WARRNAMBOOL Blue skipper Tom Pemberton has declared today’s Saturday pennant match as a “must win” for his side.
Warrnambool will host Terang Green at its Timor Street greens in a match between two sides hunting a spot in Western District Bowls Division top grade finals.
The sides are separated by just one point, with Warrnambool fifth with 100 and Terang sixth with 99.
They are almost a match behind fourth-ranked City Memorial Gold (116) with four rounds remaining.
“It’s a must-win game. If we don’t win it’s nearly goodbye finals,” Pemberton said.
“We can’t afford to drop it.”
Even if Warrnambool wins, it still faces a tough ask to make finals.
Its run home includes matches against Timboon Gold, City Memorial Gold and Warrnambool Gold — all of which sit in the top four.
Pemberton said Warrnambool Blue was in a rebuilding phase, with a host of players taking on new roles for the first time.
But he believed it would still be “a disappointment” if the side missed finals.
“There are nearly four players playing third that are in their first year at it. There are a couple of us having our first year skippering,” he said.
“If we can start putting two or three wins together, which we have to do, we’re a big chance to make finals and anything can happen.”
Pemberton has been bowling for years. He started his career at Lismore, before moving to City Memorial and later Warrnambool when he shifted to the coastal city.
The former cricketer and footballer was a part of the division two flag-winning Warrnambool White side last season.
He started this season as a skipper in White, Warrnambool’s third side, but good form prompted selectors to promote him to the second side, Blue.
“I’ve been there for four weeks now. After playing in the Whites in a grand final last year you get the taste for finals,” Pemberton said.
“You’ve got to make finals and you’re a chance. If we sneak in (today), the Blues are a chance.”
In other division one matches, City Memorial Red and Timboon Gold clash in the match of the day at Cramer Street, Warrnambool White hosts City Memorial Gold and Dennington faces a tough challenge against ladder-leader Warrnambool Gold.
Port Fairy Red and Mortlake Blue meet at Port Fairy, with both sides trying to avoid relegation.