Tag Archives: Bell Cup

Black Wednesday

Bell Cup playersWednesday 10 June may have been just about the best day of the year so far for weather, but it certainly didn’t have matching success on the green.  At least the men looked the part for the Bell Cup, held at Alnwick, but the smiles in the photo reflected our only win of the day, before lunch.

After that it was all downhill, and for yet another year we finished bottom of the pile on qualifying day.  We really must do better next time. Four games of 11 elevens for each of the two rinks, and although we weren’t outclassed in the various games there were too many big scores against us, and in this round robin format that’s fatal.   But the weather and the food were great, so as Ken said, if you leave aside the bowls, getting two out of three wasn’t bad.

The ladies were meanwhile at Bedlington Dr Pit in the Collins and Shipley, and even if they had got two rinks out of three they might not have won the points, since one rink went down 7-26.  The other two rinks finished one shot up and one shot down, showing that the ladies aren’t out of their depth in this league, but such a heavy defeat is almost bound to sink the ship.  It was another 2-10 defeat overall, but in fairness that was against the team who were in second position, so depending on other results it needn’t be seen as a great setback.

The previous night the Nines nine had gone to Heaton Victoria sitting top of the table but knowing that the Heaton team always give us a very close game.  On a lovely evening it was nice to see club shirts still visible during the second half of the game rather than being submerged in thick layers.

The playing surface was flat and green, but in other terms it was a disappointment, with straight runs on all the rinks.  More than one of our players could be heard complaining that this was more like skittles than bowls.  It didn’t matter how much bias your bowls normally took, on these rinks one hand would be uniformly straight, and once there were a couple of bricks in the wall in front of the jack the only way to shift things was with a direct hit.

The fours found the way to deal with it early on, and after a couple of big scores were home and hosed by about the tenth end – the final margin was 23-12.  The pairs also won, albeit much more closely and with a chance that it might all go wrong on the last end if the Heaton skip had made the right connection; 13-9 showed how close the game was.  The triples really struggled, never once in the lead and watching end after end disappear with ones or twos, so that the final score of 8-19 was disappointing but not unfair.  Anyway, apart from the minor detail of a 44-40 win on shots, that meant a 6-2 win on points, consolidating top position after a tricky night out.

Thursday saw the West Tyne team turn out at Allendale, where the green has been hugely improved over recent years.  On yet another calm, fine night we were playing alternate ends directly into the setting sun, which a few players found tricky – especially if they hadn’t taken a hat – but overall it was a comfortable win, with three rinks ahead and one losing after dropping two consecutive fives just before the end.  This came about largely as a result of a firing lead, and clearly requires some tactical thinking before we go back there next Thursday for a Cup semi-final!  And this time we’ll all take hats…

(Next post due: 21 June)

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A Win, at last

The season so far has featured a number of games in which our teams have lost narrowly on shots, but found themselves on the wrong end of a big defeat because of the bonus points awarded either for the number of rinks won or for overall shots. This week was no exception – in fact, it produced some of the most frustrating results so far.

The ladies were over at Tynemouth for their Collins & Shipley match, and ended up losing 42-45 on shots – a crucial gap when this league gives six of the possible 12 points to the winners on shots. Eileen’s rink came back well from 5-8 down to win six ends on the trot and win 16-9, but the other two rinks were running second for most of the game and ended up that way too.  One of the messages that came out was the need to keep ends tight and to limit the damage on ends that are lost.   The Tynemouth rink which won 18-16, for example, won only 8 of the 18 ends, but four of these counted 5,3,3,3 – that trio of threes coming in the last six ends.   The overall result was a disappointing loss (2-10).

Of course, it’s easy to analyse such scores but harder to do anything about it  when the pressure is on.  The men found the same thing in a narrow loss at High Heaton – narrow on shots, that is, but the 8-0 points margin to the hosts would make it sound anything but. Our pairs lost 16-19 for the second away game in a row – a particularly careless defeat as we were leading 13-4 after ten ends and by 14-7 after twelve.  At that point a three and a four to the opposition brought the scores level, and the mood changed.  The moral here was that there are ends where you might as well accept that you have lost a one, rather than try to “open things up” too early.

The fours lost 12-13 after going into the last end level – Richard Marshall once again filled in admirably and Bob Turner almost brought the ship home.  The triples meanwhile lost a seven en route to a four-shot defeat, so that the overall aggregate loss by eight shots hardly reflected the balance of play. We are not playing badly at the moment – but we are giving away too many counts.

Having said that, our single point in the course of the Bell Cup  (at Gosforth on 11 June) did rather reflect on the performance. The solitary draw from four matches meant we finished in fifth position of five on the day, and even allowing for the natural loss of motivation when it becomes apparent that there is nothing left to play for, this was a disappointing effort. At least Bernard won a raffle prize!  There had been a much better showing in the Challenge Cup, held on our own green the previous weekend, when we finished second out of five, but well behind the excellent Cramlington team who duly qualified for the finals.

At least the week ended with some good news, as Bob Turner, Darren and Trevor wrapped up a comfortable win in the West Tyne Triples.  Playing at Haltwhistle in the preliminary round they adapted quickly to a tricky rink, and despite finding themselves 1-5 down after four ends proceeded to win nine ends on the bounce to go 13-5 ahead; even more importantly they then kept things really tight to end the match 17-8 up.  The next match is against the other Elvaston team – David Barker, David Ashworth and Shelagh Carter had an excellent win the other week against a strong Hexham House side – so there shouldn’t be too much trouble arranging dates or travel.  On second thoughts, with all the games still to come in June, perhaps it’s only the travel that will be easy…