Finals fever hits greens

March 03, 2018

Big game player: East Shepparton's Jordan Thornton will look to rise to the occasion today.

The action on the greens heats up today as the Goulburn Valley Bowls Division finals burst into action.

In a cut-throat semi-final, Shepparton Park meets East Shepparton in what could be Mark Ryan’s final game as coach.

East was bundled out of finals in straight sets last season and paired with Park’s confident 106-89 win against the side just a fortnight ago, there is no shortage of confidence from Park’s perspective.

‘‘After beating them two weeks ago we gained a lot of confidence,’’ Ryan said.

‘‘Anything can happen on any given day, they’ve changed their team around a lot and we’re probably going in unchanged.

‘‘For us (what sparked us to be more competitive) was to make finals and to win, we’ve been playing for our season.’’

Park has won just one of its past three matches, most recently falling 85-93 to Kyabram.

East enters on the heels of a comfortable display against Stanhope, where it won 108-78.

Coach Josh Thornton said his troops were keen to keep their season alive and push further into finals.

‘‘We’re training hard and there’s plenty of optimism heading into finals,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve had a really good season but fallen away a bit.

‘‘But we’ve rectified things with our last performance and we’re quietly confident heading into finals.’’

While only thinking one game ahead, Thornton said East’s record against the top two sides meant it did not intend to merely make up the finals numbers.

‘‘(Shepparton Golf and Kyabram) have played well and deserve to be in the finals, but it’s a new day,’’ he said.

‘‘Looking at our results against the top-two we’ve beaten Kyabram once and drawn one, and beaten Golf twice.

‘‘Those guys deserve to be higher than us but they hold no fear for us; if we can get through today, we’re confident no matter who we play going forward.’’

Park played in Kyabram last week but was denied an advantage with this week’s game to be played on the other green.

The winner will face the loser of Shepparton Golf and Kyabram in next weekend’s preliminary final.

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