Lawn Bowls

Manning Jack Attack Review: 16th March

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John with his game face on during the Grand Final

Before we begin, a big thanks to the following people for their work throughout the season: Richard ‘Half’ Price in whatever part of the Abrolhos you may be, Adam Mac, Theresa, Emily, Michael, and Amber behind the bar, young Indy Mac, Brenda & Bianca in the kitchen, Sue & Greg Hogg, AJ Heal, 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 Summer 2022 edition of Manning Jack Attack reached Finals Week, bringing a close to another rip snorting edition of the Greatest Social Bowls Competition Between Manning Road and the Canning River, and if there’s a better Jack Attack competition in the Southern Hemisphere, then I haven’t bothered looking at it.

Wednesday was already a big day for Manning, because the Tuesday Premier League ladies defeated Mosman Park at Bassendean to win their 13th Tuesday Premier Division pennant in the last 15 seasons, and I had the good fortune of being on hand to witness the raising and saluting of yet another flag at Manning Memorial:

Kristina raising the flag, Hailey holding the ladder, and I think that’s Robyn Jolly dressed as an eagle on the right

Although based on my counting, I may have given them one more title than I thought.

In case you’re unaware of the format, Finals Week is very simple – The Top 8 teams all play each other in ladder order, with the prize money finals being 1st vs 2nd (Great Bowls of Fire vs Manning Up), 3rd vs 4th (Macatac vs Top Shots) and 5th vs 6th (Buffed Helmets II vs Paul’s Heroes), with 7th and 8th (Team Tommy vs Ten Pin) also playing each other, although with this season’s financial constraints we couldn’t make 7th vs 8th a money game as it was in the Spring, so the winners got a couple of drinks vouchers.

Other than that, the lucky last game of importance was the Wooden Spoon game, which would be contested between the Bowling Stones (25th) and This Is How We Roll (26th), with the teams from 9th to 24th drawn as per the usual fixturing rules (No repeat fixtures), and there’s no money for the 4 biggest wins on the night.

So with the deductions worked out, this season’s Champions took home $250, it was $200 for 2nd, $150 for 3rd, $100 for 4th, $75 for 5th, and $50 for 6th.

On the team front, we were back down to 24 teams this week, because right as the CDs got out of their isolation spell, Out On Parole had two players go into isolation as close contacts, so they were sidelined for the final week…. Adding to the hilarity of it all, both teams were due to play each other in Week 6.

In a sign of the times, another team that suffered the close contact curse were the Merkins, who were due to play Beginner’s Luck, but as fate would have it, Beginner’s Luck had 5 players on hand, and our regular floater Barry from the Zebra’s came down because it was the last night of the season, even though the Zebra’s weren’t playing, so we were able to get an even 12 games in.

Thank goodness it was the last week, because I can only think if we went on any longer, we’d be getting a few more teams sent into isolation.

The Overall Night

For the last time, a shot of the Synthetic green

On what was a perfect night for bowling (22 degrees Celsius, cloudy and a light sea breeze), Finals Week was a big mix of teams playing for pride, a laugh, and a couple of sheep stations, with the end result being that 8 teams won with 4 points, which equals the record for this season, with 2 games having drawn sets, and just 2 games going to tie breaks, but it should be noted one of them was the Grand Final.

So, starting with the important result of the night, the WINNERS of the Grand Final, earning the title of Champions of Challenger Avenue….

Goodness gracious, GREAT BOWLS OF FIRE!

Paul Alphabet, Todd/Kochie and Jonesy, halfway into a pint
They are the Jerry Lee Lewis tribute team

As mentioned off the top, it was yet another Jack Attack Grand Final that came down to a tie break (That’s now 3 in a row), but unfortunately for Manning Up, who started the game with a 3 on a first end powerplay, the Great Bowls have plenty of experience winning Grand Finals in tie breaks, and Jonesy struck the fatal blow as the lead, Paul Alphabet put another one on the jack, and Manning Up in their tie break pink sweatbands suffered a dreaded case of the tie break turkeys when they could least afford to.

I have been told that this may be the last time we ever see Tie Break Pink in Jack Attack

Although, we won’t mention Kochie put a bowl in the ditch in the tie break.

So it was a historic moment at Manning Memorial, as the Great Bowls trio of Kochie, Jonesy and Paul Alphabet (The Greek Freak) became the first team to win 3 Manning Jack Attack titles, breaking a tie with the Lawn Clippings, and they celebrated with a traditional Greek beverage….

