Gisborne has achieved its first aim in Central Highlands Bowls Division’s division 1 – making the grand final.

After falling short at the last hurdle last season, Gisborne players had set their hearts on a second straight grand final appearance, and this has driven them through this season.

Gisborne has gone through undefeated, with many one-sided results, and entered the finals confident in its winning form for the contest against Lancefield.

The result was one of Gisborne’s closest of the year, getting across the line 95-90. Glenn Johnston Jr and Graham Quaife led the winning rinks for Gisborne, with Jeff Holmes and Peter Linehan taking the honours in the other two rinks for Lancefield. Johnston Jr said the close result was exactly what was needed as they head into the grand final.

“Last season seems so long ago … we’ve done a lot of work to get back to where we are,” he said.

“We may be undefeated, but we were tested by Romsey a couple of weeks ago, and tested again against Lancefield.

“To win the close ones is really important,” he said. “We get more out of winning by five shots than we do winning by 40 shots.”

Johnston Jr said the rink led by Quaife made the difference in the win. He said moving John Evans into that rink late in the season had paid off.

While Gisborne is through to the grand final and has not lost a game all season, Johnston Jr said they didn’t see themselves as favourites.

“Last year, we felt like getting to the grand final was the main achievement,” he said.

“As we were saying after the win, this year we feel like the job is only half done. Lancefield is a good side and Kyneton Golf is still in as well.

“Until Golf [winner of the last two grand finals] is out, they’ll be the team to beat.”

Golf faces Lancefield after beating Bacchus Marsh in the other semi-final. Golf won three rinks in the 97-77 win.

In division 2, Diggers Rest is through to the grand final after beating Kyneton 93-90, and play the winner of Bacchus Marsh and Kyneton in the grand final. Macedon is through to the division 3 grand final.

Meanwhile, Sunbury had its third straight loss in Bowls Victoria Pennant division 1, section 1, slipping outside the top four.

Facing second-placed Deer Park, Sunbury won two of the four rinks, but lost 91 (14)-66 (4).

Carla Krizanic and Brad Janner led close rink wins, while the 34-10 loss for Mark Cowan’s rink proved to be the difference.

Sunbury is now fifth on the ladder, three points behind fourth-placed Essendon. Sunbury has very winnable matches against Werribee and Preston-Reservoir in the final two rounds.