Just as we near the end of the season the sun comes out and players start to complain about feeling uncomfortable in the heat – about as inconsistent and frustrating as the England cricket team. With just one outstanding league game to come next week in the Collins and Shipley, this is the time to wrap up our summaries with a review of several successful matches in the last couple of weeks.
In the Nines league we played a double-header at Forest Hall, with two games of nine ends each. These games aren’t entirely satisfactory, but things had reached the point where everyone was glad to have just one evening out instead of two. For most of the season we have relied on the pairs and triples for points, but on this occasion (or if we maintain the fiction of two matches, these occasions) the formula didn’t work – so much so that the pairs and triples both switched team positions for the second game.
Even these changes didn’t make a lot of difference. The pairs had won the first game 9-7 thanks to a three on the ninth (last) end; but despite scoring well in the ends that they won in the second game they just managed a 10-10 draw. The triples meanwhile lost the first session 5-11, even with a four on the last end, but did then improve considerably to win the second half by a relatively resounding 8-7. This left the fours as the star performers of the night, winning 13-3 and 11-2. The result of all this in terms of league standings was that we won the first game 6-2 on points, and the second one 7-1. Considering that the pairs and triples finished 32-35 down on shots for the night, this was a spectacular heist. It also propelled us into second place in the Nines league – unheard of in recent years – although we shall certainly slip to third when New Delaval finally play the three games they have in hand. However, third is a nice place to be after a long, hard season.
On Saturday of last week we played the West Tyne Cup Final against Hexham House B at Haltwhistle after the Prudhoe green had turned out to be unplayable earlier in the week. It was a bright day with a really strong crosswind that made the draw shot rather unpredictable on one side of the rink, but obviously it was the same for both sides, and we went into a big lead on all three rinks, thanks to two of our rinks scoring a six on their seventh ends. Hexham House came back strongly on Malcolm’s rink, but his team held on for a 16-12 win, while the rinks skipped by Trevor and Philip won by eight and eighteen shots respectively. Of course, this competition is decided simply on rinks, so the score is recorded as 3-0, but it was a satisfyingly large margin on the day.
It was perhaps as well that the previous night our Nines game with Hexham House had been rained off, as we would also meet them in the West Tyne Gala Day hosted at our club on Sunday. It was a really successful day, with a lot of close games in the round-robin format, but at the end of the day, in which we somehow escaped a whole heap of heavy showers along the valley, Elvaston emerged on top with four wins out of five. Genuinely no one had seen this coming, and (if anything) getting a thumping from Haltwhistle in the middle game of the five had led us to think we had no real chance. Other results went our way, however, and it was great to win a second trophy in two days – actually, the first time we have won the Gala Day since 1998.
A good way to finish the season, then. The statistics provided by WordPress tell me that this is the one hundredth post since the “Green Green Grass” started growing. With that century achieved, it’s definitely time to take a breather, before (maybe) taking a fresh guard for next season. As ever, thanks for reading.