The week started with a narrow loss for the Jubilee Cup team (Brian N, Keith, David A and Trevor) over at Backworth. It was a surprisingly heavy green which also played much faster one way than the other, but that of course was the same for all the teams there, playing at a neutral venue. In a round-robin format with four teams in the pool you can’t often afford a defeat, but we just slipped up in our first game, losing 9-10 after going into the last end 9-8 ahead. If that wasn’t enough we then found ourselves 9-8 up again going into the last end against Ponteland, but dropped a shot to draw. That meant the competition was over for us, and even a thumping 18-3 win in our last game left us feeling a bit flat. Ifs and maybe’s…
The Nines on Tuesday was another close match. When we played Walker in this fixture last year we won 8-0, but we’d all agreed it could easily have been 8-0 to them if just a few bowls had fallen differently. It was close again this year. At half-way (nine ends) the shots score was 22-21 to us, with the three rinks showing 8-6, 7-6 and 7-9. After that the fours fell away, losing 10-24, but both the triples and pairs had a good spell after the half-way mark. The triples built up a five-shot lead which was never really threatened as they won 13-10, but Peter and Trevor had a scare after leading by six with four ends to play and seeing the lead whittled away to one. In the gathering gloom the Walker skip could have clinched the match with his last bowl, but fortunately for us he missed his target and the 14-12 result meant we had a vital 6-2 points win.
It was Trevor’s second close win of the day. In the morning he and Jean Allen played a County mixed pairs match at Burradon. The Elvaston pair played well enough, winning six of the first eleven ends. Unfortunately, the home team’s five ends included every score from one to five, so that they led 15-9. Worse was to follow, as the lead stretched to 18-9 after thirteen. However, in a 21-end match the “run-rate” was still manageable, especially as we got some momentum from winning the next five ends to take the lead. The last few ends were very tight, and there was a chance for the opposition to draw or even win the game with the very last bowl, but here too there was just too much to do and Jean and Trevor won 24-20. The next match is also away, at Amble (2 June).
The Ladies clearly hadn’t read the script (or my draft for this piece), as they had anything but a close result in the Collins & Shipley league, beating Seaton Delaval 10-2 on points. Two rinks had large wins of over ten shots, but the third rink fell away and lost their lead in the last few ends to lose by four. There were a lot of short bowls on this rink, but even when Thelma drew what looked like the perfect shot to draw level near the end the opposing skip was still able to take it out to confirm a win.
Despite the heavy rain on Wednesday night, and standing water on the green by Thursday morning, it had dried out enough to allow the Edwardson Cup game against Cramlington to go ahead. Last week we enjoyed a narrow win in Round 1, but tonight we were on the receiving end. After a slow start we were 14 shots down at half-way (nine ends), but a good recovery saw one rink draw, one win by five shots and one lose by nine: a 47-51 defeat was all the more galling in that Trevor’s rink (21-16) lost only one of the last nine ends – but it was a seven! What was that about ifs and maybe’s?