Priory Bowls Club
The View From The Ditch
A light hearted view of what's going on in the club.
Home or Away?
Well we couldn't finish the league season without something else going wrong, last midweek triples match on Thursday, we were struggling to get 9 players after drop outs & injuries but with some friendly cajoling with finally had 9 names on the sheet. It was a lovely sunny afternoon when we all turned up, or did we? Come 2 pm we only had 8, due to logistics we couldn't play 2 with 4 woods against 9 woods, who could we rope in at the last minute? Errr we struggled to get this 9 so the only option was to conced a rink, post a 0-10 score & 2 points. Rather than not play all 3 rinks Tracey (Or is it Tracie?) Hibberd was made an honorary member to get the game underway. 2:45 and the missing player turns up, seems he thought we were playing away, but it was too late to make a substitution so we carried on to the end. When it finished the other 2 rinks had both won by 5 so that meant it was a draw with Priory having the 7 points. The dodgy rink actually lost by 6 so if it had counted we'd have had the extra 3 points, I have to say "George" Hibberd did get her rink a few shots, those size 0 woods are easy to knock up.
They Think It's All Over .......................................................It Is Now
The 2017 season has reached its climax, well apart from a rearranged Midweek Triples game on Thursday, all our League and Combination games have been played. The A team played their last game on Friday away at Rowner but despite finishing on the losing side finished the season in third place, unfortunately P&D records are a bit sketchy so I am guessing this is our highest finish for a very long time beating our fourth place in 2015.
Monday saw the completion of the Combination games with both the B & C teams playing rearranged games against Waterlooville Gold & College Park Green both at home. The C team having already won Combination 2 by a country mile were taking on a relegated College Park Green who hadn't won a game all season, having lost their regular skips, Andy Hibberd & John Peacham to "International Duty" it was all change, then when the B team lost regular Arthur Newland to injury they "stole" Martin Eggleton to cover that slot. However, this didn't put a stop to Den's juggernaut from thundering on to another victory 11-1 and finishing the season with a huge 168 points and 15 wins.
The B team were sitting 20 points clear of Lee on Solent at the top of Combination 1 but LoS had a game in hand, see below for the full story, this meant 5 points would make them mathematically unpassable. All 3 rinks were close until Martin Eggleton's rink on the end rink got bogged down on 14 and allowed the opposition to pull away to an 8 shot lead going into the last end. Meanwhile at roughly the same time Fred Hammal's rink were on the up clawing their way back from 11-15 down to picking up a 5 on the penultimate end and finishing 25-17. In between these 2 was Mike Fryatt's rink who started like a train but were being hauled back to go into the last end all square only to drop a 2 on the last end. So with 2 rinks finished we were on 2 points and 2 shots down overall & 1 end still playing, well it was time the captain joined in as he trailed the jack to 2 of our woods, then Eros Bloomfield (see Gallery of Presidents Day) drew another so by the time the skips came to bowl we were holding 3 & a measure, their skip tried hard to spoil the party by drawing up a wood into second position to which Martin matched and we were back holding 2 and in a position were we had a draw and the 5 points we needed, their skips second wood never affected the position and despite playing to the gallery Martin stayed away from the head and the league was won.
The first time Priory have ever won the Combination League.
All in all a very successful league season with the A team 3rd in League 1 and the 2 Combination sides winning their respective leagues, throw into that being Runners Up in the Rowland Cup and still having the Area Final of the Top Club to play, also not forgetting the Midweek Triples team who are enjoying their best season yet currently sat in 5th place with a game to play against 4th place Alexandra Red and if they win that with a maximum they will finish in 3rd place.
Combination One Title Challenge
After Wednesday's round of games the table now looks like this, Priory B have one game to play, against Waterlooville Gold at home on Monday 21st, with 136 points, second place Lee on Solent have two games to play, away to Waterlooville Green on Tuesday 22nd,then the Thursday night home to Waverley Blue, with 116 points. the maximum Lee on Solent can get is 140 points so in theory we need 5 points from Monday's game to ensure we win the league, I say 5 points as the shot difference is only 11 1/4 and over 2 games that isn't a lot if they win both with a maximum. With the B team playing ahead of them they will go into their games knowing what they have to do, however, I can't see the Green Carpetbaggers rolling over as they have a chance of coming second in the league and we know Waverley will always put up a fight, no not like that!!, as they too also have a chance of being runners up as they play second to bottom Alexandra Blue on Wednesday at home.
I am looking for a volunteer to sell tickets on Monday night as I expect a few Lee on Solent spies coming to watch the game.
