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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Sunday 5th September saw us hold two finals - the Gents Championship & the Cant Medal.

After a season without a Gents Champion, because of Covid-19, it was good to have almost a full season of play this year. Whilst the Club have seen a reduction in the number of members, the Gents Championship was still hotly contested from July onwards. The bottom half of the draw was stacked with “so called” favourites and previous Club Champions (Lee, Chris, Jonathan, Billy, Alan). When Chris came through that tough draw it was no surprise that he would start as a red-hot favourite to win the Gents Championship for the second time. In the final he would face Robert Clarke who emerged from the top half of the draw and if he was looking for any confidence booster he just had to look at when the Gents Championship was last played (August 2019) – on that occasion Chris was an overwhelming favourite but lost out to Jonathan Davidson. 

With the sun beating down on the players and the watching crowd it wasn’t surprising that Robert showed some nerves at the beginning of the match – he lost the first five ends but fortunately on only one of those ends did he lose more than a single as he trailed 6-0. A single for Robert on end 6 relaxed him a little and that was followed by a two on the next to reduce the deficit to 3 shots. 5 ends later and Chris had extended his lead to 5 shots, 11-6. Robert dug in and a three on end 13 brought him to within 2. It seemed every time Chris was under pressure, though, he was able to respond, three shots over the next two ends and his 5 shot lead was restored. Credit to Robert, End 16 saw him pick up another 2 to trail by 3 again at 14-11. In the 16 ends played, Chris had only managed to score singles and twos, Robert knowing that losing big scores had to be avoided. The turning point of the match was End 17 – a mental mistake by Robert perhaps – he was only one done when he played his third bowl with considerable weight and took out his own nearest bowl, leaving Chris lying two. Chris then put another in the count and with the pressure really on, Robert couldn’t respond with his last bowl – he was perhaps fortunate that Chris failed to make a 4 but in losing a 3 the momentum seemed to sing again and put Chris within a maximum of victory. A single in end 18 was followed by another 3 in end 19 as Chris secured victory by 21 shots to 11. Huge congratulations to Chris on his second Gents Championship and commiserations to Robert – a good effort by him.

Our second final of the day was for The Cant Medal. This saw a match-up between Alan Gilchrist (-2) and Anne Clarke (+1). The 3 shot advantage which Anne held as a result of the handicap system was wiped out after only two ends and when Alan went 6-3 up after 7 ends, he looked in complete control. Anne, however, dug deep as she won the next 5 ends with three 2’s and two singles as she turned a 3 shot deficit into a 5 shot lead (11-6).

Alan was under pressure as the crowd sensed a bit of an upset was on the cards. Some terrific bowls were being played by both, but Alan’s drawing accuracy then came to the fore as he picked up 5 shots to Anne’s 2 over the next five ends to trail 11-13 after 17 ends played.

Just like husband, Robert, in the Gents final, Anne had managed to restrict Alan to singles and twos throughout. But in End 18 a three for Alan gave him the lead for the first time since end 8 and when he followed that up with a 2 at the next, he was suddenly 3 clear, and the finishing line was in sight. Anne responded brilliantly with a two in end 20 and the match was back in the balance, Alan leading 16-15.

The crowd were enjoying a super battle which looked like it would go the distance. The 21st end of the match was pivotal, another 3 for Alan and he was left needing just a pair for victory. A single at the next for Anne kept her in it, but the match was finished on the 23rd end as Alan picked up the pair required for a 21-16 victory. From trailing by 5 after 12 ends, Alan showed terrific consistency as he won 8 of the last 11 ends to pick up the title.

Well done to Alan for a terrific comeback win. Anne can be pleased with her performance, and but for those two 3’s who knows what might have happened.

  

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Our week-long Floodlit Pairs Competition is one of our favourite events of the year and this season we were blessed with good weather for the whole week.

There were two first round matches and the first of these saw Carol Davidson & Robert Moorehead take on Jonathan Davidson & Leonard Moorehead – what an amazing draw that was – a husband v wife and brother v brother. The underdogs came through by 18 shots to 13 as Carol & Robert progressed to the quarter final stage.

The other first round match saw Christine Elrick & Greig McDonell take on Dod Watson & Avril Wilson. An 18-10 win saw Christine & Greig progress.

The first Quarter final saw the winners from the two first round matches meet. Carol and Robert were never really in it as Christine & Greig romped home to an impressive 23-4 victory.

In Quarter Final number 2, Lee Wilson & Sandra Fullerton took on Jane Stevenson & Margaret Scott. This match was also fairly one sided as Lee & Sandra booked their semi-final slot with a 16-9 victory.

