KOROIT skipper Shane Cashill knows he and his teammates face a David-versus-Goliath battle this Western District Bowls Division pennant season.
The Victoria Park club has stepped up to division one after claiming a breakthrough division two flag last season.
The promotion, while welcome for one of the “small” clubs in the division, has come with its challenges.
Koroit has had to find four extra bowlers to play in division one, moving from a three to a four-rink grade.
And that’s before it takes on the might of top-grade powerhouses Warrnambool Gold and City Memorial Red.
“Our first goal is to stay there and not get relegated,” Cashill said this week, tempering expectations.
“Mortlake has been the only one that has survived a few years (in division one) because their green is different to everyone else’s.
“Everyone else has gone up and gone straight back out.”
Koroit opens its campaign against Warrnambool Blue, a regular finalist, at home today.
Its draw includes Timboon Gold, Terang Green and City Memorial Gold in the first month, a kind introduction for the newcomer.
Warrnambool Gold awaits in round five although the test against City Memorial Red is not until round nine.
“We’re as prepared as we can be,” Cashill said. “It’s very difficult when you go from 12 players to 16 players.
“We’ve had practice every weekend since the start of September. We’re doing the best with what we’ve got.
“As an overall club, we’ve got 16 players unavailable this weekend. Three of those would slot back into our top side.”
Cashill, 40, has been playing lawn bowls for 25 years and is one of the most experienced heads at the club. He has played the sport in Queensland and South Australia, as well as for Webbcona and Sebastopol in the Ballarat-Geelong Premier League.
His counterparts skipping other rinks are Barry Padgham, Glenn Keane and Peter Kampman.
Padgham shifted to Koroit from Melbourne two years ago but previously honed his craft as a top-grade skipper at Mount Waverley.
Keane is a “home-grown Koroit boy” who took up bowls almost a decade ago after a successful football and cricket career.
Kampman is a recruit, joining Koroit after stints at Warrnambool, Dennington and, originally, Penshurst. Cashill said Koroit tried to recruit a few players during the off-season, with limited success.
“If we stay there in division one we might recruit a few top-end players. We do have a few new faces,” he said.
In other WDBD top-grade matches, reigning premier Warrnambool Gold welcomes City Memorial Gold to the Timor Street greens.
Warrnambool White takes on Terang Green, also at Timor Street, while Port Fairy Red hosts Timboon Gold.
City Memorial Red hosts Dennington Red at the Cramer Street greens.