Lawn Bowls

Detailing the crazy final day of the Division 1 Blue South season

This is such a series of wild final day events that I almost need Gary Lineker doing a Match of the Day style presentation to describe the scenarios.

The last Saturday of March was the last of the regular Home & Away rounds for the Saturday pennants bowls season in Perth, and with Manning having already secured top spot and the automatic promotion in 1 Blue South, it was right up for grabs for those 2nd and 3rd places to play in the 1 White Promotion Challenge Final next Saturday, with just 5.5 points splitting 2nd through to 6th, with the teams in 4th through to 7th simultaneously trying to avoid playing in a Relegation Challenge Final against a Division 2 Challenger (7th & 8th), a fate that had already befallen Forrestfield:

The fixtures for Week 18 lined up like this:

2nd-placed Victoria Park-Carlisle had the toughest draw on paper, having to play Fremantle at Fremantle, with Freo desperately trying to come from a mile back to leap from 7th spot into the safety of ‘No Man’s Land’ (5th and 6th).

3rd-placed Leeming played the already-relegated cellar dwellers Hilton Park at Hilton Park, and give or take Leeming needed to win no fewer than 2 out of the 4 rinks to lock in a Top 3 finish, which wouldn’t be an easy task considering Leeming hadn’t won an away aggregate since December 17 in their big form slump post-Christmas.

4th-placed Thornlie played the already relegated Safety Bay at Safety Bay, never an easy place to win as Manning found out a fortnight prior when ‘we’ only just scraped in with the aggregate late in the afternoon.

5th-placed South Perth played Forrestfield at Forrestfield, who as previously stated were already welded on to 8th place (Thanks to their multiple close aggregate defeats), and on paper South Perth were in serious danger of falling into that dreaded 7th spot if they lost, considering how many headaches Forrestfield have given visitors to the base of the Perth foothills this season.

And now I get to Manning’s game against 6th-placed Kardinya under the covers at Kardinya, and the Cats were in a very interesting position, because their primary goal (As they themselves admitted) was to pick up no fewer than 2 points and guarantee they couldn’t get caught in 7th, meaning they wouldn’t have to play in any kind of game next weekend and start enjoying their Saturdays again….


As it turned out, in a game where one team had everything to play for, and the other team decided to use the game as a chance to practice on a fast Synthetic for next weekend’s 1 Blue decider at Thornlie, Kardinya bested Manning fairly comfortably 7-1 (103-59) under the cover, seeing them vault up to 82.5 points, a result that I personally didn’t find that surprising, given we as a club seemingly never play well at Kardy due to every rink seemingly having 2 blokes who can’t handle the green, but it was still frustrating to lose an aggregate by 40+ shots a week out from a Grand Final.

Funnily enough, Manning’s 2nd Division women played Kardinya next door… it was the same lopsided outcome.

Eventually, both sides all sat around the table with a beer in one hand, our phones updating BowlsLink in the other hand, one eye watching North Melbourne crack one on the Dockers, and come 5:30 the results rolled in:

First up, Fremantle swept Victoria Park-Carlisle 8-0 (86-71) at Fremantle, with 3 rinks being decided in Fremantle’s favour by 2 shots apiece, an almighty hammer blow for Vic Park’s Top 3 chances as Kardinya now sat above them on the live ladder, 82.5 points to 81.

Up next, Safety Bay went out in style by upsetting Thornlie 6-2 by a mere 3 shots (86-83), with the biggest winning rink being 4 shots to Safety Bay to decide the aggregate, dooming Thornlie to 6th spot on percentage when an aggregate win would’ve had them in the Top 3.

And finally, just when things couldn’t get any better for the Kardy boys, the shock of the day as Hilton Park bested Leeming 7-1 (79-68), departing Division 1 Blue with a bang as the result put the full stop on Leeming’s post-New Year slump, but that 1 point, which was gained thanks to half a point from 2 drawn rinks, put them above Vic Park-Carlisle into the lucky 3rd spot on 81.5 points…

With the result also confirming that Kardinya had performed the greatest vault since Steve Hooker in Beijing, going from 6th to no worse than 3rd, ensuring they would be playing either Leeming or South Perth for the right to Challenge a 1 White team (Which I’d suggest will be Kalamunda) next Saturday.

So, the last remaining result to decide the Top 3 was that of Forrestfield vs South Perth, which was the subject of heavy rainfall, and the Millers could potentially sneak into that 3rd and final spot with a 6-point win, and 2nd with a 7-point win, while at the same time they could end up in 7th if they only gained 1 point…

But you wouldn’t believe it, both teams had rinks win by 8 and 4 shots, so they drew 80-80 with 4 points apiece, South Perth’s third drawn aggregate of the season, leaving them 1.5 points off the Top 3 in the No Man’s Land of 5th position.

So in the final wash-up of Round 18, all five teams sitting 1st through to 5th after Round 17 failed to win, meaning that after some 720 rinks across 18 weekends (One of which was heat-affected), there was a mere 4.5 points between 2nd and 7th place.

Some wild scenarios in all of those final games:

Vic Park only needed 1 point at Freo… They got a duck egg.

Leeming’s 2 draws proved crucial as they clung on to a Top 3 spot by half a point, which would’ve seen them fall out of the Top 3 for the first time since Round 3, way back in the first weekend of November.

Fremantle, despite finishing on 78 points with a percentage of over 100, a total that in 95/100 circumstances would be enough to have a team finish 5th out of 10 teams at a bare minimum, will have to fend off a Division 2 Challenger on Saturday afternoon.

And while Kardy’s 1 Blue boys celebrated, at the same time, they got the news their Premier League team, who were caught up in almighty relegation battle and needed 2 points away at Sorrento, had been relegated from Premier by HALF A POINT

They lost 82-78 7-1, losing 2 rinks by 1 and 2 shots respectively, while at the same time, Mt Lawley got 2 points at Manning, ensuring they finished in 8th, 57.5 points to 57, while at the same time, North Beach, the worst away team in all of Division 1 bowls, won away at Gosnells to jump from 9th to 7th.

Oh well, swings and roundabouts.

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