Warilla seek fast payback in Grade 1 pennants
Warilla have been handed an opportunity to avenge last season's harrowing Grade 1 pennants loss to Taren Point - being drawn in the same section as the defending champions in this weekend's finals.
Warilla led Taren Point 40-39 midway through their semi-final last year but crashed on all rinks to lose 70-43 - a capitulation which has the Gorillas fired up for Saturday's return clash.
Taren Point went on to beat Belrose in the grand final, with ex-Corrimal and reigning NSW co-bowler of the year John Green named Player of the Final for Taren Point.
Warilla won the blue-ribbon state Grade 1 title in 2004, and with this year's side including two of the world's top five bowlers, Jeremy Henry and Leif Selby, they believe they can claim club bowls' biggest prize.
Warilla face an extremely tough section with the strong Wagga Rules in their pool, plus Zone 1 champions Kingscliff, whom the Gorillas face in Saturday morning's opening match at Forestville RSL.
Warilla then face Taren Point in round two on Saturday afternoon before meeting Wagga Rules at tournament headquarters Belrose BC in round three on Sunday.
The section winner takes on the top side in Section 3, featuring Raymond Terrace (Zone 2), Nowra (Zone 7), Park Beach (Zone 14) and Dubbo Railway (Zone 4).
The State Finals run over three days from August 9 to 11 and feature the 16 zone champions from across NSW in Grades 1-7.
Teams are split into four sections and play the other three teams in their pool, with the section winners qualifying for the semi-finals.
Warilla won the prestigious Grade 1 title in 2004, with Towradgi Park in 2007 the last Illawarra Grade 1 champion.
Meanwhile, Illawarra clubs will travel as far north as Ballina, Port Macquarie and Tamworth in pursuit of a state flag in the lower grade finals.
Grade 2 champions Windang have been pooled with Penrith, Dubbo City and Merimbula Imlay in their section of the finals at Port Macquarie City BC.
Illawarra Grade 3 champions Figtree RSL play their finals at Greenacre and have been drawn to face Taren Point, St Johns Park and Narrabri.
Wiseman Park, as Zone 16 champions in Grade 4, head to Ettalong Memorial BC and have been pooled in Section 1 with Zone 7 neighbours Tomakin, plus Toongabbie and Scone.
In Grade 5, Helensburgh-Scarborough Wombarra are Illawarra champions and head to South Tamworth BC to face Edgeworth, Stuarts Point and Diggers at The Entrance in Section 2.
Windang's champion No 6 team face the longest trip of any Illawarra club, with their finals in Ballina. Windang have been drawn in Section 3 to face Lawson BC, Karuah RSL and co-hosts Ballina RSL.
Finally, Berkeley are excited to be heading to the State Finals at Engadine BC as Grade 7 Illawarra representatives.
Berkeley have been pooled in Section 3 to face Westport, Coonamble and Castle Hill.
Good luck to all clubs.