A shot of Ouzo.

A pint of Swan with a shot of Ouzo is always the way to go Jonesy

Commiserations to Manning Up, who have served as one of the best examples of team building in community sport, considering they were languishing at the bottom for several years as the Hooting Dogs/Barking Owls, Dads and Tie Break Turkeys, but John, Trav, Mark, Simon, Phil and Brent stuck together, gave each other crap, improved, had a breakthrough Top 6 finish in 2021, and now they’ve appeared in a Grand Final, a rise up the ladder not too dissimilar to the recent Melbourne Demons.

Manning Up: Mark, John (c), Brent, Trav, Phil and Simon

Although, the main difference is the Demons actually won a Grand Final.

So well done to Manning Up, and I should also say congratulations to captain John McGinn, who was awarded this season’s Mitchell Trophy as the best & fairest player:

That trophy will sit in the McGinn family study for the next several months

A very well earned honour in my view.

Moving on to the Bronze Medal Game next door on Synthetic 3, and it was a resounding victory to outgoing champions Macatac, who were a bit dirty that they missed the Grand Final, but they weren’t losing 3rd place and the $150, as they defeated the Top Shots in straight sets by 21 shots (24-3), in what was the biggest win by any team on the night.

I should mention that Macatac were the only team to go unbeaten this season, the first time any team have finished a Manning Jack season unbeaten since Team Some Hope in the Summer of 2018 – Using Shane’s goatee as a windsock was a big advantage, but it turned out too many 3-point wins cost them a shot at a repeat.

Ellen and Duncan from Macatac watching on

Well, that and my mathematics skills.

So 4th place went to the Top Shots (Irene, Gerry, Gordon and Leslie), who have represented the Manning Darts crew with great distinction this season, especially when you consider that they’d never finished in the Top 10 prior to this season, and they were sitting in 25th after Week 1 – Still, it’s yet another Top 4 finish for the Manning Magicians in Jack Attack, following on from Verse 1’s 3rd place finish last season, and the old Team 180’s runner-up finish back in the Spring of 2019.

Gerry letting one down during the game

In the 5th place playoff on Synthetic Rink 5, Paul’s Heroes recovered from their late season defeats to end their debut Jack Attack season on a high, taking 5th place with a straight sets win against the Buffed Helmets II on Synthetic Rink 5, so congratulations to Paul, Maddie, the entire Smith family, and the rest of the Mukinbudin Mad Boys that fronted up over the last 6 weeks, we’d love to have you back in the Spring.

That meant 6th place went to the Buffed Helmets II, who couldn’t take the game to a tie break, in which they’d have been at their most dangerous, but congratulations to Mazey, Kip and Lee, who used the $50 prize money to buy another bottle of Pepperjack for the other Helmets, instead of giving it to Kip to help him replace his defiled water bottle.

The early stages of the 5th place playoff

In the 7th place playoff, Team Tommy capped off their second season in Jack Attack by knocking down Ten Pin in straight sets on Synthetic Rink 6 to take a couple of drinks vouchers, a triumph for the Harders family which will sit alongside Tommy Shelby’s win in the 2021 Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park, and I think we might be seeing a bit more natural progression from Mick, Jack and Ben 3rd Up next season, as they jumped up from 13th last year to 7th this season:

So Ten Pin occupied 8th place this season, and they took the Tie Break Heart Break Award for losing 4 tie breaks out of 4, and if they’d converted one or two of them they’d have comfortably finished in the Top 6, but it’s still great to see Peter, Deb and Coral bowling at Manning – If you don’t know, Ten Pin have played in every edition of Manning Jack Attack, dating all the way back to 2014, and they won the Summer 2016 edition, which we unfortunately didn’t find out until after the trophy was engraved.

The final game of importance was the Wooden Spoon Game on Synthetic Rink 2 between the Bowling Stones and This Is How We Roll, and in a resounding performance that would’ve been good enough to take 3rd overall on the night, the winners by +16 shots were the Bowling Stones!

A long measure in the Wooden Spoon… I think the Stones got a 5 on a powerplay on this end

Which means this season’s Wooden Spooners are This Is How We Roll, and that’s now a hat trick of wooden spoons for Sharyn’s softball/baseball teammates, dating back to Burrendah in the Summer of 2021.

