Saturday 12th September saw the semi-finals of the Men’s Pairs Championship. Two tight games, one right down to the last bowl. The Saints Championship green No2 was the venue and was running a neat 15 seconds, slight cross breeze and sun shining brightly. A great day for bowls. I must again commend the greenkeepers and in particular head greenkeeper Ben. All three of our greens are outstanding this year and No2 is the best it has been in five years, despite not having a renovation in three years.
Ross Yates and Graeme Manning vs Rod Silber and Chris Carey
Our first match saw two great draw bowlers Ross Yates and Graeme Manning up against last year’s finalists Rod “Ridley” Silber and Chris Carey. It doesn’t matter the grade of a bowler if you can consistently draw you are always a threat and in a semi no opponent can be taking lightly.
Ross and Graeme won the toss kept the mat and rolled a medium to long length scoring a single then another single on the next end. Roddy and Chris won the next two ends with two 2’s then a single to each side saw the score 5-4 Rid and CC. Then on the 9th end Ridley rolled a longish end, Ross and Graeme responded well and picked up a 4, 8-6 to Ross and Graeme, was there an upset in the making?
Rod and Chris responded with three singles, 9-8 RC, anyone’s game at the mid-point of the match. The 13th end and Rod and Chris pick up a 4 but Ross and Graeme pick up a 3 next end and it’s 13-11 RC. Ross rolls a relatively short end and both he and Graeme draw well to hold 2, Chris and Rod dropping 2’ short. CC gets to the mat and can only play one shot, into his bowl on the right, he does so and takes the shot. Graeme tries to draw and just misses. CC chases his last bowl to the head and dead draws onto Graeme’s back bowl to score to 2, 15-11 Rod and Chris. Rod takes CC aside, game plan change.
Rod roles a ditch to ditch and Ross draws a toucher and they score a single, 15-12 RC. Ross and Graeme continue to draw well and are staying in the game. Chris and Rod pick up a single and Ridley goes full length and they score a 4 and a 3. Suddenly the game has turned, 23-12 on the 19th. Ross and Graeme score a 2 on the next end but the game is beyond reach. 23-14 to Rod and Chris. Well played Ross and Graeme, great draw bowling and some impressive on shots, commiserations but we will see you no doubt in the triples. Congratulations Ridley and CC, in the finals for the second year running, is it your year?
Chris Bergman and James Barclay vs Pete Shlager (subbing for Tim Walton) and Peter Larcombe
This was always going to be a thriller, two very evenly matched teams. Super Sub Pete Shlager coming off the bench for Tim “the toolman” Walton who went away somewhere, probably in search of a good Chardy. Mind you, when your sub is a top grade skip you are very fortunate. Jimmy asked for a swab but the stewards found nothing untoward. Game on.
Dead Eye and the Flying Scotsman began the game with a “boom” scoring a 5 on the first end. As students of the game know when you start big you must keep your opponent to singles and a win is well within view but hang on this is the first end. Then they score a 2, 7-0 after two ends. Trading blows sees the game at 12-5 when team Jimmy score a 3 on the 8th. But team Cyclone (he who defies the wind) were not out and scored 5 over the next three ends to be 13-10 down after 12 ends. Then the game went a little crazy both teams score a four, one with a great jack in the ditch shot, the next with a good non shot taking out the nearest bowl. 18-14 team Jimmy on the 15th.
Then Pistol Pete and the Cyclone went on a run, four ends 6 shots, 20-18 to team cyclone 19th end. Dead eye and Jimmy score a 2 and its 20 all on the 20th end. At this stage the bowler’s terrace was full, all other games had finished, and multiple schooners were being raised to the quality of this game.
Some wide bowls as the pressure mounts. We think team Cyclone are holding 1 but we are not sure. Jimmy runs to knock a bowl up but goes wide. Peter the Cyclone Larcombe delicately knocks short bowl up by a single roll. Jimmy again looks to promote but just missed. 2 to team Cyclone and it’s all over. Commiserations Chris and Jimmy well played and just an end short of a win. Pete and Peter well done and well played to come back from a big deficit.
So the final is on the Wednesday 23rd of September. Tim Walton and Peter Larcombe against Roddy Silber and Chris Carey, a rematch of last year’s final. What will be the result? Come to the club, play social or grab a beer and watch this match, it will be a real thriller. I know I’m more than just a little excited!
Report by Chris Carey