Bowlers eye grandest victory

March 8, 2024 BY

Another crack: Glen Saunders was there for the Saints' premiership run in season 2015-16, now he's lining up for another flag this Saturday. Photo: FILE

IT’S been eight years since Heathcote won a grand final in weekend pennant bowls action.

The Saints have a chance to add more silverware to the collection when they play Serpentine in Saturday’s Division Three grand final on Golden Square’s greens.

The showdown for premiership glory in the Bendigo leg of Bendigo Campaspe Goldfields pennant starts at 1.30pm.

Victorious in two of three matches against Serpentine this season, Heathcote is on a seven-match winning streak.

The run includes a 16-78 to 2-66 result against Serpentine in the second semi-final played on South Bendigo’s greens.

Serpentine hit back to win the preliminary final against South Bendigo by 39 shots.

It was wins for Darren Anset, Alan Bish and Brian Gladman by 16, 19 and six shots.

Neville Tonkin’s rink was beaten, 23-21.

The Saints roll into their first weekend pennant grand final since the 2015-16 campaign.

In that year Heathcote marked a 94-89 shot win against Eaglehawk.

Winning skippers were John McGillivray, Greg Speirs, Bill Gardiner and Deryl Binney.

Players in that premiership team still playing for Heathcote are Glen Wilkie, Greg Speirs, Gardiner, McGillivray, Rod Hanson, Brian Taylor, Glen Saunders, Chris Morcom, Peter Cunningham and Frank Dimauro.

After a 5-3 start, Heathcote finished the 14-round home-and-away series with an 11-3 record record and top of the ladder.

Rinks skipped by Maurice Lee and Morcom won nine games while Adam Luxford won seven games, and Gardiner was on six.

Newcomers in recent years have been Lee, Luxford, Richard Edwards, Dave Thomas, Duncan McGann, Brett Kelly and Daniel Fitton.

Long-time member and bowler Greg Speirs said being in the grand final meant a lot.

“At my age, time is running out to play and enjoy another pennant success,” he said.

“I have played pennant bowls for Heathcote for 31 years. In that time there were grand final wins in 94-95, 95-96, 01-02 and 15-16.

“We have also been runner-up four times.”

For Speirs and many of his team-mates it’s been a lot of bowls and hours on the greens to earn another shot at the top prize.