Lawn Bowls

Manning Spring Challenge Review: 19th October

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Huddling up in the far corner of the Waterford Wide End

After a successful launch last Wednesday night, it was on to Week 2 of the Spring Challenge at Manning Memorial, and with Richard ‘Half’ Price back from Dongara and steering the boat again, conditions for bowling couldn’t have been any better after a 32-degree day in Perth (According to the BOM), although the temperature did seem to drop sharply once the sea breeze came in and the sun went down.

On the team front, we were back up to 20 teams again, as Paul’s Heroes made their triumphant return to Manning after a miscommunication saw the crew from Mukinbudin miss Week 1, but Maddie, Paul, Ryan and the Mukka Madmen are back and ready to rumble ahead of Jack Attack…

And any issue of odd numbers was resolved with the return of former Bowled & The Beautiful regular Christine, our old mate Dymo, master floater Barry, playing as the tartan teen bowling sensations, The Bay City Rollers.

I think it’s an achievement to get the Bay City Rollers out to Manning on a Wednesday night, because the Bay City Rollers always prefer Saturday Night.

Another highlight of the night was being graced with the presence of The World’s Unluckiest Bowler, as certified by the Guinness Book of Records, the one and only Merv Roberts, who came up from Kalgoorlie for the night before he boarded a flight to Malaysia, for an annual holiday he’ll never remember.

As per usual, Merv’s getting money out of Pricey

Great to see the sun shine on Merv’s troublesome ticker.

The Corner to Corner Challenge

With the addition of Spring Challenge entry fees into the prize pool, we’re now able to pay back down to 4th place overall, AND we were able to hold the first Corner to Corner Challenge for the Spring 2022 season, paying out from 1st down to 3rd place, and I have to say it was one of the best Corner to Corners you’ll ever see.

First up, Mick from Verse 1 sent down a blue bowl that finished just over a metre shy of the jack, that stood in the lead for at least a dozen bowls…

Until along came Rede from the Great Bowls of Fire, who could not have played a better bowl if he tried, getting a wick off Mick’s bowl and landing a resting toucher in a Corner to Corner, and we’d pretty much engraved his name on the $30 envelope, with Mick and Kelsey from The Lenny’s appearing set for the minors….

Rede with the orange, Mick with the blue and Kelsey with the red

But Tracy from Stop Drop and Bowl had the last say, and she played a bowl that had so so much weight it had to make contact with something to have any chance, and you wouldn’t believe it, she’d bowled it so perfectly that it smashed the holder dead centre, put the jack in the ditch on Rink 1, and she gave herself the $30!

Pricey delivering the $30 on Tracy’s bowl…. This should give you a reference on how hard she hit the jack

So Tracy got the gong with one of the most hellacious drives you’d ever see, Rede was 2nd to take the $20, and that last bowl was hit so well it sent Mick down to 4th due to the angle, thus Kelsey from The Lenny’s would get the bronze and the $10.

Rede on the left, Tracy in the centre
Kelsey from The Lenny’s

The Overall Night

Once the Corner to Corner was done it was straight into Week 2 of play, and 1st Overall and the $40 went to the new kids on the block Shapes, who took a sledgehammer to the residents of Crawshaw Crescent (Decca, Malcolm and Malcom’s son) by winning in straight sets with +18 shots on Grass Rink 1, and amazingly the Pizza Shapes ‘only’ won the 1st Set 4-3, but promptly won the 2nd Set 18-1, set up by two holds of 5 shots, the second of which came on a powerplay.

I’m pretty sure this was yet another toucher on the jack that didn’t get a $5 voucher

The problems for Crawshaw didn’t start when Shapes stopped copying Decca’s unco bowling style, it started when Shapes won the pre-game thong toss, after the teams couldn’t find a coin… Decca called toes, and it landed on soles.

Evidence that it landed on soles

Yes, we don’t do coin tosses in Australia anymore, we do thong tosses.

For the second week running, 2nd and 3rd overall (Manning Up and Buffed Helmets II) went to a countback as both won in straight sets and finished on +7 shots, but it was clear that Manning Up finished 2nd overall 7-5 on the ends countback, defeating Jack to the Drawing Board in straight sets (6-1 5-3) on Synthetic Rink 1 , and it was a big effort from Manning Up, who only had John, Mark and Phil available after several micromanagers were absent, namely Trav who caught the dreaded spicy cough on Tuesday.

Manning Up micromanager John sending one down

Alex has said Jack to the Drawing Board are going the tank and gunning for the wooden spoon this Jack Attack season… just wait until the draw comes out, I say.

