After last week’s successes there was almost bound to be a return to mixed results, and so it proved.
The closest league match of the week was certainly the West Tyne game against Hexham House. Both teams were missing a few players, but the overall standard was still very good, and it made quite a difference playing on a calm, sunny evening. One rink finished one shot up to Hexham House, one finished one up to us, and a third was drawn, so things there could hardly be closer; unfortunately one of our rinks lost by nine shots and of course that was the overall margin, with Hexham House getting the shots bonus. On our winning rink Darren saved a point on the final end, drawing second shot to ensure the one-shot win, and not even risking his final bowl.
In the Collins and Shipley league the ladies had a difficult day on a very heavy green at Whitley & Monkseaton. It was apparently quite an effort to get bowls up to full length, and a real struggle, with only one rink winning and a long trip home after a 2-10 defeat.
There was no such problem with heavy greens at Gosforth when Trevor and Jean played their Mixed Pairs game against a Gosforth team. The bowls were, as they say, flyin’, especially in the direction where they were wind-assisted on one of the windiest June days on record. This didn’t make for very accurate bowling, but both sides were equally disadvantaged, and it was a close match throughout – for example, just 8-7 to the home team after 12 ends. We then moved ahead 13-8, but back they came to within a single shot, and it was only on the twentieth end that a four put us in a comfortable position, seven up with one end to play.
Even by the end of the week the wind was still blowing strong, causing mild havoc at the Challenge Cup competition at Cowpen and Crofton. This time it was a cross-wind, which made things difficult in both directions – in fact, this was the biggest challenge of the day. Hats and bits of foliage were blown across the green from time to time, and the scoreboard cards had to be tied with thick elastic bands, or otherwise they were flicking over like the old-fashioned departure boards at airports. Anyway, there were just four clubs in the pool, so it turned into a round robin of three matches of 15 ends, with each club having two rinks. So each club played two games against the other three, with results based on the aggregate scores over the two “legs”. Against the home team our “B” rink lost by three, but the “A” rink won by four; and against Tynemouth the “B” rink’s four-shot defeat was matched by a five-shot win for the “A” group – so both matches were the narrowest of wins. Against Haltwhistle, however, our luck (or rather, our skill) ran out, and both rinks lost, quite deservedly and with no room for debate. Good luck to Haltwhistle in the final.
Finally, the Nines team had a big win (8-0) against Forth on the Tuesday night. The wind that day had calmed down a bit and somehow the heavy black clouds produced nothing more than scattered showers so that the game went the distance – fortunately for us, as the pairs were behind for quite a long time. The triples had an easy 24-9 win that came out even bigger when Forth lost a quarter of their score for having only three players, while the triples clocked up 30 shots. With Hexham House winning big over at North Shields we therefore went to the top of the table, still with a game in hand over North Shields. Next week it’s Heaton Victoria, who in recent seasons have always given us a really good game, so we can expect something much tougher, even if the weather is bound to be better. Isn’t it?…