The Zone 1 2019 Pennant play-offs were contested over the weekend and in its best Pennant result on record, the Clarence River District Bowling Association (CRDBA) claimed victory in four of the five grades contested. The Yamba Bowling and Recreation Club ventured into the play-offs hopeful that either its Grade 3 or Grade 5 side could find victory and advance to the State finals, never in its wildest dreams did it anticipate both sides taking their respective grade flags.
The Yamba Grade 3 Pennant side had to battle both Evans Head and Mullumbimby in their division. The game against Evans Head on Saturday afternoon saw two very good sides pitted against each other. There was never much separating the sides, but Yamba held a slender advantage on the master scoreboard for most of the contest. This proved the case after 63 gruelling ends of play with Yamba taking the win by 59 – 49 (nine points to one).
The morning game on Sunday witnessed the favourites for the Grade title, Mullumbimby, sweep aside Evans Head by 87 – 48 (ten points to nil) to virtually have one hand on the trophy. However, the freshly reorganised Yamba side, full of self-belief, determination and undeniable ability, tackled their favoured foe full-on and dominated from the beginning. The end could not come soon enough for Mullumbimby as they felt the full force of Yamba. Manager, Jim Stone, although busy, nervous and possibly a little shell-shocked, was beaming from ear to ear as he progressed the master scoreboard to its final position of Yamba 83 to Mullumbimby 47 (nine points to one). It would be wrong to single out any particular group or bowler as this victory was truly a team effort and built on cohesiveness. The Yamba Grade 3 side will now journey to South Tamworth in July chasing an elusive state title.
The Yamba Grade 5 side joined their Grade 3 counterparts at Iluka on the weekend trying to emulate their zone success from last year. On Saturday, Yamba faced a talented Ballina outfit and needed a little luck, complemented with a good dose of skill and resolve to secure the all-important first game victory by 68 – 56 (nine points to one). Ballina atoned for this loss on Sunday morning when they were in complete control in their match against Burringbar winning by 68 – 45 (ten points to nil).
Yamba took control of the afternoon contest from the very first end and surged to a commanding lead on the master scoreboard that was never truly threatened. Burringbar tried valiantly and rallied late to secure a few ends, but it was never going to be enough. The final score was Yamba 75 to Burringbar 46 (ten points to nil). The Yamba Grade 5 side will now contest the State finals at Halekulani in July and hope to improve on the tough times experienced last year.
In an exclamation to an already jubilant weekend, the CRDBA also added the Grade 4 and 6 Zone 1 titles to the expanding trophy cabinet when the men from Maclean claimed the Grade 4 crown and the warriors from GDSC wrestled the mantle of Grade 6 champions from their Northern Rivers and Tweed-Byron opposition.