SOUTH Bendigo's Mal Darroch isn't kidding when he says lawn bowls has become a younger person's game.
He needs only to peer across the green for a reminder, where he'll find his grandsons Lachlan Darroch and Luke Hoskin.
The trio will be aiming for something unique this weekend when they line up together for South Bendigo in the Bendigo Bowls Division pennant grand final against Kangaroo Flat at Bendigo East.
It's uncertain whether a grandfather and grandson have played alongside each other in a top division grand final before. But it would be even rarer for a grandfather to get the chance to play alongside a pair of grandsons.
A premiership would be the icing on the cake for Mal Darroch, who has more than one reason for wanting to experience success on Sunday.
Darroch, 74, missed last season's grand final after suffering a heart attack in the lead-up.
"I went and watched, but I couldn't sit there for too long and I had to go home and lie down," he said.
"The important thing is I'm still here."
While South Bendigo is yet to defeat Kangaroo Flat in three clashes this season, with the Diggers' best result a draw, Darroch is convinced their time is nigh.
"There are eight different players from last year's grand final to this year's and they've all gelled," he said.
"I've got a really good feeling about this one, if we all do our thing we'll be alright. It comes down to concentration.
"It's very, very special getting to play with my grandsons.
"Fathers might get to play with their sons a bit, but playing with grandsons is something you don't hear about, especially in the top division."
Darroch and his grandsons won't be the only team members with family links on Sunday.
Brothers Don and Greg Sherman and father-son combo Daryl and Max Rowley will also line up for the Diggers, making it a true family affair.
Hoskin, who is the skipper of his and his grandfather's rink, can't believe their luck at getting to play in a grand final with family.
"As I told Lachy at the start of the year, this is an unbelievable opportunity to do something big with Pa," the 24-year-old said.
"To get this far and to be able to be there on Sunday is a dream come true.
"I've played with Pa for the last 10 or 11 years almost, but last year, Pa unfortunately got sick, but to get there again this year is awesome.
"This whole season is a memory I will hold forever."
After a stirring preliminary final win over Eaglehawk last week, Hoskin felt the Diggers were ready to turn the tables on the Flat.
"I think we're due," he said.
"They've played very well in the games we have played them in, so you have to give them credit, but in my opinion, we have not found our best form against them.
"Granted we are probably going to be underdogs, we go into the grand final fit and ready to go."
Eighteen-year-old Lachlan Darroch is still pinching himself at the chance to play alongside his Pa in such a big game.
"Playing in a grand final together was something we've talked about, but we didn't think it would ever happen," he said.
"It's been a dream for a while for Luke and I to play in a grand final with Pa, now it's come true.
"I couldn't be happier with the outcome of the season."
A source of much joy for his grandchildren and wider family is Mal Darroch's continued good form on the green.
Lachlan, however, was quick to point out his grandfather's contribution to South Bendigo went well beyond his performances each weekend.
"He's a great person to have around the club - everyone loves him and everyone calls in Pa," he said.
"In the bowls world, he's known as Pa.
"I know he was shattered missing out last year, so it's great we've been able to get back there this year."
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