After some rain delayed games, we now have semi final results for the Women's Fours Club Championship. The finals will be played next Tuesday, weather permitting.
Zone 9 Senior Fours Final, Belrose Bowling Club, 14 Feb 2021
Oh when the Saints! Go marching in! Oh when the Saints go marching in. And march they did!
The Tiffy was running a clip over 15 seconds, a slight breeze and it was the final of the Zone Senior Fours. The mighty Saints of Fred “backhand will do” Alexander, Steven “Hymn” Goddard, Wilson “the Wilsonator” Cheng and Rod “the Riddler” Silber were up against the Belrose team of Joe “Critter” Saragoza, Richard “the Governor” Wise, Tony “TT” Taylor, and Steve “Plum” Ashdown. This was going to be a cracker!
The Saints started strongly, jumping out to an 8-1 lead after 7. All of our boys were contributing - with the Wilsonator drawing some great additional shots. But this experienced Belrose team were not going down without a fight! 2x2 saw the score 8-5, a shot here and there and it’s 9-6 to St Ives after 11 ends. This is a low scoring game because of the high quality heads.
The 12th end saw the head building nicely for Belrose. Saints are down a couple. At this stage your scribe’s hamburger and chips arrived and I promptly gave Rod a handful of chips (well he actually took them on the cross over - I only just got my beer away from him in time). This was all he needed, and he dutifully converted to 2 up. Evidently, carbs are very good for elite athletes!
11-6 the Saints. Belrose hit back with a single and St Ives responds with a single. 12-7 on 14 ends. In a final I’ll take a five shot lead with 7 ends to go and having won 9 of the 14 ends played. Bookies would have you at 2-1 on to win with those stats, but I couldn’t find a bookie and bowls is a game that can turn on one bowl. We will see this shortly.
Belrose couldn’t find a length that worked for them up until now. Fred uncharacteristically put the jack in the ditch going for a ditch to ditch and Belrose throw a medium to nothing length. Plum had been just missing on big conversion opportunities and he is too good to keep missing. The Saints had been playing a conservative draw game, would they regret a lost opportunity for a big count?
Another good head from both sides. Skips on the matt. Plum converts, 2 to Belrose, 12-9 Saints. Next end Hymn draws one behind a foot and trails the jack to his first with six inches either side, both bowls dead in line with the jack. Plum draws a foot over, if he gets the jack he makes a 5. He slides through that six inches and the Saints claw back a 2. 14-9. I’m still looking for a bookie.
Then it happens. Jack in the ditch again from St Ives and Belrose pick up a 2. TT and Plum draw very well and Belrose pick up a 3. 14-14 on the 18th end, would the Saints regret some conservative play earlier?
A good head forms on a medium/long end. Governor draws shot and TT adds another. We have two third shots and a couple of 5ths. Rod walks towards the mat and I say, “Rod, have some more chips”. He takes a handful of Grippo-covered chips and walks to the mat. Plum draws one close but not in the count, Rod offers him a chip, but he declines. Ridley runs and misses the jack by a bee’s you know what. Plum is covering but drops short. Rod can only go harder at the jack. I told you about carbs and they kick in, Rod plays the bowl of the day, hits the jack into the shot bowl and bounces it back towards the mat and scores a 2, a 4-shot turnaround. That’s why bowls is not an Olympic sport. 16-14 Saints.
Long end, Fred and Steven draw well, Saints holding 2. Wilson draws another, Saints holding three. Lots of close Belrose bowls. Belrose’s TT crosses the head. Wilson draws short 18 inches and just out of the count. TT crosses the head. Rod covers the Belrose bowls to right of the head taking away the trail for 4. Plum has only one shot and runs at the head, misses wide. Rod draws but is a little over weight out of the head. Plum runs again and hits the head, removes all the bowls except for Wilson’s shot and the Wilson short bowl. 2 shots St Ives, 18-14 Saints 20th end.
Belrose need a 4, I find a bookie, one of the Belrose 2’s and he offers 1:1 odds. A good head develops with Belrose holding one shot. Plum has a run and misses; it’s all over. The Saints are winners and are through to the State play offs!
Congratulations Fred Alexander, Steven Goddard, Wilson Cheng and Roddy Silber. Great win fellas, that’s our second title in three years with Fred and Wilson having won the Zone Triples 2 years ago. Our mighty club is very proud of all of you. What a team, what a result.
When asked who the man of the match was, I honestly answered that I couldn’t pick one. All four of our boys contributed when needed, all played some bombs, all covered for each other when needed, all high fived good shots and all kept each other positive. They played their bowls for their team mates. That’s a team effort, that’s what wins games, titles and flags. Pennants is just around the corner so remember 4’s is the ultimate contest in bowls and the ultimate team game. Play for your mates.
Oh Lord I want to be in that number, when the Saints go marching in!
