Before we begin, a big thanks to the following people for their work throughout the season: Richard ‘Half’ Price, Theresa, Nikki and Amber behind the bar, Brenda, Bianca & Imogen in the kitchen, Sue & Greg Hogg (Hope the Hip operation went well Sue), AJ Heal, Mark Ellis, and to all the colourful characters who came down to Manning Memorial and made this season as enjoyable as ever!
They say all good things must come to an end, and that was exactly the case down at Manning Memorial as the Spring 2021 edition of Manning Jack Attack reached Finals Week, bringing a close to what has been the most successful edition of the Greatest Social Bowls Competition Between Manning Road and the Canning River, and if there’s a better Jack Attack competition in Australia, then I haven’t bothered looking at it.
In case you’re unaware of the format, Finals Week is very simple – The major prize money finals are 1st vs 2nd (Macatac vs Habibs), 3rd vs 4th (Bowled Guys vs Verse 1), 5th vs 6th (Manning Up vs Merkins), and the change for this season’s finals is that 7th vs 8th (Team Pamba vs Buffed Helmets II) is now a prize money game.
So with that worked out, this season’s Champions took home $300, it was $250 for 2nd, $200 for 3rd, $150 for 4th, $100 for 5th, $75 for 6th, with 7th and 8th each taking home $50, with the added bonuses for this season being the addition of the Mitchell Trophy for the Best & Fairest Player, named in recognition of Manning Jack Attack founders Matty and Kate Mitchell:
And for the first time since the Summer 2017 competition, the winning team would be able to hoist the freshly engraved Manning Jack Attack Champions Trophy, which was discovered by yours truly during the club awards night back in April:
One downside is that due to a lack of record keeping in the dark ages, we couldn’t find all the past winners, as Deb from Ten Pin pointed out to me on Wednesday night that Ten Pin hoisted that very same trophy back in the Summer 2016 competition, which would’ve been handy to know a few weeks back.
On the team front, with 25 teams in the original fixture, the only repeat fixture for this season would’ve been the Grand Final between Macatac and the Habibs (They played in Week 2), while the plan was to have a hybrid team representing Howard’s End play against Crawshaw Crisis Committee, in what would’ve been the prim and proper Wooden Spoon clash for Spring 2021, ensuring we had 26 teams.
However, in a case of life giving us lemons and making lemonade, the Ghost Riders withdrew on Tuesday morning, so that meant Wednesday night was down to an even 24 teams, and the fixture reshuffle ensured we’d get the advertised Wooden Spoon game between the winless Crawshaw and Stop Drop & Bowl on Grass 2, in a rematch of their Week 3 game that Stop Drop & Bowl won in a tie break.
Ironically, one of our novelty awards for this season was the Disappearing Act Award, given to the team who went missing more times than England’s top order – Ghost Riders already had it won BEFORE they withdrew….
The Corner To Corner Challenge
The night kicked off with the third and final Corner To Challenge for both the Synthetic and Grass rinks, and showing just how far we’ve come, both editions were decided in measurements, with the $30 on the Grass going the way of Coral from Ten Pin, giving the Ten Pin bowlers another Corner To Corner win, and the $20 for 2nd place went to Trent from Out On Parole:
While over on the grass, it was a measurement for the win between Shane from Macatac and Jack from Team Tommy, but for the second time this season, it was Shane who took the $30 in the Synthetic Corner to Corner, with Jacky taking home the $20:
Well done to all the winners on the night, and across the 3 editions of the Corner To Corner for this season, and we’ll be seeing the pre-game challenge back in Jack Attack around about Week 2 of the upcoming Summer season.
The Overall Night
On what was a perfect night for bowling (20 degrees Celsius and a light southwesterly), Finals Week brough out the best in the Manning Jack Attack family, and the end result was a new record for tie breaks in a week of Manning Jack Attack, with 8 out of the 12 games going to tie breaks, including the Grand Final, the 3rd vs 4th game, the 5th vs 6th game, AND the Wooden Spoon game, and 2 other games had a tied set!
BUT, starting with the important result of the night, the WINNERS of the Grand Final, earning the title of Champions of Challenger Avenue….
The Grand Final wasn’t quite as dramatic or controversial as the ending to the Formula 1 World Championship, but the Maccers had to regroup quickly after a Habibs fightback in the 2nd Set, and they did just that, breaking the hearts of Johnny, Abes and Nick under the MV Wholesale sign, avenging their Week 2 defeat, and the added bonus for Macatac, having already won the title in their debut season, was that Dianne became the first official winner of the Mitchell Trophy, and you couldn’t knock that smile off her dial:
A smile so bright it could’ve melted that frozen chocolate medal that I kept in the freezer for too long.