Of course, if finishing last means you’re crap, then finishing second last means you’re Close to to Crap, so the Bowling Stones took home the Close To Crap toilet roll for this season, a lovely 2-ply roll produced by Quilton, and with the supply shortages right now, this is so valuable you could swap it for a few litres of petrol:

“Because you’re close to ****” – R.Price, March 2020

As the Bowling Stones would know, you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you’ll find you get what you need.

On Synthetic Rink 1, the CD’s were hastily redrawn for a dream grudge match with the Bowled Guys due to Out On Parole’s
forced withdrawal, but it was clear to see that a week is a long time in iso for the Aquinas mums, as the Bowled Guys won in
straight sets by 10 shots, although the CD’s were probably more ropeable that they missed out on being named in the Novelty
Awards than losing to Loose Bruce, Rede and Jamie.

Rede having a laugh after Bruce landed a resting toucher

On Synthetic Rink 7, Rock N Bowl would’ve finished 2nd overall on the night (Completing a Macpherson double) as they defeated Verse 1 in straight sets by +20 shots, and I think Richie Benaud would’ve loved the overall score, which was 22-2 in favour of Belinda, Shaye and Cam, winning the 1st Set 10-1 and the 2nd 12-1, and you wouldn’t even know Rock N Bowl lost in straight sets in Week 5, while Verse 1 finished 1st overall last week.

22-2, marvellous numbers those.

On Grass Rink 2, Jack Sabbath defeated Stop Drop & Bowl in a 16-shot blowout on Grass 2, which would’ve been the 4th biggest win on the night (Last week it would’ve been enough to win overall), and on a night when Sharyn’s Stop Drop & Bowl won the Best Team Uniform for this season, it was Alex who looked the best, as he came wearing a pineapple shirt:

He was aptly described as a pizza topping.

On Grass Rink 4, Beginner’s Luck defeated the makeshift Merkins in straight sets, in what was a fairly competitive game that was akin to an intra-club game, given it was effectively 5 Beginner’s Luck players + Barry playing each other, but ultimately Helen’s team got the points 8-3, 7-5.

The Lenny’s defeated the Unbelievabowls on Grass Rink 1, which was the first game to feature a drawn set, with the 2nd Set (And the game) ending in a 4-4 draw after The Lenny’s won the 1st Set 4-1, which means, Jared, Kelsey and Naomi have unofficially finished in 9th place for this season, while the Unbelievabowls were considered by Pricey to be the Friendliest Team in Jack Attack for this season, and they were formally recognised in the Novelty Awards during the presentation.

On Synthetic Rink 8, Crawshaw and the Buffed Helmets I faced off due to the late fixture swapping (Buffed Helmets I were due to play the Bowled Guys and Crawshaw were playing Zebras on the Grass), creating a game with more unique characters than a Seinfeld episode, but it would turn out to be a pretty good contest, with just 1 shot separating the teams on variance, and the 2nd Set finished in a 5-5 draw, but it would be Buffs I who got their first win since Week 1, thanks to winning the 1st Set 5-4, and I should note Crawshaw led that set 4-0 after 3 ends, but the Buffs got a 2 and a 3 in the last 2 ends.

Just to add insult to injury for Wilko, Decca and Graeme, their dinner came half an hour earlier than they’d ordered.

Finally, the game on Grass Rink 3 between Team Epic and Team Pamba was the only game outside of the Grand Final to go to a tie break, and I do believe Stewie and Team Epic have set some kind of a new Jack Attack record for the biggest variance margin in defeat, because following on from Team Pamba’s 5-3 win in the 1st Set, Team Epic won the 2nd Set 13-0 to go ahead +11 on variance, but that doesn’t mean diddly squat in a tie break, as Team Pamba got the hold and the point to end the season on a winning note.

Stewie trying to figure out who’s bowling next

And that was the final night of Manning Jack Attack, Summer 2022.

The Half Price Novelty Awards

Best Team Uniform: Stop Drop & Bowl + This Is How We Roll

Friendliest Team: Unbelievabowls

Tie Break Heart Break: Ten Pin, for playing in 4 tie breaks between weeks 1-4, and losing the lot

Jack Attack Brat/Dennis The Menace Award: Decca from Crawshaw

“You don’t have to have a long neck to be a goose.”

