Lawn Bowls

Manning Jack Attack Review: 8th March

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How’s the Serenity

In golf, people traditionally describe Round 3/Saturday at any tournament to be ‘Moving Day’, which is a term that also applies to Week 5 at Manning Jack Attack, because it’s the last chance for hopeful teams to get themselves in the Money Games (Typically 1st through to 6th) taking place in Week 6, when the Greatest Social Bowls Competition between Manning Road and the Canning River reaches its climax.

Other than that, it was a largely uneventful week, as teams were positively champing at the bit waiting to have a crack at moving up the ladder one last time, while on the weather front, it was another muggy 27 degree night, and there was a real threat of rain coming in from the north late in the day, which also threatened to disrupt WA’s belting of South Australia at the WACA, but outside of a quick sprinkle of rain and a consistent northerly breeze, the night went ahead without any interruptions…

A shame, we’ll have to wait for another time to activate the Jackworth-Lewis system, probably around October.

The Overall Night

Moving Day lived up to it’s crazy reputation, as the Top 4 teams after Week 4 all managed to lose, meaning that there were 5 teams on 16 points after Week 5 (Great Bowls of Fire, Manning Up, Team Tommy, Bowling Stones and Buffed Helmets 1), plus 2 teams were a half-length back on 15 points (Ten Pin & The Lenny’s), showcasing just how close the competition is on a Wednesday night at Manning Memorial, and I cannot recall a closer title race in all my years of Manning Jack Attack, even surpassing the Summer 2021 title race when the Top 6 were covered by 1 point.

So, after a thorough review of all the scores from this season, starting from the top, the Summer 2023 Manning Jack Attack title will be decided by…


They’ve won a Hobart Thousand, an Australian Cup and a Golden Easter Egg to name a few, but there’s one thing Steve Withers and Mick Harders don’t have in their trophy cabinet, and that’s a Manning Jack Attack trophy, and with their good mate Troy having a great old time, they got into the Grand Final in absolute style, finishing 1st on the night thanks to their straight sets +14 shot victory against Stop Drop & Bowl on Synthetic Rink 6 (Team Tommy were originally due to face Shapes, until the boys had to withdraw that afternoon), who gave the Peaky Blinders a hard-fought 1st Set (Team Tommy got it 4-3 on the final end), before Mick and Troy’s Red Right Hand took control and raced away to a 13-0 2nd Set win…

Then, with results falling their way, Team Tommy’s huge variance proved as good as an extra win, propelling them from 5th up to 1st in the 16-point logjam.

Steve and Sharyn together… Steve was very complimentary of the spirit shown by Stop Drop & Bowl
Definitive proof that Withers was using his non-preferred hand

A superb effort from Team Tommy to finish top, considering Troy is a new bowler, they also missed Week 1 and were represented by ring-ins from Stop Drop & Bowl, then Steve, Mick and Troy returned and lost again in a tiebreak in Week 2, and since then they’ve rattled off a hat-trick of double-digit victories that have landed them in the money for the last 3 weeks.

And in the opposing corner, it’s one half of the crew from the longest-tenured indoor cricket team that Australia has ever seen….


Captain Scotty leads the way

The Buffs (Scotty, Carry and Mazey) were a bit nervy in the 1st Set against the Bowled Guys, who won the opener 6-2 thanks to a bomb from Loose Bruce on the last end to turn 1 down into 3 up, and somehow I was fortunate enough to be on the rink to witness it:

It’s worth noting Carry bowled that when the Buffs were 4 down with nothing within 2 metres

But a humongous hold of 5 turned into 10 on the Buffs’ 2nd Set powerplay handed them a 17-4 2nd Set win to get 2 points and variance on their side, and they had one hand on the tiebreak (Which would’ve placed them 1st overall) when Scotty played 2 superb bowls under pressure, but Loose Bruce wouldn’t have a bar of it and hit out the holder (again) to give the Bowled Guys the overall win, but with results coming in, the points from the 2nd set win ensured the Buffs would remain in 2nd overall.

Rede couldn’t believe what Bruce had pulled off

Having found out they’d qualified for the Grand Final, the Buffs became pretty serious about next week, as evidenced by the fact they left the club at 8:30pm instead of 9:30, costing the MBC at least $200 in bar takings.

