Five rounds into the Goulburn Valley Bowls Division midweek pennant season, Shepparton RSL’s division three side was down and out.
Winless and rooted to the bottom of the table, things looked bleak for a club looking to end a finals drought.
Now, just 11 games later, the club’s redemption story is complete, after upsetting top-ranked Seymour by nine shots to claim the premiership.
In the first midweek grand final win for the club in almost a decade, RSL knocked off a Seymour side it hadn’t beaten throughout the season, losing three times when the sides met.
Ecstatic RSL skip Lorraine Nicholls said it had taken everything to turn the tables — and turn the season around.
‘‘The team just got into their heads they were going to win, and that’s what we did,’’ she said.
‘‘We can’t take anything away from Seymour, they took it right up to us and were very, very unlucky in the first game to only lose by three shots on the last end.
‘‘We’ve worked really hard, and gone from the bottom to the top in nine games. We won seven out of eight games just to make the finals, so we were really happy.’’
Seymour had topped the league by 23 points and seemed destined to end a four-year midweek premiership drought of its own.
That was until RSL made a blistering start and put 18 shots between the sides by lunch-time.
‘‘When we went in for lunch we were well in front, and credit to Seymour, they came back with a vengeance,’’ Nicholls said.
‘‘We just held our ground, and just said ‘come on, we can do this’.’’
It took a dominant day across the three rinks to seal the title; Joyce Johnson won 28-25, Sharon Newby 22-17 and Nicholls 23-22.
And on a personal note, Nicholls couldn’t have been happier to share in her team’s success in the first final in which she had ever played.
‘‘Oh mate, you’ve got no idea,’’ she said.
‘‘You work hard for so long, I’ve been bowling for 22 years and it’s the first time I’ve ever been in a final — and it is magic.
‘‘I’m just so excited — and my mum will just be over the moon, she’s nearly 94 and she’s that excited by all this.’’