THE Ovens and Murray Bowling Association produced its best showing for several years at the Victorian group titles at the weekend at Horsham.
It lost its opening game 55-51 against Yarra but bounced back with a thumping 65-44 victory against the powerful Geelong team.
Ovens and Murray faced a tough assignment in the final game against Bendigo Campaspe, which has been successful at the event in recent years.
O and M managed a hard-fought 60-55 victory, a score which usually would secure sectional win.
But Geelong had a massive 73-41 victory against Yarra.
Geelong was level on points with O and M but won the section by finishing two shots ahead.
Long-time O and M skip Ashley Bates said the team’s performance was very pleasing.
“We were stiff not to win the section,” he said.
“Everyone played well. It was a good team showing. That is the most competitive team we have had for a few years.”
Bates said Ian Lewis played brilliantly as a lead for him, Paul Davies was sold as a third and fellow skip Paul Carey was in top form.
Chris Venning was the most successful skip with two wins and a draw.
O and M selector John Fisher said it was disappointing to get so close and miss a semi-final spot.
“We were in a strong section. They went very well,” he said.
“A lot of country regions stood up pretty well.”
He said they usually did not have the depth of the metropolitan groups.
Geelong was beaten in its semi-final 59-57 by Northern Gateway.
It went on to win the final 74-50 against Murray-Mallee.
Northern Gateway takes in the Essendon, Moonee Ponds, Carlton and Coburg area in Melbourne.