Final Week of Regular Season
Well the final week of the season has arrived and so far it's not been a good one for the teams. On Monday the A team went up to the dreaded Waterlooville carpet in a bid to consolidate their third place only to come away with just 4 points, with only a postponed game against their only rivals for third Rowner it should make Fridays game all the more interesting.
On Wednesday both Combination sides were away, the already Division 2 champions the C team suffered a narrow 3-9 defeat by 7 shots at Gosport on from what I hear was a very trimmed green, their second defeat in a row since clinching the title, Th B team went to last years Division 2 champions Cowplain on yet another carpet in search of the 8 points needed to clinch the Division 1 title. Unfortunately things didn't go to plan and they came away with just 2 points gained by Mike Fryatt's rink on the very last end, so it's all down to how Lee on Solent got on against Hayling and the postponed game against Waterlooville Gold to be played at home on Monday. A game where revenge is very much the flavour as it was against them the B team lost their 100% record with a nasty 0-12 defeat by 39 shots,so it would be nice to clinch the title against those carpetbaggers.
Right now for some good news, the Midweek Triples team got us back in winning mode by going to Gas Social and winning 12-0 and a massive 40 shots difference 65-25 on a lovely true fast green, with only a rearranged game to play it looks like this season will be their most successful ever.
Another Busy Week in The Combination.
On Monday night both combination sides played their rained off games from earlier in the season. The B team took on 4th placed Waverley Blue at home and thanks to a superb performance on Rink 5 by Peter Alcock's rink managed to secure an 8-4 win by a narrow margin of 2 shots. Meanwhile down at Old Portsmouth the C team powered their way passed Pembroke Park with a 12-0 win and a massive margin thanks to a huge 31-11 winning rink lead by John Peacham.
Moving on to Wednesday, firstly, congratulations to the C team for securing promotion to Combination Division 1 next season, despite going down 10-2, their second only defeat, to Vospers their promotion was confirmed after their nearest rivals Waterlooville Brown went down 2-10 to the auld enemy Milton Park, not often they do us a favour. This now confirms the C team as champions. Just need Waverley Red or Milton Park B to overcome the carpetbaggers so we don’t have 3 trips to Waterlooville next season.
Priory B had a nerve racking game at a damp Fareham BC against relegation strugglers Fareham C. Mike Fryatt’s rink were the to finish having valiantly fought back from 17-8 down to go into last end 18-18 and holding shot only for their skip to get the shot so that was 1 rink down. Next Ken Sutton’s rink lost by 3 so things were looking bleak as Arthur Newland’s rink were 2 ends behind and were at 18-18. They picked up a single to go into last end needing 3 to draw and 4 to win, they were holding 2 with their skip having his last wood to play, their #3 said “take the 2 down as the game was won” but for some weird reason he wanted to try and get the shot so they had all 12 points only to hit our captains wood which was in 4th position and turn it in so we had the 3 we needed for the draw. That one wood cost him 3 points and may have given the B team the league title depending on other results. Lee on Solent game this week postponed due to P& D match,with 2 games to play I estimate we need 8 points to win the league.
A Busy Week in the Combination.
Both Combination sides had a busy week with games on both Monday & Wednesday. On Monday both sides were at home, the B team playing top of the table Lee on Solent with the C team playing Pembroke Park. In the battle of the top 2 the home side ran out 10-2 winners to give them a cushion at the top of 6 points with a game in hand. The C team, who are already clear at the top of Division 2, also picked up a 10-2 win thanks to a strong rink win from Alec Gall.
On Wednesday the B team travelled to bottom of the table Rowner, on a vastly improved green 2 rinks had close games whilst Fred Hammal's rink powered to a huge 28-7 victory, Arthur Newland's rink didn't get off the best start dropping a 5 on the first end, but then won the next 7 ends and at the halfway point were 11-7 up, 4 ends later they were 1 shot down! After some stern banter the wheels went back on and he ran out 19-17 up to bag his 2 points. Last rink to end was Mike Fryatt who lead all the way & were holding a 4 shot advantage going into the final end, with 3 shots taken out it was all down to a measure, then another measure until the decisive 4th shot was taken out to deny them a full house of points.The good news for the B team came in on Thursday that Lee on Solent B went down 2-10 at Alexandra Blue which means they are now 15 points clear with 4 games to play while Lee on Solent have only 3.
The C team continued their dominance with a 10-2 win over Lee on Solent C and now have a comfortable run in against lower end sides. Alec Gall's rink continued their excellent form this year to set up the 10 shot victory.
On Thursday a makeshift Midweek Triples side went down on all rinks on a tricky, unpredictable Cosham Park green.
