weekend pennant division one flag, Bendigo East also won the midweek division one premiership on Friday, with Rob Clough - who played third to Schraner - part of both winning teams.
East also beat Eaglehawk in the midweek grand final.
Sunday was the 20th-consecutive year the BBD grand final has featured either Bendigo East or Eaglehawk - the last not to do so being in 1998-99 when Castemaine beat Kangaroo Flat.
D. Burgess - 12
L. Schraner - 0
D. Burgess - 19
L. Schraner - 2
D. Burgess - 25
L. Schraner - 6
D. Burgess - 29
L. Schraner - 14
D. Burgess - 30
L. Schraner - 22
B. Marron - 8
D. Carter - 1
B. Marron - 9
D. Carter - 5
B. Marron - 21
D. Carter - 8
B. Marron - 24
D. Carter - 12
B. Marron - 27
D. Carter - 18
S. Carter - 4
A. Tomkins - 3
A. Tomkins - 9
S. Carter - 5
A. Tomkins - 12
S. Carter - 8
A. Tomkins - 15
S. Carter - 13
A. Tomkins - 18
S. Carter - 17
B. Byrne - 8
M. Smith - 2
M. Smith - 12
B. Byrne - 9
M. Smith - 15
B. Byrne - 13
M. Smith - 18
B. Byrne - 17
M. Smith - 27
B. Byrne - 20
Bendigo East - Rod Pearce, Peter Huggard, Rob Clough, Lee Schraner (s); Graham Murphy, Paul Vlaeminck, Graham Edwards, Brad Marron (s); Martin Lord, Brian Griffin, Gary Ryan, Aaron Tomkins (s); Jack Clough, Tom Lester, Chris Randell, Marc Smith (s).
Bendigo East 94 d Eaglehawk 85
Lee Schraner 22 lt Darren Burgess 30
Brad Marron 27 d Dean Carter 18
Aaron Tomkins 18 d Simon Carter 17
Marc Smith 27 d Brayden Byrne 20
Eaglehawk 98 d South Bendigo 86
Jim Weymouth 20 lt Ray McCumber 23
Max Watts 28 d Tony Marsili 23
Stephen Piercy 23 d Arthur Kendall 22
Frank Carbone 27 d Leslie WIlkinson 18
Bendigo East 96 d Harcourt 76
Ian Vlaeminck 21 d Danny Petingill 18
Noel Kilby 27 d Leo Moloney 21
David Coles 18 lt Tony Olsson 21
Barry Perryman 30 d Gary Madden 16
Woodbury 94 d Strathfieldsaye 86
Leonard Handley 22 d James Sonego 21
Heather Cozens 22 lt Ian Cail 25
Graeme Poulton 31 d David Huggard 17
Danny Tuck 19 lt Shane Smith 23
Marong 96 d Dingee 91
Allen Corry 23 dr Colin Koch 23
David Keanelly 30 d John Jackman 18
David Bird 22 lt Des Fiedler 28
Andrew Whatley 21 lt Neil Lister 22
Campbells Creek 89 d Eaglehawk 82
George Cooper 29 d Max Watters 13
Ian Brooks 25 d Frank Lynch 19
David Bothe 21 lt Max Volks 24
Brian Ross 14 lt Kevin White 26
Marong 75 d Bendigo VRI 69
Bob Williams 23 d Shirley Huggard 27
John Tate 32 d Maurice McMahon 16
Robert Kelly 20 lt Peter Simmons 26
Strathfieldsaye 70 d Campbells Creek 36
Roger Clemson 36 d Colin Bull 18
Shirley McGreggor 34 d Ray Mason 18
Division 1 - Bendigo East 73 d Eaglehawk 54
Division 2 - Woodbury 78 d White Hills 64
Division 3 - Marong 88 d Kangaroo Flat 56
Division 4 - Harcourt 74 d Strathfieldsaye 58
Division 5 - Kangaroo Flat 63 d Inglewood 39
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