Lawn Bowls

Preview for Week 2 of the Manning Spring Challenge

Following the successful takeoff last Wednesday night, it’s on to Week 2 of the preseason Spring Challenge at Manning Memorial, although looking at the weather forecast for Perth over the next 2 days, it’ll take a bit of divine intervention and forensic analysis of the BOM app to get through this week of social bowls:

Now I’m not Jeff Newman by any stretch, but if the rain does hit in the afternoon and into the evening, the potential saving grace for the Spring Challenge would be the fact that we’re playing on a Synthetic green, which drains at a very reasonable rate, and the facts show that it is playable within an hour of a heavy downpour.

Case in point, this was the weather during the Two Bowl Singles championship last month:

Crap, those are my bowls out there

And this was the green 40 minutes later, as we all sang the opening lyrics to a Johnny Nash song:

Even then, I’m aggressively clutching at straws, because it won’t be that sunny by 5:30pm, although a definitive answer on the night’s play will come from Half Price by lunchtime on Wednesday, all the way from a golf course down south.

So just for posterity, here’s a look at the Wednesday night slate, and all odds are via extremely untrustworthy bookmaker Pricebet, who only made 4 errors out of 8 last week!

Synthetic 1: iTunes ($2.10) vs Jack To The Future ($1.80)

A case of the young guns vs the young guns, as last week’s overall winners the iTunes take on Alex and his team of time travellers, minus Doc Brown who got struck by lightning and sent back to 1885, and this game is a rare example of PSA Lawn Bowls, because Aquinas (The iTunes) are taking on Wesley (Jack To The Future), and based on recent PSA history, Wesley are right up against it.

However, if you ask me, this game is a case of differing formlines from Week 1.

Sure, Jack To The Future got belted last week, but they were taking on the might of the Great Bowls of Fire, who are the defending Manning Jack Attack champions, and most teams who take on the Great Bowls will tend to look worse than they actually are, especially first up after a long spell, while the iTunes took on the Manning Mums from the Bowling Stones, who were already getting stuck into the wine at 6:30, which turned the game into something resembling a team of Jason Gillespies (The correct term is most likely a Gillespi) against the Bangladeshi bowling attack.

I don’t think they’ll get the same luck against Jack To The Future, but Pricebet has been wrong hundreds of times before.

Synthetic 2: CDs ($1.40) vs Manning Up ($2.50)

A game between the two teams who lost the only two games that went to tiebreaks last Wednesday night, but let’s cut to the chase, the CD’s will almost certainly find a way to win this game in a tiebreak.


Because it’s Manning Up, and heartbreak and losses in one-end shootouts follows them like a magnet, to the point where they’re Manning Down most of the time.

Let me put it this way – if Manning Up were a golfer, they’d be Jean Van de Velde on the 18th hole at Carnoustie.

Synthetic 3: Lick My Bowls ($1.80) vs Howard’s End ($2)

Hehehehehe, Lick My Bowls.

True story – Howard Parade was named after John Howard, when he held a parade through Salter Point in 1997

Following on from a theme in last week’s matchups, this is a game between two of the new teams in the Wednesday night competition, with both sides losing narrowly against the Buffed Helmets teams, although looking at the scorecards, it looked like Lick My Bowls made the better debut, as they were in a position to win the 2nd Set as they led 4-3 with an end to go, staring down the barrel of a tiebreak, only for Buffed Helmets I to seal the win on the final end with 2 shots.

The Pricebet market seems to reflect the fact that both teams are made up of who could be considered novice bowlers, so personally I’d avoid dipping into your superannuation and loading up on Lick My Bowls.

Synthetic 4: Top Shots ($1.70) vs Bowling Stones ($2.10)

A game between two teams who got smoked so badly last Wednesday night that they both gave their opponents a bit of cash, leading to them both being nicknamed ‘The ATMs.’

The Bowling Stones lost the 2nd Set 14-0 to the iTunes, and ultimately went down 20-1 overall, with their only winning end coming on the first end of the game, such was their flogging, while the Top Shots looked the better team on paper against the Merkins, but one horrible end of 6 to decide the 1st Set saw them lose 12-4 overall.

My simple message to Tiffany and The Bowling Stones….

Stick to 1 glass of wine before you bowl.

