Back-to-back Shield triumph

They came, they saw, they conquered. This was the tale of Central Highlands division bowlers as they finished strongly to win the prestigious Regional Shield event at Ballarat on Sunday.
The defending champions showed last season’s first-ever triumph in what was formerly called the Courier Shield was no fluke, as they lifted to win three and a half of the last four matches to finish on 17 points, three clear of a Ballarat side looking to avenge last season’s defeat. Goldfields finished third on five points.
The Central Wendouree greens were heavier than usual due to rain the previous day and in early morning, but the Central Highlands contingent of 16, with Aaron Andrews (Lancefield) emergency, settled down to win three of their first four matches in the opening round.
Two wins and two defeats in the second round left Central Highlands and Ballarat tied on 10 points with four matches to play, and team manager Gary Dickenson was confident the calibre of players available – the majority having featured in last year’s triumph – could show their worth under pressure.
Ballarat’s top two ranked fours could not match their Central Highlands opponents in the final round, and there was growing jubilation among players and supporters as it became obvious the titleholders would go home triumphant.
At the after-match formalities, CHBD president Ian Ball accepted the trophy, and congratulated the players on their fine performance, and CHBD secretary Ian Guymer endorsed the plaudits.
The combined fighting spirit of the CHBD players proved important, irrespective of which clubs they came from.
The ability to select Bacchus Marsh players who play in the metro comp and were keen to represent the CHBD once again paid off.
The combination of Toby Barker, Darren Edmondston, Adrian Plowman and Richard Dwyer (s) went through the day undefeated.
After a surprise first match loss by a wide margin, the Dean Warner, Leigh Greening, Phil Minniti and Dan Willis (s) combo bounced back to win their next two; Mark Boeran, Mark Smoljo, Ethan Higgins, and Troy Williams (s) also won two out of three games, and Jamie Hutcheson, David Beardmore, Aaron Young and Jeff Holmes (s) had a win and a draw.
Selectors included six of the CHBD contingent in the 15-member side to play in the regional championships at Shepparton on April 3-5.
They are Richard Dwyer (Kyneton), Aaron Young (Lancefield), and Bacchus Marsh’s Hutcheson, Williams, Willis and Higgins – the latter representing Gisborne last season.
Ballarat too strong
In the women’s Complete Shield competition, Central Highlands hoped to repeat their strong performance from last year, but it was not to be.
Ballarat’s depth showed out and they finished on 22 points, with Central Highlands on 8, and Goldfields six.
Teresa Wylie, Di McAuliffe, Chris Plowman and Desma Budd (s) won two of their three matches.
Wylie (Gisborne), Plowman and Budd (both Kyneton) were the only Central Highlands reps selected in the regional line-up.

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