Well, so much for confident predictions! Last week’s narrow loss in the Nines league seemed to be a minor setback when we knew it was followed by a home game against a team below us in the league, but clearly the boys from Heaton Victoria hadn’t read the script.
Right from the off they were up and running, and although our Triples were strong enough on paper they were never ahead in the place where it mattered. There was a brief spell when a comeback seemed possible, with five needed with five ends to go, but then the game slipped away. It was a similar story for the Fours, with the disappointment all the greater because of a good recovery in the middle. At one point they were 6-14 down, and looking if not sunk then at least holed below the waterline. But a four and a couple more good ends brought them back to 14-16 with four ends to go, and just for a moment it looked like a win. Nothing came of it, however, and the final result was a loss by seven shots.
The Pairs earned the only points of the night with a 22-12 win that possibly looked easier on the scorecard than it did on the green. There was some great bowling all night, and when the Heaton pair came back from 2-11 to 8-11, holding at least three shots, it was looking ominous. A couple of trails and take-outs helped enormously at that point, and there was a great sigh of relief when another trail took our score to an unbeatable lead of nine with one end to play.
It’s going to be a real scrap for survival in the bottom half of the table, with three teams out of the total ten in Division 1 going down. With a couple of tough games to come the league table may not make for pretty reading by the end of June. Of course, by then we may have two of our regulars back in the team after a lay-off for health reasons. Let’s be positive…
Or as positive as we can be. It was another night of frustration for Darren Cooper, as he and Trevor Field had to say “close but no cigar” against a pair of County players from Backworth in the Men’s Pairs. Although our pair played very well, the consistent standard of the opposition, and the way they played fine margins (“You’re looking for a thin edge on that bowl”, and so on) was the difference in the end. Let’s be honest, if you are playing three bowls to within a foot or so of the jack at club level you are expecting to be holding at least shot, not to be one or two down!
In the photo here, our red bowl was lying shot, but all the others in the picture were against. The damage was done in a run of five losing ends which took the score from 5-2 to 5-10 in the first half of the match, and from there the gap was never less than three; in fact that was the final margin: 15-18.
Trevor had a better result up at Amble earlier in the week, playing with Jean in the Mixed Pairs. They were always in charge, except for a brief comeback by the home pair in the course of a rain shower. This reduced the lead from ten shots to just three, but at this point the rain stopped and the Hexham team recovered to go back to ten in front. We had better start practising in the rain.
The West Tyne league campaign has not started well, but after last week’s narrow defeat we scraped home against Allen Valley over at Allendale. The rinks were shared two-each, but in the final rink to finish skip Bernard Craig had to avoid losing a four on the last end to hang on to the aggregate shots win. He promptly found himself four down, but managed to trail the jack with his last bowl, cutting the deficit to one, so that although we lost the rink we won on shots (61-59) for a 5-2 win. Not exactly Championship form, but a win is a win. How’s that for being positive?…