On song: Victoria third bowler Wayne Lynch rolls one down en route to his side’s preliminary final victory.PREMIER division glory is within touching distance for Victoria.
The Vics triumphed over reigning premier Geelong West in the Ballarat-Geelong Premier Bowls Division preliminary final on Sunday, booking a grand final spot against Ocean Grove.
In a comprehensive performance at Ballarat Bowls Club, it was Victoria that claimed three out of the four rinks to cruise to a 95-79 victory.
Selector Barry Clark labelled the win as one of the most impressive of the season, made even more significant given his side had to bounce back from a heavy defeat in the qualifying final.
Brenton Coad won his rink by eight shots and Wes Lennecke by seven, setting up the win for their sides.
“We were really determined to get another crack at Ocean Grove in the grand final so it was a massive game for us,” Clark said. “It can be easy to drop the bundle after losing a final but everyone grouped together really well. We needed 16 bowlers to be on song and that is what we got.”
The result means the grand final will be a rematch of the 2012-2013 season grand final.
The Vics know they will go in rank outsiders to knock off the Grovers – not that Clark is worried.
It will be the second time Victoria has come up against Ocean Grove in this finals series, having gone down by 23 shots in the qualifying final.
In the two home and away matches for the season, it has been the seaside town that has also triumphed on both occasions.
“We know we are underdogs, but grand finals are a different game,” Clark said. “When you’re the short-priced favourite, all the pressure is on you because everyone expects you to win.”
Should they salute next week, Victoria would be the first Ballarat-based team to take out the title since Sebastopol won back in 2010-11.
It would also break a six-year drought for the Vics, which won its first and only premier division title in 2008-09.
The match is likely to be played at Geelong’s Eastern Park on Sunday.
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