Tag Archives: Wallsend

Some Optimism

The week had a full variety of matches, ranging from friendlies through league matches to a Cup semi-final, and in all 30 members had at least one game.

Five triples turned out for the friendly at Consett on Sunday. This was our second visit to Sherburn Park, and the welcome and hospitality were as warm and fulsome as on the inaugural match two years ago.   The sides were extremely well matched, and by about halfway it was becoming obvious that there would be one rink well ahead for each club, with the other three pretty close.  So it proved, and not only that but the shots ended 78-all, which for a friendly really couldn’t be better.  The supply of cakes and sandwiches and pies and tarts and marshmallows seemed to go on for ever, and when all that was finished there was a very generous raffle.  The only thing which some of us might have changed (given that it was a friendly) would be to have the usual 18 ends with one shot on the first two ends, instead of 16 with a couple of trials – but this was no big deal.

By Friday it was time for a longer trip, to Alnwick, where the tea was also fulsome and the hospitality excellent; even the weather was brighter than it was in Hexham.  The only thing wrong with the day was the eventual score (as if that matters in a friendly), but at least one of our new members, John McArdle, finished on our top rink on his début.  And on a day when four of our new members played in the match (whenever could we last say that?) we received two more application forms: things are looking up.

They were already looking up after the West Tyne Cup semi-finals on Thursday.   Hexham House were playing over at Alston, and despite winning one rink 32-13 they lost the other two, so that Alston made it to the final.  Whether they would play ourselves or Allen Valley was in doubt until the last few minutes of our match at Allendale.  Ken’s rink was well ahead early on, and then maintained that advantage to win by six shots; but Trevor’s Trio did the reverse, falling well behind in the early stages and just failing to catch up, losing by three.  It’s just as well that David Ashworth, Blanche and Alan stuck in after losing an early five, coming back to win by just one.   Because of our overall shots advantage Allen Valley needed a five on the last end here, but managed just a three – altogether too close for comfort!   The final will be played on the Chairman’s green, as always, and that gives Alston home advantage – it’s a good job we have a league game there before that to get a bit of practice.

In the Nines we stayed top of the table with a good win over Wallsend Park B.  The match had some pretty ridiculous scores.  Darren and Peter lost the first two ends, and after five ends were 2-4 down, but at this point they stopped dealing in singles, losing only two more ends to finish 31-8 ahead with the final 16 shots unanswered.  They polished off the match several ends before the other two rinks, both of which finished with a scoreline of 26-6 – but unfortunately only one of them (the triples) was in our favour, with the fours winning only four ends, including a three on the last.  The Wallsend skip in the fours said that the last time he was here, in a National competition, the present clubhouse wasn’t even there – but he and his team played as if they were regular visitors.

The ladies had a heavy defeat at Burradon in the Collins and Shipley (no details are available, but let’s just say that we failed to trouble the scorers); however, other results meant that their mid-table position is still secure, and once this run of difficult away matches is over there should be an easier run-in with four home games at the end.  That’s the thing about bowls – there’s always a reason to be optimistic, somewhere…

A Win, a Defeat, and a Draw

There are an awful lot of bowls bowled in the course of a league match: in the case of the Nines league there are precisely 900 in the evening.  It was remarkable, then, that on Tuesday the whole result boiled down to the fate of the 900th!  Let me explain.

Wallsend Park “A” were playing their first game of the season, after two byes, but they were certainly not rusty, going into a lead on two rinks before being pegged back.  Our fours repeated their first result of the season, coming from behind to win quite comfortably – scoring a six half-way through didn’t hamper the cause, and in fact counted as most of the eventual winning margin.  The pairs, meanwhile, also had a similar experience to the first week, making up a deficit and going into a good-looking lead before two bad ends (losing half a dozen shots) allowed Wallsend into the lead – all the more galling in that the visitors finally won by a single shot.

So that was one rink each.  The triples, meantime, had been in a tight game all night, with the margin between the teams never more than two shots until the sixteenth end, when it stretched to four (15-11) in our favour.  But the Wallsend skip had earlier predicted it would go to the last end, and so it proved.  On the last bowl of the penultimate end, with our team four ahead and lying one, he managed to send the jack right back to where their lead had put three dreadful bowls at the start of the end: three shots to them, and now only one in it.

On the last end another weighted shot gave Wallsend a winning position of three shots, but we cut it down to one and almost pinched the shot as Trevor’s second bowl stopped half a centimetre from the jack – unfortunately Wallsend had one literally touching it!.  And that’s where the 900th bowl became decisive – clipping either of the bowls on the jack would probably give us the match 6-2, but hitting them too hard might give away more than one shot and end up 2-6.  In fact, Trevor’s approach was just too careful, and fell short, which with everyone watching was a bit of an anti-climax!  Overall, it meant the points were shared 4-4, and on the night, you would have to say it was a fair result – even the ends were split 27-27.

