SEASON 2019/20 of the Corangamite Bowls Division may long be remembered as the great escape for Camperdown Golf Bowls Club.
The club’s division one campaign ended in stunning fashion on Saturday, with Golf knocking over top side Simpson 104-94 to avoid relegation.
It capped off a magnificent fightback from a club that has at times endured inconsistency, unavailability and poor form, particularly early this season, with Golf’s four rink win over Colac City a fortnight ago effectively keeping their season alive.
President John Molan said his side could hardly believe how the final month of the year played out as they battled with Winchelsea to avoid the wooden spoon.
“I’ve never seen 16 blokes happier after winning a game of bowls and finishing second last,” he said.
“It was an amazing day and it was well-fought out right to the end. We came away with two rinks and the other two were very close, but the 14 points got us over the line.
“Winch unfortunately only got four and you have to feel sorry for them because absolutely it could have been us. We won two out of our last three and Winch comfortably beat us in between (our wins).”
Molan said he could not be prouder of his club’s effort to avoid relegation after conceding his side dug themselves a hole early in the year.
“It was touch and go all year,” he said.
“We won three early on and then we lost seven in a row after that which put us in a precarious position but to the club’s credit we knuckled down.
“We knew we had to win on Saturday, everybody concentrated for the full three or four hours and put some very good bowls in and we got away with it.”
The manner in which they beat off relegation is also to be noted, with Golf dismantling two of the division’s well-fancied sides.
Not many expected Golf to get close to both City or Simpson, let alone beat them, which made their effort even sweeter.
Molan said the results showed his side was capable of being a strong performer in the top flight in the future.
However, he admitted his side had a key improvement area they needed to address in the off-season if they are to extend their stay next year.
“To beat City and Simpson in the last three rounds was very satisfying,” he said.
“It just shows we are a division one team on our day and staying in division one probably helps us attract new players to our club rather than having them come across to play division two.
“If we can do that and get them around us, we can hopefully forge our way up the ladder.
“The other thing is we need to learn to win away from home. We won five games and all of them have been at home, so we’ve just got to learn to adapt to greens outside our club.”
Meanwhile Golf’s division three side qualified for the finals but what position they finished was yet to be determined when the Camperdown Chronicle went to print due to an appeal which was heard last night.
The club was appealing a decision by the division to strip the side of 16 points following their round three win over Camperdown after the executive determined Golf had breached infringement 1.5 of the division’s rules and conditions – clubs playing unregistered, under or over qualified players will be treated as having forfeited.
Molan said the club had done its due diligence in registering the player and was disappointed with the decision and lodged an appeal to receive the points.
He said the appeal was only being heard now after correspondence between the division and his club took longer than expected to be received.
If the points are reinstated, Golf will move into second on the ladder and receive a double chance for the finals which start this Saturday.