Sport

GVBD round seven preview - Shepparton Park v Seymour

By Tyler Maher

Shepparton Park can cement its spot near the apex of the Goulburn Valley Bowls Division ladder in the competition’s top tier today.

The Parkers are third on the table after taking seven points from ladder leader Kyabram last round, but remain only 15 points ahead of fifth before today’s clash against Seymour.

More importantly, Hill Top (fifth) and Stanhope (sixth) face each other today, meaning one of the pair is likely to close the gap if the Parkers falter on their home greens.

‘‘Seymour is a huge game in the context of our season,’’ Shepparton Park team manager Ashleigh Williamson said.

‘‘We were ordinary against East Shepparton and lucky to pinch a draw against Kyabram, so we need to get that winning feeling back and solidify our position in the top four, particularly with Hill Top improving in the past couple of rounds and closing the gap in fifth.’’

The Parkers’ record this campaign — three wins, two losses and a draw — is a mixed bag, but after a tumultuous off-season the club’s division one outfit has excelled past outsider expectations to again challenge for a spot in finals.

The side’s form has been helped by the smooth transition Paul Nichols has managed after taking the reins from dual premiership coach Mark Ryan.

‘‘The morale across the entire club has been positive since Paul Nichols arrived,’’ Williamson said.

‘‘Our five weekend pennant sides are in the top four at the moment, which I think has been a positive by-product of our off-season exodus and opportunities opening up across the board.

‘‘We are a proud club that is used to playing finals and we have given ourselves a good chance to achieve that in each division.’’

Nichols, Ross Higgins, Paul Warren and Denis Smyth have all won three games as skippers for the Parkers this season and will be looking to climb the league skip ladder after today’s contest.

Seymour lost to Stanhope by 19 shots last week and must bounce back against the Parkers to keep its hopes of remaining in division one next season shining bright.

Victorian Open women’s singles finalist Alison Hall, Max Hammond, Robert ‘‘Biggles’’ Brown, Rob Baldwin and Matt O’Sullivan give Seymour some quality in its skip and third positions.