ILLAWARRA PENNANTS LOWER GRADES
Windang are experts in playing off for Grade 1 promotion but pennant grand final day has brought only heartache in recent years.
Windang face Kiama on Sunday in their fourth Grade 2 decider in six years, still looking for their first victory.
The stakes could not be higher with the winner promoted to Grade 1 in 2015 to replace Shellharbour, who will shut as a bowling club at the end of the year.
Windang members are at a loss to explain why grand final day has delivered only bad news, even when their form has been so good in reaching the decider.
Once again, Windang are confident they can win the biggest match of the year after they were the only team to defeat Kiama in the regular season.
They also beat Kiama handily 62-48 and two rinks to one in the major semi-finals.
Windang's back-to-back Major Singles champion Mark Larsen led the way against Kiama with a strong win in his rink.
Former state Senior Singles champion Rick Malley also won his rink.
"We're quietly confident we can do it this time," said Geoff Walker, who plays third in Larsen's rink.
"There was no celebrating after Saturday because the job isn't done yet.
"We've only lost the two games all season to Dapto in round one and Oak Flats in the last round and the whole squad has played well.
"If we put in the same performance as we did in the semi-final, we should get the result we want."
Minor premiers Kiama also had a tremendous season and feel they can turn the tables in the promotion decider.
Kiama skips Brad Rossiter, Martin Wilson and Russell Campbell have skipped three teams who have played well all season.
Kiama bounced back from their major semi-finals defeat by beating a spirited Dapto 63-56 in last Sunday's final.
Kiama chairman of selectors Peter Wallace said the major semi-finals loss was a wake-up call.
"We lost by just a couple of shots to Windang during the season but last Saturday they outplayed us," Wallace said.
"I don't know if it was complacency or an attitude thing but we know now we are facing a very good opponent.
"We have to improve a lot and I think you'll see that on Sunday."
Meanwhile, 10 clubs have a representative in the seven grades of grand finals; the grades 1-3 deciders are on Sunday and grades 4-7 deciders on Saturday.
Figtree RSL and Dapto Citizens meet in the Grade 3 grand final in a rematch of their major semi-finals clash, while Shellharbour will hope to mark their farewell to Illawarra pennants by winning the Grade 4 flag.
Shellharbour thrashed Grade 4 minor premiers Bellambi in the major semi-final, with Wiseman Park - who finished fourth in the regular season - upstaging Dapto 58-46 then Bellambi 59-46, to make the championship decider.
Meanwhile, Helensburgh BC may face an uncertain future after Saturday but having joined forces with Scarborough Wombarra this Pennant season, they are looking to claim the Grade 5 flag.
They take on Albion Park for the title.
In Grade 6 Windang face Figtree RSL, while in Grade 7 Dapto Citizens No 1 take on Berkeley.
In last Sunday's Grade 7 grand final qualifiers, Citos beat Windang 76-53 and Berkeley beat Bellambi 67-61.
All grand finals will be hosted by Warilla BC. The winners will represent Illawarra Zone 16 at the state finals in August.