So another season draws to an end and given some of the beautiful weather we've had over the summer, it was fitting that Finals Day was played in lovely sunny conditions.
The Ladies Championship Final was contested between Chevonne Ainslie and Isabel MacRae. Isabel got off to a cracking start picking up 6 shots in the first four ends for a 6-1 lead. Chevonne, however, scored on five of the next six ends including a four and a three to give her an 11-7 advantage after 10 ends. In a match which swung one way then the other it was then Isabel's turn to fight back winning five of the next seven ends to take the lead again at 14-13 after 17 ends. The match looked like it was destined to go all the way but Chevonne then ran off 6 of the last 8 ends to storm home to a 21-16 victory. Well done to both players for a fantastic match.
In the Cant Medal Final, Sandra Shackleton started with a 7 shot advantage over Gwenda Ainslie. Sandra didn't like having a start though and proceeded to lose the seven shots in the first 3 ends to bring the scores level. She then seemed to relax and played some excellent bowls winning eight of the next ten ends to storm into an 18-6 lead. Gwenda looked down and out and despite winning three of the next four ends after 17 ends she found herself 20-12 down. This one-sided match was over - but hang on a minute three 2's and two singles later and we were suddenly tied at 20-20 after 22 ends. A remarkable comeback and the momentum was all with Gwenda. Sandra claimed after the match that she was still relaxed (we don't believe her!) but she certianly remained calm as she won the last end for a terrifically tense 21-20 victory.
Could the Gents Senior Championship Final between Billy Nisbet and Alan Gilchrist match up to the ladies close matches - it certainly could! Alan was only once behind in the first 16 ends (11-10 down after 9 ends). A 2 for Billy on end 16 brought him level at 17-17 and that was followed by another 2 on end 17 to give Billy a 2 shot lead (19-17). The writing was on the wall for Alan but he clawed his way back with two singles to have 19s across the board, 19-19 after 19 ends! Billy was close in the Gents Championship final losing 21-18 to Chris and this wasn't to prove to be his day either as another single on end 20 put Alan on the brink and he finished the job off with yet another single for an excellent 21-19 victory. Another cracking match and well done to both players.
And finally the last match off the green was the Gents Pairs final played over 15 ends between Greig McDonell & Alex Weir and Roddy McGeoch & Lee Wilson. Lee's driving (when it's wayward it's really wayward) was definitely on in the final. He saved a possible four by burning end 12 and picking up a shot in the replayed end. He & Roddy were never behind but could never quite draw away from their opponents. After 12 ends Greig & Alex found themselves 9-7 down but two singles later and the match was tied going into the last end at 9-9. In that final end, with Greig & Alex lying the match Lee drove again and the jack flew into the ditch. Two bowls left for Lee to draw the winning shot and he put them both in the ditch. What a fool - surely that was it all over but hold on - a measure was suddenly called for! It's the taking part that counts so we don't really need to know who won that measure! Well done to Roddy & Lee on their lucky, eh we mean excellent, victory!
All in all a cracking day of bowls at the Club with four excellent and hotly contested finals. Well done to all who took part in a super season ending finale (that's Italian by the way)!
The presentations saw the three singles winners pick up their prizes and there was also some consolation for Isabel who picked up the Rosebowl Trophy.
Closing Day on Saturday 29th September from 2pm - get along for our last game before the winter really kicks in.
September has been a busy month for the Club as the season draws to a conclusion.
The first weekend of the month saw two Club competitions eventually completed having been rained off earlier in the summer. There was a good turn out on Saturday 1st September for the Sleigh Cup which saw Ian Hogarth, Mary Sked, Jim Cleghorn & Isabel Macrae take home the winners prize.
The following day saw sunshine for the Club Pairs - played in two sections, the section winners were Greig McDonell & Margaret Scott from Section A and Anne Rooney & Carol Davidson from Section B. Both pairs had gone through their group undefeated. After a close first couple of ends in the final, Greig & Margaret pulled away to claim the trophy.
The popular floodlight Pairs Event then got underway on Monday 3rd September - played throughout the week the semi final line-up saw Billy Nisbet and Margaret Scott take on Alex Weir & Gwenda Ainslie in the first semi-final while Alan Gilchrist & Keith Atkinson took on Brian Ogilvie & Anne Clarke in the other.
Billy & Margaret had played well all week and they were never behind as they secured a comfortable semi-final win. The other match, however, went down to the wire. 13-13 going into the final end - Brian's last bowl of the match almost took the shot away from his opponents but in the end a hard fought 1 shot victory saw Keith & Al progress to the final.
In that terrific final, the bookies had Margaret & Billy as firm favourites but like all good fairytales it was the underdogs of Keith & Al who were never behind and closed out the match for the title.
Saturday 15th September saw the first of our two "Finals Days" with the Ladies Pairs and Presidents Cup battled out. In the Presidents Cup, Ian Hogarth took on Gwenda Ainslie with the handicaps somehow giving Ian a head start. In a terrifically tight match, 30 ends were played before Ian scrambled over the line 21-18. Gwenda, however, made up for that loss as she combined with Anne Clarke in the Ladies Pairs. They were too strong for Isabel MacRae and Carol Davidson.
And finally to round off the last three weeks, the 2 Bowl Triples Competition took place on Sunday 16th September. With no team undefeated throughout the day, the key match turned out to be Brian Ogilvie, Avril Wilson & Jonathan Davidson v Ian Hogarth, Carol Davidson & Sandra Shackleton. A 1 shot victory for the Ogilvie triple was enough to give a very happy trio the trophy.
