Minor premier Warrnambool Gold takes out top grade WDBD premiership, again

WARRNAMBOOL Gold etched another memorable chapter into its illustrious recent history on Saturday.

The minor premier cast aside rival City Memorial Red on its way to back-to-back Western District Bowls Division top grade premierships.

Paul O’Donnell, who led his rink to a commanding 38-11 win against Kevin McMahon, said the 115-81 triumph was satisfying. 

“The celebrations in the rooms afterwards were really good,” he said.

“It’s a tight 16 we have there, plus our manager and emergency.

“We were rapt to get over the line. Even though we won by a fair margin it was still a relief.”

Warrnambool Gold won three of the four rinks.

Brian Lenehan recorded an eight-shot win over Tim Jackway and Peter Pangrazio notched a five-shot victory against Kevin O’Keeffe to join O’Donnell in the winner’s circle.

Neil Crisp went down to City Red’s Vince Moloney, 26-20.

“Crisp’s rink was the last one to finish and they didn’t have to play the last two or three ends and I don’t think that’s happened before,” O’Donnell said.

“We were so far up we couldn’t mathematically be beaten.”

O’Donnell said the two teams, which have met in 19 of the past 20 division one deciders, battled wind and rain, particularly in the early stages of the match, at the Timor Street greens.

“After ‘smoko’ we settled down. The conditions were hard with the wind swirling around,” he said.

“The three guys up the front of our rink played well above their opposition and that enabled us to bowl with confidence.

“We restricted them to three shots after afternoon tea so that was big for us.”

O’Donnell said the premiership was Bryan Sheehan’s first division one flag.

He was elevated from Warrnambool Blue, which lost in the preliminary final, halfway through the season and played third to Crisp.

All other Warrnambool Gold players had tasted premiership success previously.

“It is a huge effort. We had a few positional changes from last year when we were unbeaten and we knew we’d be struggling for a while while we adjusted,” he said.

“From a club point of view it was good to make the grand final.”

O’Donnell said Warrnambool Gold would start among the pack next season and dismissed talk the fight for the premiership would be a two-horse race as has been the case for the past two decades.

“Koroit are strong, Dennington are always thereabouts and Terang,” he said.

“There are a lot of clubs not far away really but I think our experience of finals will get us to at least the top four next year.”

Warrnambool Gold will now turn its attention to West Coast Regional finals.

“The ladies won theirs and are off to the state finals and we have to emulate them and win the regional finals at City,” he said.

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