Lawn Bowls

Preview for Week 1 of the Manning Spring Challenge

Alllllrighty then, the Wednesday social bowls season is back on at some bowling club located between Manning Road and the Canning River, and before the true and proper Spring/Summer 2021 Jack Attack season begins on November 10, there’s the small matter of the 3-week Spring Challenge to get our bowlers back into the groove.

The Spring Challenge could also be called Clayton’s Jack Attack, because it’s the Jack Attack competition you have when you’re not quite having a Jack Attack competition.

That said, it’s the exact same rules as regular Jack Attack; Triples format, Jack on the T if it goes out of bounds, 2 sets of 5 ends, with the teams getting one powerplay end in both sets.

With the natural grass greens undergoing a bit of rehab in time for pennants season, the 3 week comp is capped at 16 teams and will be played entirely on the Synthetic green, which is where most of our bowlers would prefer to play in any case, because I can tell you that seeing some Jack Attack bowlers try and bowl on natural grass is like watching Pete Sampras play on clay.

As such, with the number of teams capped at 16, plenty of potential new teams, plus some familiar faces to Wednesday nights (The Habibs and the Lawn Clippings in particular) have missed out as they were a bit too slow chasing the lure, like Honour Rampage every time she visits Cannington, or they just didn’t want to play for 3 weeks.

So, with all that sorted out, here’s a look at the upcoming Wednesday night slate, and all odds are via extremely trustworthy bookmaker Pricebet.

*= New Team

Synthetic 1: CD’s ($1.80) versus The Bowled Guys ($2.10)

An old-fashioned derby first up in the Spring Challenge between the feuding CD’s and Bowled Guys, and you’re probably wondering why I said derby, well it’s because The Bowled Guys are the former T-Birds, one of two teams managed by Todd, aka Kochie, and his band of chrome domes, who decided to change their name for this season as the T-Birds in recent years just haven’t cut the mustard, especially compared to their more successful twin the Great Bowls of Fire, who have finished 3rd, 3rd and 1st in the last three competitions.

I was informed by Todd that the original name change was ‘Ebowla’, but that clever name would only work if this was still 2014, so they settled on the more appropriate Bowled Guys, with a requirement that any potential players have a hairline resembling that of Homer Simpson.

After their breakthrough 3rd place finish last Summer, the ladies of the CD’s have warmed up for the end of year tournament by making several appearances down at Manning Memorial, although most of those appearances were on Friday nights to drink wine and hang crap on Todd, although it should be noted that CD’s team captain Helen has made the big step up to play pennants for the Manning Eagles this year, which is another great Manning Jack Attack success story, and easily the best since yours truly made it into the Manning Men’s Two Bowl Singles championship and won a game.

So as always when it comes to the CD’s, expect to see putrid scenes like this at 9pm on a Wednesday night when we’re winding down:

So it appears the CD’s will once again pivot around natural team leader Helen, while on the other hand, Todd has loaded up his side with what I’d suspect will be Loose Bruce and Reed, although I wouldn’t be shocked if Todd was be chopping and changing his team more times than England’s Ashes lineup over the next few weeks, in a bid to go Back To Back.

I can also report that the Bowled Guys have all been practicing hard since Spring arrived, and Todd especially has made appearances on Tuesday afternoons, where he’s developed an unfortunate streak of leaving the club $5 lighter in the hip pocket thanks to yours truly, so he should be more than prepared for the pain to come on Wednesday night.

Synthetic 2: Jack To The Future ($2.60) versus Great Bowls Of Fire ($1.40)

Judging by their name, if Jack To The Future ever manage to hit 88 miles per hour, we’re gonna see some serious ****, and it leads me to believe that the time travelling bowlers are last season’s Empire Strikes Jack, who were 2020’s Bowlshoviks, because they’d be the only team with the smarts to consistently pluck names from left field every year.

Of course, the Jerry Lee Lewis tribute team are the defending champions for this season of Jack Attack after their last bowl win over the Lawn Clippings in the Grand Final back in March, which leading experts at the MBC have compared to Steven Bradbury’s win in Salt Lake City in February of 2002, but it appears Kochie didn’t want to retain the winning trio of himself, Jonesy and ‘The Greek Freak’ Paul Alphabet, so as a stop gap solution, 2-time Jack Attack champion JT has agreed to appear in the Great Bowls, or whatever team he gets thrown in, for at least 3 games, and recruiting an overly competitive human being like JT is the kind of free agent signing that propels a team from staring down the barrel of defeat on a weekly basis, to contending for the weekly cash prize.

This could be one of the more underrated games on Wednesday night, so expect to hear more from me.