Season nearly over but still some bowls to play - "Finals Day 2" is this coming Saturday, 22nd September, with 4 trophies up for grabs - the Gents Pairs, Cant Medal, Ladies Championship & Senior Championship all start at 2pm - get along to the Club for what should be a good afternoon of bowls - and even if the bowls isn't up to scratch the Bar will be open!
The Gents Championship Final took place on Friday night and those watching witnessed a topsy turvy match between Billy Nisbet and Chris Ainslie. After a terrific performance in his semi final victory against Rab Hutton, Chris was clearly in good form. Billy, however, still started as a firm favourite given his amazing record in the Club Championship over the years.
As the sun was replaced by rain, rain and more rain the final got underway with Billy winning the first 4 ends to take a 5-0 lead. Although he won 3 of the next 7 ends, by the end of the 11th Chris found himself 11-4 down and a straightforward win for Billy looked on the cards.
However, as the rain continued to make conditions difficult Billy started to lose his length a little and Chris took full advantage. A 2, followed by a 4, before another 2 suddenly turned the match on its head as Chris held the lead for the first time in the match, 12-11 after 14 ends. Things got better for Chris as he won 7 of the next 9 ends to take a 20-14 lead and surely the match was his.
Billy had other ideas - a pair and two singles over the following 3 ends and the match was in the balance again at 20-18. On the 28th end of the night, Billy was lying a possible pair but a terrific last bowl from Chris replaced Billy’s shot bowl to give him a terrific and well deserved victory.
A great match for those watching from the warmth of the clubhouse and fitting that it went down to the wire. Commiserations to Billy and huge congratulations to our 2018 Club Champion, Chris.
After their super win against Gala A on 15th August, there was a much more relaxed atmosphere at Lauder as our Gents team took on Stow. Assured of a top four finish the pressure was off although there was still a glimmer of hope that the title was still a possibility with Selkirk playing Buccleuch as the match took place.
Guthrie, Gillie, B Ogilvie & Gilchrist were first to finish - they never trailed agaisnt their opponents running out 17-9 winners.
T Ogilvie, Finlay, McDonell & Wilson were next off the green - they receovered from a 10-4 deficit to salvage a 15-15 draw - their opponents, however, were a player short ths resulting in a 15-11 win for the hosts.
Davidson, Moorhead, Nisbet & Weir were in trouble at various points throughout their match - at 11-2 down after 7 ends and 16-7 down after 13 ends it looked like a heavy defeat was on the cards. However, the last 4 ends saw the Lauder quartet score three 2's and a 3 to remarkably recover for a 16-16 draw.
Landells, McGeoch, Hogarth & Hutton had no such trouble in their match. After losing the first end, they lost only 3 of the remaining 16 ends as they trounced their opponents by 29 shots to 7.
Overall, a 77-43 win for Lauder - a game played in a great spirit and a Friday night in the Bar afterwards to celebrate! The only downside of the evening was news that Selkirk had won their match meaning that barring an absolute miracle they will be crowned Division 2 Champions next week - well done to them but also a pat on the back for our Gents team who remain in 2nd place just two points behind Selkirk with one match remaining.
Following their win the previous week against top of the table Selkirk, our Gents team knew that a top 4 place was virtually guranteed although mathematically they still needed a point from their last three games to put the question beyond any doubt. The Gents had an added incentive as they travelled to face Gala A knowing that a win would see them leapfrog their hosts into second place in the Division 2 table.
On a damp and dreary night in Galashiels (and sometimnes dark!) the match was fiercly contested between the two sides. Added into the melting pot was a little bit of niggle following various complaints from some members of the Gala Team as to the later than 6.30 pm start of the match. Words were exchanged before even stepping on the green!
First to finish were McGeoch, Atkinson, Hogarth & Wilson. They got off to a dreadful start and after 11 ends trailed by 13 shots to 3. In a match where every shot was vital, the Lauder side rallied briliantly to win 5 of the last 6 ends, only losing out by 14 shots to 11.
McDonell, Gillie, Weir & Gilchrist had a topsy turvy night, 5-2 and 9-4 up they let that lead slip and trailed 14-12 after 11 ends. They too finished strongly with 8 shots in the last 6 ends to give the visitors a good 20-17 victory.
Two matches gone and the scores were level across the board. Davidson, Moorhead, Nisbet & Ainslie had one of the tightest matches of the night. At no point was there more than a couple of shots difference between the teams and going into the last end the scores were tied at 11-11. Unfortunately a two for the Gala quartet gave them a 13-11 win and a two shot advantage overall.
The last match to finish involved a Lauder triple, the team having travelled a player short. With a quarter of their shots to be knocked off, Landells, Young & Hutton knew that a big win was needed from them. Although they only won 10 out of the 17 ends, the Lauder trio scored heavily on a number of those ends and as darkness came the stormed to a 24-10 win (18-10 following the relevant deduction).
In the end this was a great win for Lauder by 60 shots to 54. There were more grumbles from certain Gala players about finishing in the dark but hold on a minute - the stats don't lie - by the time the last match ended, it appears that it was Lauder who were effected more by the lack of daylight - in the Hutton match, the Gala rink doubled their score in the last 5 ends of the night! Maybe some sour grapes from some....
The last two weeks have seen top of the table Selkirk and then 2nd placed Gala toppled - if only there were a few more weeks left of the season the title may still have been within sight. As it is, Selkirk also won on Wednesday night and the two point gap to the top remains with two matches to go.