Unofficial Biggest Drinkers: Buffed Helmets

JT’s Most Improved Team: Stop Drop & Bowl (Wooden Spooners to 12th)


Scoring – 2 points for a set win, 1 point for a drawn set or tie break win, tie breaks aren’t counted in score differential

Grass 1: The Lenny’s (3pts +3) defeated Unbelievabowls (1pt-3), 4-1, 4-4

Grass 2: Jack Sabbath (4pts +16) defeated Stop Drop & Bowl, 6-2, 12-0

Grass 3: Team Pamba (3pts -11) defeated Team Epic (2pts +11), 5-3, 0-13, 1-0 in the tie break

Grass 4: Beginner’s Luck (4pts +7) defeated Merkins, 8-3, 7-5

Synthetic 1: Bowled Guys (4pts +10) defeated CD’s, 10-4, 7-3

Wooden Spoon Game: Bowling Stones (4pts +17) defeated Stop Drop & Bowl, 13-2, 8-2

3rd vs 4th: Macatac (4pts +21) defeated Top Shots, 9-3, 15-0

Grand Final: Great Bowls of Fire (3pts +3) defeated Manning Up (2pts -3), 6-7, 7-3, 2-0 in the tie break

5th vs 6th: Paul’s Heroes (4pts +8) defeated Buffed Helmets II, 5-1, 7-3

Synthetic 6: Team Tommy (4pts +3) defeated Ten Pin, 6-5, 5-3

Synthetic 7: Rock N Bowl (4pts +20) defeated Verse 1, 10-1, 12-1

Synthetic 8: Buffed Helmets I (3pts +1) defeated Crawshaw CC (1pt -1), 5-4, 5-5

Captain’s Comments

Todd/Kochie, Great Bowls of Fire: “Tonight was the hardest night because we had the pressure on as the top team, first end we dropped 3 on the Powerplay and had to fight back, and to do that showed the strength of our team, and then once we got to the tie break, we turned them back into the tie break turkeys.”

John, Manning Up: “We were done tonight by a formidable opponent, an experienced opponent, arse played a part as they had two wicks that held shot, but there was no doubt who was the winner on the night.”

Decca From Crawshaw: “You don’t have to have a long neck to be a goose.”

Naomi, The Lenny’s: “It was a good season, and like Hoggy (Greg Hogg) said everyone’s improving, case in point we played a team this season that we flogged 2 seasons ago, and this time around they took us to a tie break.”

“Lots of fun, enjoyed the season, well done to JT and Pricey.”

Barb, Unbelievabowls: “Thanks for considering us the friendliest team, and thank you to the Great Bowls of Fire for letting us rub their bald heads for luck next season…. they’re winners!”

Mick, Ben & Jack, Team Tommy: “We had a great season, showed a heap of improvement and started competing with the top teams like Macatac, we enjoyed every week, so hopefully we’ll be back 3rd Up next season, and 3 Captain Morgans is better than one Captain of a team!”

Helen, CDs: “We’re very annoyed we missed out on a Novelty Award, so next year we’re gonna call everyone we play a Trucker… that way we can win the Trucker Award!”

Well, the Truckers do keep Australia moving.

Carmo, Buffed Helmets I: “Fuzzy’s dialled a message in, he was going to make the announcement in the last week of the season – Congratulations to the 2022 indoor captain… Scott Jordan!”

Scotty leading by example already

Final Ladder

Photos from the night

As you’ll notice it was a bit cloudier than usual… On the right there’s Nat from the CDs talking to Barb from the Unbelievabowls:

The winning bowls in the Grand Final… Jonesy’s leading black bowl was the nail in the coffin, and Paul Alphabet landed a resting toucher to slam the lid shut:

Club President Greg Hogg addressing the crowd during the presentation… This was the last Jack Attack with Greg as President:

Special Guest & former Jack Attack coordinator AJ Heal on the mic during the presentation, talking about the work Matty and Kate Mitchell did in the early years of Manning Jack Attack, circa 2014:

Loose Bruce bowling while son Jamie looks at his phone:

Top Shots vs Macatac and Bowling Stones vs This Is How We Roll

Beginner’s Luck vs Merkins… you can see Barry doing the scoring for the Merkins:

Paul of Paul’s Heroes, the other Smith family members and Lee from the Buffed Helmets watching on in the 5th place playoff

Another random photo of the Tuesday Premier League ladies saluting the Pennant…. I would note there’s two WA State Singles Champions in that front row:

And finally, here’s a scene from immediately after the ending to the Grand Final tie break that was completely unintentional, but was absolutely perfect:

Bravo to Kochie, Jonesy and Alphabet:

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