So for the second week in a row, the Buffed Helmets II finished 3rd on a countback thanks to winning the ‘Pepperjack Derby’ in straight sets against the struggling Buffed Helmets I (10-7 7-3), but this time around Cheese, Fuzzy and Carry added $20 instead of $10 into the team prize pool, and they’ll be guaranteed more money in next week’s Spring Challenge finale, because they’re the only team to claim all 8 points through 2 games.

Carry and Mazey debating who had shot

4th place went to the Great Bowls of Fire on +6 shots, who rebounded from last week’s sleepwalk to win in a tiebreak against The Lenny’s, with the Great Bowls winning the 1st Set 12-2, before Jared and the team rebounded to win the 2nd Set 8-4, and after some ordinary bowls in the tiebreak, it took Manning’s unofficial tiebreak king Todd to apply the kiss of death with a resting toucher, but Jared had one last bowl and managed to drive the jack into the ditch, forcing a re-spot on the T, but somehow Todd’s bowl had actually been hit down to the T, and the Great Bowls still had shot.

Naomi and Rede watching on as Kelsey tells Jared the damage
Jared sending down the last drive

Not for the first time, Todd was confused after the game about the rules, because he wasn’t aware we had stopped using pennants ditch rules on Wednesday night, even though that fact saved the Great Bowls, but it was confirmed by Half Price during the night that we are re-spotting the jack on the T if it goes out of bounds or in the ditch, as per Bowls Australia Jack Attack rules.

Looking at the other results, and after losing tiebreak after tiebreak over the last couple of seasons, THE BOWLING STONES HAVE ACTUALLY WON A TIEBREAK!

It was a tough game against Verse 1 on Synthetic Rink 4, but the Stones made the most of Verse 1 giving away another big start to win the 1st Set 9-2, but Mick, Peg and Sally came back and won the 2nd Set 7-3 to force another tiebreak, but a resting toucher got the job done for the Stones.

The Stones watch on anxiously alongside Sally and Peggy

They may have been named in reference to the Rolling Stones, but on Wednesday night, Tiff and the ladies were singing a certain Elton John song…

It wasn’t Can You Feel The Love Tonight.

On Synthetic Rink 5, there was a big turnaround from the SPCG Spinners, who lost by 24 shots against the Unbelievabowls last week, but this week Sue, Penny & the team broke through for their maiden win in Manning Wednesday night bowls against Salty Towers, set up by winning the 1st Set 11-3, Salty Towers responded and won the 2nd Set 9-5, but the Spinners held shot in the sudden death end, ensuring they’d cross the border back to Salter Point as winners.

Scratch is called in to sort out a measure after one of the Saltys kicked a bowl out

I have good mail that Sue Robbo from the Spinners is attempting to call in 3 gun recruits from No Hope Avenue for next week…. Two of them may or may not be my neighbours, and the other one may or may not be related to me.

On Synthetic Rink 3, the CD’s and Macatac brought up a rare Manning social bowling achievement, drawing both sets to force a tiebreak (Macatac saved the 1st Set to draw it 6-6, the CD’s saved the 2nd Set to draw it 4-4), but it would be the Maccers who won the tiebreak, which means Macatac’s 5 sets this Spring Challenge have had margins of 1 shot, 1 shot, a draw, a draw, and 1 shot.

If you’d like an example of how rare 2 drawn sets are, by my records that’s only the 3rd Manning Jack Attack/Spring Challenge game in the last 7 years to have 2 drawn sets; Missing Moos vs Ten Pin on October 28, 2020, and Trevor Chappells vs Young Guns on March 17, 2021.

On Synthetic Rink 7, the Jack Hunters and Rock N Bowl had a game full of borderline violent momentum swings, with the Jack Hunters winning the 1st Set 9-2, before Rock N Bowl surged back with 6 shots on the last end to win the 2nd Set 10-3, tying the shot variance (Which had a huge impact on the ladder), but Helen and the Jack Hunters steadied and won the tiebreak to gain the extra point.

Belinda Mac marking down the scores

On another note, here’s one photo I didn’t take last week… Rock N Bowl’s new team shirt in action!

On Synthetic Rink 8, last week’s winners the Unbelievabowls were brought down by Sharyn and Stop Drop & Bowl in straight sets, starting with the 1st Set when Stop Drop & Bowl held 4 on the last end down 2-4 (The Unbelievabowls had also played the powerplay) to win the set 6-4, and the game was done to a dinner with an end to play, as SD&B led 8-2 after keeping the Unbelievabowls to 1 on their powerplay, and Sharyn’s team successfully held the Unbelievabowls to 5 on the last end to win the 2nd Set 8-7, taking all 4 points.