The 3rd quarter final saw Lesley Alexander & Isabel MacRae take on Neil Craig & Conor Malcolm. Neil & Conor continued the theme of big wins with a 20-6 victory.

Would the final quarter final provide a closer contest? Not really! Alan Gilchrist & Keith Atkinson (2018 winners) dispatched Jimmy Gillie and Diane Mitchell by 13 shots to 6.

And so to the semi-finals – Christine & Greig v Lee & Sandra was first up - from 3-0 down, Christine & Greig recovered to lead 4-3 after 4 ends and from there they never relinquished the lead running out 15-9 victors. The second semi saw Alan & Keith take on Neil & Conor. At 4-1 down, Neil & Conor picked up a five on the fourth end to take a 6-4 lead but despite that Alan & Keith regained their composure and never trailed again as they were victorious by 16 shots to 11.

The final was played on a lovely night at the Club and after the shenanigans of the Best of Three Final, both President & Vice President were on their best behaviour! Alan & Keith started as favourites, Alan having a terrific record in this competition having won it with different partners for the last three years. Christine & Greig hoped they could keep it close and two 3’s for them in ends 6 and 9 meant that after 9 ends they held a 9-7 advantage. A single on the next and they held their largest lead of the match, 10-7. Back came Keith & Alan who picked up a single and a pair on the next two ends to tie the scores at 10-10 with 3 ends left to play. This had been a terrific match and it was fitting that a single for each pair was picked up in ends 13 and 14 resulting in the score being 11-11 as the final end was played. With Keith holding shot, Alan called for a couple of bowls to be put behind – Christine’s bowls sat nicely in front of the jack and any movement on them would give the underdogs the advantage – Greig managed to nudge up a Christine bowl to lie shot and with 3 bowls left Alan went for some controlled weight – he hit the target but as the bowls split, Keith’s closest was taken out leaving Christine and Greig lying a pair. It came down to Alan’s last two bowls, Greig trying to block his way to the jack – he missed with his penultimate and was a little tight with his last. As the bowl missed the head it was hugs all round as Christine & Greig triumphed – a great, tight and tense final enjoyed by all who came along to watch.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

After the abandonment of the Competition earlier in the season due to dreadful weather conditions, our Club Pairs eventually took place on Sunday 12th September. Ten Pairs were split into two sections with the winners of each section to meet in the final.

In Section 1 Jonathan Davidson & Billy Nisbet looked like a very strong pairing and so it proved over the course of their first three matches. They started with an 8-3 win over Robert Moorehead & Ian Hogarth and then followed that up with an 8-0 win against Robert Blackie & Leonard Moorehead. Their third match saw them extend their undefeated run with an equally one sided 9-2 victory over Robert Clarke & Lesley Alexander. Three wins out of three and they looked in a strong position.

Lee Wilson & Jimmy Gillie looked like another strong pairing. However, when they lost their first match 5-4 to Robert Blackie & Leonard Moorehead and followed that with a 6-6 draw with Robert Clarke & Lesley Alexander, their day was virtually over. What about Ian Hogarth & Robert Moorehead? After their loss to Jonathan & Billy in Round 1, they finished Lee & Jimmy’s chances off with a stomping 10-2 win in their final match. Before that, however, they lost to Robert Blackie and Leonard Moorehead by an 8-2 score line, effectively ending their chances of reaching the final.

With the final round of matches to play it was a two-horse race for the final between Jonathan & Billy and the surprise package of Section 1, Robert & Leonard. Jonathan & Billy opened the door for Robert & Leonard as they lost their last match 8-3 to Lee & Jimmy. A win for Robert & Leonard and they would be in the final courtesy of a better shot difference – the door was open but firmly closed again by Robert & Lesley as they romped to a 10-1 win.

In the other section, the sensible money was on Alex Weir & Sandra Shackleton. They opened their quest for a place in the final against the Ladies Pairs Champions from the previous day, Isabel MacRae & Carol Davidson. They couldn’t quite rediscover their form as they fell to an 8-5 defeat. Next up for Alex & Sandra was Conor Malcolm & Margaret Scott – a 7-4 win for the favourites. Their third match saw them take on Dod Watson and the ever-confident Alan Gilchrist (maybe a little tipsy the previous day our VP laid a bet with our President that he & Dod would win the event). Greig was laughing all the way to the bank after a 12-1 win for Alex & Sandra. The favourites seemed to be getting better as the competition went on – their final group match saw them take on Diane Mitchell & Anne Clarke. The biggest win of the day across the two sections followed as Alex & Sandra romped into the final undefeated with a 17-3 win.