The Bronze Medal game (3rd vs 4th) will feature a rematch of the Summer 2022 Grand Final, as Manning Up and the Great Bowls of Fire face off for the second time in 3 weeks, and they had two different paths to get there.

Manning Up (John, Mark, Simon, Trav & Phil) found themselves in 6th after a pair of tiebreak defeats in Weeks 3 and 4, the latter coming against the Great Bowls, and they were up against 4th-placed Unbelievabowls in a make-or-break clash for a Money game next week, but it was Manning Up who were too good in a hard-fought contest, coming back from 0-5 down after 2 ends to win the 1st Set 7-5, and the 2nd Set finished a convincing 11-3 to Manning Up, capped off by a 2 turned into 4 on a double Powerplay final end to really make sure of it, with the +10 scoreline enough to put Manning Up into 4th on the night in a countback, while the Unbelievabowls suffered the most brutal tumble down the ladder of any team on Wednesday night, falling from 4th down to 9th.

John watching his micromanagers in action

So that left the Great Bowls, who were 1st for most of the season, to finish 4th overall, despite having the equivalent of a 20-footer on the 18th hole to make an appearance in yet another Summer Grand Final, needing just 2 points against the lowly Jackstreet Boys to finish Top 2, but Alex and his backing dancers (Starting 5/1 outsiders) had other ideas and won the 1st Set 5-2, then applied the anaconda chokehold to the Great Bowls in the 2nd Set, as Todd, Jonesy and Paul Alphabet could only scrounge a 4-4 draw with a powerplay on the last end, making them Manning’s answer to Greg Norman in the ’87 Masters.

I just wanted to get a photo of Paul Alphabet in action, no matter if he cocked up this bowl

That result also ensured the Jackstreet Boys were safely out of danger of the Wooden Spoon game, exactly as Alex drew it up in his mind, while Half Price is now wealthier than the Sultan of Brunei after taking the 5/1 odds on offer.

Next up, the 5th vs 6th game will feature the Bowling Stones against Ten Pin:

The Bowling Stones had their toughest test of the season against the CD’s, who featured the return of Nat into the team for Kelly (Joining Helen and Marg), as Nat finally prioritised Jack Attack over her exercise classes, and the test was on as the CD’s won the 1st Set 7-4, but the Stones struck back and won the 2nd Set 6-5 to set up a tiebreak, and the numbers worked out that if the Stones won the tiebreak, they’d go on to 17 points and top of the ladder…

Instead, they would be narrowly denied by a bowl from Helen that Tiff only narrowly missed making contact with, when any form of contact would’ve given the Stones the shot, but alas, the CD’s were the victors.

Just on that Bowling Stones/CD’s game, it was brought to our attention during the night that it felt appropriate that on what was International Women’s Day, the two most prominent all-women’s teams in Manning Jack Attack would be playing each other.

All by pure chance, I might add.

As for Ten Pin, they were on the outside looking in from 7th spot after a tiebreak defeat in Week 4, but they did exactly what they had to do to give themselves a chance at the Top 6, recording a narrow straight sets win against Salty Towers (7-6 4-2) on Synthetic Rink 6, with the 4 points lifting them up into 6th position, just 1 point off the leaders, with that tiebreak in Week 4 proving the difference between 3rd position and 6th position.

Coral in action

Now, another piece of good news is that due to the extra money from the 2 additional teams compared to last season, we will be able to have a 7th vs 8th money final for the first time since the Spring 2021 season, and the two lucky teams this time around will be The Lenny’s (7th) against Verse 1 (8th):

The Lenny’s did face a tough contest against Macatac 1 over on Synthetic Rink 7, but at the last moment, the Lenny’s gained the services of Stewie from Fawesome, who were a late withdrawal due to a player shortage, and it turned out that Jared, Stewie and Kelsey would make quite a team, as they gave the Maccers an old-fashioned arse kicking, 5-3 8-1, elevating themselves into 7th, and leaving the defending champions down in 16th and playing for a Top 10 draft pick.

Put that bloody beer down Duncan

Verse 1 got themselves into the Top 8 from 11th on the ladder, thanks to a resounding straight sets win against The Shah’s on Grass Rink 4, and the +11 margin also saw them in a countback for 2nd on the night alongside their Manning Darts counterparts the Top Shots, which ultimately went the way of the Top Shots on the shots held tiebreaker 17-15, although Verse 1 took their money anyway, considering they’ll be seeing each other Friday night.

