Nhill Bowls Club's number 1 side has completed a dominant 2019/20 home and away season - three wins and 46 points clear in top spot of the Wimmera Bowls Weekend Division 1.
Thirteen wins from 14 matches and a total of 199 points gives a guide to the dominance of the Tigers. The 13 wins gave them 130 of those points, meaning they earned 69 rink points of a possible 84 - that's over 82%.
Coming from outside the four in 2018/19, they have been the competition's biggest improver, and while some would say they need a premiership to cap off a close to perfect season, to be fielding four Weekend teams from a regional town, the completion of its outdoor area and the continued excellence of its administration means the club can take pride in its season.
Horsham Golf has been the other improver, they didn't quite get into finals in Division 1 but have built a good base, and the addition of a Division 2 side, which will play finals, has more bowlers better prepared for a higher grade.
Sunnyside 1, City 1 and Dimboola 1 will be in the finals again. City and Dimboola have tasted the ultimate success in recent times, but Sunnyside hasn't saluted the judge for over 10 years. Sunnyside may have finished 3 wins below Nhill in second spot, but they had a superior shot difference to Nhill and that gives an indication of its consistency.
Outside the four, Coughlin Park 1 would look to be the biggest slider, from premiers to sixth, was it a premiership hangover? Were they better suited to the 16 a side format? Does having two teams in Division 1 compromise the Number 1 side? Who knows? But for the Wimmera Bowls Association to have an eight-team competition in its current structure, one club would seem to have to field two teams in Division 1, and Coughlin Park should be applauded for being the club which has put its hand up.
Kaniva has finished eighth, just two wins for the season, but they have lots of good bowlers, very good people and will always give it their best.
Just a quick look at the final round, Sunnyside 1 will take good form into the finals after a 31 shot win over Dimboola 1 up in the shadows of the red gums. Horsham City 1 would think that to get within 15 shots of Nhill 1 up at Nhill wasn't a bad effort, Coughlin Park 1 got up by 32 shots over Kaniva 1, but considering the difference in its playing surface that would be expected, and Horsham Golf 1 got up to fifth spot by taking all 16 points against Coughlin Park 2.
Weekend Division 1 Ladder: Nhill 1 199, Sunnyside 1 153, Horsham City 1 124, Dimboola 1 121, Horsham Golf 98, Coughlin Park 1 96, Coughlin Park 2 61, Kaniva 1 44.
There was never going to be a change to the final four in Weekend Division 2 but the late surge of Sunnyside 2 continued and it knocked off second side Horsham Golf 2 to relegate the Golfers to the knockout first semi-final.
We had to wait until sunset on Sunday night for the final ladder in Div 2 as Edenhope 1 and Nhill 2 played on Sunday because of Henley on Lake Wallace. Good to see John Burchell fronted up after Henley but his normally successful rink with Bruce Ackland was Edenhope's only loss. Trevor Mulraney's rink made up for that by winning by 21 shots. Edenhope 1 will play Golf 2 in the first semi-final, and Sunnyside 3 will play Horsham City 2 for a spot in the grand final in the second semi-final.
City 2 had a good hit-out for finals with an 18 shot win over Coughlin Park 3, two very even rinks, a tie and a 1 shot win to the Parkers, but Trevor Wood, Betty Cozens, Gary Knight and Hux Mitchell (s) got up by 19 to make sure of second spot for the City.
Last year's Div 2 runners-up Natimuk finished well with a 13 shot win over last year's Div 3 Premiers Dimboola. In a way, this match highlights the negative of moving to 12 a side. Natimuk had a good depth of bowlers, but four less were able to play Weekend Bowls, while Dimboola probably had to move up a Division to cater for the bowlers forced out of Division 1.
Sunnyside 3 completed a successful season on top of the table with an 18 shot victory over Goroke. Sunnyside 3, being on top of the ladder, probably highlights the depth of the bowlers at the Baillie St club. It's always a challenge for selectors with two sides in the one grade, the second side got off to a bad start, but came home strongly to finish fifth.
Weekend Division 2: Sunnyside 3 152, City 2 141, Golf 2 139. Edenhope 1 131, Sunnyside 2 116, Coughlin Park 3 108, Nhill 2 99, Natimuk 93, Dimboola 2 74, Goroke 67.
Weekend Division 3 has been a competition of four strong teams. The two Horsham City teams clashed in the last round, the top team City 3 got up by 16 shots over the fourth-placed number 4 side. The fourth side got up by four shots on one rink, and the margin was just 2 to the third side on one rink, but Tom Blair skipped his rink home by 18 to maintain the rightful order. Sunnyside 4 and Horsham Golf 3 had a good match, just a 7 shot win to the second placed side, 5 and 4 shot wins the rinks of Paddy Ross and Stan Walter, but Mike John got his team home by 2 for the Golfers.
Third-placed Nhill 3 defeated Kaniva 2 by 14 shots, and took 14 points for the match, if they had taken every rink they would have tied with Sunnyside 4 on 158 points and got second spot on shot difference but it wasn't to be. Nhill 4 got home by 24 over Coughlin Park 4, and Sunnyside 5 travelled to Edenhope on Sunday and finished off with a 13 win. Weekend Division 3: City 3 180, Sunnyside 4 158, Nhill 3 156, City 4 143, Kaniva 2 105, Sunnyside 5 97, Golf 3 94, Nhill 4 80, Coughlin Park 3 76, Edenhope 2 31.
Division 1: 1st Semi: KANIVA 4-58 lost to SUNNYSIDE 1 12-66 I Austin, I Maddern, v Willersdorf, M Van Kempen 17 Defeated H Holtkamp, J Pearson, I Barnett, N Hair 16 L Coad, M Sanders, a Coad, J Kuchel 19 Lost to P Southcott, R Barnett, E Mcfarlane, M Janetzki 30 W Kidman, B Hawker, C Maddern, D Maddern 22 Defeated T Miller, B Dumesny, R Bergen, J Coutts 20
2nd Semi: HORSHAM CITY 1 2-61 lost to COUGHLIN PARK 1 14-67 C Mcdonald, T Wood, G Inglis, B Cozens 20 Lost to V Muller, N Hoffman, Charlie Officer, J Stehn 21 B Bretag, P Landwehr, E Bardell, S Knight 16 Lost to G Bryan, N Wade, M Dean, S Schorback 29 E Warrick, M Dolan, H Mitchell, E Mitchell 25 Defeated F Anderson, J Smith, a Thompson, J Bryan 17
Prelim Final: HORSHAM CITY 1 V SUNNYSIDE 1
1st Semi: COUGHLIN PARK 2 1-48 lost to GOROKE 13-54 G Short, L Thompson, B Dean, G Antonucci 21 Lost to N Stacey, M Burns, L Burns, B Hadden 27 R Peters, J Keating, R Anderson, Carmel Officer 27 Drew with P Bonnici, B Ough, v Lowe, B Mitchell 27
2nd Semi: SERVICETON 14-56 defeated HORSHAM CITY 2 0-38 G Colwill, L Miles, B Makin, L Wallis 30 Defeated W Gray, L Ruwoldt, D Bottoms, B Gloury 13 I Tink, a Miles, W Miles, K Thomson 26 Defeated J Leyonhjelm, M Leyonhjelm, J Lehmann, M Lehmann 25
Prelim Final: Horsham City 2 v Goroke