This year’s Inner City Winter Pennant wrapped up with finals being contested on July 2. None of the Albert Park sides managed to reach a final but we did have a more successful campaign than last year and there were a couple of notable highlights. Had you been in the clubhouse on June 11 you would have encountered the enthusiastic celebration of wins by all three APBC sides that day. Even more noteworthy was the overall performance by side 2 throughout the competition. Several wins and close fought loses resulted in them securing 4th place and a semi-final spot at the end. Unfortunately Camberwell Central’s only side, who had been dominant throughout the league matches, were too strong and our side did not progress to the final. It should be noted, however, that APBC 2 were playing in division 3, a division higher than last year, so reaching the semi-final stage represented a vastly improved performance and augurs well for our summer pennant prospects. Check out the winter pennant webpage for further details of league results and final standings.
Sadly our midweek pennant 2nd side fell 5 shots short in their semi-final against a strong Armadale 4th side. The day, however, will be forever memorable due to the application of the BV heat policy. APBC 2 fell behind early but rallied a little to stay in touch as the final ends approached. Then with one rink finished and just 3 ends left to play someone noted that the temperature had risen to 37 degrees, bringing the BV heat policy into effect. Now, during sectional play the worst case scenario can have teams waiting around for a couple of hours if the temperature looks likely to fall back below 36 degrees and they don’t wish to declare a draw. However, in finals play a draw is not permitted and teams may wait until darkness if they are reluctant to reconvene the following day. In this instance play finally resumed at 7:20pm, just half an hour before sunset.
At this point APBC 2 needed to make up 8 shots to draw and force a one end playoff by all three rinks. Rink 1 had two ends remaining and Albert Park managed to score +3 on the first. On rink 3 Armadale snatched +1 from a -4 position with a fine draw shot. This left Albert Park needing to score +6 on the final end and remarkably they were actually holding +6 with just one (opposition) bowl to come. It was a pressure shot in fading light, which had to finish within 1m of the jack to avoid a draw and deciding ends. Much to Armadale’s joy the shot was made and Albert Park scored just +1 on the final end. It was a disappointing result but a fittingly tense finale after about 10 hours spent at the club!
In Saturday Pennant the APBC 2nd side achieved magnificent victories over the weekend, the first to achieve promotion to Division 4 and the second to win Albert Park’s first Section Pennant in 5 years.
On Saturday both 1st and 2nd sides competed in pennant section semi-finals. Sadly the firsts encountered an all too strong Caulfield Park Alma side and will have to strive again next year to join the 40 sides of Division 1. The seconds, however, achieved two glorious wins. The first and arguably more important was a 102-75 home semi-final victory against Auburn, securing promotion to Division 4. This also meant that they would compete in the section final the very next day. After such an important win it would have been all too easy for APBC 2 to sit back in satisfaction and miss out on winning the Section Pennant. In fact they fought hard against a very capable Moorabbin side who were up at the break. Our side remained resilient and prevailed in the end by 87-68 shots. We will now have a 2015/16 Section Pennant to add to the couple currently on display in the clubhouse.
This is a magnificent achievement by the club. Credit goes to all those who have played for the seconds at any point during this successful season. Credit also goes to Coach for the improved bowling performance of many players who are relatively new to bowling. Credit should also be given to the selectors who have wrestled weekly with the fraught challenges of selection to configure a side capable of success. Finally, but by no means least, thanks go to all those who came along to support – encouraging noise from spectators from all our other pennant sides was undoubtedly a strong factor in bringing about the Sunday win.
Now if all that sounds like a wrap for the season you’d be very mistaken. The seconds will go on to play in division finals starting with a quarter-final on March 12 against Laverton 1 at Yarraville-Footscray BC – it’s just across the bridge so do come along and support. However, even before that, tomorrow, March 8, the Midweek Pennant seconds play their home semi-final against Armadale 4 with promotion to Division 2 at stake. It will be a tough match so enthusiastic support may well be the deciding factor again.
Last Tuesday APBC 2 fought hard for the one rink win that ensured a home semi-final. So on Tuesday, March 8 we will host Armadale 4 in a semi-final match from which the winner will gain promotion to Division 2. Success in that match would also see our side advance to the final, which will be held at Caulfield Park Alma on Thursday, March 10. The winner of that final will secure the section pennant.
On Saturday, APBC 1 became the third side to secure a pennant finals place with a comfortable win over Melbourne 3. Three sides in their section finished with 11 wins and 1 draw but an inferior points tally means that our side face Caulfield Park Alma 1 at their green in the semi-final on March 5. APBC 1 will need to win both that semi-final and the final, to be held on March 6 at Elsternwick Club, in order to gain promotion to division 1 and win the Section Pennant. Meanwhile, after much drama, APBC 2 has secured a home semi-final, which will be against Auburn. Should they win that, they will have secured promotion and go on to compete for the Section Pennant in the final, which will be held at Richmond Union. We wish both these Saturday Pennant sides the very best of bowling during finals weekend.
Our Saturday Pennant 2nd Side have now matched their Midweek Pennant counterparts in securing a finals spot. On Highett’s new high quality TifDwarf green our side, weakened by trickle-down absences, encountered stiff opposition, losing two rinks and drawing a third. Nevertheless the losses were kept moderate and thanks to a fine win by our fourth rink an important overall win was secured. APBC 2 cannot now be caught by the club sitting 5th and have therefore secured a finals place. In addition, our main rivals for 2nd spot lost and dropped 14 points this week. Consequently an 18 point home win next week would see APBC 2 very well placed to secure a home green semi-final.
Congratulations to our Midweek Pennant Second Side who, following a fine win on Sandringham’s ultra-fast synthetic green, have now secured a place in the post-sectional finals. The clubs sitting in 4th and 5th places play each other in the last round and so cannot, mathematically, both overhaul our side. Ironically we would have preferred both those clubs to win this week to assist our bid for a home ground semi-final – that will now likely be determined by our last match, an away game against strong rivals Hampton Park.
Meanwhile two of our Saturday Pennant teams are close to securing a finals place. The Firsts will take a huge step toward this if they defeat fellow contenders Middle Park on their green this Saturday. The Seconds are even better placed and will secure a finals place with a 12 point win or better this weekend. Of course they will be aiming for 18 points to help secure a home ground semi-final despite their main rivals each having a game in hand.
Midweek pennant teams enjoyed a winning end to 2015 with all three sides victorious on December 15. The firsts achieved a creditable 16pt win at home against fifth placed Armadale 3. This leaves us 26pts clear of relegation but with good results required to stay safe during the remaining 7 rounds. The seconds achieved a solid 14pt win away against struggling Elsternwick Park 2. Rivals Middle Park 2 slipped up at home so this result leaves us nicely in second place still just 2pts behind Armadale 4. Finally the thirds pulled off a close 14pt win away against Caulfield Park Alma 5 despite being a player short in one rink. This leaves us in fifth place with a finals place still within reach. In all it was a final 2015 midweek pennant round with much to celebrate.