Little Action

This has been a stop-go season.  When we plotted the schedule, based on league fixtures and friendlies, it all looked quite full.  But for various reasons large gaps have appeared, some of them due to weather, some because another team has dropped out of the league, and on one occasion because we were propelled into hosting an external event.

This week was a case in point.  Even our internal Shield game suffered on Monday as a probable result of the England football match being on TV, though anyone who stayed at home to watch the match might have ended up throwing bowls at the telly rather than towards a jack.  It’s when you see highly-paid professionals having a brain-freeze or becoming totally inept that you realise just how skilled so many of us are as amateurs.

Anyway, there was no game on Tuesday because so many of our Nines team were away on the Gosforth tour.  The Gosforth Tourists, that is – a club which exists solely for the purposes of touring, for a week each year. By coincidence our match would have been against Gosforth, who have no members in the touring club (keep up!) but who agreed to postpone – albeit with some dark noises that technically only county tours should be valid reasons for postponement.  That does seem a bit precious, even in a sport as obsessed with rules as bowls.  Since both clubs have a bye on 26 July we are playing the game then.

So that left the ladies to be first up for a real game on Wednesday – or would have done, had it not been for a downpour overnight, and then more on Wednesday morning so that postponement was inevitable.

Try again, shall we?  Thursday night saw us at Hexham House, playing their B team in the West Tyne league.  Rain was forecast for mid- to late evening, but in fact it arrived ahead of schedule.  It wasn’t very heavy, but anyone who has spent the thick end of two hours playing in the rain knows that you still get pretty wet, with all the attendant extra things like cloths and waterproofs to consider.  For a while it looked debatable as to whether we would reach the 12 ends needed to constitute a match, but once that checkpoint was passed we carried on in much the same conditions to the end.

Three rinks were very close.  Brian Elstob steered his team calmly as ever, and needed to be calm as – despite never being behind – they dropped two fours and a three so that nice leads kept on being reduced to a single shot (6-5, 12-11 and 16-15).  It was perhaps just as well they stopped when they did on 17-16.
Steve Benson’s rink got an early 4-1 lead but that was the biggest lead of the match, as there were never more than two shots in it; they were level at 10-10 and 11-11 before going into the last end 11-12 down but then scoring  three.  It will be no surprise if we note that this match finished nine ends apiece.
The third close rink was Trevor’s.  Although the result seemed secure for most of the game, a late fightback, helped by an unlikely fluke, put the home side four behind with one end to go.    The way the game had gone, this was easy to defend, and losing just a single on the last end ensured a three-shot win.
So that meant a shots lead of just six from three ends.  We could easily have lost the overall match if the fourth rink had gone down badly.  However, Darren was in no mood to mess about, and was – as someone said – on fire.  Drawing to the jack or taking out opposition bowls to increase our shots tally he was winning ends for fun.  It was fun for us on the next rink, anyway, though certainly not for the opposing team, and a final score of 32-8 was built on having three fives and a four in the total.   It was also the case that with one massive lead on the scoreboard the other rinks could judge their own tactics with less anxiety. Overall, then, an 80-50 win, and all seven league points.
Our green was used today for a ladies’ County match (vs Yorkshire), so at least there was one bit of enjoyable activity on the green this week.  But otherwise we have to wait for Tuesday (Cramlington in the Nines) for our stop-go season to proceed.

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