The A team postponed their league game on Friday for their next round of the Top Club competition with an away trip to north Hampshire side Cove. Then on Sunday they play the Rowland Cup semi final against Alexandra on Milton Park's green while the 2 carpet teams Bedhampton & Cowplain contest the other smi final on our green. With the final being held on grass at Alexandra BC at the end of August you have to fancy the chances of the winners of the grass sides semi final.
Giant Killers Strike Again
After their Rowland Cup win last week against Waverley & their league win against Alexandra the "minnows" claimed another scalp in the Top Club Competition once again beating Alexandra 3-2 at home tonight. Steve "Hampshire's scouser" Smith hammered Marty Wake 21-5 in the singles, Chadders went down to Danny "I'm off to U25 Leamington finals" Smith, the pairs combo of Mike Elliott & Adrian Snook won their pairs on the last end, a same situation happening with the Peter Alcock, Roly Bloy & Nigel Mundy triples rink. Alexandra got their other win in the remaining fours game.This win sets up the next round with a possible trip to the north of the county at Cove.
It's All Gone Quiet Over There
What is it with playing the same teams? The other week the A & B teams played Waterlooville 3 times over the week, winning one, drawing one & losing one, last week it was the turn of Alexandra where the A & B team went to Fontwell, well there were enough woods jumping for it to be like a National Hunt race, and on both games Ken Sutton's rink were the last to finish. On Wednesday being one rink all Ken held his nerve to complete a 10-2 win. On Friday we were behind for a majority of the game and just like Wednesday Ken's rink was the last one to finish. Seems we were 5 shots up over the game and Alex were holding 6 when some wag made a comment about how we were all quiet now, Ken had the last wood and drew second wood to which a reply went out "It's all gone quiet at the Alex".
On Sunday morning against Leigh Park in the Top Club wins by Andy Hibberd, Steve Smith & the pairs of Mike Elliott & Adrian Snook gave us the 3 points needed to win.
Getting back to my point of playing the same teams, thus week is Waverley Week, on Monday we took on the current holders Waverley in the Rowland Cup.
The captains view:
For most of the game the score was tight and there was only 5 shots max either way. The game down to the last 4 ends - one on each rink. Priory were leading by 4 shots. The first rink to finish was Nigel's. On the last end he was 5 down with his last wood remaining and came in to draw shot which the Waverley skip missed when trying to remove. Roly was in a similar situation 4 or 5 shots down with just his last wood. He tried to draw to cut it down, took a wicked Priory glide (Wick) off a wide wood and went into the head and emerged with the shot. We were now 6 shots up with two ends to play. Adrian dropped a 3 on his last end so we were 3 up halfway through Arthur's last end. Pat Moneypenny carried the jack back to our woods and so Gary Starks had no option other than try to no-end it which was not accomplished leaving Priory winners by 7 shots. This after beating Alex away on Friday 12-4.
Wednesday's combination games for both B & C teams against Waverley were both called off due to the a weather. Rearranged dates are yet to be arranged.
Hands Up if You Are Fed Up with Waterlooville
As a club we played Waterlooville 3 times this week, on Monday the B team played their postponed game against their second place Green team and thanks to 2 shots on the last end by Arthur Newland's rink after everyone else had finished to pluck a draw out of defeat but by winning 2 rinks we plundered 7 points to their 5. On Wednesday the B team went to the dreaded carpet and suffered their first defeat of the season to their second to bottom Gold team a hefty 0-12 defeat. Meanwhile back at home the C team were hammering their way to another 12-0 win to cement their position at the top of Division 2.
Friday saw yet another game against Waterlooville at Milton Park and after being behind for the whole game the A team stole the game on the very last the end to win 69-67 and a comfortable 12-4.
The club competitions are in full swing now and you had to feel sorry for one player in the handicap singles who started 12 shots behind, at one stage I saw some really sad puppy dog eyes looking towards me as the scoreboard read 5-15, however, the resolve dug in as he eventually managed to creep over the line 21-19. Credit to the competition secretary for creating a good game with his spot on handicap. The victors torment did not end there, as after a short break he was back on the green to play the clubs newest Hampshire player in the club singles, the earlier exertions must've taken their toll on him as he lost 21-17.
Talking of club singles I see one player has made it to the quarter finals without playing a game yet.
Bouncy, Bouncy, Crash
Friday saw the A team take on the auld enemy on their own green and come away with 12 points and bragging rights until we meet for the return leg. From my point of view it made the selection quite funny with all the gloating going on in the pavilion.
After a week off due to monsoon conditions last Wednesday the combination sides were back in action, both away in foreign lands, the B team at Hayling Island whilst the C team travelled west to Lee on Solent.
