“Ever try. Ever fail. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Samuel Beckett was certainly thinking of more cosmic things than bowls when he wrote that terse summary of life’s aims, but the words were so apt for the Nines team this week. There have been some close defeats this season, but none more so than the game with Ponteland on a sunny but surprisingly fresh evening. Even the Ponteland green seemed to have taken a chill, running much slower than in the sunshine two days earlier. Not that that explains the result, which was just one of those things.
As Luis Suárez was getting his teeth into a new challenge against Italy, so we showed, er, a bit more bite against a side that was riding high in the league. The triples stayed close for a long time against a very strong Ponteland team, 9-9 after eleven ends before losing ten shots in the next five ends; even then they didn’t give up, scoring a six to make the last end more than academic, but it panned out as a five-shot win to Ponteland. Meanwhile David Ashworth’s fours went ahead early and the only question all through was how big the win would be – in the event they won by seven shots, Most important, they really looked like they were playing as a team.
So that was all square, with the pairs to decide it.The match had been close all through, 6-4 to Ponteland after ten ends, which must be on the way to some kind of record for single shots. It was then 7-7 after 13 ends, and 10-10 after 16, when we were lying shot until the opposing skip burnt the end and we had to replay it – sadly we lost a three at this point, and could manage only two on the last end for 12-13 Trevor’s last bowl needed to stop just short of the ditched jack to earn a draw but it toppled apologetically into the ditch, taking our hopes with it. In fact, since we won the shots count 44-43, a draw there would have given us three more league points. Despite this huge disappointment this was a much more encouraging display than in recent weeks, and the return of Brian and Keith was clearly a huge boost. Now for the second half of the season…
The West Tyne league is well into the second half already, but wins are still elusive, as shown by yet another draw ((59-59 on shots), this time against Prudhoe. David Ashworth’s team had a great comeback after being at least 11 shots down, and finished just four behind. One rink lost by 14, though, and this meant that Darren played his last bowls trying for a third shot to win the overall match. None of them went in, and two shots on this final end meant the match was drawn. It looks like Prudhoe and ourselves will be having a private duel for third place, and on this evidence it will be quite a tussle.