A Tough Week

The week’s competitive bowls began at Wallsend Park, with a Nines League match.  It turned out to be pretty close, one of those games which could have gone either way, so we were very happy to come away with a 2-1 win on rinks.  The triples lost 14-18, sharing the ends won, which after being 1-9 down after five ends was pretty good.  The pairs were in all honesty flattered by a 20-12 scoreline, having been leading by only three shots with three ends to go in a game that was close all the way. Meanwhile, although the fours were on top all through their match, winning twelve of the 18 ends, this was also a close affair, as shown by the fact that 14 ends in the match ended in a single-shot margin; none the less, a 14-9 win was very acceptable.

Railings

He was never the same man after that match

The most dramatic part of the evening was still to come, though.  We were warned by the home team that the park closed at 9 pm – a bit tight, given that the match started at 7.  Never mind, we were all off the green at nine exactly. A Council jobsworth had other ideas, however, and had to be detained in spurious conversation while the last of us rushed out as he brandished keys to lock the gate.  Unfortunately the message had not got round to everyone, and three of our group were trapped, having headed for the wrong gate in the labyrinthine paths.  It was only later, after the rest of us got home, that we learned they had wandered around for over half an hour before (happily) coming across what we would once have called a courting couple, who (naturally) knew where the lowest railings were!  It still required climbing over metal spikes, and meant a very late arrival back in Hexham.

No wonder the three in question were looking closely at the walls and gate at Lyndhurst (Gateshead) when we arrived there today for a men’s friendly. The forecast rain stayed west of the A1 all afternoon, and we had a good match in breezy but fair conditions.  The least said about the result the better, but after being in the overall lead after 13 ends, with three of the four rinks either level or just one shot down, we managed to slump on all those three, so that the overall margin of defeat was quite big.  The Lyndhurst President kindly said it was “one or two”, but I think the ones and twos in question made up the figures of 11 or 12.  Never mind, it was a great afternoon on one of those walled and protected bowling greens that stand as an alternative world from the bustle outside, with only the top deck of buses being visible over the wall.  The wall which we thankfully didn’t have to climb to get out…

The Ladies were not having things any better in their opening match of the Collins and Shipley campaign. Away to Whitley and Monkseaton they found the green very heavy and not at all to their liking.  One rink lost 7-26 and another 11-24, with pretty relentless shots against.  Our third rink won by a handsome-looking 20-14, but even that came about thanks to a six on the last end.  Just the two points out of twelve, then, and the bad news still wasn’t over…

After being dumped out of the West Tyne Cup last week we thought the League season would offer a fresh start: after all, we were last year’s champions…

That opening probably suggests the way things went in the first match.  Despite home advantage we were rolled over by a Haltwhistle side which has lost several stalwarts this year but also managed to pick up some new recruits who are very handy bowlers indeed.  They were far too good for us tonight anyway.

Although one of our rinks won 21-11 the others all went down.  One of these was 6-26, with only five ends won, but however bad that sounds it got even worse for my own rink: after winning the first two ends to go 2-0 ahead we might as well have gone home at that point, as Haltwhistle won the next 14 ends to produce a scoreboard reading 2-30.   Even picking up four shots on the last two ends could hardly save the embarrassment.  It was like one of those days when you get so wet in the rain that you stop worrying and even start to laugh about it. But at least no one got locked in!

 

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