The ladies played against Ponteland “A” the next day, and once again put up a good fight with the bare bones of a team.   Shelagh and Christine did really well at the back end on their rink and pulled off an excellent 17-10 win.  On the last few ends especially they frustrated the opposition by getting in for the shot when all seemed lost – on the fifteenth end Shelagh magicked two on the last bowl to make it 14-10, then two ends later Christine effectively won the game by stealing the shot when Ponteland were lying three good shots.

Blanche’s rink lost by six shots, with Thelma in great form as lead and Lesley Lofthouse making a very impressive début – it was great to see some coloured bowls on our side in a Collins and Shipley match!  Over those two rinks, then, we were just one ahead, and Betty’s rink had kept in touch so well that a three on the final end would actually have tied the scores.  The words “would have” give the story away, don’t they?  It didn’t happen, and it was another 2-10 defeat – but considering the number of County players in the Ponteland squad this was a good showing.

After last week’s West Tyne Cup win against Haltwhistle it was strange to see much the same people turning up again for the league match on Thursday.  Once again we had just managed to put together a team – but with so many new members this year (either new or experienced bowlers) it looks as if the days of scratching around for a team will soon be over.

As it happened, those who did play put in an even better performance than last week’s.  Last year Haltwhistle came to our green on the first night of the league and absolutely hammered us.  This time there was a notable turn-round, although as ever Haltwhistle gave us a really good game.  In fact, two rinks of the four were very close throughout: at the half-way mark the scores on these two were 8-7 and 7-6 in our favour, and one end later the scores were 8-11 (David Ashworth) and 7-9.(Darren).  From here Darren went on to win 16-14, while David just failed to make the comeback and lost 12-16.

On Trevor’s rink Christina Auld made her West Tyne début and had a super match as lead.  This rink struggled with the weighted shots played by Haltwhistle, and (like the other rinks noted earlier) it was close for a long time – at the half-way mark 9-7 and then 9-8 after ten ends.  However, once it got to 12-10 things really went our way: after sharing the first twelve ends equally we then won all the last six ends to win 24-10.  The scoreboard maybe wasn’t lying, but it was being economical with the truth.

George Rockett has brought great experience as well as skill since joining this year, and his rink was comfortable after gaining a 13-1 lead.  They may have won only ten of the 18 ends, but the numbers were consistently big, including an early six, and the final result was 24-12.  On this rink and on others everyone seemed to be playing in positions they liked, and that undoubtedly helped the result. The overall result for the match was 6-1, with a 76-52 shots margin – but that makes it sound a bigger win than it felt like (we won just 38 ends to Haltwhistle’s 34). Never mind: the memory of last year’s thumping was well and truly banished.

Settling some Scores

Note: This report should have been published back in the middle of July, but for some reason I failed to hit “Publish”.  Sorry.  It’s out of date, but maybe still of some interest…   

There seem to be as many scoring systems in bowls as there are leagues – certainly the three league competitions in which our club plays all have different systems. For example, the men’s Nines league gives two points for each of three rinks, with an extra bonus of two points for whoever wins on rinks; on the other hand, the Collins & Shipley league, for ladies’ teams, also gives two points per rink but then throws in an additional six points for the side with the aggregate shots win.

With such radically different approaches you get situations where similar scores have very different outcomes. A couple of weeks ago our Nines team won 44-43 on shots at Ponteland but lost 2-6 on points because of winning only one rink; this week the ladies finished 49-47 ahead on shots against runaway league leaders Whitley Bay & Monkseaton and the resultant six bonus points meant a 10-2 win. When added to last week’s 11-1 win in a re-arranged match against Chirton that has really boosted their chances of promotion from Division 2.

Bowlers and scoreboard

One to us!

It was a terrific match on a lovely afternoon.  After 11 ends we were leading 29-24 on shots, with Jean’s rink well down but both Shelagh and Blanche ahead.  Then, in the space of two ends the visitors scored 12 shots to just one, so that Blanche was just one shot ahead and Shelagh level.  Suddenly we were five shots down, but there was a further twist as a three for Blanche plus a five for Shelagh changed things again. With those two rinks finishing 14 ahead, Jean’s task on the last end to finish was to keep the deficit to less than 14. A single on the last end did the trick, and showed excellent match management.


The same couldn’t be said for the Nines team in the match against Wallsend Park the night before.  The triples were soon 1-9 down, and never recovered, while the fours collapsed, losing 16-17 despite having led 7-0 and 10-3. The pairs won 28-10, but it was no consolation to say that under the Collins & Shipley rules we would have had an 8-4 win on the night; the bald truth is that we lost yet another winnable match, and the 2-6 result makes relegation a very real possibility. For weeks we were able to say that the absence of key players was holding us back, but this week there was absolutely no excuse.    At least we weren’t as bad as Brazil were, later in the evening, in their 1-7 humbling  by Germany – but that’s not saying a lot, is it?