Synthetic 5: Buffed Helmets II ($2.20) vs Merkins ($1.60)

The Merkins have earned a bit of respect from John The Bookmaker after their 3rd place finish last Wednesday night, although we’ll find out if their win was something resembling a dead cat bounce and if they’ll regress back to the mean against ‘Cheese’ and the Buffed Helmets II, who managed to record a win on debut, despite the efforts of Carmo, who showed up late and nearly dragged Buffed Helmets II down to the same level as the Titanic, in the worst performance seen on a Wednesday night at Manning Memorial since JT made a Sandpaper joke back in March of 2018 and promptly bowled on the wrong bias.

Speaking of the Buffed Helmets, I wasn’t able to include this photo last Thursday as it just didn’t fit with the vibe of the report, but the Buffed Helmets didn’t need to waste any time designing a team uniform, because they already had them from their forays into the game of cricket, and to quote Kath and Kim, it’s nice, it’s different, it’s unusual:

Synthetic 6: The Lenny’s ($1.70) vs Crawshaw Crisis Committee ($2.10)

After a come from behind tiebreak win from a near impossible position against Manning Up, The Lenny’s appear to be building themselves up to be some kind of a dark horse contender for a Top 6 finish in the Jack Attack competition, especially with Jared bowling on Saturday afternoons, yet another example of Jack Attack proving to be a breeding ground for potential pennant players at Manning, and a breeding ground for extremely loyal patrons to the bar to help fund the future clubhouse redevelopment.

Meantime, the functioning alcoholics from Crawshaw shot back to life by being belted by Team Tommy, and after that 10-4 thumping in the 2nd Set, I’m left wondering, just a few weeks out from Jack Attack, where is the Crawshaw CC currently at?

On first guess, I’d go with Crawshaw Crescent.

Synthetic 7: The Bowled Guys ($1.50) vs Team Tommy ($2.60)

There’s only one thing we can talk about when it comes to the Bowled Guys this week….

How the hell did Todd, of all 5,000 people crammed into the MBC on Friday night, draw the winning ticket for Chase The Ace on Friday night FOR THE THIRD TIME.

Personally, I think he rubbed his head for luck, which is pretty easy to do, and in fairness to David Koch’s brother from another mother, he picked up a cool $1500 for it, even as he couldn’t pluck out the Ace of Spades, consigning Theresa and the bar staff to another night of psychological torture this coming Friday.

Well, on the bright side for Todd, hopefully that result will help him recoup some of the losses he’s incurred on Tuesday afternoons, and he can keep going with Loose Bruce and Reed against Team Tommy, fresh off that aforementioned breakthrough against Crawshaw, with Steve Withers playing the role of the team’s Yoda, and at times Mr Withers looked as tall as the little green Jedi Master:

“Hold your powerplay, you must”

Synthetic 8: Great Bowls of Fire ($1.40) vs Buffed Helmets I ($2.80)

The final game over on Synthetic 8 sees the Great Bowls of Fire against the Buffed Helmets I, and I do believe Pricebet will also be setting an over/under market for the amount of forehands that end up flying out of bounds after both teams bowl too close to the boundary line and get caught in the mysterious rip that seems to exist out there.

As of Monday night it’s set at 20, and even then, that might be too low, even with a few of us bowling with the old school wide bowls.

So assuming Wednesday night receives a dose of divine intervention and goes ahead, you’d expect the Great Bowls will start a solid favourite, especially with the way they ran out the game against Jack To The Future, a performance built off the back of changing the lineup in the 1st Set, namely switching Paul to lead, Jonesy to second, and JT to the skip, which saw them take 2nd place overall, as captain Jonesy overcame the disappointment of being the only bald guy to miss out on playing with the Bowled Guys.

I can report there’s now an internal campaign brewing within the Bowled Guys and Great Bowls to get JT to play full-time with the Great Bowls of Fire in the defence of their Jack Attack title, although at this stage despite the potential of fortune and glory, the free agent signing remains non-committal for the 6-week tournament, given he’s due to play Thursday pennants and has to write and compile photos for the Wednesday night reports.

On the other side, the Buffed Helmets I will look to keep building on their successful first foray into bowls, as Lick My Bowls posed the question to them deep into the 2nd Set, and Glen and his team said, ‘Okay’, and licked them by holding 2 on the final end to win the game.

The Buffed Helmets also appeared to have a very long debrief after last week’s wins, although I doubt many of them remember it, judging by the state of the table at 8:30 on Wednesday evening:

What a performance – Their first week in the comp and they’re already out-drinking Crawshaw.

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