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    Extraordinary top-side performance blows all Div -1 favourites out of contention for Premier division status

    What a remarkable season it’s been for Kew Heights. Quite apart from the excitement
    of our new relationship with the Melbourne Cricket Club, or the engagement of our talented new Coach (Garry Ball), & our astonishingly brilliant state-of-the-art facilities in Barkers Road, which are now probably the most prestigious of any Victorian (tennis/bowls) club, - the KHSC top-side has swept ALL before it, since the Xmas/New Year break, - after a gloomy & worrying start to the 2013-14 season.

    With rebuilding & refurbishment works on the club-house, greens & tennis-courts running a month behind schedule, the club was forced to play the first 4 x rounds of the season away, (home games played at Darebin City bowls club) & as a result, KHSC was winless until they were able to play the first match on the new KHSC synthetic green, ( on the 2nd November) - in an historic match the club won against Werribee, who would become a serious contender for promotion to Premier division throughout the season.

    At that stage, KHSC was in last place on the 10-team ladder. With a 1/5 record.

    It was a gloomy start for the Div-1/Sect-1 side , & it was not a good look for our new & revitalised club, after all the hype, and the recruitment of a few new quality topside players. On paper & reputation we had a squad good enough to at least finish 4th or 5th, but after the first 6 rounds we were staring at ‘RELEGATION” for the 2nd time in 2-seasons. (we only missed out on being relegated from Division-1 in the 2012-13 season by-2-points, finishing 8th) The teams early problems were that they couldn’t close out the opposition teams & gave back commanding leads, only to fall over by a handful
    too many times.

    All that changed once the 4 x rinks started to settle & believe in themselves.

    The KHSC top-side went into the Xmas/New Year break (after 12 x rounds)
    with a 5/7 ratio & still dangerously close to the relegation bottom pair who go down..

    Section-1 in Div-1 was a very tough section this season, & might even have been the toughest section.

    Over the remaining 6 rounds following the Xmas break, KHSC won 5, losing only to Werribee on their patch, which turned out to be the best performance by any side in our section.

    Round 17 was against the top side, Deer-Park at home. A win would see the club move into the final-4 for the first time during the season, which is what they did, pushing 4th placed Richmond Union out, after they had held that spot all season.

    Then it was all or nothing in round-18, scheduled to play Richmond Union (5th) for the 4th place elimination final berth, which our boys won comfortably.

    The elimination final would be against the star-studded favourites Deer-Park on their tiff-dwarf turf. (Saturday 1st March, 2014) Their side boasting the talents of Paul ‘Pebbles’ Dorgan, Marc Brunato & Vito Rio, just to name a few of their big salaried stars.

    It was going to be tough outing to beat them on their home patch, and KHSC would have to play at a gear higher than they’d been displaying since the break. The team rink performances over the past 6 weeks had been impressive, but Deer Park would present a professional challenge demanding individual performances better than ‘Six’ for the entire game. Average play would not be good enough., with the whole season now on the line in this elimination final.

    And that’s how they started., going into the tea break with a 16+shot lead. (49/33)
    Ray Jansen’s rink led 11/4 (10 ends)
    Garry Ball’s rink led 14/7 (11 ends)
    Mick Pacholli trailed by 2-shots 11/13 (11 ends)
    Peter Pervaz was leading 13/9 (11 ends)

    Deer Park were shocked & rallied over the break, pumping themselves up to take us on in the 2nd half.

    Curiously, the story told to us by a Deer Park member was, “that their (DP) Bowls Committee had instructed their ‘Greenie’ to slow the green down from it running at 17 seconds on the Thursday prior, and they also split the rinks over 2 greens, using 2 x ditch rinks. (The grass was running at around 14 seconds in overcast & slightly windy conditions)
    This seemed like an odd thing to do, given that Deer Park is their top-side, trying to get into the marquee Premier competition next season. And as they’d spent a lot of money to get this far with a number of high profile players, why wouldn’t you want to provide the very best conditions possible for your own side, - who were regarded as unbackable favourites to win the match against 4th placed KHSC?

    The 4 x KHSC rinks had played their heart out, and the next 40 ends would certainly test their character & skills.

    As had happened too often in the pre-Xmas rounds, KHSC had gradually built a winnable lead, only to see it whittled down over the last 15 ends, and give the games away. Having been there too many times this season, and many more just like it last season, it was hoped our boys had learned these hard lessons, and would put their heads down and concentrate on every bowl to ensure this one wouldn’t get away..

    And that’s just what they did.

    The main score board sequence through the rest of the afternoon saw KHSC retain the lead throughout, although at one stage after the 70th end, (with 14 to play) the winning score total was reduced to a gap of only 6+shots. But after that scare, the KHSC rinks put their foot back on the gas, and kept the lead at around a dozen, and that’s the way it stayed ‘till the end, with KHSC winning with 3 rinks up, 82/67

    Final Rink Scores; KHSC defeated Deer Park 82/67

    Peter Pervaz won 20/18
    Mick Pacholli lost 19/22
    Garry Ball won 21/15
    Ray Jansen won 23/12

    A few match highlights

    Colin Waddell, who’d led for Ray Jansen all of the season’s second half,
    had pre-booked a trip to see his brother in NZ, months ago, not expecting the top-side to see finals action. In fact at the time it was looking more likely then, to be relegation action. His trip couldn’t be re-scheduled, so he’d miss out on being a part of this historic final series.
    Waddell’s place was taken by Neil Jewell as Jansen’s lead, who was returning after
    his bowling hand was injured in a car accident whilst travelling with Mick Pacholli,
    when they were driving to play Werribee in round 14.

    Grant Pickering had withdrawn from the side too, due to a family member’s wedding.
    His place was taken by Shane Hartog, who would be making his debut in the top side as Mick Pacholli’s 2nd, in his first season with the club.
    Shane’s match performance was excellent and he fitted in at that level like he’d been playing there all season. It was exciting & satisfying to watch.
    He can consider himself unlucky not to be selected in the knock-out sectional final
    the next day (Sunday 2nd March) against Werribee at Richmond Union, because his performance was good enough to hold his place in the team..
    However, Shane was aware that his promotion for the knock-out final was only as a
    One-match ‘fill-in’ and that Grantly would return for the Werribee match, - so it was
    no surprise.
    He’d done a wonderful job for the club playing a vital part in the match win and was
    therefore first emergency for the 2nd final.

    The Pacholli rink had the toughest opponent is Paul Dorgan, and after 8-ends,
    Dorgan was leading 4/13, but on the 9th end, Pacholli played a precise weighted
    draw conversion to take out DP’s 2nd shot & score 5+ which balanced the 5-down
    they dropped on the 2nd end.

    Simon Collett (3rd) and Ray Jansen combined well, converting everything Deer Park
    could throw at them with pin point accuracy in their drives & draws.

    Amusing moment when the Deer Park skip against Jansen inadvertently pushes the
    jack back to 2 x overweighted bowls from Graeme Spry (Jansen’s 2nd) & KHSC is
    now holding 2+. Spry put’s out his hand expecting a responsive ‘high-five’ from
    Jansen to acknowledge his errant, but now saving bowls, - but Jansen ignores it,
    just to indicate that it was only good luck, not good judgement!!

    Angus MacIsaac & Garry ‘Major’ Ball combined well too, looking polished & were in total control of their match-up against the ever reliable Marc Brunato,, leading the way from the opening end and never being passed to win by 6+shots.
    Last edited by Mick Pacholli; 12 March 2014, 02:39 PM.