Ramblings report by Saints- Chris "Scarey" Carey
Notwithstanding COVID-19, excitement is building for the 2021 Pennant season. With the 2020 season being cancelled after 3 rounds fingers crossed, we get a full run this year. Trials begin this weekend and as such your roving Saints correspondent thought it was a good time to discuss the roles and responsibilities of each position in a fours game, not only for the benefit of our new members, but also as a refresher for our long-term members. It cannot be stressed enough that different positions played in lawn bowls have unique responsibilities and the way players carry out these duties will invariably determine the overall performance of the team. I have discussed these roles with some of our most experienced bowlers and combined with my own experience and views, below is a summary. However, always check with your skip on their expectations for your position and you prior to your game.
The Team: I have learnt, both in business and sport, that the most successful teams play for each other. We each need to go out and play our selected position the best we can for our team mates. Bowls is not defined by a single end, it’s 21 ends and the strategy we employ is for that duration although we may pivot our strategy as conditions change and we learn more about our opponents. Don’t worry about getting the shot, follow the strategy and shot selection that your skip has devised. Remember the head looks very different from the mat as compared to the head itself. Play for your team mates and play for the Saints. Pennants is not an individual contest.
The Lead “the Rock”: The Lead is the most important position in a team, the first player I look for when forming a top team is a great lead.
The art of Lead bowls is to be able to deliver the Jack to a length requested by the Skip, then get two bowls in the Head, or at least behind the jack within the “keyhole”.
The keyhole as shown above and is an area 6” (150 mm) all around the Jack opening up to a spread for approx. a yard (1 m) behind the Jack. The perfect two bowls a lead can play is one <20cm directly in front of the jack and one directly behind the jack. Jack High bowls are not great as these can be used by your opponents to gain shot so consistent line is invaluable in a lead.
Use the “trial ends” to find the true side of the green and discuss this with the Skip as you pass on the green. This will mean bowling forehand in one direction and backhand in the other to play on the true side. It is not recommended to bowl “around the clock” (same hand in each direction, e.g. backhand) as the grass is usually different each side and so too can be the pace. Do not change your hand unless your skips asks you to.
Remember, although to be shot is desired, it is not essential because back bowls inside the keyhole area are good positional bowls and are equally important. Short bowls (> 30 cm in front of the jack) are a cardinal sin. If you drop short with your first bowl make sure you finish behind with your second, two short bowls in unforgivable. As Confucius said “short bowl never disturb head”.
The Lead is “the Rock” of the team on which success is built. If the Lead plays a good hand, usually the rest of the team follows suit. I have heard Leads say they are disappointed when their shot bowl gets knocked out. What the Lead needs to remember, they set the scene, and their bowls are the bowls to beat. You don’t need shot, just two good bowls in the head.
When practicing, Leads should roll multiple jacks to different lengths for at least 10 mins before they put a bowl down. Not only do you get the pace of the green but rolling the jack is so important to the team strategy and success, if you can’t roll a jack within 30cm of where the skip has his foot you won’t play top grade. Now you are ready to bowl in practice; with the matt on the tee, set one jack minimum length and one maximum length and draw two bowls to each jack on the same hand, do the same in the other direction on the same side of the rink (i.e. other hand), NB you need four jacks. After 15 mins place a bowl close to each jack (you will need two additional bowls) and draw to beat that bowl. This puts you under pressure like a game situation. A good lead will always be sought out by the club’s top players and asked to join a team as good leads are very hard to find.
The Second “the Opportunist”: The Second is the most important player in a team and must be a player with all the shots. There is only one rule that a second must know and be able to execute: “When your team is holding shot you play wide 30-60 cm past the jack, finishing at or about the extremity of the rear of the key on the same side; if your team is not holding shot you play narrow 30-60 cm past the jack, finishing on the other side of the rear of the key”. Consistently do this and your skip will love you and you will be the first person selected in the top team. Good seconds have precise weight control and can play positional bowls when the skip calls for them. A good Second should also possess a solid drive or running shot. With the advent of tighter bowls some 15 years ago all players lines are better, i.e. they finish more times than not within 30 cm of the centre line. This means that after 6 or 7 bowls being delivered the jack and shot bowl can be blocked by short bowls. A Second must be able to break up a head when needed otherwise the team can get in serious trouble very quickly.
A good Second is usually more versatile than a good lead because of the need to play both sides of the rink, chop and change between forehand and backhand and play a variety of weighted shots. A good Second hands his lead each of their bowls before they get on the mat and never takes the mat until the skip has called the shot. Never try and pre-empt what shot the skip might call, not only is it off putting for the skip but it will also cause you confusion as your choice of shot may be different to the skips. How many times have you heard “I had two shots in my mind” when a player misses a shot?