In the battle for the minor places, it was Dod & Alan who finished second in the group with 3 wins out of four while Conor and Margaret took third place with two wins.

The final pitted Alex & Sandra against Jonathan & Billy. Both pairs knew that in a sprint of 6 ends you must avoid losing big scores – what a disastrous start for Jonathan & Billy on End 1 – the loss of a six was followed by the loss of two singles and at the halfway point in the final they were 8-0 down. Match over surely? It’s never over until the fat lady sings - they picked up a four on end 4 followed by a three on the penultimate end and remarkably going down the last they trailed by only one shot 7-8. What a terrific recovery but it wasn’t to be as a single on the last came as a huge relief to Alex & Sandra who triumphed by 9 shots to 7 – what a great final.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

It was a drizzly Saturday but that didn’t dampen the spirits as five triples competed for the Trophy in a Round Robin format. After the Draw had been made the bookies made Sandra Shackleton, Alex Weir and Kevin Guthrie favourites. They opened their campaign against Lesley Alexander, Leonard Moorehead & Greig McDonell. Only 12 shots were scored in 8 ends in what was a very tight affair and it was probably fitting that the match ended in a 6-6 draw. In the other Round 1 match, Isabel MacRae, Conor Malcolm & Robert Clarke faced Jane Stevenson, Margaret Scott & Robert Moorehead. It’s fair to say that the Moorehead skipped trio were the underdogs but as has happened many times already this season, the favourites were not able to live up to their billing as the Clarke triple fell to a 9-5 defeat.

Round 2 saw the entry of Diane Mitchell, Dod Watson & Billy Nisbet as the faced the Clarke triple. Robert, Isabel and Conor looked very frustrated as they lost out by 7 shots to 6 – 2 played and 2 lost – surely their day was over already?? In the other match Jane, Margaret and Robert were out to prove their first win was no fluke as they took on Lesley, Leonard and Greig – when they won the first end the McDonell skipped trio looked worried, but they went on to win the next seven ends for a big 13-1 victory.

The Moorehead trio then took on Sandra, Kevin & Alex in Round 3 – Robert, Margaret and Jane were back on form – one end to go and they led 7-4 – it was in the bag – hang on a minute - pressure suddenly on and a disastrous 4 was lost on the last end to give the Weir triple a terrific 8-7 win. Round 3’s other match saw the undefeated McDonell triple take on the undefeated Nisbet triple. With some terrific play from Leonard in particular this contest became very one sided and a 12-4 win put Lesley, Leonard and Greig in a commanding position with one match to play.

The fourth round of matches saw yet another amazing last end comeback for Sandra, Kevin and Alex – this time they were 6-3 down to Diane, Dod and Billy but a 3 on the last salvaged them a 6-6 draw (their second of the day) and maintained their undefeated record. With that draw, Lesley, Leonard and Greig knew that a win in their final match would be enough for them to lift the title. Isabel, Conor and Robert had other ideas – a 6-4 win for them and the outcome of the day was still anyone’s guess.

With Lesley, Leonard and Greig sitting out the final round of matches, they sat on 5 points but had a massive +18 shot difference. The Weir triple knew that a win for them against the Clarke triple would give them the overall win. A win for the Nisbet triple against the Moorehead triple could also give them the win (but they would need a massive victory to be in with a chance). The latter possibility was put to bed as Jane, Margaret and Robert picked up their 2nd win of the day, 7-4. That left the door open for Sandra, Kevin and Alex but much to the delight of the spectating McDonell triple, they were never in it as Isabel, Conor and Robert produced their biggest win of the day, an 11-3 victory, not only ending the Weir triple’s chances of the win but overtaking them for second place on shot difference.

And so, with 2 wins, a draw and a defeat, Lesley, Leonard and Greig were victorious – well done to them. The final positions were as follows:

1st place – Lesley, Leonard & Greig

2nd place – Isabel, Conor & Robert

3rd place – Sandra, Kevin & Alex

4th place – Jane, Margaret & Robert

5th place – Diane, Dod & Billy

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Our second singles competition of 2021 took place on Saturday 21st August 2021. Although the sun came out in time for the final, the weather had been fairly horrendous with heavy rain for most of the day.

When the draw was made, there was no doubt the top half looked the stronger section and just like in the Beat the Clock Singles, in came Ian Hogarth to take up a late reserve place in the bottom half of the draw! He raced through his opening match against an out of sorts Jonathan Davidson, winning 7-1, 7-1. He would face in the next round the winner of the battle of the brothers Moorehead – there was certainly no love lost between the pair of them as Leonard (seemingly the younger of the two - you would never think it) came out on top. Despite winning through against Sandra Fullerton, Alan Richards had to pull out after his win and Sandra progressed by default. There she would meet the winner of Sandra Shackleton v Greig McDonell – and what a mammoth contest that was. 4-0 up in the first set, Greig lost the next 4 ends to lose 7-4 – he then won all 5 ends in the second set to win that 7-0. Sandra looked down and out but battled back and at 4-4 in the decider she looked the favourite. 3 singles, however, from Greig saw him progress.

