Bega Bowling Club’s grade seven pennant team contested the State Lawn Bowl finals at Sylvania, Sydney, on the weekend of August 9 and 10.
Before the tournament, Bega had been training on greens that were running at 17 to 18 seconds and were expecting to find the Sylvania greens the same.
However, when the team stepped onto the green for its training run the afternoon before the tournament, they found the going slow, around 14 seconds.
Sylvania had received a downpour that morning and the greens had slowed, but were still running true.
Bega’s first match was at 9am against Halekulani in a game that Bega would look back on and say, “Bega let that one slip by us”.
Unfortunately, for the locals, there were too many bowls short of the jack, leaving members shy of asking the skip “how far short?”.
Undoubtedly the answer would have been “You should know, it’s closer to you.”
Anyway, Bega came away second, not what they were hoping for, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
The next game was at 1pm against Gulgong, who were to go on to contest the state final.
Gulgong proved far too strong and showed the level of improvement Bega needs to be competitive next season.
Bega bowled well, but Gulgong responded to every shot.
Bega bowlers consoled one another that night and took some “medicine for their wounds” in preparation for a game the next morning.
Adamstown had beaten Halekulani on the Saturday afternoon, so Bega knew it was in for a fight and needed to improve as a team.
One thing Bega didn’t want to do was to bring back the wooden spoon - that was just not on – besides, they didn’t want to see coach Snowden’s blood pressure rise any further.
It’s not a pretty sight.
What a turn around Bega came out firing, winning the three rinks 72-50.
No wooden spoon for Bega.
It’s amazing what a little bit of confidence will do for a side and as stated earlier the loss to Halekulani wasn’t good for Bega’s confidence and was a big factor in the weekend.
The two standout players for Bega during the tournament were lead Neil Holzhauser and Warren Peel.
Holzhauser repeatedly set up strong bowls for his team, while Peel tucked shots to the jack and saved his team time and again.
The players thanked manager Pat Kilkelly, coach Ken Snowden and especially the supporters who made the trip to Sylvania.
One of Bega’s wives, who is a non bowler, phoned while Bega was watching the semi final between Gulgong and Waverly, and asked “what is all the noise?”.
Her husband explained it was the cheering from their supporters egging on their sides to lift to bigger and better things.
The newcomers to the pennant side learned what all the hype was about, playing pennants, and it is now well and truly entrenched in their blood.
The Bega team hoped it will get another shot at the finals next year, and wrote a prayer for next year’s selectors to recite each night before bed.
Blessed are they who can play sport,
blessed are they who can still be taught,
blessed are they who accept with grace
To play in any selected place.