And lucky last was the game between Paul’s Heroes and the Bay City Rollers on Grass Rink 2, and with Paul Smith watching on, it was the tartan teen sensations from Perth who had the early ascendancy, leading 3-2 after 4 ends thanks to some good bowls from skip Dymo to turn around a few sticky ends:

If he’d done these on Tuesday against myself and Pricey, he’d be $10 richer

While Barry also got himself a drinks voucher:

Christine pointing out Barry’s creative work

But their good work was brought undone on the final end of the set, when Paul’s Heroes went on to hold 5 to win the set 7-3, and the Rollers would miss the chance send the game into a tiebreak when they led 4-3 with an end to play in the 2nd Set, but Paul’s Heroes held 1 to draw the set 4-4, and it was Bye Bye Baby to the Bay City Rollers.

Maddie checking to see if the Heroes had any in the count…. They had 2nd behind Christine’s big yellow bowls

Another great night of fun and frivolity, and there’s one more week to come until the break before Jack Attack!


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: Shapes (4pts +18) defeated Crawshaw CC, 4-3, 18-1

Grass 2: Paul’s Heroes (3pts +4) defeated Bay City Rollers (1pt -4), 7-3, 4-4

Synthetic 1: Manning Up (4pts +7) defeated Jack to the Drawing Board, 6-1, 5-3

Synthetic 2: Great Bowls of Fire (3pts +6) defeated The Lenny’s (2pts -6), 12-2, 4-8, 1-0 in the tiebreak

Synthetic 3: Macatac (3pts 0) defeated CDs (2pts 0), 6-6, 4-4, 1-0 in the tiebreak

Synthetic 4: Bowling Stones (3pts +3) defeated Verse 1 (2pts -3), 9-2, 3-7, 1-0 in the tiebreak

Synthetic 5: SPCG Spinners (3pts +4) defeated Salty Towers (2pts -4), 11-3, 5-9. 1-0 in the tiebreak

Synthetic 6: Buffed Helmets II (4pts +7) defeated Buffed Helmets I, 10-7, 7-3

Synthetic 7: Jack Hunters (3pts 0) defeated Rock N Bowl (2pts 0), 9-2, 3-10, 1-0 in the tiebreak

Synthetic 8: Stop Drop & Bowl (4pts +3) defeated Unbelievabowls, 6-4, 8-7

Captain’s Comments

John, Manning Up: “Back in the winner’s circle, we were down half the team tonight, but we were still a bit too good”

Sam, Bowling Stones: “We don’t know the statistics, but we think it’s been a year since we won a tiebreak…. not anymore!”

Carmo, Buffed Helmets: “It was a big effort by Kip to come back and play tonight, after winning the Salesman of the Nation award and getting caught sleeping with his trophy!”

Malcolm, Crawshaw CC: “We were down 7 going into the last end of the night, we’d used the Powerplay, and Decca thought we still had a chance…. I had to tell him there’s only SIX bowls, do your maths Decca!”

Alex, Jack to the Drawing Board: “I have a message for Stop Drop & Bowl, if you think you’re going to win the wooden spoon, you are sorely mistaken, because we will lose every end of every game, if that’s what it takes!”

The Week 3 Finale

After careful analysis on expenses for this season, the Manning Jack Attack Commission (Myself and Half Price) met during the week and formally decided to pay out a bit more prize money for Week 3 of the Spring Challenge, because if we’re going to hold the NAB Cup of social bowls tournaments, then we may as well have NAB Cup prize money.

Thus, next week’s fixtures will be based on the ladder through the 2 weeks of the Spring Challenge, with every team from 1st down to 20th playing the corresponding team on the ladder (Thankfully there’s no double ups), with the highlights being the money matches between 1st vs 2nd (Buffed Helmets II vs Shapes) and 3rd vs 4th (Macatac vs Rock N Bowl), with every team from 5th down to 20th guaranteed a novelty award of some kind.

So without any further ado, this is the Week 2 ladder/Week 3 fixture, matched in the form of coloured boxes:

So it’s Buffed Helmets II vs Shapes for the Spring Challenge title, and by sheer coincidence they were the last 2 teams to leave on Wednesday night:

The Buffed Helmets weekly debrief, with Shapes nestled up in the far right corner

And it took a year, but we’ve finally got a Macpherson family Derby next week between Macatac and Rock N Bowl!

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