WINNING a Bowls NSW state pennants final - it is something that Ian Schofield has long aimed to do and he is hoping that this weekend is when it finally happens.
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Schofield is part of a 14-player team from Bathurst City Bowling Club which will contest the Division Four state final. They booked their spot as Zone 4 champions.
Like many of his team-mates, Schofield couldn't be prouder to be representing his club, district and zone.
"It's pretty big thing, it's not just a weekend of bowls. Everyone wants to be in it and to represent your club is fantastic, there's a selection process and there's still a selection process even as we go through now," he said.
"There might be someone that didn't play good in the Saturday morning game so a reserve comes in for Saturday afternoon, that could happen, we're taking two reserves with us.
"It doesn't happen easily, just to be a sectional winner at district level isn't easy, then to win zone where they are all sectional winners as it is.
"To win a state flag, I've never done that, but it's something I want to do, it's my goal."
Zone 4 is a region which covers a vast area and a host of bowling clubs. Its boundary goes from Lithgow in the east and Cobar-Bourke in the west, to as far north as Coonamble and as far south as Cowra.
The path the Bathurst City team took to earn their shot at state glory began on a district level.
Then it was on to the Zone 4 finals at Dubbo as one of eight district section victors.
There Bathurst City began with a a 52-50 loss to Dubbo Macquarie, but went on to beat Bourke 67-50 and Condobolin 66-46 to top its pool.
After that followed the zone final against Canowindra. Bathurst City won and won emphatically.
"We go down with the hope of winning at state, but I'm unsure how we're going to go because I didn't expect us to win the district flag - that was against Oberon, Wallerawang and Majellan," Schofield said.
"Then I didn't expect us to win the zone flag either. So to win the state one would be a real surprise, but I'm hopeful.
"When we got to Dubbo for zone we had to beat the other sectional winners which were Macquarie Dubbo, Condobolin and Bourke. Then we played the final against Canowindra and we beat them 85-42 and they called it off with three ends to play.
"It was just a massive, big win, that was unbelievable. That put us through to the state pennant final."
Schofield has played state titles before in Division Three and Division Five.
A handful of his team-mates this weekend have experienced competition at the New South Wales level before too, but for most this will be their debut.
"This will be my third but for most of the team it's their first. Some there have been to state three times before, if not more, but there's not many," Schofield said.
"There are only three or four of us who have done this before and know what to expect, know what is coming.
"This is a big thing, there are 16 teams in the state which go to this and everyone is a zone rep team."
The Bathurst City team heads to Warilla Bowling Club on Thursday. They'll get an hour of practice that afternoon before the three-day competition commences on Friday.
They'll play top seeds St Johns Park and South Cronulla on Friday, then face Quirindi on Saturday morning. If they rank in the top two in that section, they'll advance to the quarter-finals.
"Our hardest game is our first one against St Johns Park, they are one of the biggest club in New South Wales and so many players come out of there," Schofield said.
"They've got heaps and heaps of teams and heaps and heaps of reserves that they can chose from, whereas we're a small club with only one team this year.
"There's a big difference between us, but we'll put it to them.
"Section winners will play the second place team in the quarter-finals on Saturday afternoon, which means if you are third or fourth in the section you are over Saturday lunch time.
"So we must finish first hopefully, but second is still a chance as second will play the winner of a different section."
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