Last week’s tale of woe centred on the way the club had lost a couple of games after giving away big(gish) scores and not keeping it tight. So you’d think we might be able to do something about it, right? Wrong!
The Nines match was at home to champions Backworth Welfare, never easy at the best of times and a particular challenge this year with a couple of first-pick players still out with health problems. Despite this, Darren’s triples were making a great game of it, leading 10-6 but then losing a six and a seven on consecutive ends to go 10-19 down with only two ends to play. It was the biggest collapse since Rory McIlroy’s implosion at the US Masters in 2011.
Meanwhile, Trevor and Peter were making a decent fist of the game against Ian Brown and young star Josh Minto, recovering from 3-11 to win five ends on the trot and reach 10-11, when a single shot against was followed by a five. Suddenly the score was 10-17 with only four ends to go, and the asking rate was too much on a night when two shots was the maximum we were going to get on any end against really consistent opponents. A few weeks ago, at Wallsend Park, our pairs were slightly flattered by a 20-12 scoreline; this week, you have to say that it was the Backworth pair who were flattered by the same score, although in truth the pressure was quite relentless and – however hard it is to say – they deserved the win.
With the fours going down to an 8-21 defeat that was never in doubt, it was yet another 0-8 drubbing overall. After the first four matches of the season produced scores comparable to last year, the next batch has been nothing like. All we can do is rely on an improvement with a full-strength side in the second half of the year, and hope for favourable results from the other bottom clubs.
The West Tyne League was no better, especially as we lost a couple of players on the eve of the match for non-bowling reasons. Brian Norman had kindly offered to stand in “if you’re desperate”, and we were, so he made his comeback a bit earlier than intended. The Haltwhistle match which opened the season was a real hammering, and this was not much better, with two rinks conceding over 20 shots while not making double figures. A special word has to go to Bill Nicholson, making his competitive début having barely joined the club – Darren’s rink went 12-4 ahead before suffering from vertigo and going down 13-16. Bob Turner’s rink had a handsome 25-16 win against a strong home team, so it wasn’t all gloom and doom even if the 1-6 points result put any chance of a title challenge in the same category as England’s World Cup hopes after their match against Uruguay on the same night.
At least the ladies won this week, with a 10-2 victory over Ponteland on a glorious afternoon where several players were seeking the shade even during the match. (The men will need to remember that result when taking on Ponteland next week in the Nines.) Little news was forthcoming about the match, so we shall merely add that in a very enjoyable friendly we recorded our first win over Alnwick for several years, with four of five rinks winning and a 105-69 margin. Sadly, as in our big win against Consett last Sunday, friendlies don’t count for trophies or league status – but in view of the recent run of bad results we need to cheer anything we can!