Note: This report should have been published back in the middle of July, but for some reason I failed to hit “Publish”. Sorry. It’s out of date, but maybe still of some interest…
There seem to be as many scoring systems in bowls as there are leagues – certainly the three league competitions in which our club plays all have different systems. For example, the men’s Nines league gives two points for each of three rinks, with an extra bonus of two points for whoever wins on rinks; on the other hand, the Collins & Shipley league, for ladies’ teams, also gives two points per rink but then throws in an additional six points for the side with the aggregate shots win.
With such radically different approaches you get situations where similar scores have very different outcomes. A couple of weeks ago our Nines team won 44-43 on shots at Ponteland but lost 2-6 on points because of winning only one rink; this week the ladies finished 49-47 ahead on shots against runaway league leaders Whitley Bay & Monkseaton and the resultant six bonus points meant a 10-2 win. When added to last week’s 11-1 win in a re-arranged match against Chirton that has really boosted their chances of promotion from Division 2.
It was a terrific match on a lovely afternoon. After 11 ends we were leading 29-24 on shots, with Jean’s rink well down but both Shelagh and Blanche ahead. Then, in the space of two ends the visitors scored 12 shots to just one, so that Blanche was just one shot ahead and Shelagh level. Suddenly we were five shots down, but there was a further twist as a three for Blanche plus a five for Shelagh changed things again. With those two rinks finishing 14 ahead, Jean’s task on the last end to finish was to keep the deficit to less than 14. A single on the last end did the trick, and showed excellent match management.
The same couldn’t be said for the Nines team in the match against Wallsend Park the night before. The triples were soon 1-9 down, and never recovered, while the fours collapsed, losing 16-17 despite having led 7-0 and 10-3. The pairs won 28-10, but it was no consolation to say that under the Collins & Shipley rules we would have had an 8-4 win on the night; the bald truth is that we lost yet another winnable match, and the 2-6 result makes relegation a very real possibility. For weeks we were able to say that the absence of key players was holding us back, but this week there was absolutely no excuse. At least we weren’t as bad as Brazil were, later in the evening, in their 1-7 humbling by Germany – but that’s not saying a lot, is it?
The season’s run of bad results continued in the West Tyne league, as we lost 1-6 to local rivals Hexham House. Yes, another scoring system, with one point for each of the four rinks, and then a bonus three for the shots aggregate. It turned out to be a bit of a mauling, but in fact after 11 ends we were in the lead (36-31) on shots, and on two rinks. It was after eleven ends that the ladies blew a fuse the day before, and by an uncanny coincidence this was the very point that things went wrong here. All four rinks lost the twelfth end, including a three against Darren and a five against Trevor, and the ten shots conceded really swung the match. However much we might have complained about the state of the green and the lack of swing, the fact that we were ahead after more than half the match does rather suggest we shouldn’t have let it slip away. But we did.
On the subject of letting things slip away, Jean and Trevor played the semi-final of the County Mixed Pairs competition against a pair from Willington Quay who brought an impressive number of supporters. It looked as if our pair were going to coast home as they were 18-10 ahead, and lying another one with only three ends to follow. However, neither Jean nor Trevor was alert to the danger of having no back bowls, and the opposition skip rattled the jack through to score a six, and rouse the travelling support. Another two for us calmed the nerves, but the opposition made a real fight of it: lying two down on the last end, and needing three to draw the match, the skip ditched the jack to score two shots, with a measure needed to establish that the game wasn’t tied. But a 20-19 win was enough to reach the Final (at Alnwick on Sunday 20 July). At least there will be no debate about the scoring system in that one!