Chance to make history

Rutherglen players Chris Langdon, Billy Campbell, Doug Ramsey and Murray Scown at training this week for the pennant final. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK
Rutherglen players Chris Langdon, Billy Campbell, Doug Ramsey and Murray Scown at training this week for the pennant final. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

IT is more than 40 years since Rutherglen has won an Ovens and Murray Bowling Association A1 pennant title.

But the club has a tilt at history on Sunday when it meets Wodonga in the final at the superbly grassed Wangaratta greens.

It pretty much boils down to the sentimental favourite meeting the perennial power.

Wodonga has been absolutely dominant in the association for the past couple of decades, but most clubs would like to see Rutherglen take the premiership mantle.

There is ample confidence in the Rutherglen camp after the recruiting of four key players for this season.

Former Rutherglen local Bruce Lack has been returning to his home territory from Temora to skip one of the rinks.

He skips at representative level for Zone 8 (Riverina) and made the semi-finals of the NSW champion of champion singles last year.

Frank Seaton moved from Corowa RSL to Rutherglen and skips a rink, Phil Peers has been impressive playing second in a rink since coming from Wodonga, and Murray Scown moved to the area from Swan Hill.

Scown has been playing second in the rink skipped by Billy Campbell.

Rutherglen has been successful in two of the three meetings between the teams this season, including the second semi-final.

“The boys should go all right, I think,” Campbell said yesterday.

“They know we can do it. The four new players have made a big difference.

“They have slotted in really well.”

Wodonga scraped into the final by defeating Yarrawonga-Mulwala by just one shot last week at Wangaratta.

The rink skipped by Paul Carey was instrumental in the success winning by 11 shots after defeats in the three previous games.

Carey admitted yesterday that Wodonga was “pretty lucky” to get through with just one rink win.

“I am fairly confident. I think we can get over them,” Carey said.

“The finals experience should hold us in good stead.”

But he conceded the draw and which skips meet each other could have an impact on the outcome.

Many in the bowling fraternity believe that much depends on the leads and seconds with Wodonga having a slight edge in that department.

If they can get on top, it will put added pressure on Rutherglen’s thirds and skips.

Wodonga has been bolstered from the team that played last week by the inclusion of David King and Stephen Coulston.

King missed last week with a back injury and Coulston had another commitment.

Mark Westwick had missed the previous couple of weeks, but was third for Carey last Saturday and played some telling bowls at crucial times.

He has been named as an emergency for the team and Noel Murrell drops out from last week.

Rutherglen skip Chris Langdon has been in superb form with his son, Damien, playing third.

Langdon on his form this season should be in contention for an association skipping role when Ovens and Murray meets Zone 8 in May.

It should be a close game with plenty of pressure and little in it at the finish.

The Rutherglen team is: Doug Ramsay, Phil Peers, Damien Langdon, Chris Langdon s; John Flannery, Murray Scown, Garvey O’Brien, Billy Campbell s; John Pearce, Russell Towner, Ian Baskett, Frank Seaton s; Bob Ronnfeldt, Trevor Ronnfeldt, Graeme Goudie, Bruce Lack s.

Wodonga: David Swasbrick, Josh Rudd, Paul Davies, Ashley Bates (s); David Smith, Stephen Coulston, Jason King, Chris Venning s; Mason Bayliss, Mick McDermott, David King, Paul Carey s; Ray Moon, Klive Liverton, Bob Harbridge, John Dawson.