Pride of place this week has to go to the Ladies’ team, who travelled to Forest Hall on the back of two 2-10 home defeats. As reported last time, the defeat against Ponteland had been quite a close affair, despite the fact that Ponteland top the table after three matches. The first way match of the season might have appeared a little daunting, but in the event all three rinks won, two of them very comfortably, and the 12-0 scoreline lifted us several places up the league.
With no Nines match this week, the only other league match was a West Tyne game against Prudhoe. The Prudhoe green was running really fast, with very short grass – and slopes near the banks meant that anything past a full-length jack would almost certainly roll into the ditch. However, all the rinks worked it out, some more quickly than others, and we were pleased with the outcome.
Both David Ashworth’s rink and George’s won just eight of the 18 ends, but whereas this resulted in a narrow loss (15-17) for George, David was helped enormously by a four and a six, to come home by 17-14 Since this rink had been leading 13-5 at the half-way mark it was as well the match finished when it did!
Darren’s rink took a while to get going, and indeed after 10 ends they were 6-8 down. But from that point on they didn’t lose another end, and won 18-8. By this stage the match points were already safe, thanks to the 26-9 on the fourth rink, where Pete Seago was Man of the Match with a brilliant display. Drawing bowls in from all angles, he reduced the Prudhoe team and his own skip to the role of spectators. The win would have been even bigger but for our giving away a three and a four near the end.
Overall, then, it was another 6-1 win – not enough to keep up with Hexham House, but after last year’s travails a very encouraging start to the season.
It’s the time of year when various Bowls Northumberland knock-out competitions start. In the Mixed Pairs Trevor and Jean renewed their partnership with a big (27-7) win at Gosforth. In the Men’s Triples, Darren, Keith and Trevor played against a Hexham House trio led by Shaun Blaylock, who had an excellent game and secured several ends that had seemed cast-iron certs for ourselves. One shot in particular – stopping us from nailing a four – was crucial in that a possible 12-5 lead suddenly went back to 8-6, and the Hexham House team won five ends on the trot before we went ahead by one with one end to play. Sadly we played a really bad final end, and the lights went out.
Two days later it was a similar story, as we played the round-robin Jubilee Cup qualifiers at Benfield. Despite winning two matches very easily, including against Walker, the Nines champions of last year, we had a shocker against Seaton Sluice, losing 4-16 over nine ends, and so we finished second on shots. That too was a very winnable situation, so it was a big disappointment. Obviously we need some tuition from the ladies on how to win…