Synthetic 3: The Lenny’s ($1.50) versus Manning Up ($2.50)

An intriguing contest between two teams that spent a good portion of the last 6 months making appearances down at Manning Memorial, and I can report firsthand that Lenny’s captain Jared, son of Lenny, spent many a weekday down at Manning with his headphones on, at one stage bowling so well that he took money from myself, Dymo, Todd and Half Price on a Tuesday afternoon in August, while John and his luckless crew that used to call themselves the Tie Break Turkeys have been practicing until well after sundown in recent weeks, although naturally most of their practice was sidetracked by the need to drink a pint of beer.

The story with the name Manning Up comes from those Wednesday nights this past Winter, when John decided to rename the former ‘Tie Break Turkeys’ to ‘Manning Up’, obviously as a nod to the suburb, which also doubled as a superstitious method to try and improve their luck in sudden death ends…

Who are we kidding, nothing will change that, so expect this game will go to a tiebreak, and at that point, get straight down to the bookies and load up on The Lenny’s holding their nerve.

Synthetic 4: Crawshaw Crisis Committee ($1.20) versus Team Tommy ($4)

Having been involved in Manning Jack Attack long enough to be considered a bedrock team, Kym and the Crawshaw residents have crossed Manning Road for another season of Wednesday night bowls, where they’ll be aiming to avoid hitting up the opposition’s bowls and losing the unlosable tiebreaker, and first up they’re playing the Harders boys from Team Tommy, who made an appearance in our brief Winter Bowls program back in the rainy season, and they made a good impression with their powerplay tactics, being one of the few teams to use it on the first end of the game, which worked out when they held 3 turned into 6.

For those of you who have no idea who Team Tommy are, which would be most of you, well I can say that they’ve got a champion’s pedigree, because they’re connected the people’s dog Tommy Shelby, the 2021 Australian Greyhound of the Year, who is co-owned by Mr Harders, and it remains to be seen if Tommy’s trainer Steve Withers, formerly in charge of the dreaded fines system for Manning’s Premier League side, will be able to make an appearance to help the boys out.

If he does, expect Team Tommy to be subject to the biggest betting plunge seen since Getting Closer at Canterbury in 1983.

Synthetic 5: Bowling Stones ($1.30) versus iTunes* ($3)

On Synthetic Rink 5 it’s the ‘young’ Manning Primary mums (The CD’s being the old mums), now into their third season of Jack Attack, against one of the new teams for this season, The iTunes, who as the name suggests are the evolution of The CD’s, with the team being filled with their offspring, and it makes you think that if the parents of The CD’s were ever involved in this comp, they’d be called The Vinyls.

In a few years, we’ll be seeing The Spotifys on Wednesdays.

I suppose the iTunes could also be considered the spiritual successor to The Young Guns, who won’t be featuring this Jack Attack season as they’re off playing mixed netball, and if their Jack Attack performances are any guide, they’ll look good for 4 weeks, then come Week 5 they’ll miss the Grand Final after throwing away a solid lead.

Synthetic 6: Buffed Helmets I* ($1.90) versus Lick My Bowls* ($1.90)

The first of two games in which both teams are making their Manning Jack Attack debuts, and we’ve got the unknown quantities of Buffed Helmets I against Lick My Bowls, who are facing a Washington Redskins style name change if Half Price doesn’t ratify their name.

If push comes to shove and Lick My Bowls have to change their name, then I would recommend the timeless ‘Jack Doff’, or one of the names we picked up from Hilton Park, ‘Bowls Deep.’

Synthetic 7: Howard’s End* ($1.90) versus Buffed Helmets II* ($1.90)

Adjacent to Buffed Helmets I it’s Buffed Helmets II, up against Howard’s End, a team possibly named after E.M Forster’s 1910 novel, which was later turned into a successful film in 1992, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, Dame Emma Thompson and Vanessa Redgrave, and, fun fact, it was the film that netted Thompson the Academy Award for Best Actress.

I’ll be honest, when I saw the name Howard’s End, I thought it was referring to this guy, who was Howard’s End back in 2007:

Synthetic 8: Top Shots ($1.30) versus Merkins ($3.20)

Jerry, Irene and The Top Shots are back once again to try and make it a hat-trick of ‘Most Friendly Team’ titles, and quite frankly, all they have to do is turn up to seal that award because they’re that nice, and they’ll take on Merkins, who were very lucky to avoid the wooden spoon last season as they finished 22nd out of 24 teams, and they had a few games where they forgot that under the current Jack Attack rules, teams had a play a tiebreak if they each won a set.

Funnily enough, one of those ‘tiebreakerless’ games was against the eventual wooden spooners Burrendah in Week 5, and with the floodlights switched off, the game was decided by a coin toss.

Burrendah called heads.

They won.

The scores might be a bit more straight forward this time around, I can tell you from recent experiences of bowling on Synthetic Rink 8, if you’re a right hander bowling a forehand from the clubhouse end, you’re in for a turd of a time, because anything wider than the blue boundary line gets caught in the earth’s gravitational pull and just doesn’t come back.

Must be the weather.

Categories: Lawn Bowls

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