The season’s run of bad results continued in the West Tyne league, as we lost 1-6 to local rivals Hexham House.  Yes, another scoring system, with one point for each of the four rinks, and then a bonus three for the shots aggregate.  It turned out to be a bit of a mauling, but in fact after 11 ends we were in the lead (36-31) on shots, and on two rinks.  It was after eleven ends that the ladies blew a fuse the day before, and by an uncanny coincidence this was the very point that things went wrong here. All four rinks lost the twelfth end, including a three against Darren and a five against Trevor, and the ten shots conceded really swung the match. However much we might have complained about the state of the green and the lack of swing, the fact that we were ahead after more than half the match does rather suggest we shouldn’t have let it slip away.  But we did.

On the subject of letting things slip away, Jean and Trevor played the semi-final of the County Mixed Pairs competition against a pair from Willington Quay who brought an impressive number of supporters.    It looked as if our pair were going to coast home as they were 18-10 ahead, and lying another one with only three ends to follow.  However, neither Jean nor Trevor was alert to the danger of having no back bowls, and the opposition skip rattled the jack through to score a six, and rouse the travelling support. Another two for us calmed the nerves, but the opposition made a real fight of it: lying two down on the last end, and needing three to draw the match, the skip ditched the jack to score two shots, with a measure needed to establish that the game wasn’t tied. But a 20-19 win was enough to reach the Final (at Alnwick on Sunday 20 July).  At least there will be no debate about the scoring system in that one!

A Tough Week

The week’s competitive bowls began at Wallsend Park, with a Nines League match.  It turned out to be pretty close, one of those games which could have gone either way, so we were very happy to come away with a 2-1 win on rinks.  The triples lost 14-18, sharing the ends won, which after being 1-9 down after five ends was pretty good.  The pairs were in all honesty flattered by a 20-12 scoreline, having been leading by only three shots with three ends to go in a game that was close all the way. Meanwhile, although the fours were on top all through their match, winning twelve of the 18 ends, this was also a close affair, as shown by the fact that 14 ends in the match ended in a single-shot margin; none the less, a 14-9 win was very acceptable.


He was never the same man after that match

The most dramatic part of the evening was still to come, though.  We were warned by the home team that the park closed at 9 pm – a bit tight, given that the match started at 7.  Never mind, we were all off the green at nine exactly. A Council jobsworth had other ideas, however, and had to be detained in spurious conversation while the last of us rushed out as he brandished keys to lock the gate.  Unfortunately the message had not got round to everyone, and three of our group were trapped, having headed for the wrong gate in the labyrinthine paths.  It was only later, after the rest of us got home, that we learned they had wandered around for over half an hour before (happily) coming across what we would once have called a courting couple, who (naturally) knew where the lowest railings were!  It still required climbing over metal spikes, and meant a very late arrival back in Hexham.

No wonder the three in question were looking closely at the walls and gate at Lyndhurst (Gateshead) when we arrived there today for a men’s friendly. The forecast rain stayed west of the A1 all afternoon, and we had a good match in breezy but fair conditions.  The least said about the result the better, but after being in the overall lead after 13 ends, with three of the four rinks either level or just one shot down, we managed to slump on all those three, so that the overall margin of defeat was quite big.  The Lyndhurst President kindly said it was “one or two”, but I think the ones and twos in question made up the figures of 11 or 12.  Never mind, it was a great afternoon on one of those walled and protected bowling greens that stand as an alternative world from the bustle outside, with only the top deck of buses being visible over the wall.  The wall which we thankfully didn’t have to climb to get out…

The Ladies were not having things any better in their opening match of the Collins and Shipley campaign. Away to Whitley and Monkseaton they found the green very heavy and not at all to their liking.  One rink lost 7-26 and another 11-24, with pretty relentless shots against.  Our third rink won by a handsome-looking 20-14, but even that came about thanks to a six on the last end.  Just the two points out of twelve, then, and the bad news still wasn’t over…

After being dumped out of the West Tyne Cup last week we thought the League season would offer a fresh start: after all, we were last year’s champions…

That opening probably suggests the way things went in the first match.  Despite home advantage we were rolled over by a Haltwhistle side which has lost several stalwarts this year but also managed to pick up some new recruits who are very handy bowlers indeed.  They were far too good for us tonight anyway.

Although one of our rinks won 21-11 the others all went down.  One of these was 6-26, with only five ends won, but however bad that sounds it got even worse for my own rink: after winning the first two ends to go 2-0 ahead we might as well have gone home at that point, as Haltwhistle won the next 14 ends to produce a scoreboard reading 2-30.   Even picking up four shots on the last two ends could hardly save the embarrassment.  It was like one of those days when you get so wet in the rain that you stop worrying and even start to laugh about it. But at least no one got locked in!