After the unusual heatwave of last week we are back to what is actually the norm for June – unpredictable, with heavy showers or longer periods of rain. The green was flooded on Tuesday, which would certainly have knocked out our home Nines game against Ponteland had it not already been postponed because so many of our team were away in the Borders with the Gosforth Tourists. Then tonight (29th) the West Tyne match at Alston was called off, as it would have been had it been here.
The ladies did manage to get their Collins and Shipley game played at Whitley & Monkseaton, though it was a real struggle on a difficult green with the bowls often fighting the bias. If you read that as a softening up for the news that we lost all three rinks, you’re right. What was that old joke about being the strongest team in the league – holding all the others up…
Club competitions are moving on, and although they don’t normally feature in match reports several recent games were good enough to merit a mention. In the handicap Mark started 3-0 ahead of Trevor, but soon found himself 8-13 down. At this point he changed the jack length with dramatic effect, winning the next six ends and scoring 12 shots to lead 20-13, whereupon Trevor got the jack, changed the mat position and got back to 20-19 before Mark clinched the match with two excellent bowls.
The handicap was also pretty accurate in the match between Brian Norman and David Boaden. Here they started 2-4, and the match was very tight all the way. After 22 ends they had won 11 each, with the score 19-16 to David, who then got two singles in the next three ends to edge it 21-18. With just 33 shots scored on 25 ends it was a game which didn’t give the marker much variety in the scores recorded. The same could be said for a long 4-wood match in which Trevor beat David Robertson 22-11: David won ten of the 24 ends, obviously getting singles on all but one of them.
Yet another close match saw Pete Seago and Keith beat David Boaden and Mark 11-7 after 15 ends. As in David’s handicap match it took until the eighth end for anyone to score more than one, and there were just three twos in all.
In the mixed pairs Sylvia and Darren were leading 11-8 against Christina and Malcolm (Cooper) after 12 ends, at which point Christina piled several early bowls in and Darren found himself at least four down. The predictable drive followed, and – aided by a slight wick that his Dad will never let him forget – he buried the jack in the ditch to pick up three shots and the game was effectively over.
With reference to the various close games in our own competitions, let me throw in this detail from the Balcomb Trophy, a national competition between the counties, with two men’s rinks on each side. This year Cumbria have reached the national finals, playing Devon in the semi at the end of August. But on the way there they had to play Nottinghamshire in the semi-final of the Northern section. One rink drew 22-22 and the other won 18-17. No doubt there were a few people saying “If only…” after that match.
Now, if only it would stop raining…