Our first singles competition of 2021 took place on Sunday 20th June 2021 and despite the forecast, we were blessed with some lovely summer sunshine.
When the draw was made, it was fair to say that the top half of the draw looked the slightly easier section and with that in mind glory hunter Ian Hogarth took up a late reserve place in the top half after an unavoidable withdrawal on Saturday! He, however, faced a tough opening match against the in-form Isabel MacRae fresh from her pairs win in the Lauder 500 Trophy with Avril. In a match time limited to 30 minutes, Isabel got off to the worst possible start losing six shots in the first three ends. She fought back to be in contention though with a 3 and a single in the next two ends to bring her within 2. Loss of a 3 in end 6 though put paid to her chances and according to Isabel the last three ends were played at snails’ pace by Ian.
In the other top half first round matches, Leonard Moorehead led 5-2 and 7-5 against Avril Wilson but a two on end 6 brought the scores level and as the hooter sounded the winner of End 7 would progress – a single for Avril left Lenny disconsolate. Had he progressed he may have played his brother Robert in the next round, but Neil Craig made it a miserable day for the Moorhead family with an 8-4 victory. George Watson progressed with a walkover over Alan Richards.
In the bottom half of the draw, the match of the first round looked like Alan Gilchrist v Conor Malcolm. Conor was in confident mood and a 4 in end 3 gave him a 5-1 lead. Maybe if the match had only lasted for 15 minutes he might have held on, but the experience of Alan shone through as he rattled off 5 ends in a row for a somewhat anti-climactic and comfortable 12-7 win. The best match of the first round turned out to be Anne Clarke v Lee Wilson – Anne looked in excellent form – three singles and a 3 in the first four ends gave her a 6-0 advantage. The problem for Anne is that she plays too quick, and no one is quicker than Lee – they rattled through end after end – at 8-3 up after 7 ends Lee looked out of it. The turning point came in ends 8 and 9 – a 3 followed by a 4 and suddenly Lee was ahead 10-8. They somehow still had time to fit in another two ends and to her credit, Anne recovered with two singles for a 10-10 draw. Extra end required and it was Lee who took it – a terrific match.
The Clarke’s day was, like the Moorehead’s, not a successful one as husband Robert went down to an 8- 4 defeat to Greig McDonell whilst the final match of the first round saw a topsy turvy and tight affair between Jimmy Gillie and Sandra Fullerton. Singles were scored on 7 of the 9 ends played and Jimmy was one up when the hooter sounded. A rare two on the last end by Sandra, however, saw her advance by 6 shots to 5.
3 of the four quarter finals were extremely one sided – Avril seemed to run out of energy as she fell to an 11-1 defeat at the hands of Neil, Ian romped home by 12 shots to 3 against Dod whilst Alan whitewashed Sandra 15-0 – don’t worry though Sandra - our current President still holds the record for a Beat the Clock Defeat when he lost 19-2 in half an hour three years or so ago – Sandra Shackleton still reminds him of it every time she sees him – Come on Sandra the time has arrived to stop going on about it! The fourth quarter final saw Lee take on Greig and after 6 ends this looked like going the same way as the other quarter finals – extremely one sided, with Lee holding a 7-1 advantage. Greig, however, had other ideas and a 3 followed by a two brought him within 1 shot. In the middle of End 9 the hooter sounded with Greig lying one and a couple of chances to add to the count – he didn’t manage to add to the single and for the second match in a row Lee faced yet another extra end. His play under pressure proved to be better than Greig’s as he advanced to the semi-final.
In that semi-final he faced Alan who looked favourite after a 4 in the fourth end gave him a 5-3 lead. But Lee seemed to be destined for the final – after a single on the next end he then just got the final end started before the hooter sounded and picked up a single in that to force yet another Extra End – 3 matches played – 3 extra ends required and like his previous two he held his nerve to come out on top.
He would face the winner of Ian v Neil in the final – Although the match score shows a tight 5-4 win for Ian, had the result not gone in his favour with a single in the final end, we would have had our first controversy of the day as, according to Ian, the marker must have gone wrong somewhere – he felt he was far more comfortably ahead going into the final end – fortunately perhaps, that single on the last gave him victory without any drama!
After a cracking day’s bowling the final (15 minutes) flew by. Although it didn’t go to an extra end, given Lee’s Day we all knew it was going to come down to the wire – with time running out Ian held a 4-2 lead. Lee was lying 3 and with Ian’s final two bowls, under pressure, he tried some controlled weight to disrupt the head – his first missed on the tight side and his last flew into the ditch on the other side – remarkably a three for Lee and the hooter sounded before they were able to get another end started!
Well done to Lee – four matches played – 3 extra ends and a one-shot victory in the final!