In practice drills again do the short jack long jack as per above, 15 mins. Then draw to a ditch jack, one in middle and one to either side, 10 mins. Then place a jack mid length on the line with a bowl adjacent to that jack and a jack directly left or right of the first jack and on the boundary line. Drive at the bowl. When you hit it draw to the boundary Jack. The hardest shot is a draw after a drive but this is very common. 10 mins. Next place two bowls within 10cm of the jack and draw or play two foot through to get shot, 10 mins. Now go to the bar and have two beers, 15 mins. An hours training done twice a week will improve your bowls and the club’s coffers.
The Third “The Enforcer/Conversion King”: The Third, like the Skip, is active at both ends of the rink – at the mat and in the Head and is the most important member of the team. When stepping up to the mat, eight bowls have already been played and the Skip may have a particular strategy in mind. Never take the mat without taking instruction from the Skip on the shot and outcome desired. Connect with the Skip to ensure the right shot is delivered, e.g. rather than a draw shot, a strategic bowl, or a take-out shot is called for. This means that the Third is required to be a strong bowler, must be capable of the full variety of shots, i.e. draw on either hand; play a “Yard on/Metre through”, a “Hit and Stay” or a Drive when requested, as well as playing a Positional Bowl. Practice all of these twice a week as per above. The Third should also be able to encourage team performance, be diplomatic, and always trust the advice of the Skip.
The Third must always be focused on play and be good at reading the Head, as the Skip may ask for advice from time to time, so you will need to be able to accurately assess the Head. When giving advice, be clear and succinct in direction, weight and desired outcome. Always tell the skip which bowl they need to beat as well. It is important to not confuse the player on the mat by giving too much extraneous information e.g. doing the Chicken Dance saying, “This is theirs, and this is ours, you could do this or you could do that or maybe…” and accompanying signals, a good skip knows the head. Be specific. If the Third is unsure on which shot to call for, then be confident enough to ask for the Skip to come to the Head. The Third is the communication link with the Skip to share strategies with other team members so they feel part of the action. The Third needs to carry chalk and a measure and be a “capable measurer”. If you are not, then practice measuring too.
The Third must be aware of the laws of the game, especially covering the head. The Third should stand still just behind the Jack when the Skip is playing, without moving or providing advice unless asked to do. When the Head belongs to the opposition, the Third should move to behind the Head and then stand perfectly still. A good Third should be a skilful bowler paying constant attention to the game, have endless patience and a fair amount of psychological strength to offer your teammates and the Skip.
The Skip “the Strategist/Executioner: The Skip should be a competent bowler playing every shot in the book and know the Laws of the Game. They should be the best “converter” on the green or have a Third who is. The Skip is the “Motivator”, a good psychologist, psychiatrist and an analyst. A Skip must know the team’s individual players and call shots within their capability. A Skip must be clear and concise with their directions - give just one desired shot and outcome to provide focus and intent for the player; the chance of success is increased because of the player being able to visualize exactly what you want. Try it, the results may surprise you. I am sure you will agree that providing the player with several alternatives, or a string of too much information can cause confusion.
I spoke with one of our leading Skips on this point and he stated that: “A decisive attitude by a Skip benefits both the Skip and the player being directed. The Skip is demonstrating leadership and knowledge which is what the player needs to focus on one, and only one, shot and what the team needs to progress. I also have found from experience that clear and highly specific direction can enhance a player’s personal development. It’s surprising how often players rise to the challenge when given clear direction and achieve a level of performance that is higher than they anticipated. When players start to believe that they can “make the shot” rather than just being hopeful, they have reached a higher level of ability which they will not recede from.”
A good skip memorises the head, looks for the highest percentage shots (e.g. this hand offers a draw and a sit and stay on a wing bowl vs the other hand that is just a dead draw). A good Skip memorises every good shot they have played and recalls these when under pressure.
A good skip always praises good performance and does not express any feelings of displeasure with bad shots. If necessary, talk to the player having difficulties when passing them on the green by giving an encouraging word or a tip for improvement. The Skip should take the Third into his or her confidence to show the team, and the opposition, that the team is in complete harmony. A Skip must be loyal to his own team to bring out the best in them. Never let your team hear you criticize them back at the Clubhouse. (Many a skip has lost a good team member because of this mistake.)
A Skip must be in tune with the state of the green, call percentage shots, have a good attitude, communicate clearly, and most of all show everyone you are enjoying the game. A Skip must analyse the opposition as well as their own team for their strengths and weaknesses. Find a weakness: a bowler who drops a bowl – go ditch to ditch or dead short, they lack control and will probably be found out at either length; a bowler only playing one hand – take that hand away from them, see what they can do on the other; a Third driving on medium lengths – go long to reduce the percentage of the shot; a lead always jumping on the mat before your leads bowl stops – stay on the mat a little longer and break their rhythm. Observe, make notes, pivot your strategy.
