Some draws feel like defeats, while others can feel like a win. It was definitely the latter on Tuesday, as we came from behind to grab a draw with Hexham House in the Nines and maintain our points lead over them in the table.
The pairs got off to a bad start, and ended up taking the sort of defeat they have been handing to others lately. Down 1-17 after ten ends they did make it more respectable by coming back to 8-24, but the result was never in doubt. There was plenty of doubt about the other rinks, however, with each of them behind at various points. The fours were ahead early on, then found themselves 10-15 down around the half-way mark. From here it was a struggle, but they narrowed the gap to one with a couple of ends to go, and finished up winning 19-18 – the first rink to actually finish and providing a boost for the triples, who still had two to play.
The triples had struggled early on, losing the first five ends but at least holding the score to 0-5. Then, with a six to help, they were ahead after ten and fifteen ends before losing two ends and going into the last end three down. An adventurous bowl by Brian Norman gave the others something to aim for and with the last bowl of the night we secured the three shots which drew that rink and the whole match. Considering the triples won only seven of the 18 ends it was a bit of a smash-and-grab raid, but as we all know these things happen.
They certainly didn’t happen for the ladies in their Collins and Shipley match at Amble. Losses by 11, 12 and 15 shots on the three rinks sent them to their heaviest defeat of the season. Last week we were seeing causes for optimism in the way matches are scheduled, but you would have to be an extreme optimist to find positives in this result. As in, “at least it wasn’t 40 shots”…
Several of the ladies were in action again the next day, with Jean and Betty getting to the final of the County over-55’s by virtue of a great win over Norma Craig and Pat Brown at Burradon. Ever eager to get on the green, Jean promptly turned out for the West Tyne match at Haltwhistle in the evening. Somehow the threatened rain got no worse than a light drizzle all evening, and we got away not only with the weather but also with a really good result – a win, a loss and two drawn rinks. The two draws were a bit careless, as one came from a three given away on the last end, while the other came after dropping a five on the penultimate end. Nevertheless, you would always settle for a 5-2 points win at Haltwhistle, and David Ashworth’s 27-8 defeat of David Lee’s rink is bound to be one of the stand-out results of the season.
It’s not all good news. Jean and Trevor were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the County Mixed Pairs, well beaten by Liz Emerson and David Crozier of Ponteland. Losing ten shots on the bounce to go 3-16 down was a bad start but it still left plenty of time, and with nine shots of our own it came back to 12-16, then 14-17. Even with two ends to go it was just 18-22, but a good end for the Ponteland pair effectively sealed the deal and the last end was played in the vain hope of trying to burn it simply in order to earn another chance to score a seven! What was that about extreme optimism?
Next week (beginning 29 June) there will be no competitive matches: not only do the ladies have a bye, but a number of the men are away with the Gosforth Tourists, so that the Nines and West Tyne games have been postponed. The next match reports will be in two weeks, on or around 11 July.