North West Saturday Pennant Update
Today we put the focus on the North West pennant season. In this article we find out how the Men’s Pennant positions are starting to take shape, reported on by David Gewin. 1 The year so far
Bowls North West uses a 21-round roster due to the vagaries of the coast and the wishes of the clubs. Pennant is the largest revenue for clubs without which the smaller clubs would find it difficult to survive. Eight 16-man teams a division (Division 5 is 12 aside) gives the northwest a great opportunity to develop players for regional and state duties as evidenced by the track record of wins in the state-wide pennant series’.
2 Division 5
Division 5 started the year with 10 teams, with South Burnie and Penguin entering multiple teams. The lowest division in any club always suffers the most from absenteeism from the higher divisions and the northwest is no stranger. Full compliments must be paid to the clubs that enter and put up with the week to week changes to their teams.
Dominating early were Smithton, South Burnie Green and Yellow but after four rounds, Smithton dropped away to be replaced by Penguin and Devonport. At the end of the first round it was South Burnie Yellow, South Burnie Green, Devonport and Penguin White making up the four separated by 33 points (each pennant game on the coast is 20 points).
The second round saw South Burnie Yellow on top early with a big win over Devonport by 58 shots, huge for this to occur in the lowest division. Smithton came back in the second game of the round with a close win over South Burnie Yellow on two rinks (Division 5 is 12-aside).
South Burnie Yellow maintained the pressure on all teams and at the end of the second round was a game clear of second placed South Burnie Green, with Penguin White a further game behind and Smithton making up the four two points adrift.
The start of the third round saw South Burnie Green lose to its sister (funny in an all-men pennant we would refer to sister clubs etc), the top team for this division, South Burnie Yellow.
Sadly games 16 and 17 were washed out with the first decent rains of the season drenching most of the coast (it missed all the bushfires though). This was the second double header of the season and hurt a number of clubs vying for the four.
The final four to contest the pennant finals commencing 28 February should be South Burnie Yellow and Green, Penguin White and Smithton.
Pennant: South Burnie Yellow.
3 Division 4
This division has seen a fairly even competition early with wins by Port Sorell, Sheffield and Devonport, however as the season progressed, South Burnie became the team to beat. At the end of the first round it looked as though those clubs had the division sewn up, but the strength of South Burnie was becoming evident, just sitting outside the four (a game behind Ridgley).
A strong start to the second round saw South Burnie account for second placed Port Sorell with 19 points moving them into the four for the first time. The tightness of this division was evidenced by the second to sixth placed clubs separated by only 11 points.
South Burnie then went on a good run of wins to finish the second round on top with a 10-4 record, displacing Port Sorell (9-5) and Devonport (also 9-5).
The third round saw Port Sorell dent South Burnie’s record with a strong 19 shot win moving them to within striking distance of top spot. Ridgley scored well in the latter half moving them into third spot, two points clear of Devonport.
Tips for the finals: South Burnie, Port Sorell, Ridgley and Devonport.
Pennant: South Burnie
4 Division 3
This division has seen South Burnie and Ridgley dominate for most of the season with a record of 14 and 2 at game 18. These two clubs are far and above the best performing of the competition sitting four games clear of their nearest rival Spreyton, followed by Wynyard and Burnie.
It took until the second game of round two for Ridgley to falter and of course that was to South Burnie by three shots. Burnie and Wynyard crept up into the four with strong showings in the latter half of round one and maintained that during the second round.
The third round saw the positions of third and fourth change again and late in the round Burnie faltered to slip out of the four, replaced by Spreyton after a strong win against Penguin. This followed solid wins over Burnie, Latrobe and Ridgley and has them sitting in third.
Tips for the finals: South Burnie, Ridgley, Spreyton and Wynyard.
5 Division 2
This division saw strong first up wins from South Burnie, Sheffield, Port Sorell and Wynyard. In the second game Sheffield got the goods over South Burnie and displaced them for top spot. They did the same to Wynyard and in game three, but still these four teams set the benchmark with but it was later in the first round that the top two… South Burnie and Port Sorell showed their class and moved away from third and fourth.
The second round saw South Burnie falter against sixth placed East Devonport by two shots but South maintained their top spot, clear of second placed Port Sorell by three points. In the second game of round two South Burnie pounced on the Port with a shellacking 132-55 win and 20 points. Two other upsets occurred with Sheffield losing to seventh placed Smithton and Wynyard losing to eighth placed Turners Beach. A win in the last game of the round by East Devonport over Port Sorell saw them within striking distance of third (the Port).
