THE lawn bowls off-season has done little harm to Western District Bowls Division powerhouse Warrnambool Gold.
The reigning Saturday pennant champion opened its season account with a comfortable victory against cross-town rival City Memorial Gold.
Skippers Neil Crisp, Paul O’Donnell and Brian Lenehan all claimed wins in the three-rinks-to-one, 113-77 triumph at Warrnambool Bowls Club. Crisp defeated Fred Fish 33-21, O’Donnell beat recruit Ian Wood 39-18 and Lenehan edged out Ron Horne 23-19.
Peter Pangrazio suffered the only loss of the afternoon, going down 19-18 against Max Dalton.
Crisp said Warrnambool Gold felt in control all afternoon after rushing to an early lead.
He heaped praise on O’Donnell and his teammates for scoring the biggest rink win out of any WDBD division one match.
“They led really well early, about 15-2, and the next time I looked over it was 15-12 or 15-13 and they got right away at the finish,” Crisp said.
“They attacked a bit more in the second half of the game. Paul played some really good conversion shots in the second half.”
The comfortable victory failed to reflect what had been a turbulent week for the Timor Street club.
Crisp said he sat in on five meetings during the week as selectors dealt with constant player withdrawals.
He was appreciative of Tuesday pennant stalwart Brenda Hawker for filling in as second on his rink.
Hawker was one of “six or seven” women who played in one of Warrnambool’s 10 teams.
“We have a list of unavailable players when we pick teams,” Crisp said.
“During the week more and more kept on dropping out. It makes it pretty hard.
“Overall, with ones out for the whole year and unavailable for the week, there would’ve been 25 or 30.
“Even though we’re a big club, it’s hard to cover that many players.”
Crisp said Warrnambool Gold would chase back-to-back Saturday pennant flags this season.
“Absolutely. There’s quite a lot of pressure on the top side from last year,” he said.
“We’ve got blokes who are coming through playing their fourth or fifth year and they’re really stepping up.”