MORTLAKE Blue will head into a season defining stretch of Western District Bowls Division pennant matches brimming with confidence following a comfortable win against Port Fairy Red last Saturday.
The Lakers pumped their opponents for the second time this season, winning all three rinks of play en route to an 89-45 victory at Port Fairy.
Skippers Colin Goldsworthy (22-16), Shane Cashill (35-15) and George Draffen (32-15) led the way for the visitors, with their efforts ensuring Mortlake took full points away from the encounter.
Selector Darren Grant said he was surprised with his side’s performance in the contest, which was almost abandoned due to wet weather.
However both clubs decided to wait until 2pm to start their match, which is the latest a match can start before games are determined a draw.
Grant said the decision to wait worked in the Lakers’ favour, with Port Fairy’s home green advantage taken away after the wet conditions made their surface similar to Mortlake’s.
“I’d have to say that no I didn’t expect a performance that strong against Port Fairy at Port Fairy,” he said.
“The conditions were wet early before they dried out, which took the pace out of it a bit, so the playing speed of the green was in our favour.
“The conditions were certainly in our favour but that was an excellent performance and it really gives us a lot of confidence going into Saturday’s game against City Red.”
Grant described the performance as one that is testament to a top four side, adding the Lakers now needed to consistently reproduce that effort if they wanted to feature in the post-season.
They currently sit fifth on the ladder, just four points outside the four but in a four club race with Timboon Gold, City Gold and Koroit Blue to earn a finals berth.
“If we can play to the same level and intensity that we did in the Port Fairy game it wouldn’t surprise me if we could beat City Red,” Grant said.
“That’s the type of game we need to take to City Red but all the games from here are going to be hard.
“We probably need to play like a top four side to end up in the top four. Saturday’s performance was at a top four level and that’s the way we need to play for our next three games.
“Otherwise we don’t deserve to be in the top four.”
While many followers of the division will be tipping the highly-fancied City outfit to win the clash, Grant said the Lakers’ chances should not be underestimated.
He said his side had shown earlier in the season they could push the top sides,
“We can give ourselves a realistic chance if we play to the best of our ability and that’s what we did the first time we played them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mortlake’s division two and four teams are also preparing to play the top teams in their respective divisions.
Mortlake White will travel to take on City Blue in division two and will be rebounding from a 57-44 loss to City White, while Mortlake Gold hosts City Yellow in division four after being washed out last Saturday.
Grant said the club was hopeful both sides produced strong performances along with the division one team.
“In all grades we’re expecting a really strong performance against those top sides,” he said.
“We’re not expecting to necessarily win those games but we want to make sure we are competitive against those top sides.”
Saturday pennant results from February 1:
Division one defeated Port Fairy Red 89-46.
Shane Cashill 35-15, Colin Goldsworthy 22-16 and George Draffen 32-15.
Division two lost to City White 44-57.
Alan Puzey 11-25, Paul Delaney 14-18 and Jim Wallace 19-14.
Midweek pennant results from Tuesday, February 4:
Division one defeated Terang Gold 72-63.
Anne Van Diemen 22-29, Val Smith 24-20 and Lyn O’Shannessy 26-14.
Division four defeated City Purple 46-50.
Patricia Digby 11-34 and Scott Pierce 39-12.
Selected teams for Saturday pennant on February 8:
Division one vs City Red at home.
D. Grant, J. Ruddle, C. Baxter, P. Beardsley;
G. Draffen, P. Summerhayes, R. Draffen, J. Rasmussen;
S. Cashill, D. McNicoll, V. Smith, A. Wentworth.
Division two vs City Blue away.
A. Puzey, I. MacDonald, P. Palmer, D. Murray;
J. Wallace, K. O’Shannessy, R. Van Diemen, S. Pierce;
P. Delaney, M. Heard, L. Smith, C. Inverarity.
Division four vs City Yellow at home.
A. Van Diemen, J. Marney, G. Kenna, S. Grinter;
C. Richie, D. Dolling, B. Mahncke, K. Crosbie;
F. Robertson, D. Caudle, N. Smith, D. Sedgley.
Selected teams for Midweek pennant on Tuesday, February 11:
Division one vs Dennington away.
A. Van Diemen, E. Robinson, G. Kenna, A. Wentworth;
V. Smith, G. Draffen, L. Smith, M. Whitson;
L. O’Shannessy, P. Summerhayes, K. O’Shannessy, D. Robertson.
Division three vs Port Fairy at home.
P. Digby, T. Parsons, P. Smith, S. Richie;
S. Pierce, R. Pasque, A. Vinen, G. MacDonald.
Meanwhile in club events held recently, Scott Pierce defeated Peter Beardsley in the B grade singles final, while Darren Grant claimed victory over Alan Puzey in the men’s 100up decider.