After a 6 week break, midweek bowls returned to Manning Memorial for the annual Jack Attack comp, and in a sign of what happens when Richard Price, The Minister for Leisure runs the show, the competition expanded to a very healthy 22 teams, and I tell you what, some of these new team names are pearlers.
Bowling Stones, The Bowled & The Beautiful, Irritable Bowls Syndrome.
It reminds me of when Team Hope went to Thornlie for the 2018 Bowls Community Shield, and played against the likes of the Bay City Rollers & the Trevor Chappells.
Other than that, conditions were pretty stock standard for summer – 28 degrees, but the real challenge was the humidity, which caused a few problems with grip as the floodlights kicked in.
The other big change was that Kochie’s gripes with the value of tiebreakers had been heard – Tiebreakers are now worth 1 point, down from 2.
Fancy that – A Kochie that people will listen to.
The Overall Night
The overall winners for the night were one of the new teams, The Bowling Stones, who put up a whopping +19 on the Mad Ryan’s, who have now changed their name to FBS – Full Beer Sculls (Something to do with gutter bowls…. apparently.)
Anyway, here’s the victorious Stones, and it’s no shock that they put that score up, after you realise they’ve got an ace up their sleeve named George Bradley Hogg.
On that note, Happy Birthday, Hoggy!
I imagine the key to their success would be akin to the Perth Scorchers of old – Build the lead, and then let Hoggy finish the job with his chinamans.
Overall, 5 teams won in straight sets, 3 games went to tiebreakers, and 3 games had sets ending in ties, so on those numbers, it was a very even night.
A few more highlights from the night included the CD’s bringing down Kochie and the T-Birds in a tiebreaker, the Babes With Balls and the Crawshaw Crisis Committee finished dead level at 9-all before their tiebreak, and in a crazy ending, the Young Guns (Who won the 1st Set) were 6-0 up on Great Bowls Of Fire with an end remaining in the match…
Only for the Bowls Of Fire to use the last ditch powerplay, and several breaks saw them hold 3, which turned into a lazy 6, denying the young’uns a perfect night, in The Choke Near Hope.
And when I say perfect, I bloody well mean it – Joshy Damargo (I could be wrong) produced this.
There’s only 1 person who could stand a chance of beating that.
Grass 1: Lawn Clippings 3 (+3) defeated Team No Hope 2 – 1-0 in the tiebreaker
Grass 2: The Young Guns 3 (+4) defeated Great Bowls Of Fire 1 – 2nd Set was a 6-6 tie
Grass 3: Team 180 4 (+10) defeated the Bowled & The Beautiful
Grass 4: The Habibs 3 (-2) defeated Marg’s V11 2 (+2) – 3-0 in the tiebreaker
Synthetic 1: Bulls & Arrows 3 (+8) defeated Barking Owls 1 – 1st Set was 3-3 tie
Synthetic 2: Missing Moo’s 4 (+6) defeated the GG’s
Synthetic 3: Long Shots 4 (+9) defeated Irritable Bowls Syndrome
Synthetic 4: Babes With Balls 3 (0) defeated Crawshaw Crisis Committee 2 (0) – 1-0 in the tiebreaker
Synthetic 5: Ten Pin 4 (+16) defeated Hooting Dogs
Synthetic 6: Bowling Stones 4 (+19) defeated Full Beer Sculls
Synthetic 7: CD’s 3 (+7) defeated T-Birds 2 – 3-0 in the tiebreaker
Select Captain’s Comments
Cheryl, Bowling Stones: “I’m proud of my team, we’re total crap, so how bad is this competition, clearly anyone can play – Looking forward to next week!”
CD’s (Helen, Kelly, Natalie): “The more good looking team won on the day -We pantsed them 11-1 in the 1st Set, Kochie got cranky at a couple of stages, then we relaxed a little in the 2nd Set, but we managed to pull through when it counted in the tiebreaker.”
“Feeling really confident – Watch this space, the CDs might have a fresh new look.”
Kochie, T-Birds: “The CDs have gone platinum.”
Brodie, Young Guns: “We were in the box seat the whole time, then we kind of took the foot off the pedal, and gave everyone a bowl on the last end – We were holding 1, then they knocked that out and held 3, we couldn’t have done much better.”
“We did win – But it might hurt come finals time.”
Paul, Bulls ‘N Arrows: “We had a slow start, the 1st Set ended in a tie, then we came good, got our eye, in and had a good win in the 2nd Set to win the match.”
“Team 180 also had a good win – Peg in particular had some good bowls.”
Post Week 1 Standings
Team No Hope vs The Lawn Clippings
In accordance with our performances at the end of 2019 (Losing 3 tiebreakers in 4 weeks), Team Hope was officially renamed Team No Hope, after my earlier idea of Team Bob Hope just didn’t quite cut it.
With Merv The Swerve only available every fortnight, the line-up consisted of yours truly, The Rocket (Making another comeback out of the kindness of his heart), and Ron, a Uni friend (From the 1870s) of No Hope Avenue stalwart Ian ‘Choc’ Walker.
We discovered an amazing fact from Ron – Choc’s original nickname was Clint, in reference to the star of the TV series Cheyenne, the late Clint Walker.
Let’s just say that future short, sharp ones have become that little bit funnier.
