After 7 months of anticipation and questions to the organiser, social bowling returned to Manning Memorial Bowling Club with the 3-week Spring Challenge, a preseason competition of sorts for the upcoming Jack Attack tournament, and it’s a preseason competition akin to the great preseason comps of Australian sport, like the NAB Cup, the Wizard Home Loans Cup, the Ansett Australia Cup, the Foster’s Cup and the Panasonic Cup.
The original plan was to run the 3-week tournament back in September, but after a wet and wild Perth winter, Richard ‘Half’ Price made the business decision to shift it back to October, so Jack Attack would end a bit closer to Christmas, and so we’d hopefully have better luck when it came to Wednesday night weather, and at least for now we did, because it was around 16 degrees Celsius with barely any wind by the time the sun went down.
Moving on to the teams, the Spring Challenge was capped at 16 teams due to green availability, but there’s still 5 new teams already in for the next 2 months; The iTunes, a junior team of The CD’s & Bowled Guys, Team Tommy, the crew representing Australia’s best greyhound Tommy Shelby, with assistance from Tommy’s trainer (And Manning BC’s own) Steve Withers, sister teams Buffed Helmets I and Buffed Helmets II, compromised of teammates from an indoor cricket team, and new bowlers Howard’s End, who I assumed were named after an Academy Award winning film, but they’re actually named in reference to Howard Parade in Salter Point.
To be honest, I was surprised there’s a street in Salter Point that ISN’T No Hope Avenue.
Three teams have also changed their names; The T-Birds are now The Bowled Guys, with Todd, aka Kochie, performing his rubbery team selection policy, the Tie Break Turkeys are Manning Up, by name and nature, and The Empire Strikes Jack have gone Jack To The Future at 88mph in a DeLorean.
Team captain Alex has been right around the mark with his creative team names, and he’s pulled it off again – The Bowlshoviks, Empire Strikes Jack, and Jack To The Future.
Another positive for the Spring Challenge is that the weekly prize money has been increased, with the Winners now receiving $50 (Up from $30), 2nd place receives $30 (Up from $20), and 3rd place receives $20 (Up from $10), so it was all set for a competitive night as social bowls resumed.
The Overall Night
To the surprise of just about everyone, including the bookies that had them at 4-1, the overall winners on the night with +19 shots were newcomers The iTunes, who positively thumped the Bowling Stones 20-1 to take the $50 cash, and the Aquinas tuck shop crew would’ve been rolling in the dough on Thursday when Jamie and the boys came to visit.
That result also came after Half Price moved the game from Rink 5 to Rink 2, just so the boys could be closer to their parents, who, looking at the scoreboard on Rink 1, didn’t take the advice they gave to their offspring.
In for 2nd place and taking $30 were the new look Great Bowls of Fire (+9 shots) over Jack To The Future, although it didn’t look that way with an end to go in the 1st Set, as they trailed 6-2, but with the powerplay still to come on the final end, they changed the order and landed 3 (Turned into 6) to pinch the set, and from there, the new combination of JT, Jonesy and Paul ‘Alphabet’ overcame some early teething issues, thanks in part to some extremely unlucky play by Jack To The Future, who at one stage hit the jack with a perfect shot in the 2nd Set, only for the weight to send the jack to a stop between two Great Bowls:
And not even an end later, Jack To The Future hit the jack out of bounds, by rule placing it on the T, where the Great Bowls held 3 just by landing them in play:
Oh Kochie, you could’ve had 30 bucks if you’d kept yourself in the Great Bowls instead of slotting me in.
In for 3rd place and taking $20 were the Merkins (+8), who absolutely let this reporter know about it after they were given odds of $3.20 against Top Shots, only to comfortably defeat Jerry and Irene’s team on Rink 8, thanks to a big hold of 6 on the final end of the 1st Set, propelling them into the money.
Moving around the rinks, and the derby between The Bowled Guys and The CD’s lived up to expectations, as The CD’s forced a tiebreak thanks to a last gasp bowl by Helen, but Kochie used his muscle memory from the last Jack Attack to land the winning bowl in the tiebreak.
The Harders/Withers partnership in Team Tommy broke through for a good win against the Crawshaw residents, which turned into a 1 set shootout after the 1st Set was tied 6-6 thanks to some successful powerplay ends, but Team Tommy dominated the 2nd Set by stifling Crawshaw’s powerplay, followed by a mega hold of 4 (Turned into 8) on their own powerplay to take it out 10-4.
