A five-shot loss in a grand final might leave some coaches despondent, but not Shepparton Park leader Mark Ryan.
In his final match leading the Parkers, he could not have been happier about the performance his side brought to Kyabram’s greens yesterday.
‘‘I’m as proud as punch, we don’t have a medal around our neck, but I’m really happy with the way everyone has finished off the year and chipped in well and got around me and the end of my era,’’ he said.
With the Parkers looking unlikely to even make the Goulburn Valley Bowls Division finals, a late push had them snare fourth place at the expense of Nagambie.
But that glimmer of hope was enough to send the Parkers on a phenomenal finals series, even though it ended with a narrow defeat.
‘‘Part of the reason why I did it (announced my retirement early) was to lift the guys and hopefully they realise not everything lasts forever and you have to be grateful each and every day,’’ Ryan said.
‘‘We’ve made another grand final and we had to lift a little bit (to get there) and they did lift, we beat Ky and then East Shepp convincingly and were 10 shots up against Golf in a granny.’’
Following last year’s grand final defeat at the hands of the same opposition, there was a different vibe from Shepparton Park.
More vocal and encouraging each other on the greens, Ryan was proud of the output, despite only his rink building a winning buffer.
Jarryd Tinning and Jeff Anselmi each lost by a shot and Leigh Clark went down by 11.
‘‘We were right in it and I’m just proud of all 16 of them and the way they went about it,’’ Ryan said.
‘‘We can all hold our heads high and walk off the green and go back to our club and celebrate what we’ve done and what we’ve been able to achieve considering it was an ordinary season (for much of it).’’
Ryan steps down as coach of the club after leading the Parkers to back-to-back premierships in his first two years as coach in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
However, Ryan’s coaching term ended yesterday without a win in eight attempts against Golf since Brad Orr left Park to coach its arch rival after the 2014-15 flag success.