After a week of big wins followed by some big disappointments, this was perhaps a week to settle down into some kind of normality. The Nines team had their second bye of this second half of the season, which when added to two postponements means that we have gone over a month since the last game. This has allowed Heaton Victoria to take over at the top of the table, but in fact they are just six points ahead having played three games more, so we really ought to be able to make up the deficit. At the time of writing it is raining, with a lot more forecast, so let’s hope that the match on Tuesday survives.
The West Tyne match against Allen Valley ended in a comfortable win, although the news that Hexham House had scraped home against Haltwhistle meant that hopes of a league title disappeared like the setting sun. That sun had caused some problems during the match, though you would think that our own players would be ready for that in an evening fixture. Anyway, we won three of the four rinks, losing the fourth after some earnest calculations as Allen Valley had only two players against our three. They therefore lost a third of their total, and going into the last end with the score 18-11 in favour of the visitors one shot for our rink would have produced a draw at 12-12. The shot went to Allen Valley, however, so it worked out as 11-12.7 in the end, and a 6-1 win for ourselves overall.
The ladies duly beat Forest Hall, losing just the one rink to win 54-40 on shots and 10-2 on league points. This took us out of the relegation zone, just ahead of Benfield – who happen to be the next opponents (away). Clearly that’s another must-win match before a couple of games against the big guns in the league.
The leagues provide plenty of interest and excitement, but there is still a lot of fun as well as good competition in friendly matches. The match against Wooler on 26 July was a case in point. We lost three of the six triples games by three shots each, won two rinks by one shot and six shots, and drew one rink. How close was that? Well, the literal answer, of course, is that we lost the match overall 80-82, but in more general terms it was a great occasion, even down to the fact that we started ten minutes early because of the likelihood of rain, and were just clearing the green as the rain started. Neat! A lovely tea followed, with good company from Wooler – the emphasis on league results can risk overlooking this social aspect of bowls.
What was that about a week of normality? Jean Allen pulled off a great achievement on Sunday by winning the County four-wood championship, beating Pat Browne of Burradon 21-15. No one had won the Cup more than twice since about the 1960’s, but this is now Jean’s fourth victory. It’s becoming quite normal…