Both the Buffed Helmets teams earned straight sets wins on their Wednesday night debuts, with Buffed Helmets I defeating Lick My Bowls on Rink 6 after realising it was better to hit them in the bowls instead of lick them, and in the game on Rink 7 between the new bowlers, Buffed Helmets II defeated Howard’s End thanks a big hold of 3 (Turned into 6) on their 2nd Set powerplay, and I can reveal that at 8:45 on Wednesday night, the Buffed Helmets were looking more like the Blind Helmets, judging by the state of their table:
It’s always dangerous when the bottle of Pepperjack comes out.
And lucky last, or should I say unlucky last, Manning Up looked set to put their Tie Break Turkeys past behind them when they won the 1st Set 9-1 against The Lenny’s, most notably holding 6 on the first end of the game, then Manning Up went 4-0 ahead in the 2nd Set, at which time their mate Brent (Who didn’t even bowl) decided to put the kiss of death on John and the team by calling them over the line, just before he went home.
Jared and The Lenny’s proceeded to come back and win the 2nd Set 6-4, and won the tiebreak thanks to a hold from Naomi.
Even Stevie Wonder saw that coming.
Scoring – 2 points for a set win, 1 point for a tied set, 1 for a tiebreak win, tiebreaks aren’t counted in score differential
Synthetic 1: The Bowled Guys (3pts +4) defeated the CD’s (2pts -4), 9-4, 4-5, 1-0 in the tiebreak
Synthetic 2: The iTunes (4pts +19) defeated the Bowling Stones, 6-1, 14-0
Synthetic 3: The Lenny’s (3pts -6) defeated Manning Up (2pts +6), 1-9, 6-4, 1-0 in the tiebreak
Synthetic 4: Team Tommy (3pts +6) defeated Crawshaw Crisis Committee (1pt -6), 6-6, 10-4
Synthetic 5: Great Bowls of Fire (4pts +9) defeated Jack To The Future, 8-6, 8-1
Synthetic 6: Buffed Helmets I (4pts +5) defeated Lick My Bowls, 6-2, 5-4
Synthetic 7: Buffed Helmets II (4 pts +4) defeated Howard’s End 5-3, 7-5
Synthetic 8: Merkins (4pts +8) defeated Top Shots, 8-2, 4-2
Alex, Jack To The Future: “Full credit to the boys, we showed up in the 1st Set, then it was a fairly egregious 2nd Set, but we came good at the end and didn’t get shut out.”
Glen, Buffed Helmets I (& II): “A lot of the blokes are all cricketers and it’s their first time playing bowls, and every one of them turned their back on the bowl every time they played a shot, but then they quickly realised how good or bad the shot was, and there was either a reaction of surprise or disgust.”
“Surprisingly there was no wrong bias from either of the teams, and Carmo was clearly the worst, he joined in late and immediately dragged the team down, despite saying that he’s found his game, and evidently it’s not bowls.”
“Performance was below par, same as his cricket.”
Cheese, Buffed Helmets II: “We scraped over the line in 2 tight sets, the powerplay got us across the line in the 2nd Set when he held 3… Lee Carr was clearly worst on ground!”
Irene, Top Shots: “We were rubbish but there’s room for improvement.”
Todd, Bowled Guys: “It was a close game and Helen bowled well, but in the end The Bowled Guys reigned supreme.”
Helen, CD’s: “I really don’t care.”
Kym, Crawshaw CC: “First set was a thriller, a 6-all draw, as Team Tommy were blessed with youth but not skill, but the CCC was blessed with neither, and in the 2nd Set they got 4 on a powerplay.”
“Malcolm bowled like a champion, except when it counted, I used old bowls that went through Cannington via Waterford… I’m sure we can rise to the depth of mediocrity next week.”
Naomi, The Lenny’s: “I bowled the bowl that won the tiebreak!”
John, Manning Up: “The skills were there but the psychology wasn’t.”
“It was Brent, who didn’t even bowl, who said ‘I’m going home, you’ve got this’, and we all looked at him, and we never won another bloody end, so this one’s on HIM.”
Categories: Lawn Bowls
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