AN AIR of excitement surrounds Mortlake Bowling Club as their division one side prepares for their first ever Western District Bowls Division finals campaign this weekend.
The Lakers qualified for the post-season for the first time in their history last Saturday with a stunning win over last year’s grand finalist Koroit Blue.
But the excitement extends beyond the club’s top side effort, with the division two and four teams also set to play in the finals.
Division one is set to meet Timboon Gold at Terang, while division two will face City White at Dennington.
Division four takes on Warrnambool Orange at Timboon.
Selector Darren Grant said the club was excited ahead of a big weekend.
“It’s a good effort from all of the divisions,” he said.
“Division four played in the finals last year, while for division two it’s been great for them to finish where they are.
“There’s just a really good buzz around the place, everyone is happy and everyone is looking forward to the weekend.”
Grant was most pleased for the club to finally ends it division one finals hiatus having played finals in the other divisions many times.
He said the Lakers had worked hard in recent years to lift themselves off the bottom rungs of the ladder.
“It’s just a great feeling to finish off the season with a hard-fought win over Koroit to give ourselves a chance to play finals,” he said.
“No one is daunted by the fact we are going to play finals (for the first time), everyone is just looking forward to them.”
Grant said the Lakers had ticked off its biggest goal by reaching the top four but was placing no expectations on themselves going forward.
Instead he said they just wanted to play a final, embrace the opportunity and be better off for the experience.
“Whatever happens from now is a bonus,” he said.
“When we set out at the start of the year to finish in the top four or even in fifth spot and we’ve done that by finishing fourth and that’s in all divisions.
“We can’t do much more than turn up on Saturday and win I suppose. I guess what I’m saying is that we’re not feeling the pressure of playing finals, well I don’t think we are anyway.
“It’s going to be a good game against Timboon. They’re another small club and they’re a bunch of good blokes so we can just relax and play bowls.”
The Lakers and Timboon enter the contest with a win apiece from their two home and away contests this season.
Remarkably both games ended as eight shot victories, with Grant tipping a close and high quality affair to play out on Saturday.
“We’ll treat them with the respect they deserve because they have a very good line-up,” he said.
“It’s very similar to us really, we beat them at Timboon and they beat us at Mortlake so it will be good to meet them on neutral territory.
“We’ll just treat them with respect but we’ll definitely be out there to win the game.”
Saturday pennant results from February 22:
Division one defeated Koroit Blue 78-67.
George Draffen 19-31, Colin Goldsworthy 33-17 and Shane Cashill 26-19.
Division two defeated Lawn Tennis Red 75-52.
Alan Puzey 30-7, Paul Delaney 25-21, Jim Wallace 20-24.
Division three defeated Dennington Titans 85-43.
Richard Van Diemen 25-14, Frank Robertson 29-12 and Anne Van Diemen 31-17.
Selected teams for Saturday pennant semi-finals on February 29:
Division one vs Timboon Red at Terang.
C. Goldsworthy, D. Grant, C. Baxter, P. Beardsley;
G. Draffen, P. Summerhayes, R. Draffen, J. Rasmussen;
S. Cashill, D. McNicoll, J. Ruddle, A. Wentworth.
Division two vs City White at Dennington.
A. Puzey, I. MacDonald, N. Boyden, D. Murray;
P. Delaney, M. Heard, L. Smith, C. Inverarity;
J. Wallace, P. Palmer, K. O’Shannessy, S. Pierce.
Division three vs Warrnambool Orange at Timboon.
R. Van Diemen, D. Dolling, B. Mahncke, K. Crosbie;
F. Robertson, D. Caudle, N. Smith, D. Sedgley;
A. Van Diemen, C. Richie, J. Marney, S. Grinter.