Commiserations to the Habibs on a disappointing end to a great season, in which they made the Top 4 for the first time, and they’ve got plenty of choices to spend that $250 – Johnny could buy a few more cars for MV Wholesale, Abes could put it towards the big sponsorship sign on D Green that he’s briefly told us about, but for the time being, they’ll have to get that cash out of Nick’s hands:
Moving on to the Bronze Medal Game next door on Synthetic 3, where the Bowled Guys and Verse 1 also ventured into the dangerous realm of the tie break after the Bowled Guys snatched the 2nd Set on the final end, but after last week’s near miss, Mick, Peg and Ronni did the Manning Darts crew proud, winning the tie break to take 3rd place and the $200 cash for Verse 1!
It should be noted that the Bowled Guys were severely undermanned on Wednesday night, with Loose Bruce and Jamie having already headed up north with the caravan for a Christmas holiday, so it was left to Reed and Bruce’s brother Craig (Plus one of their mates) to try and save the day, and to their credit, they very nearly did, and Reed’s disappointment was quickly forgotten when he got his hands on the 4th place envelope with $150 in it:
On to the 5th Place game between Manning Up and Merkins on Synthetic 5, and as mentioned off the top, this game also went to a tie break, and given Manning Up was involved, you don’t even need to guess what the outcome was, as the Merkins came back to take 5th place and cap off one of the great turnarounds we’ve seen in Manning Jack Attack, after they finished 22nd (Out of 24 teams) last season, and captain Roy had plenty of support from Kelly, and especially Donnelle, who played so well that Roy sent her up to get the $100 cash in his place, and that’s saying something:
If the Merkins hadn’t finished in the Top 8, they’d have been a slam dunk decision for Most Improved Team in the novelty awards.
Despite suffering yet another dreaded case of the tie break turkeys, 6th place is by far the best finishing position for John, Trav, Mark, Simon, Brent and Phil in any of their past guises (Barking Owls, Hooting Dogs, S.cool Dads, Tiebreak Turkeys, Manning Up), and $75 will be a welcome addition to the Manning Up drinking fund after a great season:
After unveiling the ‘Baggy Black’ team hats in Week 4, Manning Up also unveiled a new ‘tradition’ on Wednesday night… When they inevitably find themselves playing in a tie break, they light up the pink sweatbands, although so far that tradition has proven to be wildly unsuccessful:
In the 7th vs 8th game on Synthetic 2, it was a rollercoaster ride for the Buffed Helmets II against Team Pamba, as they managed to stifle Pamba’s powerplay on the final end to win the 1st Set 6-5, then in the 2nd Set, future Buffed Helmets captain Scotty inadvertently took the jack to send the Buffed Helmets from 3 up to 2 down, then on the penultimate end, Cheese decided to give Graeme another bowl after his shot hit a live bowl on Rink 1, a decision that proved costly as Graeme took the hold and made the score 5-4 to the Buffed Helmets with an end to come…
But despite getting sledged by both teams for 5 minutes straight, big Cheese put the Buffs on his broad shoulders, and with his last bowl of the night, Cheese got the strut going as he followed his shot down, which he backed up when the bowl wound up sitting right on the jack, surviving a last gasp shot from Graeme that actually took the jack, which fortuitously settled closer to Cheese’s shot, ensuring the Buffed Helmets II won in straight sets:
Despite it being a mere 3 shots in it, the Buffed Helmets II took 7th place and $50 cash, which went straight towards another bottle of Pepperjack Shiraz, and vice captain Mazey accepted the cash in place of captain Scotty, and judging by this photo, if Mazey didn’t have a moustache, he’d look like Austin Powers:
Still, both teams were locked in to receive $50 regardless of the result, so Team Pamba also won a pineapple for their best-ever season, with Team Manager Julie accepting the prize on their behalf:
So that was the outcome of the four Money Matches, while the fifth and final match of note was the Wooden Spoon Game on Grass Rink 2 between Crawshaw Crisis Committee and Stop Drop & Bowl, which also went to a tie break, and this year’s Wooden Spooners, to paraphrase Juan Antonio Samaranch….
De winner is Stop Drop & Bowl!