But, as if things weren’t tough enough with an unsettled line-up, we were back on the natural grass, and we were up against the recent Midweek Champions, the Lawn Clippings, now led by Jack ‘Garbo’ Garbin after Timmy’s retirement, James (Aka Goose), a mollydooker like Rocket, and James, the unofficial World Champ.
I found it funny that they both have the same name, and decided to use the same type of bowls.
But, as it turned out, the grass to Jack Attack bowlers is what clay was to Pete Sampras – The great equaliser.
Set 1 (Team No Hope 6-4)
The No Hopers won the toss and bowled first, and it was a soft start, with both teams having no idea which line and weight to bowl with on the natural surface, and despite a good attempt from Garbo on his last shot, it was JT who held first, instantly exceeding his lofty expectations of being shutout by the Clippings.
On the 2nd End, reality bit back as the Clippings whipper snipped the No Hopers with their best end of the night, holding 3, thanks to some excellent work from Jack and James, and a back bowl (Possibly from Goose) that apparently beat JT, unless I missed something at the end.
A power play on that end, and it may very well have been set over.
Looking for the instant reply, the No Hopers looked set to scrounge 1 or 2 shots back thanks to JT’s opening deliveries that somehow held through to the final pair, but like a good skipper, Garbo kept a cool head, and slotted a masterful backhand about a foot from the jack to nudge him out.
From a potential 3-2 or 3-3, the lead had had blown out to 4-1, and conventional wisdom would say that with their talent, the Lawn Clippings would close out the set.
Turns out, ‘it’ really does happen.
The 4th end was a very long end, and as had been the case, Ron wasn’t afraid to fire down a few rockets (Even on short ends) to find the right weight, and it finally paid off, as a forehand that finished short of the jack wound up being more than good enough to hold for Team No Hope, making it 4-2.
So, it was a double powerplay final end – Somehow, if Team Hope held 2, they’d win the set, 1 would tie it, otherwise, the Clippings could run the lawnmower over the No Hopers, although, based on the state of some of those front lawns, it’d be a welcome improvement.
After setting another long end, JT’s opening shot put everyone under the pump, and as the Clippings picked a bad time to start firing gutter bowls, one of Ron’s sharks swam up, and gave the No Hopers an improbable hold of 2, which the Clippings somehow had no answer for.
To call a spade a shovel, it was a crap end from all involved, considering half the shots ended up in the ditch.
Still, the No Hopers had given themselves some hope, and bloody well stole a set on the champs against all odds – The grass definitely playing its part.
Set 2 (Lawn Clippings 6-1)
After unexpectedly dropping a set, the Clippings got straight back to work, as Jimmy got them on the board with another easy hold, thanks to a well-weighted shot.
The 2nd end was another short end, and it wound up being very tight, leaving both teams dumbfounded as to who could possibly be the holder between James and Ron.
At one angle, it looked like Jimmy, but from another, it looked like Ron had nudged ahead.
Even David Copperfield couldn’t create an optical illusion like that.
After borrowing Half Price’s trusty tape measure, it was Ron who got the nod – By no more than 2mm – And that’s being generous.
At 1-1 after 2 ends, the momentum of the match changed for good on the 3rd end, and to be honest, the No Hopers only had themselves to blame.
The Rocket assumed jack duties, setting up a good length, but it was skipper Garbo who was holding 1 after 4 bowlers had stepped up, only for the hold to double, when Rocket’s misfire managed to miss Garbo’s holder, take the jack, and knock it straight into the path of Jimmy and Goose’s back bowls.
Only NASA have had more disasters with Rockets than Team Hope have.
So it was 3-1, and sensing the moment with 2 ends remaining, Garbo called the powerplay, and did the job himself with another well-weighted shot that was unmatched by even his own teammates, and thus, 1 became 2, and it was 5-1 with an end to go.
Still having a powerplay up their sleeve, the No Hopers needed to hold 2 to tie the set and finish off the match, but it was about as likely as Merv becoming Prime Minister, with Jimmy dusting them off with a shot finishing a foot from the jack… again.
So, it was all set up for a familiar Team Hope ending – Losing in a tiebreaker.
Tiebreaker (Lawn Clippings 1-0)
Bowling first, Jimmy appeared to end the tiebreaker as quickly as it began, with a deadset belter of a bowl that landed about a foot from the jack, which nobody could possibly have an answer for, especially with the quality of bowling on display.
I was about 10 seconds away from taking a photo of it, but something else happened.
As if partaking in match fixing, Goose blew the tie break wide open when he took the jack and turned one of Ron’s wide back bowls into the holder, suddenly putting the No Hopers in position to pinch a win.
But, we are Team No Hope for a reason, and these stories have soul-crushing endings.
As he had a done all night, Garbo saved his best for last, and with the spirit of Dom Sheed at the death, came in with a well weighted backhand that finished up a foot and a half from the kitty, which the Rocket (Bowling last) had no answer for.
I suppose it was the Dominic Thiem scenario for Team No Hope – We got within a set of knocking off the champs, but they quite simply pulled through when it mattered.
As for performance gradings, I think the No Hopers all had their moments, although, as much as I like him, the tough choice might have to be forced on the Rocket… similar to what Mick Malthouse did to John Worsfold before the 1998 Qualifying Final.
Categories: Lawn Bowls