The week started well, with a big win for the Nines team at Throckley. The results for this league are so slow in being posted that the league tables are indicative only, but it would seem that whatever happened this week we would (at worst) still be a close second in the table with a game in hand. All three rinks won, with scores of 32-10 (pairs), 22-8 (triples) and 24-10 (fours). Clearly it was pretty well one-way traffic, and Darren’s scorecard looked more like a scorer’s record of Ben Stokes’s innings against New Zealand, with a succession of big hits, hardly any singles and not a lot of dot balls either.
One notable feature (again, like that cricket match) was the sporting nature of the contest: although Throckley were on the wrong side of a big defeat they were totally pleasant company throughout – you have to admit that it isn’t always the case.
The Ladies went into the game against Benfield as usual with a different line-up from the previous week’s winning formula, but this seemed to make no difference as they came out with a 10-2 points win to add to the precious twelve points of last week. Blanche’s rink won by one shot, with a deflection off the last bowl of the match, and the others were quite evenly poised, with Shelagh’s rink losing and Pat’s rink winning by a similar margin. However close it was on shots, the scoring system gave us the big points win for aggregate shots – and no one would be complaining.
The West Tyne team was missing five or six regulars, and was grateful to those who were willing to stand in. Here the rinks had to be moved around out of necessity, but the balance proved to be just right against Alston. For the second day running Blanche’s rink won by one shot, despite or even because of a bizarre mix-up where the opposition skip completely misread the head on the last end and assumed he was five (not two) down. Jean had an efficient four-shot win, while David Ashworth’s rink won 19-14 thanks simply to a five on the last end! Finally, Brian Elstob’s rink won 23-6 after being tied 5-5 after nine ends, so we were definitely like those football teams that get stronger as the game goes on.
At the same time as that match was going on Darren and George were winning their National Pairs match 18-17 after 21 ends – once again the ability to hang on at the sharp end of the match was rewarded. The only blot on this successful week, therefore, was the utter humbling at the hands of a strong Gosforth rink in the National fours. Our only hope here was to get a good start. We didn’t. After four ends we were 0-6 down, and although we then scored a three we managed only one more single before we threw in the towel after just 14 ends, with the score at 4-25 and threatening to get a lot worse. No excuses: we were outplayed. At least it put the earlier wins into perspective…