In the third round losses by Port Sorell and East Devonport saw Wynyard (5th) and Latrobe (6th) move into a position to challenge for a spot in the four with only 13 points separating them. South Burnie at this stage has sewn up the flag sitting in top spot on 258 points, 71 points ahead of their nearest rival, Sheffield on 187 points.
In the last game of this review, game 18 of the roster, strong wins by the top four have seen the division final four done for the season.
Tips for the finals: South Burnie, Port Sorell, Sheffield and East Devonport.
Pennant: South Burnie
6 Division 1
The only division without a team from South Burnie… all things going well for them, it will be Division 3 without South’s representation next season; winning Divisions 2, 3 and 4 will see them all move up a notch. A great result from South who have battled hard over the last decade to once again insert themselves onto the winner’s list in pennant as a whole.
This division is quite strong. Wynyard, last year’s Premier League team looked to be the one to beat early on with strong wins in the first three games, but faltered when meeting Port Sorell, a powerhouse in this division for a number of years and vying for that spot back in Premier League lost some five years ago.
At the end of round one, Port Sorell, Devonport, Wynyard and Penguin had made their presence felt and Burnie and Latrobe filled the remaining fifth and sixth places.
Wins by the top three at the start of round three opened the gap to fourth by 43 points and this didn’t change until the last couple of games when Penguin (now on top) missed a beat and lost three from four to finish the round in second, 11 points behind the Port, and 8 points in front of Wynyard. Latrobe still rounded out the four but 50 points in arrears.
Strong wins by Port, Penguin and Wynyard at the start of round three saw that gap widen once more, but in the last game Wynyard (2nd) defeated Port, to close the gap between first and second to 8 points. Penguin again lost their patience and allowed Ulverstone (7th) to take the points, but still sees fourth spot (Latrobe) trailing by 81 points.
Tips for the finals: Port Sorell, Wynyard, Penguin and Latrobe
7 Premier League
In the Dannebrog Premier League the powerhouse teams of Burnie (last year’s state pennant), Latrobe (state pennant three years ago), and Penguin (state pennant two years ago) are at it again. Fourth spot was always up for grabs and this year South Burnie has it with two hands.
Burnie, Penguin, Ulverstone and Latrobe all started with good wins and it must be said that all the talk of Latrobe losing too many to be a threat this year was put to bed in the first round. With wins against South Burnie, Penguin and Spreyton saw them on top for the first part of the round. A loss at home to Burnie saw them lose a spot on the ladder, and a shock win by South Burnie over Penguin saw the ladder tighten with only 31 points between first and sixth.
In the last game of round one, an inspired win by South over Burnie saw South cement themselves into the four and Latrobe again took top spot.
Wins in the second round by Latrobe and Penguin over South and Burnie saw the positions change once again with Penguin taking second from Burnie. In the third game of the round Latrobe shocked the competition by defeating Penguin by 22 shots, and Devonport came into contention with a strong win over South to be just out of the four by 16 points.
In the return game for Latrobe and Burnie (at home), and the last for the calendar year, saw Burnie trounce Latrobe by 58 shots and 20 points to place them back on top of the ladder. Penguin returned the favour to South and won on three rinks to open up a healthy game and a half lead.
With one point separating Burnie and Latrobe, it only took a rink loss by Burnie to lose top spot once again, and at the same time Penguin lost on all rinks to Devonport.
In the last game of the round a shock win by Ulverstone over Latrobe and a loss by South to Burnie, saw Devonport edge into the four for the first time with a strong win over Spreyton.
In the first game of round three, Spreyton upset the cart with a two rink win over Penguin to move them comfortably off the bottom of the ladder. Devonport finished well but only on one rink and went down to Latrobe 6-14 but they maintained their position in the four.
Then came the double header and the washouts. The first game could have seen Penguin out of the four as Devonport was on a roll and a win by them over Ulverstone would have seen positions change. The second game would see Latrobe vs Penguin, another killer game for either team but Latrobe had the ascendency. What these two games meant for the teams vying to get into the four and those playing to stay in the four we’ll never know.
In the last game of this review Devonport must be wondering what they have to do to defeat Burnie, with a record of losses by 4 shots, 6 shots and 6 shots, it must be said that to finish a game off, it takes 25 ends of patient bowls. This game also saw Devonport slip out of the four thanks to South Burnie’s crushing defeat of Turners Beach. The remaining games could see Devonport regain fourth spot, but games have to go their way.
Tips for the finals: Burnie, Latrobe, Penguin and Devonport