When I first heard of ‘Kalamunda’ many years ago, I thought it was one of Bart Simpson’s catchphrases, ‘Kalamunda, dude!’
As I discovered later on, that catchphrase was ‘Cowabunga, dude!’
Anyway, today I went up to the mysterious part of the Perth Hills alongside the rest of the Manning Thursday 1st Division Blue team to take on the Kalamunda Cougars in midweek pennants, and it was somewhat exciting because I’d never played at Kalamunda, and much to my delight, they’ve got 2 Synthetic greens of a similar design to the one at Manning.
Upon arriving at 12:45 after leaving home at 5 o’clock on Thursday morning, I pulled up next to Stirk Cottage, which was apparently the first house constructed on the Kalamunda town site in 1881, and 141 years later, it’s located next to the best bar in Kalamunda… or so the sign said out of the front of the Kalamunda Club.
I wonder if the owners of Stirk Cottage had envisioned that centuries later they’d be turned into a mild point of interest for visiting bowlers to Kalamunda.
Moving on from that, we went inside to the Kalamunda Club, and it’s actually quite a nice spot, with the upstairs lounge area overlooking the green, which would’ve been a lovely spot to reside on a 32-degree day like today:
So it goes without saying that we took over the lounge before the day’s play began.
A closer look at the green, which was named after Tony Ajduk, who probably isn’t the same Tony Ajduk who was convicted of stealing a small drum filled with metal balls in Kalgoorlie in January of 1944:
So after my sightseeing was done, a game of bowls broke out, and it was always going to be something of a mismatch, given Division One Blue is Manning’s third-best team, whereas it’s Kalamunda’s top team, but nevertheless, the rink of JT, Richard, Keith and Craig (against Mark, Roy, Colin and Ross) quickly turned into the only rink that had any chance of claiming a point for Manning, as the Cougars sank their claws into the Eagles on the aggregate.
Sticking to our rink, the first half of the game could be described as a quality stalemate, as both teams built up good heads several times over, only for the opposing third or skip to land a firecracker and limit the damage, and Craig got us out of trouble no fewer than 5 times (The 5th End he played one of the best cold draws you’ll ever see to give us shot), so despite giving away 3 shots early on, we only trailed 6-8 through 11 ends, before breaking through and picking up a 3 to lead 9-8 after 12 ends, which was only the second time we’d led all game, after being ahead 2-1 after 3 ends.
I also remember seeing two kids leading a brood of ducks through the park during what was approximately the 12th end of the game.. Obviously entertainment in the hills hasn’t evolved much in 150 years.
Just as we’d got a bit of momentum, Kalamunda hit back at us and picked up three holds of 2 in three of the next four ends and took the lead 14-10 after 16 ends (The one end they didn’t hold was because Ross whacked Richard’s bowl in to hold shot), and by that point any hope Manning had of getting the aggregate was well and truly dead as Kalamunda led by 20+ shots overall, but after that, Craig’s team ended the game with some superb pieces of bowling over the final 5 ends, right as the sea breeze came in and blew me off course for 2 ends.
On the 17th End, we were down 3 before Keith finally got to play a drive, and he couldn’t have played it any better, trailing the jack out the back to give us shot, cutting it to 11-14 and giving us the mat, which we never relinquished.
On the 18th End, I landed a shot on the jack before Colin (With the White & Blue striped bowls) managed to sit me out of holding, but Keith instructed Craig to play onto Colin’s shot bowl, and wouldn’t you know it, Craig landed another bomb to push the jack on to my back bowl, giving us the shot again to make it 12-14 with 3 ends to play:
Keith picked up shot again on the 19th to make it 13-14 as we went up and back, then on the 20th End, I managed to land a skip’s delight (A bowl a foot behind the jack) to hold shot, and Keith joined in by plonking another bowl within a foot, and both bowls survived multiple drive attempts by mere inches, giving Manning the lead 15-14 with an end to play.
On that final end, Mark and myself both got bowls behind, then Richard got the shot by landing his final bowl jack high a foot away, which was still in play down to the skips as several of us went through by at least a metre.
The big problem from our end was that Richard’s holder was our only bowl within a metre, and it was hanging out on the narrow hand ready to be driven out by Ross if Craig’s first bowl went wrong, but for the umpteenth time on the day, Craig dropped a bomb and wicked the jack over to Keith, completely removing any chance of a drive/kill by Ross on the narrow hand, forcing him to switch to an extremely difficult draw shot on the wide hand just to have any chance of a drawn rink, let alone a win.
Ross’ first bowl didn’t have enough weight and ducked under the head, while Craig managed to go one better by claiming second shot, once again forcing Ross to go a draw on the wide hand with his target being to drag the kitty to Mark’s two black bowls sitting just behind the head, but Ross’ last bowl was much the same as his first, narrow and ducking under.
So after an almighty arm wrestle, the rink of JT, Richard, Keith and Craig got the WIN 17-14, which marks my first winning rink in Division One bowls in the history of the human race:
Funnily enough, Richard, Keith and Craig were all part of the only Manning rink that won in 1st Division Blue last Thursday against Thornlie (23-22), the only change was that their lead John ‘Good Heavens’ Evans was unavailable, so in came yours truly to get the armchair ride, but that said I was very happy with my personal performance after a dog’s breakfast against Thornlie (My rink lost 7-27), although as mentioned previously we were never a hope of getting the aggregate in the hills, because Kalamunda won the adjacent rink 27-10, and the far rink 33-11.
After that, I drove back to Manning with Keith riding shotgun, we had a drink, and forgot everything ever happened, the end.
Categories: Lawn Bowls