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Fun pays off: victorious Premier League side Lancefield after the grand final.

The fairy tale is now reality! Fourth-placed Lancefield shocked the bowling world by winning back-to-back finals matches against Romsey, Gisborne and Kyneton Golf to become the 2021-22 Highlands Division 1 Premiers. It is the first time in history that the Tigers have won successive pennants at this high level.

The grand final on a fast green at Kyneton on Saturday was an epic battle, with the outcome hanging in the balance throughout.

With Lancefield ahead of Kyneton Golf heavily favored by two strokes and just three of 63 ends to go, it was a game-winning bombshell as the Tigers picked up an unexpected ‘six’ to catapult Bev Holmes’ rink into a 17-17 tie with Toby Barker, who previously excelled to lead 16-7 as Golf jumped to a seven-stroke overall lead.

A Keith Webb “wick” on a wide bowl changed the lead in favor of the Tigers, then Golf’s fortunes disintegrated as more bowls fell. Dave Safstrom’s eventual shout of “six” echoed across the green, making one side elated and the other distraught.

The golf needed a miracle on the remaining two ends to land eight shots and tie, and that didn’t happen despite the potential for some time.

Emotions boiled over as Lancefield players and supporters realized the side many had written off after failing against Broadford, Kilmore and Diggers Rest had a bonus premiership. And three wins for the season against Golf.

The big crowd with three grand finals at the same venue certainly saw contests, with Kyneton Golf missing out on the ‘big’ but rushing home with a last-end lone shot against Romsey in a dramatic Division 2 contest.

Gisborne rallied after a slow start to defeat Diggers Rest by seven strokes in the Division 3 Grand Finals.

In the main game, fortunes fluctuated early and Golf’s failure to gain overall control led to a halftime deficit. That was erased in the first three innings on the restart.
At the break, Jeff Holmes’ 17-3 home-ice lead over Adrian Plowman was decisive, but Golf’s ace home-ice with Graham Edwards in charge, loomed as a big threat with a 15- 7 on Chris Jolly.

In the end, Jolly’s performance in fighting back under pressure and finishing just six shots was a key factor in deciding which team became premier.

While skipper Holmes played well, his third John Parks was on fire again with a masterful display of bowling, with all four finishing with 14 shots.

This Lancefield side are nowhere near as talented as some of the Tigers’ previous premiership combinations (last year’s loss of eight of the premiership team didn’t help) in the Central Highlands).

“Have fun and have fun” was the constant message, and look what happened! For Peter White (ex-Sunbury) and great improver Howard Matthews, it was their first flag with Lancefield.

Arguably, the current series finale could well be considered Lancefield’s greatest performance, taking all factors into account.

After the Grand Final, Ballarat Highlands Region Manager Gary Dickenson congratulated both teams on how they played the Final and presented Premiership medallions to the Tigers, with first-year chairman Jeff Smith being delighted to receive the Prime Minister’s Shield.

For Kyneton Golf, this was a missed opportunity. Some players who excelled in the big semi-final win over Gisborne weren’t as effective this time around. But golf is resilient and can rebound next season.

Opposing skippers Adrian Plowman (Kyneton Golf) and Jeff Holmes (Lancefield) in the heat of the action.

BIG FINAL SCORES

DIVISION 1

Lancefield 64 d Gisborne 56: Gary Choate, Keith Webb, David Safstrom, Bev Holmes (s) 17 tied with Brendan Plowman, Graeme Williamson, Barry Godbolt, Toby Barker 17; Peter White, Gordon Charles, Steve Climas, Chris Jolly (s) lost to John McQualter, Glen Gascoyne, Steven Taylor, Graham Edwards 27; Bill West, Howard Matthews, John Parks, Jeff Holmes (s) 26d Rick Seymour, Ricky Turner, Ray Wilkinson, Adrian Plowman (s) 12.

Flag for golf: Kyneton Golf’s delighted players after their Second Division final triumph 56-55 in a seesaw encounter.

DIVISION 2

Kyneton Golf 56 d Romsey 55. Des Kirwan, Paul Strang, Colin Schmidt, Colin Scott (s) 20 lost to Robert Wilson, Terry Brady, Graeme Cuthbert, John Beaumont 22; Antony Dibella, Paul Tobin, Greg Heathcote, Peter Williams 19 d Bernie Cruise, Maree and Glen Marshall, Andrew Laing (s) 13; John Butsclaar, Barry Long, Joy Godbolt, John Trounce (s) 17 lost to Rod Schwarzenberg, Rogers Kosulins, Kathy Kirwan, Simon Mayger (s) 20.

Premiers of Division 3, Gisborne.

DIVISION 3

Gisborne3 74d Diggers Rest 67. Tony Hedley, Alan Pollard, Robert Black, Tom Woodlock (s) 26d Leo Wels, Frank Kremar, Peter Marinier, Ernie Nolan (s) 17; John Dale, David Campbell, Dominic Varrese, Ron Formica(s) 22 lost to Stephen Hauser, Gerry Gruber, Ross Grant, Shane Crimmins(s) 25; Judy Butterley, Roland James, Chris Butterley, Rob Paterson (s) 26 days Devandra Shuka, Rhonda Shears, David Odgers, Fay Bonnici (s) 25.