The season so far has featured a number of games in which our teams have lost narrowly on shots, but found themselves on the wrong end of a big defeat because of the bonus points awarded either for the number of rinks won or for overall shots. This week was no exception – in fact, it produced some of the most frustrating results so far.
The ladies were over at Tynemouth for their Collins & Shipley match, and ended up losing 42-45 on shots – a crucial gap when this league gives six of the possible 12 points to the winners on shots. Eileen’s rink came back well from 5-8 down to win six ends on the trot and win 16-9, but the other two rinks were running second for most of the game and ended up that way too. One of the messages that came out was the need to keep ends tight and to limit the damage on ends that are lost. The Tynemouth rink which won 18-16, for example, won only 8 of the 18 ends, but four of these counted 5,3,3,3 – that trio of threes coming in the last six ends. The overall result was a disappointing loss (2-10).
Of course, it’s easy to analyse such scores but harder to do anything about it when the pressure is on. The men found the same thing in a narrow loss at High Heaton – narrow on shots, that is, but the 8-0 points margin to the hosts would make it sound anything but. Our pairs lost 16-19 for the second away game in a row – a particularly careless defeat as we were leading 13-4 after ten ends and by 14-7 after twelve. At that point a three and a four to the opposition brought the scores level, and the mood changed. The moral here was that there are ends where you might as well accept that you have lost a one, rather than try to “open things up” too early.
The fours lost 12-13 after going into the last end level – Richard Marshall once again filled in admirably and Bob Turner almost brought the ship home. The triples meanwhile lost a seven en route to a four-shot defeat, so that the overall aggregate loss by eight shots hardly reflected the balance of play. We are not playing badly at the moment – but we are giving away too many counts.
Having said that, our single point in the course of the Bell Cup (at Gosforth on 11 June) did rather reflect on the performance. The solitary draw from four matches meant we finished in fifth position of five on the day, and even allowing for the natural loss of motivation when it becomes apparent that there is nothing left to play for, this was a disappointing effort. At least Bernard won a raffle prize! There had been a much better showing in the Challenge Cup, held on our own green the previous weekend, when we finished second out of five, but well behind the excellent Cramlington team who duly qualified for the finals.
At least the week ended with some good news, as Bob Turner, Darren and Trevor wrapped up a comfortable win in the West Tyne Triples. Playing at Haltwhistle in the preliminary round they adapted quickly to a tricky rink, and despite finding themselves 1-5 down after four ends proceeded to win nine ends on the bounce to go 13-5 ahead; even more importantly they then kept things really tight to end the match 17-8 up. The next match is against the other Elvaston team – David Barker, David Ashworth and Shelagh Carter had an excellent win the other week against a strong Hexham House side – so there shouldn’t be too much trouble arranging dates or travel. On second thoughts, with all the games still to come in June, perhaps it’s only the travel that will be easy…