COLAC lawn bowlers have labelled their third straight premiership as one of the sweetest.
Saturday’s grand final was the first of the three which they entered as underdogs, coming up against a red-hot Apollo Bay.
The Bay finished the season on top of the ladder, and took an eight-game winning streak into the grand final.
Bowls followers had tipped Colac to drop away this season after the club opted to promote inexperienced bowlers, while other contenders like Apollo Bay and Central One had strong off-season recruiting.
But Colac’s promoted bowlers, including Anthony Holt, Geoff Nelson, Anthony McKay and 13-year-old Grant McLaren, quickly found their feet in the top grade and kept the club a contender.
“A lot of experts tipped us to not make the four this season, which probably gave us a little motivation,” Colac’s Jeff Turner said.
“We knew this season was going to be harder than previous years but we knew if we could pull together at the right time we’d be competitive,” he said.
Colac finished the home-and-away season in third place, and survived elimination finals against Camperdown and Central One to take momentum into Saturday’s grand final.
Turner said the club was focused on having a strong start, but found themselves 10 shots down early after the break.
“We had a strong start but then fell away just after lumch,” he said.
“Then across the board we all picked up numbers, we got the lead around the 70th end and we just pushed out from there.
“I guess that grand final experience might have helped, but we did have a lot of inexperienced guys as well, they all played really well on Saturday.”
Colac clamed three of the four rinks on Saturday; Turner defeated Mark Featherston, 37-23, Tim Hassett beat Ron Cameron, 28-16, and Will Collihole topped Ian Johnson, 25-22.
Leigh McIlvenny was the Bay’s only winning skipper, beating Heath McLaren, 27-19.
Colac has beaten Apollo Bay, Central and Simpson in the past three grand finals.