In the top half of the draw, Robert Clarke took on Isabel MacRae in the first round and it took him 14 ends to win 7-6, 7-3, a loss of a 4 in the first set ruining Isabel’s good start. With Robert through, Anne tried to progress to set up a husband v wife affair as she took on Alan Gilchrist. The first set in this match was to be crucial – it was nip and tuck all the way and it took Alan 8 ends to eventually triumph by 7 shots to 5. That seemed to deflate Anne and she only scored once in the second set losing out 7-1. Meanwhile, Neil Craig’s consistency was too much for Dod Watson as Neil progressed with a 7-4, 7-5 victory. In the next round he would face the winner of Jimmy Gillie v Carol Davidson. Just like husband, Jonathan, Carol wasn’t at her best as she fell to a 7-3, 7-0 defeat.

The first Quarter Final saw Alan look to do the double on the Clarke family as he took on Robert. When Robert won the first set 7-4 an upset looked on the cards. Alan fought back and took the 2nd 7-5. The decider was level at 2-2 after 4 ends but end 5 was a disaster for Robert as he lost a maximum and there was no coming back from that as he fell to a 7-2 defeat.

Quarter Final 2 pitted Neil Craig and Jimmy Gillie together. This was a topsy turvy affair – Jimmy picked up the first set 7-5 before Neil levelled matters with a 3 end 7-1 win in the 2nd set. The decider saw Neil pick up a 4 to move into a 5-2 lead after 4 ends but he then immediately lost a 3 to bring the scores level at 5-5. Neil managed to hold his nerve and picked up a 2 on the next end to progress to the semi-final.

In the bottom half of the draw, the 3rd Quarter final saw Greig race to a 7-0, 7-1 win over Sandra Fullerton.  He would face the winner of Ian v Leonard in the semi-final. A 7-4 first set win for Ian put him in charge but when Leonard came back from 6-3 down to 6-6 in the second set the outcome was uncertain. Ian did just enough in the final end of set 2 to win 7-6.

The first Semi-final saw Neil try to spring an upset against Alan. Alan won a tight first set 7-5 but when Neil picked up a 4 in the first end of set 2 it looked like this match might go to a decider. Alan battled his way back picking up 3 singles and two 2’s to progress to the final.

Glory hunter Ian was favourite to meet Alan in the final as he faced Greig in the other semi. Greig, however, continued his form from the quarter final and strolled to a 7-1, 7-2 victory.

And so, to the final – President v Vice President; friends away from the Bowling Green; they both like a bit of banter; oh my, this Final had everything – some good bowls (and some bad), some light-hearted banter (and some not so light-hearted), some good sportsmanship (and some bad) – you get the drift…. The only thing missing was some fisticuffs on the green (and at one stage that didn’t look too far away either!) Although the sun came out for the final this match should have been played in the rain given the stormy nature it.  

The crowd watching from inside the Clubhouse couldn’t quite hear the aggro on the green and had to make up for themselves what was being said between the warring pair (good job probably). The match included a couple of challenges to short jacks, one from each player – both pointless and both lost. There was a short jack thrown by Alan and Greig seized on his chance to throw full length as he deliberately threw the jack into the ditch – if only he’d known the rule which meant that Alan still had control of the mat – he promptly picked it up and marched as far forward on the green as he possibly could, mumbling something all the way, much to Greig’s annoyance and frustration as he wanted a copy of the Rule Book! No one watching seemed to know that rule – they all will now! A couple of ends later and Greig’s last bowl was agonisingly close to shot as he marched up the green behind it. It was lying on its edge and a topple over would probably have given him a clear single – suddenly, the fastest Alan’s ever been seen to move, he was out with his mobile phone propping up the bowl in case it fell – that pretty much pushed his opponent over the edge!

Who cares about the scores! This match will be remembered for the tension and supposedly good-natured banter! In the end, President Greig had to present the trophy to his VP – and he managed to do it without so much as a hint of sarcasm (well maybe a hint) – in the end though, even he in his closing speech congratulated the better player on the day as Alan was victorious 7-4, 7-5 – and by the end all was forgiven - well nearly all…………

Another cracking day at LBC.

2022 Gents Border League Standings & Recent Results