On a summers evening with blue skies and the sound of leather on willow from the cricket pitch over the fence the B team made a reasonable start, then after 5 ends the Hayling boys introduced their secret weapon......ZUMBA!!!! With the blaring sounds of music & the instructor giving her instructions to the ladies bouncing on their trampolines it all started to unravel as minds (& eyes) were distracted by what was going on in the hall. Once the session had finished things began to get back to normal and the rink that was 5-0 up before and 9-14 after began to claw their way back into the game. Then disaster number 2 happened, 2 down with the last wood their skip decided to fire (again) and made solid contact with the woods & Jack, woods were going everywhere at speed, however, too fast for the man who had played football on the Wembley pitch as he dodged a wood he suddenly saw the Jack also coming in his direction so took even more evasive action only to run out of grass with the ditch beckoning, trying to steady himself he grabbed the pusher but the force took the wheels away from him and down he went crashing his knee on the bank and his head on the pusher!!! After a bag of ice applied to the knee our wounded soldier carried on albeit in a lot of pain. With the other 2 rinks fairly comfortable with Fred Hammal's rink making a strong comeback from being behind to win handsomely to give the B team a 10-2 win.
Meanwhile in the west the C team were cementing their place at the top of Combination 2 by beating the 2nd place team 10-2 with Club captain Rich Smalley.. winning by a huge margin, it could've been a full house if Alec Gall's rink hadn't dropped a 2 on the last end to lose by 1 shot.
Thursday saw the midweek triples team take on Cosham Park Red on our own green. Alec made up for Wednesday night by taking a 16-0 lead before the opposition got on the board. Mike Turner on his skip debut had a tight game all the way through and only losing on the last end. Albie Somerset standing in once again for Captain Arthur lead from the off and finished with comfortable win. So 3 games and 3 10-2 wins..
Horses for courses was the phrase used at selection for the A team game on the carpet at Cowplain and boy did it work with a nice 14-2 win. The team was predominantly players who spend the winter indoors and it worked.
And We are on The Scoreboard
Always nice to break your duck,week 2 was a busy week on the greens, on Tuesday the A team got their first points on the board, after last week playing the Runners Up it was the turn of the Champions, Alexandra, to visit the park. We only managed to win on 1 rink but 2 points of them is a bonus, that's 2 tough games out of the way.
Wednesday was a busy night for the teapot, both Combination sides were at home to Alexandra Blue & Waverley Red. I have to say honours go to Den's C team who trounced Waverley Red by 48 shots and a 12-0 win which moved them up to 5th in the table. Meanwhile on the far rinks the B team overcame Alexandra Blue in a close game by 6 shots and winning on 2 rinks. This puts them in 3rd with 20 points out of 24. One skip was heard to say " shame I never joined in" .
Moving on to Thursday, the Midweek Triples team took on the champions for the last 2 years College Park Red on their green. Captain Arthur stood down as a county knockout game in the evening so I made my Triples debut as captain on his behalf.At tea we were 4 shots up in a close game. When Albie finished his game,despite trying to play a 19th end, he was 6 shots up, with the other 2 rinks still to play their last end it was an even closer game at 38-37 in our favour. Alec picked up a 2 giving us 3 shots to play with, unfortunately the ast end is not a good time to drop a 5 so we ended up with just 2 points and losing by 2 shots.
Friday saw the A team back on their home green against Lee on Solent and this time the result went their way with a 14-2 win 87-77 shots. Those points were enough to lift them up to mid table.
And They Are Off
Typical first rain we've had for ages and it falls on the opening day of the 2017 season. Both the combination teams started the season with away games, the B team were at Lee on Solent who were twinned with Antarctica whilst the C team started their campaign 30 yards away at the auld enemy Milton Park.
With a bitter wind coming off the Solent the Combination 1 runners up continued their winning ways with a 10 - 2 win with a score of 61-45, winning skips being Arthur Newland and Mike Elliott while Mick Jinman fought back from a 0-6 deficit to lose by 1 on the last end. Still I can't complain having rebuilt the team from last season due to holidays & the lose of Trevor. I have to say I was impressed with the Lee green, ran fast and true plus it was green.
Meanwhile, back at Milton Park the C team went down 2-10, 49 shots to 61 but knowing the opposition I suspect they had a very strong side out. The only winning rink being Wally Somerset on his debut as skip.
The first team started their campaign away at last years runners up Waverley, we went down on all rinks losing 56 - 100 so the least said the better. It is a tough start to the season with the top 2 teams being our first 2 games.