Yep, Stop Drop & Bowl won the 1st Set 5-4, but Decca, Malcolm and Peter roared back to win the 2nd Set in a 10-0 shutout, followed by a comfortable tie break win to avoid the ignominy of delivering the wooden spoon to Crawshaw Crescent, and unless I’m very much mistaken, Sharon’s team won the spoon as Burrendah last season, so they’ve further added to their splintery legacy.
Of course, getting their only win of the season to finish second last means Crawshaw take home something far more coveted than the wooden spoon, and that’s the roll of toilet paper, because if you finish second last, you’re Close To Crap:
I should note Decca, Malcolm and Peter were unable to take the bog roll with them as they had to race off to a birthday party for Malcolm’s better half, so we’ll have a formal ceremony for them during the first week of the Summer competition, which should be around the second Wednesday in February.
Before I get into the other results, I should note that it was that it was nice to see a few teams go the extra mile and rock up with some type of Christmas gear (The Bowling Stones, Team Pamba, Top Shots, CD’s, Beginner’s Luck to name a few), even though Half Price mentioned nothing about it, and with a spare bottle of wine for the awards ceremony due to the absence of Howards End, we decided to hand out an impromptu award for the Best Christmas Uniform on the night, which you can read about below.
On to the results, and while there was no prize money for the four biggest winners on the night, I can reveal the overall winners on the final night of the season were Team Tommy, who knocked off Beginner’s Luck in straight sets by +24 shots on Synthetic Rink 1, and after their unsuccessful performance sledging Sorrento’s Premier League team last Saturday (I know that because I was joining in), it’s good to know Mick, Jack and the team were able to back up their poorly executed sledging on the green.
2nd place on the night went to Jack To The Future, after Alex had to ‘call up the oldies’ due to a player shortage, but the addition of a few players who may or may not be pennants bowlers allowed JTTF to pump the Great Bowls of Fire by +13 shots on Synthetic Rink 7, although in true Jack To The Future style, they only won with 3 points after the 1st Set was tied 7 shots apiece, which is the third time this season that JTTF have tied a set, which is absolutely now a Manning Jack Attack single season record.
3rd place overall was decided on the ends countback, and it went to Close to Crap award winners Crawshaw CC, who were +9 shots up on Stop Drop & Bowl in the Wooden Spoon game, with the Bowling Stones also winning in a tie break by +9 shots against the Top Shots on Grass Rink 1, but Crawshaw got the ladies from the Stones on the ends countback 7-6.
Completing the results:
After going from chocolates in Week 2 to boiled lollies in Weeks 3 & 4, The Lenny’s ended the season by winning their last 2 games, defeating Out On Parole in an out and out slugfest on Grass Rink 3, with the game featuring 8 ends (Out of 10) with a hold of just 1 shot, as the Lenny’s prevailed 4-2, 3-3.
On Synthetic Rink 6, the CD’s regained Helen and brought back the fabled CD’s shirts (Plus a couple of Santa hats), and despite losing the aggregate against Rock N Bowl, last season’s 3rd placed team won in a tie break to bring about a merciful end to their forgetful season, in which they did more free falling (3rd to 15th) than Tom Petty.
On Grass Rink 4, the Buffed Helmets I and Team Catalano had themselves an engaging contest, as Team Catalano won the 1st Set 6-4 after trailing 0-4, before the Buffs I roared back with a 4 turned into 8 on their 2nd Set powerplay to take the 2nd Set 9-4, and they carried that momentum into a tie break win, and it was an emotional win for the Buffs I, as just before the game started, skipper Glen accidentally knocked over a full jug of Swan Draught:
A moment of silence for our fallen comrade.
And the lucky last result for 2021 was the seventh tie break of the night between Ten Pin and the Unbelievabowls over on the lightless confines of Grass Rink 6, and after splitting the sets to varying degrees (Unbelievabowls won the 1st Set 7-5 and Ten Pin won the 2nd Set 8-1), Barb, Sue and the Unbelievabowls ended the year by winning the tie break, which would’ve been a huge sigh of relief after their year started with two tie break defeats in three games, but it ended with a hat-trick of victories!
The Half Price Choice Awards, as presented by ‘Richie Benaud’
A quick note: The Choice Awards are intended for teams that finished outside of the Top 8, given the Top 8 teams got prize money, just to give everyone a chance at winning an award.. Everyone outside the Top 8 that didn’t get an award still got at least a bottle of wine.
