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After 7 months of anticipation and thousands of questions to the organiser, Wednesday night social bowling returned to Manning Memorial Bowling Club (Bowls WA Metro Club of the Year by the way) with the 3-week Spring Challenge, a preseason competition for the coveted Manning 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.
This time last year the inaugural Spring Challenge was capped at 16 teams due to poor weather in Perth limiting our access to the grass, but this time around we’re lucky that we’ve been granted access to D Green (Thanks to greenkeeper Dave Nester for that), which means we’re able to get a healthy 18 teams into the warm-up competition, with plenty of returning faces, some faces with updated names, and some new teams dipping their toes in the water.
Some of the new faces for the Spring Challenge:
Salty Towers are a sister team of the Buffed Helmets, both of them entered by Glen O’Brien of Salt Property, and we’ll figure out very quickly which one of the Salty Towers team is Manuel.
Shapes are a mystery to myself and Richard Price, they could be any one of Barbeque, Pizza, Savoury, Cheddar, Chicken Drumstick or Cheese & Bacon.
SPCG Spinners are representing the Salter Point Community Group, a group my dear mother knows quite well.
As for the name changes:
Jack Hunters are the former Beginner’s Luck, who felt that after a year of bowling it wouldn’t make sense to call themselves Beginner’s Luck anymore.
Jack To The Drawing Board is the latest creative name from Alex, following on from the likes of Jack Sabbath, Empire Strikes Jack, Jack To The Future, The Bowlsheviks etc…
I am informed he wanted the name to be ‘Blue Bowls’, but Half Price had to turn it down after consultation with Margaret Court and the Australian Christian Lobby.
The Overall Night
I must note that were was one key absence on Wednesday night, because Half Price was up in Dongara running 2nd to Ian Walker in a 2-team fishing competition, but thankfully Pricey did call in the reinforcements before he left to come down and keep the night ticking over, so a big thanks to Mark Ellis, Kim Burke and Adam Mac for helping out.
On the weather front, it was a cool start to the Spring Challenge, with temperatures hovering around 16 degrees Celsius with a consistent southwesterly breeze leaving the ambient temperature at 11 degrees, causing the Synthetic green to turn into a speed-skating rink.
Understandably, after a good 7 months away there was plenty of 1st Up rust on display across both greens, with the cold night causing many bowls to go flying into the ditches, and while some players got better as the night wore on and the breeze dropped, others look like they’ll come good by about Week 6 of Jack Attack…
In March of 2023.
Turning to the results, due to uncertainty around entries and available cash, the prize money for Week 1 only went to 1st ($30), 2nd ($20) and 3rd ($10), although I can report it looks like we do have enough cash in the coffers to start paying down to 4th again from Week 2 onwards.
1st Overall went the way of the Unbelievabowls, who picked up the $30 with a resounding 26-2 (+24) win against the debuting SPCG Spinners, who didn’t cross the border back to Salter Point empty handed after a rough night out, as Sue Robbo got a toucher with her first bowl of the night to win the first $5 drinks voucher of the season!
Amazingly enough, it still didn’t hold shot on that opening end, as Barb, Sue & the Unbelievabowls had a very good start to the season.
2nd through to 4th (Rock N Bowl, Buffed Helmets II and Crawshaw CC) all finished on +9 shots, which meant we had to whip out the infamous mysterious countback system to decide the final placings:
Rock N Bowl and the Buffs II both won in straight sets, ruling out Crawshaw, but Rock N Bowl were narrowly ahead on both Ends won (7-6) and Total Shots (15-14), giving them 2nd and the $20 for their 15-6 win against Stop Drop and Bowl on Synthetic Rink 4, in a promising debut for Belinda Mac’s Rock N Bowl t-shirt, while the Buffed Helmets were still delighted to get the $10 (Which went straight into their Pepperjack budget) for 3rd thanks to creaming last season’s champions the Great Bowls of Fire 14-5 overall on Synthetic Rink 8.
Good to see the premiership hangover is already in full effect for the Great Bowls… Fix it up Todd, you’ve got 3 weeks.
So that meant the luckless denizens of Crawshaw (minus Wilko) finished 4th overall, and all told they were the hard luck story of the night, as they won the 1st Set 13-0 against Verse 1, before losing the 2nd set 6-2 and completing the choke by dropping the tiebreak to Mick, Peg, Ronni and Sally, as Decca’s attempts at sledging seemed to lose their edge after the opening set.
I’d say that result is another example of the fickle nature of set play in bowls – You can thump a team in one set, but the moment the scores reset to 0, you can drop one end and suddenly descend into the dreaded realm of the tiebreak.
Finishing off the results, the renamed Jack Hunters got off to a good start, defeating the debuting Salty Towers on Synthetic Rink 1 after the 1st Set ended in a 3-3 draw, before the decisive break came with the scores at 4-4 in the 2nd, when the Jack Hunters held 3 on their powerplay on the penultimate end of the night to set up a 12-4 win in their favour.
