Warilla confirm bowls dominance with fifth title

Warilla’s Jesse Noronha,centre, studies an end during the Grade 1 grand final against Dapto Citizens at Warilla Bowling Club. Warilla won 68-56 to claim a fifth Grade 1 flag in seven years. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Warilla’s Jesse Noronha,centre, studies an end during the Grade 1 grand final against Dapto Citizens at Warilla Bowling Club. Warilla won 68-56 to claim a fifth Grade 1 flag in seven years. Picture: ROBERT PEET

ILLAWARRA PENNANTS 

Warilla proved themselves the juggernaut of Illawarra bowls with a fifth Grade 1 title in seven years after a hard-fought grand final victory over Dapto Citizens on Sunday.

The Gorillas won two of three rinks in a convincing 68-56 triumph on their home green before a packed crowd.

Warilla and Dapto Citizens played off in the past seven Grade 1 grand finals with Warilla winners in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013, while Citos turned the tables in 2011 and 2012.

Reigning World Cup champion Jeremy Henry led the way for Warilla with a 30-18 victory over Scott Bateup while Leif Selby and partners beat Steve Green 24-13.

Zoran Bosev kept Citos in the match with a 25-14 rink win over Aaron Teys.

‘‘It was a great team effort,’’ Henry said.

‘‘We trailed 9-3 early on, got back to 9-9 and were never headed from there.

‘‘A few times they made a run at us and there was only five or six shots in it for most of the day but we stood firm as a team and that made it special.’’

Henry also had some personal redemption after a big loss in the last year’s grand final.

‘‘I was down 7-0 to Scotty [Bateup] and didn’t want a repeat of last year or to let anyone down. Fortunately we managed to turn it around with some great play from the whole rink.’’

While Warilla have a squad the envy of not just those within Illawarra Zone 16 but nationally, two of their less heralded players have been a huge part of the run of success.

Wayne Crane has played in all five flag wins since 2008 plus played in the two other grand finals, while Geoff McGillivray missed last year’s decider but has been part of all the other recent triumphs.

Meanwhile, Windang put an end to their grand final demons by thrashing Kiama 79-42 in the Grade 2 decider to earn promotion to Grade 1 next season.

It was an emotional win for Windang, who had lost three grand finals in five years, but yesterday saved their best performance for the biggest day of the season.

Finally, Figtree RSL will play for a state title in August after their Grade 3 team beat Dapto Citizens 61-51.

The match went down to the wire with Figtree RSL winning a couple of late ends to clinch the flag.

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