Best Team Uniform: Beginner’s Luck
Special Award for the Best Christmas Dress-Up on the night: Beginner’s Luck for the Christmas lights
Friendliest Team: Top Shots, which brings up a hat-trick of Friendliest team titles for Jerry and Irene
The Biggest Drinkers: Buffed Helmets I & II, who had the award sewn up during Week 1 of the preseason:
I was a first-hand witness to the Buffs cementing their award by staying until 11:20pm on Wednesday night to have a few cans and a few more bottles of red.
The Brown Paper Bag Award: The CD’s, for always requesting to play on the Synthetic, and notably kicking up a stink in the Captain’s Comments when they got put on the grass… Cash bribes only, ladies.
The Disappearing Act Award: The Ghost Riders, who appropriately didn’t play this week.
The Commitment Award: Adam Macpherson, for entering 3 teams (Macatac, Ghost Riders, Rock N Bowl)
The Centurion Award: Ten Pin, for officially claiming the record for the most Jack Attack appearances, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar.
Most Consistent Team: Jack To The Future, who recorded 4 consecutive 3-point wins between Weeks 2-5 when we were deciding the award, before making it 5 in a row on Wednesday night.
Most Improved Team: Unbelievabowls, for losing 2 tiebreaks in 3 weeks to winning two consecutive games by 13 shots.
Dedication To Improvement: Team Tommy, for continuing to practice long after the night had ended, week after week:
Lollies to Boiled Chocolates: The Lenny’s, for being top of the ladder after Week 2, and not winning a set for the next fortnight.
The Choke Award: Great Bowls of Fire, who started the season defending champions, but lost their first 3 games and dropped to 10th.
LOUDEST TEAM: TEAM CATALANO
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
Grass 1: Bowling Stones (3pts +9) defeated Top Shots (2pts -9), 11-1, 4-5, 1-0 in the tie break
Grass 2: Crawshaw CC (3pts +9) defeated Stop Drop & Bowl (2pts -9), 4-5, 10-0, 1-0 in the tie break
Grass 3: The Lenny’s (3pts +2) defeated Out On Parole (1pt -2), 4-2, 3-3
Grass 4: Buffed Helmets I (3pts +3) defeated Team Catalano (2pts -3), 4-6, 9-4, 2-0 in the tie break
Grass 6: Unbelievabowls (3pts -5) defeated Ten Pin (2pts +5), 7-5, 1-8, 1-0 in the tie break
Synthetic 1: Team Tommy (4pts +24) defeated Beginner’s Luck, 10-1, 17-2
Synthetic 2: Buffed Helmets II (4pts +3) defeated Team Pamba, 6-5, 6-4
Synthetic 3 (3rd vs 4th): Verse 1 (3pts +1) defeated Bowled Guys (2pts -1), 4-2, 5-6, 1-0 in the tie break
Synthetic 4 (Grand Final): Macatac (3pts +3) defeated Habibs (2pts -3), 8-1, 2-6, 3-0 in the tie break
Synthetic 5: Merkins (3pts -1) defeated Manning Up (2pts +1), 1-5, 5-2, 1-0 in the tie break
Synthetic 6: CD’s (3pts -3) defeated Rock N Bowl (2pts -3), 3-7, 5-4, 2-0 in the tie break
Synthetic 7: Jack To The Future (3pts +11) defeated Great Bowls of Fire (1pt -11), 7-7, 11-0
Dianne, Macatac: “A big thanks to the Habibs for a great game, thanks to Duncan and Shane, thanks to Adam for inviting us down to play at his club, we had fun every game and met some wonderful people!”
Roy, Merkins: “I can’t believe we got 5th overall, Chipper was absent tonight, I didn’t have my usual bowls and just didn’t play well at all, but Kelly and Donnelle were on fire, and Donnelle is so revved up that she’s now thinking of playing pennants.”
“Also, throughout the night, Manning Up kept calling Kelly ‘Crash’ because she kept trying to crash the head… Well, she crashed their hopes of winning!”
Decca and Peter, Crawshaw CC: “During the game we were trying out some hand signals, but Malcolm kept waving his arms around like he was caught in a rip, then he went missing, so we dialled his phone and he still didn’t answer… we thought he’d gone to get his photo taken at a function again.”
“Still, Decca led us adequately as captain, and as he told Malcolm after the win, that’s what captains do….They pick up the S**t!”
Mick, Verse 1: “We really appreciate what Jason and Pricey have done to make everything work – It was a great season, competition was very good, everyone was friendly, and to get 3rd was a superb end to the season!”
Alex, Jack To The Future: “I’d like to correct JT on one thing…. We didn’t finish the year with 4 consecutive 3-point wins, we had 5!”
