EAGLEHAWK and South Bendigo will both ride a wave of momentum into their Bendigo premier division weekend pennant grand final on Sunday.
The Hawks and Diggers will meet for the flag at Bendigo East from 1.30pm, with the two sides going into the decider having each won seven games in a row.
For the Hawks - who finished on top of the ladder and beat South Bendigo comfortably in both encounters so far - it's an opportunity to win the club's first top division flag since 2018 when they defeated the Diggers by four shots.
Since then the Hawks have lost one grand final and two preliminary finals (both to South Bendigo) and are fiercely determined to capitalise on Sunday.
"The year the guys have had has been fantastic. We've obviously wanted to get one step further than the prelim final having lost that the past couple of years and now we get a crack on Sunday," Hawks' skipper Dean Carter said.
"Getting Marc Smith on board this year has been fantastic with his energy around the club and if we can get a win on Sunday it would mean a lot to all the guys."
South Bendigo enters the grand final having won the past two premierships and aiming to complete a flag hat-trick for the first time in the club's history.
It has been an up-and-down season for the Diggers, who at one stage after round 13 having lost four in a row were a concerning 17 points outside the top four.
But since then the Diggers have reeled off seven wins in row by a combined 106 shots, including a pair of cut-throat finals victories last weekend over Kangaroo Flat (12) and Moama (16).
"We've been working hard over the past couple of months and it has come together well for us and, hopefully, that continues on Sunday," South Bendigo coach Brad Holland said.
"The team has been playing with confidence, but we know Eaglehawk has been a good side for a long time with a lot of experience, so it should be a really good game on Sunday."
The rink draw was completed on Thursday night as both teams trained side-by-side at Bendigo East.
Among the match-ups will be a clash between each team's top rinks with Eaglehawk's Marc Smith taking on South's Holland.
Each team's No.2 ranked rinks will also go head-to-head with the Hawks' Carter playing South's Luke Hoskin.
In the other tussles, Darren Burgess (Eaglehawk) will play Max Rowley (South Bendigo) and Brayden Byrne (Eaglehawk) will do battle with Daryl Rowley (South Bendigo).
Points: 20 Shots: +28
Average for: 20.0
Average against: 18.4
Past 4: -8, +2, +1, +16
The team - Russell Simmonds, Mark Ellis, Tony Ellis, Darren Burgess.
Points: 18 Shots: -1
Average for: 18.4
Average against: 18.5
Past 4: -7, -3, -4, +5
The team - Nick Rowley, Trevor Zimmer, Dale Oddy, Max Rowley.
Points: 28 Shots: +113
Average for: 22.5
Average against: 15.8
Past 4: +8, +5, +28, -3
The team - John Carter, Kym Schumacher, Phil Godkin, Dean Carter.
Points: 25 Shots: +59
Average for: 20.5
Average against: 17.2
Past 4: +6, +4, +1, +3
The team - Wayne Marwood, Mal Darroch, Greg Sherman, Luke Hoskin.
Points: 28 Shots: +133
Average for: 23.8
Average against: 16.0
Past 4: +4, +17, +16, +8
The team - Leigh Thurwood, Spencer Ashman, Simon Carter, Marc Smith.
Points: 25 Shots: +88
Average for: 21.1
Average against: 16.2
Past 4: +6, -4, +12, +8
The team - Peter Frawley, Beau Traill, Tom Lester, Brad Holland.
Points: 21 Shots: +50
Average for: 19.8
Average against: 16.8
Past 4: +22, +3, +23, -11
The team - Con O'Shea, Stephen Carn, Ken Rusbridge, Brayden Byrne.
Points: 18 Shots: -23
Average for: 18.5
Average against: 19.8
Past 4: +18, +13, +3, TIE
The team - Gary Ryan, David White, Ben Gould, Daryl Rowley.
Eaglehawk 88 def South Bendigo 53.
Marc Smith 19 def Greg Sherman 13.
Dean Carter 24 def Tom Lester 11.
Darren Burgess 21 def Max Rowley 13.
Brayden Byrne 24 def Brad Holland 16.
Eaglehawk 83 def South Bendigo 66.
Brayden Byrne 8 lt Max Rowley 22.
Darren Burgess 17 lt Brad Holland 20.
Marc Smith 32 def Tom Lester 11.
Dean Carter 26 def Luke Hoskin 13.
1. Marc Smith (Eh)
2. Dean Carter (Eh)
3. Brad Holland (SB)
4. Luke Hoskin (SB)
5. Brayden Byrne (Eh)
6. Darren Burgess (Eh)
7. Max Rowley (SB)
8. Daryl Rowley (SB)
Luke West - Eaglehawk.
Adam Bourke - Eaglehawk.
Division 2 - Kangaroo Flat v Marong (South Bendigo Dillon).
Division 3 - South Bendigo v Golden Square (Eaglehawk Kelly).
Division 4 - Kangaroo Flat v Castlemaine (South Bendigo Sherman).
Division 5 - Eaglehawk v Marong (Golden Square Back).
Division 6 - Strathfieldsaye v South Bendigo (Eaglehawk Read).
Division 7 - Bendigo VRI v White Hills (Golden Square Front).
Division 8 - Golden Square v North Bendigo (Bendigo Ladies).
Division 9 - Campbells Creek v Golden Square (Bendigo Ladies).
THE Marong duo of Gary Hamilton and Andrew Whatley were triumphant in the pairs at the annual Bendigo Country Week lawn bowls tournament this week.
Hamilton and Whatley took out the pairs title on Wednesday night with a 6-4 victory over Steve Carn (Eaglehawk) and Daryl Wiggins (Timboon) in the final.
In the final of the fours played on Thursday night the Inverloch team of Andrew Rowe, Ross Gabb, Dave Roberts and Wayne Parks were crowned champions.
The two "pot of gold" winners awarded to the teams with the biggest margins of victory in sectional play were skipped by Mel Curnow in the pairs (won 27-3) and Kevin McKeegan in the fours (won 33-1).
About 600 bowlers competed during the week, with one of the highlights on Monday night being an exhibition game between international players Alex Marshall and David Holt.
Meanwhile, the midweek pennant region finals for Bendigo Campaspe Goldfields will be played next Thursday at Bendigo East from 10am.
Eaglehawk will represent the Bendigo playing area after beating Bendigo in last week's grand final to win its first division one midweek pennant premiership since 1967.
Bendigo East will also host the weekend pennant regional finals, which will be held next Saturday, April 2.
Bendigo will be represented by either Eaglehawk or South Bendigo who clash in the premier division grand final on Sunday.
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