Now for the narratives.
Yesterday our seconds went to Mulgrave Country Club at huge odds after being smashed there recently. They went back again yesterday and knocked Mulgrave out of the race, a sensational performance. As you can see in a previous post Dawn and Liz showed true grit to stand up in the final two ends to take a tied match to a four shot win, a win to go down in the history books. Today wasn't their day as Middle Park took the win but we are all immensely proud and nothing can take away the importance of yesterdays win. Div 3, you beauty.
The thirds battled indifferent form early in the season,especially losing to their opponents today in Round One by thirty five shots, but they rallied to second place overall but were 73 points behind top placed Bentleigh on the overall ladder. A round 14 belting at home by Malvern by 20 shots was the turning point as they then pretty well smashed all-comers winning their last four games easily before the finals started yesterday. A steady-under-pressure seven shot semi-final win yesterday at home gave us plenty of confidence for the Grand Final today at StKilda. Bentleigh yesterday however just held on to win by three shots against Camberwell's seconds. The cracks were starting to appear, and it was Ashy that found these cracks and split them wide open waltzing home to a twenty five shot Grand Final win. This is a wonderful effort and for some of our club members it was their first final series and first premiership, well done you lot!
And finally the top side have also a story to tell. As with Bentleigh, discussed above, the Ashburton top side finished the ladder miles ahead of all other teams. Plenty of teams have done this only to stink it up in the finals series, the pressure was on.
In what was a tight struggle for most of the day yesterday, Ashy pulled away just after the tea break and sailed home to a strong win, 92 to 59. Our opponents Vermont South had at stages been neck and neck with us on the ladder but had fallen away late in the season. The two other teams Mitcham and Monbulk were a worry as they had both beaten us this year. In last years first week of the finals Monbulk trounced Mitcham before losing the GF to Upwey Tecoma. Yesterday Mitcham went to Monbulk on a green running at 19 and took the points, a fantastic effort, and something that would have gone down like a plate of sick up in those leafy hills Monbulk way.
So we had a very worthy opponent in Mitcham today.
In a tight tussle before the tea break Mitcham made the noise of a team 20 shots up, but in fact were only holding a two shot lead. As the afternoon progressed the real Grand Final emerged. Ashy would pull to a 9-10 shot lead before dropping numbers, and for the noise factor to re-appear. But Ashy bowlers were holding their nerve and getting it back out to seven or eight shot leads. Ronnie was updating the score board much to our opponents annoyance as it was holding in our favour. The opposing skip in the Cooper rink took the jack back for 6 to drag the Grand Final back to one shot overall with this reporter too scared to look at the board as the intensity built.
Every Ashburton bowler then stood up and put shots in as we took the lead out yet again with only a few ends to play. All we had to do was get second shot or better and Div One was ours, and that is how it played out especially after the Cooper rink dragged back a four and three to win 25-14. In an anti-climactic last couple of ends the noise of Mitcham had piddled out to a trickle and the smile could not be washed off the faces of the Ashy team, a great team effort. On top all year and premiers, a great testament to a great deal of hard work,
We all owe a thank you to our fellow club members who came and watched and supported, those who ran the bar or umpired, and others who were emergencies. Finally thank you to Watty who kept me positive today when all hell was breaking loose!