Cracker contest as underdog faces bowls powerhouse

IT could inspire the next Crackerjack-type of movie.

Success-starved small town club battling for players versus a powerhouse club both on and off the greens.

Today in the Western District Bowls Division Tuesday pennant grand final, Terang plays the underdog and City Memorial Green is cast as the powerhouse.

While City Green hasn’t won the title before, the so-called second-string side’s club with its number one side Gold has won 10 of the past 12 titles.

Terang surged into the grand final after upstaging minor premier Gold by 17 shots in the second semi-final two weeks ago. Then Green stunned Gold by 48 shots. Terang defeated Gold twice for the season but in the two matches against today’s opponent, Green has emerged victorious both times.

Jenny Meade is one of three Terang bowlers in today’s line-up that played in the club’s last pennant grand final 18 years ago.

It was so long ago she, Margaret Sumner and Pat Glennon struggle to remember which side they defeated.

“It’s very exciting just to make it for a small club like ours,” she said.

Meade, who is a selector, knows the battle the club fights every week. The term selector is misleading, she said.

“We don’t have choices,” she said.

“We have 26 to pick from (for two teams) and we are generally just trying to fill (the 24 spots). We are struggling to keep two teams. Because we have older players you don’t know who’s going to be available.

“You get Warrnambool and the bigger clubs, they have choices and a lot of top bowlers to choose from.”

She said Terang would be the sentimental favourite.

“We are only a small club and we haven’t won it for a very, very long time.

“I think we will get a lot of interest there because it is not the top teams playing off.”

Meade, who made her pennant debut in 1988, plays third to Carole Cardwell today.

“We are looking forward to it. We are raring to go. It’s how you bowl on the day.”

She said her side tended to take a relaxed attitude into matches.

“We get on so well together. It’s not win, win, win. You can play pennant and enjoy it, it’s not all competitive. I think you can try too hard.”

While Meade and her teammates had a quiet day yesterday, City Green warmed up with a practice at today’s venue, Dennington Bowls Club.

While Green has never won a top-grade grand final since the club introduced a second side about 23 years ago, its name is on the honour board of previous champions from when the first-choice side carried the colour and triumphed in 1977.

Helen Maloney is preparing to play in her first division one decider, having started playing pennant with City Memorial about nine years ago. She has played in two unsuccessful division two grand finals but today she is hoping Green skips a number in its numerical progression.

Two seasons ago Green finished fourth after being eliminated in the first week of finals, last year it was third after going down to Gold in the preliminary final.

“One year we won one game for the year,” she said.

“We’ve gone from playing a semi-final then playing a preliminary to now playing a grand final.

“It’s a bit exciting for Green.

“It was an unbelievable feeling (to beat Gold). It was such a great feeling.”

She said the club would unite behind Green today.

“The same as we support Gold when we aren’t in it.”

Maloney agrees Terang is a sentimental favourite but said her side also had history against it.

“I don’t know if there is an underdog, we are both even. I think it will be a fairly even match.”

City Memorial is chasing a double victory with its Blue side facing Warrnambool Green in division two and Timboon taking on Warrnambool Red in division three.

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