The most important relationship worth developing is that of the Skip and the Third. Know each other’s game, strengths and weaknesses. Be open to suggestions but decide on the one shot you want and can play. Being a Skip is being a team member who has good management skills and a relaxed demeanour to ensure the team members play to the best of their abilities.
Prior to each game the Skip needs to discuss with the team their individual responsibilities and the teams game plan. Strategy will change but go in with a game plan. If you don’t have a game plan, watch the first 5 ends slip by and suddenly you are down 8 shots. Teambuilding is important, as the performance potential of a team is much greater than the individual talents of a player. Mutual respect, good communication, trust, acceptance and encouragement are just a few traits that will foster team spirit.
Did you notice something? Every position is the most important position. I will say again, we each need to go out and play our selected position the best we can for our team mates. Fours is not an individual game; we all need to lift each other to succeed.
This article was penned by our resident Saints reporter and outstanding skip - Chris "Scarey" Carey.
2020 has been a strange year, as John Lennon said "strange days indeed, most peculiar momma". With delayed Championships, we did not know who would be our Dick Carey Bowler of the Year until 30 minutes before the presentation. It was a very close contest again and at one stage it looked like we might have a three-way tie for the first time, having had a two-way twice before.
This award was established by the late Dick Carey, a life member of the Saints and an Australia Sports Medal recipient in the year 2000 for his contribution to bowls. Dick won 19 Championships at St Ives and was a runner up in the State Triples in 1990. He was also a member of the Saints for over 50 years.
This Year's Dick Carey Bowler of the Year is Rod Silber. Rod scored 15 points from a possible 20 by winning the Major Singles, the Pairs and the Fours. Congratulations Rod! Rod is only the second person to win this prestigious award twice and the only one to go back to back, well done Rod.
For the record here is the points tally:
Rod Silber 15
Di McBryde 13
Vicci Bartrop 13
Chris Carey 10
Wilson Cheng 10
Well done all and go the Saints, bring on 2021!
Tony Wright, Graeme Manning, Chris Bergman and George Rosettenstein Vs Fred Alexander, Wilson Cheng, Chris Carey and Rod Silber
It's was the last Championship of the year that was a weird year, and both teams sported pedigree coming into the match. Team Georgie comprised Tony Wright (winner in 07 and twice runner up), Graeme Manning (semi finalist in the Pairs 2020), Chris Bergman (runner up Triples 2020 and Zone Senior Triples winner 2019) and George (multiple winner at Lindfield and district level) . They had won their past two games by 14 and 17 shots respectively. What would today hold? Well they were up against the defending Champs Fred Alexander, Wilson Cheng, Chris Carey and Rod Silber, game on.
The greens were packed as we had pennant trials as well as some keen observers. The game was played on Green No 3 that had come in this week, running a respectable 13 or so seconds. This game was a good display of bowls, we saw every shot except a full-blooded drive, Rod had CC on a leash with that one. What the crowd saw was a dominant display of big early counts and minimal losses. As you can see from the card below team Silber came out strongly pulling a 5 on the 6th end to lead 12-2. Rod and the boys did not score a single but kept pulling on the multiples and when dropping an end only dropped a single shot at a time "ones don't hurt Roddy".
George drew nicely to cut down 5 heads where he was down 3-4 shots but the pressure kept being applied by the Champs. Team Georgie held several 4 counts only for CC or Rod to draw in for the shot. In the end the teams shook hands or fist-pumped after 19 ends with the score 31-7. Commiserations Tony, Graeme, Chris B and George, some days things just don't go your way.
Congratulations to Fred, Wilson, Chris C and Roddy, well played, strong bowls and good tactics saw you get in front early and stay there. It's two in a row for this team.
Fun Fact: Fred has won this Championship in every position from lead to skip, has anyone else done this here or at another club?
From the roving Saints reporter a happy Christmas to all and a safe holiday break. May 2021 be a fantastic year with a little less drama. 2021 is looking very strong for our club with many new players starting to show real promise and many established players hitting great form. Go the Saints in 2021!!!
Today, we saw Shizuko Hashimoto play Vicki Bartrop in the finals of the Consistency Singles. It was an excellent match with Shizuko taking an early lead and holding onto it throughout the match. Well played by both ladies with Shizuko winning for the second year in a row.
On Wednesday 25th November the final of the 2020 Men's Handicap Singles was played.
Ross Yates in his first of these finals was up against Chris Carey who had won the title on multiple occasions.
Chris was giving away Ross 7 shots to start with. Its hard to run down 7 shots in 21 ends as Chris was to find out. By end 11 Chris had reduced the deficit to 3 shots. Despite putting pressure on Ross throughout, Chris never got closer than that. Ross won by two shots to put a new name on the trophy.
Well done to both players for a good tight match.
We have now completed two rounds of Consistency Singles with some interesting results. Quarter finals are next.