Monthly Archives: July 2015

A Normal Week

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.

Tea after the matchThe 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…

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All-round Disappointment

Shell-shocked.  That was the mood after Thursday’s total hammering at the hands of our friends and enemies at Hexham House.  We had needed to win the match to have our chances of winning the West Tyne League in our own hands, though maybe a 2-5 defeat would have been enough to give us a chance.  All such calculations were rendered futile, however, as we lost 0-7, giving Hexham House a six-point lead at the top of the table with just two matches to play.

If we were searching for some crumbs of comfort it might be said that after 15 ends two of our rinks were each behind by only one shot (11-12 and 10-11).  Indeed, Keith’s rink was only 12-13 down going into the very last end, then lying one for a draw until Elvaston alumnus Clive Knott played one of the many bowls of his life to remove our shot bowl and claim two for the home side. But however close these rinks were, the other two both lost 11-22 – a comprehensive going-over which leaves us in a position where only a mathematician would say we could reclaim the title.

It wouldn’t need a mathematician to work out the total number of league points gained from that match and the ladies’ efforts at Ponteland the day before.  They lost all three rinks to go down 0-12 on points, bringing a sad end to a run of six consecutive away matches.  Let’s hope they recognise the Elvaston green when they finally get a home game next week.  Is it tempting fate to say that this is against Forest Hall, the bottom team in the league and without a win this season?  Ok, we shan’t say it.

One defeat which was not totally bad was Trevor Field’s 13-15 defeat by Jimmy Adams of Alston in the West Tyne Singles.  As noted last week, Trevor had won 15-9 in the first leg, so although a win would have been a bonus, the priority was not allowing Jimmy to make up his deficit; in the event, the home lead never went beyond four, but since that figure was reached after only three ends there was a need to settle down quickly.   The final is against Steve Doneathy of Prudhoe, also to be played at Alston.

So did we win anything?  Yes!  Jean Allen and Betty Boaden won the Northumberland section of the EWBA over-55 Pairs, and go down to Leamington Spa to represent the county.  Jean will also be in action in the Singles, having got to the County Final with a brilliant win against Rachel Proctor; in the Final on the weekend of 25-27 July Jean plays Pat Browne, with both players eligible to play in the National finals.  News of exact timings will be posted in the clubhouse and also on the website.  Well done Jean for taking the “dis” out of this week’s disappointments.

Wins All Round

The ladies travelled to Cowpen and Crofton for the start of the second half of the season, and despite a small scare on the way as the coach driver got lost they didn’t lose their way in the match. In this second week of Wimbledon we won by two “sets” to one, with two of them close (five shots up; two shots down), but the third rink won by a thumping margin of 27-10 for an overall shots margin of 54-34.   The bus driver would have noticed a much greater volume of noise on the way home, and shouldn’t have been surprised if he’d seen scarves waving out of the windows.

It was good to see a new bowler like Susan MacDonald making an impact on the top rink – and also impressive to see that she rushed home after the match in order to get down to the club for a mixed pairs tie in the rain!   Once the bowling bug gets you, you’ve had it…

Bowling Green at Alston

Bare necessities

With no Nines league match this week league interest was firmly on the West Tyne match at Alston.  This was like Wimbledon as well – that is, the rinks resembled the central area of the baseline at the tennis, with large bare patches that were apparently burned in the dry spring. In fairness, they didn’t affect the run of the bowls as much as seemed likely, and the groundsman has done a great job over the last couple of seasons – but all in all the surface was considerably less flat than SW19.

As often happens on bowling greens the rinks all seemed to have one dead-straight hand and one that bent like a wall of death, but once we all got used to it things improved. Apart from dropping one league point after losing a four on the last end of one rink it was a good night, with a 77-48 win on shots, and the one-shot lead over Hexham House at the top of the table maintained.

Trevor Field found his first trip to Alston of special interest as he has to go back there next week for the second leg of a West Tyne Singles tie against the Alston men’s champion of 2015.  Trevor won the first leg (over 18 ends) by a 15-9 margin.  Jimmy Adams played a great last bowl on the last end to turn a likely four into a mere one for Trevor, who will wish that the “handicap” on the Alston green had been rather more than six.

The triples team of Field, Woods and Norman (a pity his name wasn’t Flowers) reached the semi-final of the West Tyne Triples with an away victory at Hexham House.  It was close for the first 12 ends, with both sides struggling to cope with what even the home side were calling a “terrible” rink, but from that point on the Elvaston team took charge, going from 10-7 to 23-7 and finishing in style with a six.  The match was unusual in that there was an audience – not Wimbledon numbers, granted, but at least there were more spectators than players, which at our level of bowls is saying something. The reward for this win is a semi played either at Hexham House or Alston.  “You cannot be serious…”

These reports normally concentrate on league or cup matches, as opposed to club competitions, but a special mention has to go to David Ashworth and David Robertson for their two-wood contest. Their high-noon bowlathon lasted 32 ends, which surprised not only the players but also Jean Allen, who had agreed to mark it at the last minute and was left wondering if there were extra supplies of scorecards.  After ten ends it was 8-8; after fifteen it was 11-11; after 27 ends it was 18-18, at which point David A went ahead for the first time in the match.  Like tennis players in a long tie-break the pair traded shots (all but one of the last fifteen ends were singles) to reach 20-20.  David A then put his opener jack-high and only a foot or so from the jack, and David R fell badly short.  In went a second counter, and David Robertson had one last effort.  “Don’t be short!” he said, and promptly made a direct hit to trail the jack, stay with it, and win 21-20.  Game, set and match!

(Next post: on or around 19 July)