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…
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)