Next door on Rink 2, Shapes (led by Craig) were the only one of the debuting teams to get a win, knocking off the Bowling Stones in a tiebreak after splitting the sets, and on first glance, if Shapes were a flavour, I’d say they’re Pizza Shapes, because they’re a winner.
Over on Synthetic 6, the CD’s took on Jack to the Drawing Board in one of the better contests on the night, and the CD’s came back to win the 1st Set 5-4 after winning the last 2 ends, but ‘JTTDB’ put the foot down in the 2nd Set and won it 9-3 with a hold of 4 on the last end to set up a tiebreak, but Helen got Alex and his team on the last bowl of the night.
It was an all too familiar tale for Alex’s team, because last season they lost 3 games in tiebreaks under the guise of Jack Sabbath… Looks like it’s back to the drawing board for Jack to the Drawing Board.
Synthetic Rink 7 featured Spring 2021 champions Macatac against last season’s runners-up Manning Up, and the game lived up to the billing with both sets decided by 1 shot, but Macatac pulled the fat out of the fire to win both sets, picking up 2 on their last end powerplay to win the 1st Set 6-5, then winning the 2nd Set after keeping Manning Up to 1 on their powerplay.
And finally, over on the red-headed stepchild Grass rink, The Lenny’s were too consistent for Buffed Helmets I, winning the 1st Set 7-4 and forcing a 4-4 draw in the 2nd Set, but for me the highlight of the night came from Buffed Helmets staple Carmo on the 2nd End of the 2nd Set, as the Lenny’s had put 2 red bowls within a metre, and the other Buffs were sledging Carmo and telling him that all he had to do was trail the jack, a phrase that Carmo has a very limited understanding of.
So Carmo bowled the last bowl, and with one of the best shots you’d ever see, he smashed out the red bowl on the right, got the perfect wick onto Jared’s back bowl and hit that out as well, to give the Buffs 2 shots.
And that would turn out to be the last shots that the Buffs held in the game, primarily thanks to Mazey sending down one on the wrong bias, for which he was outed by Carmo.
All in all, a solid beginning, and the important note for the teams that got smacked…. It’s only preseason games!
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: The Lenny’s (3pts +3) defeated Buffed Helmets I (1pt -3), 7-4, 4-4
Synthetic 1: Jack Hunters (3pts +8) defeated Salty Towers (1pt -8), 3-3, 12-4
Synthetic 2: Shapes (3pts +1) defeated Bowling Stones (2pts -1), 5-6, 5-3, 1-0 in the tiebreak
Synthetic 3: Verse 1 (3pts -9) defeated Crawshaw CC (2pts +9), 0-13, 6-2, 1-0 in the tiebreak
Synthetic 4: Rock N Bowl (4pts +9) defeated Stop Drop and Bowl, 9-1, 6-5
Synthetic 5: Unbelievabowls (4pts +24) defeated Salter Point Spinners, 11-1, 15-1
Synthetic 6: CD’s (3pts -5) defeated Jack to the Drawing Board (2pts +5), 5-4, 3-9, 1-0 in the tiebreak
Synthetic 7: Macatac (4pts +2) defeated Manning Up, 6-5, 4-3
Synthetic 8: Buffed Helmets II (4pts +9) defeated Great Bowls of Fire, 9-1, 5-4
Carmo, Buffed Helmets: “I think we’re missing a great sponsorship opportunity; we love drinking Pepperjack, they should sponsor Jack Attack and call it PepperJack Attack!”
Make it happen, Bowls Australia.
Mazey, Buffed Helmets: “Carmo saved us three times, everyone else was rubbish”
John, Manning Up: “Needed the run, good to be back in the field where we deserve to be”
Peggy & Ronni, Verse 1: “We need a few more wines before we play, it might help us improve our slow starts – But, life can only get better from here.”
Todd, Great Bowls of Fire: “It’s too cold to play bowls, mate”
Some more photos from the night
Burkey welcomes everyone to Manning Memorial, 2021-22 Bowls WA Metro Club of the Year:
Sue H bowling for the Unbelievabowls:
The big Cheese from the Buffed Helmets… almost didn’t recognise him without his beard:
The sea of bowls at twilight:
Kelsey from The Lenny’s, because photos from the Grass rink were a bit scarce:
Another shot from the end Synthetic rinks:
Dianne Mac bowling for Macatac:
Helen and Alex minding Rink 6 in the CD’s vs Jack to the Drawing Board game… You can also notice one of the Unbelievabowls (I think it was Barb) land another resting toucher next door.
And finally, worrying times for the bar staff…. Week 1 of pre-season and the Buffed Helmets are already in vintage post-game form as the last team to leave:
Categories: Lawn Bowls
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