The Bowling Stones: “We told our friends that we got the Hottest Team award… And we’ve got verification!”
Yes, you certainly do ladies:
Helen/Nat/Kelly/Marg, CD’s: “Tonight felt like the second week in a row where the jack was moving like a magnet, and I can’t explain it… It could be gravitational pull for all I know.”
“As for the actual game, we came back and got the win in a tiebreak, and it felt like the four of us all came to the party, in the CD’s uniform to boot – It was very much a team effort, a rare one after a down season, and for once, it felt like the CD’s were back!”
Scotty, Buffed Helmets II: “On the second last end, on the last bowl, Team Pamba hit a bowl on Rink 1 which was still in play, and Cheese decided to let them bowl it again when we were 3 shots up… They wound up winning the end when they shouldn’t have, and it wasn’t just us sledging Cheese for the next 5 minutes, Team Pamba were giving it to him as well.”
“But on the last end, Cheese followed his shot with a swagger and it landed smack bang on the jack – We’d given him a heap of stick, but the big fella carried us on his shoulders.”
Lee, Buffed Helmets II: “Scotty paid out on Cheese for the Bowl of the Century, but Scotty went for a drive when we were 3 up, and instead of rolling the damn thing into the gutter like I told him to, he took the jack and gave them 2 instead… that’s why he’s a shoe-in to be our indoor cricket captain this season!”
Glen, Buffed Helmets I: “We snuck home in a tiebreak, Kip was a bit distracted as he had a Tinder date after the game, and on the opening bowl of the night he kicked over his toothbrush after it fell out of his pocket… He was horrified, because she’s Oral B and he’s Colgate, so there might be an issue with compatibility!”
Carmo, Buffed Helmets I: “I’ve put in a transfer request to Macatac for next season, subject to clearance from Scratch (Glen), and I’d just like to say thanks everyone for your constant lack of support and your constant abuse… Sleeve me alone!”
John, Manning Up: “The ghost of the tiebreak turkeys came back to haunt us tonight, and we were proud to bring it back… again – Overall it was a good season for us, and we’ll be back.”
DC, who was with the Buffed Helmets: “I don’t know these people, and I don’t know why I’m here.”
Theresa, giving a subtle hint about the Buffed Helmets winning the Biggest Drinkers Award: “Come the first game of next season, the Buffed Helmets might be struggling to defend their Biggest Drinkers title…”
That’s because Kym Wilkinson will be returning to win it back for Crawshaw Crisis Committee.
Unofficial Final Ladder
The Photos From The Night
The money games in action – The Grand Final on the left, 3rd vs 4th in the middle, and 7th vs 8th on the right
Johnny and the Habibs in ‘The Last Supper’:
A traditional Australian smorgasbord, prepared by the very supportive families of Manning Up:
Mighty Mick from Verse 1 in action, appearing to use the force on his bowl:
Scotty (Buffed Helmets II) experiencing something between a seizure or a sudden fit of dancing to the music:
Manning 2nd Division pennants convert Bob Bandy watching his former Como teammates in the Grand Final:
Abes and Duncan watch on as Nick (Unsuccessfully) drives:
Abes knowing he’s bowled a lemon as soon as it left his hand:
Glen in full flight for the Buffed Helmets I:
Playing for money at sunset:
Cheese and Graeme (In the Santa hat) chatting on Rink 2, as the other skips all mind their heads:
Decca leading the way for Crawshaw:
Enzo from Team Catalano on bended knee, popping the question to the jack:
A photo of Team Tommy to give our greenkeeper Dave Nester a migraine:
The Wooden Spoon game between Crawshaw and Stop Drop & Bowl:
Alex from Jack to the Future a foot shy of the Jack:
Trav from Manning Up providing an example of Manning Up’s tie break pink sweatbands in action:
A happy Dianne Mac after the conclusion of the tiebreak:
Proof that my dog Izzy has more Jack Attack titles than the CD’s:
Manning President Greg Hogg on the microphone during the presentation, as Pricey gives me the evil eye:
The crowd watches the presentation, although you’ll probably get distracted by the array of tinsel:
And finally, the outgoing reigning premiers the Great Bowls of Fire (Todd & Jonesy minus Paul Alphabet) finally get their photo with the Jack Attack Trophy that they didn’t get last season… it was worth the wait:
Thanks to you all for reading the Manning Jack Attack reports for this season – If all goes well, the Summer 2022 edition will be commencing around about the second Wednesday in February….
Until then, Happy Festivus for the rest of us!
Categories: Lawn Bowls