Slightly obstructed is Ronni pulling out the tape measure from parts unknown

The other important game next week will be the Wooden Spoon game, which would normally be Crawshaw Crisis Committee against Dynamics, considering they were the 25th and 26th-placed teams, but the only problem is they played each other last night, with Crawshaw winning in 1.5 sets on Grass Rink 5, thanks to the timely return of the unparalleled Disorderly Decca, and the Dynamics, due to coming in after Week 1, have what we call ‘New team dispensation’ which means that as it stands, the Wooden Spoon game will be the SPCG Spinners (Sitting 24th) against Crawshaw.

Patsy instructing Peter where to bowl

It isn’t surprising that Crawshaw turn back into winners with Decca providing some much-needed team spirit… Even Stevie Wonder saw it coming.

Still, next week will mark a great chance for a trophy to return to the fine areas known as Crawshaw Crescent and Salter Point Heights, as Sue, Denise, Wendy and Wags would no doubt agree, while the winner of the game will get something far more prestigious…

A roll of toilet paper, because if you finish last you’re crap, and if you’re second-last, what does that make you?

Close to Crap!

Now, moving on from Finals machinations and completing the remaining fixtures:

The aforementioned Top Shots finished 2nd overall thanks to their +11 shot victory against the SPCG Spinners on Grass Rink 3, a countback between the darts teams that bypassed the ends won count (7 apiece) and went straight to the shots held countback, which saw the Top Shots ahead (17-6 to 15-4), another solid collect for the Top Shots after Irene drew the ticket in Chase The Ace a few weeks ago, and for whatever reason, I cannot find any photo of the game except for this:

On Grass Rink 1 between the also-rans, Macatac 2 defeated Buffed Helmets 2 in straight sets, the game ultimately being decided when Macatac 2 picked up 4 on the last end of the 2nd Set to go from 2-5 down to win it 6-5 (With no tiebreak involved), matching their 8-5 win in the 1st Set, and there was a somewhat hilarious moment during the game, when I tried giving away a toucher voucher to someone on the Grass greens, and it was so desperate that after 10 minutes I was half-tempted to give it to Glen O’Brien after he got within an inch of touching the jack…

His next bowl, he made sure of it, as Cheese can demonstrate:

Unfortunately for the lesser of the Buffs teams, they just didn’t have enough of those moments.

What can you also notice in that photo is how much wear and tear D Green has copped over the last week, which was the result of several days of Country Week, Tuesday Women’s Pennants, and the weekly Tuesday afternoon watering, which has left the grass looking like Passchendaele circa 1917.

And finally, the only other game that I haven’t yet mentioned was the game between Ebowla Bad, Ibowla Good (EBIG for short) and the Jack Hunters out in the carpark on Synthetic Rink 8, which began with the Jack Hunters winning the 1st Set 9-5 thanks to holding 3 on their 1st Set powerplay on the 3rd End, then Ebowla Bad started to Bowla Good and crushed the Jack Hunters 14-0 in the 2nd Set, and got the job done in the tiebreak, with the +10 shot result putting EBIG in a countback for 4th, but Manning Up’s straight sets win got them the nod over the tiebreak win.

That leaves Ebowla Bad Ibowla Good in 11th place on the ladder, a very respectable debut season for Lethal Lee, Dangerous Dave and the team, while the Jack Hunters, who were last season’s Cinderella story with their run to the final, have now well and truly reverted back to the rotting proverbial pumpkin.

So there’s just one week to go, and as I said this time last year, condolences to the seasoned drinkers who missed out on a $5 drinks voucher for touching the jack…

All I can say is that you simply timed your runs worse than Kingston Town did in the 1982 Melbourne Cup.


Grass 1: Macatac 2 (4pts +4) defeated Buffed Helmets 2, 8-5 6-5

Grass 2: Top Shots (4pts +11) defeated SPCG Spinners, 9-3 8-3

Grass 3: Bowled Guys (3pts -9) defeated Buffed Helmets 1 (2pts +9), 6-2 4-17 2-0 in the tiebreak

Grass 4: Verse 1 (4pts +11) defeated The Shah’s, 5-2 10-2

Grass 5: Crawshaw CC (3pts +1) defeated Dynamics (1pts -1), 4-3 7-7

Synthetic 2: Ten Pin (4pts +3) defeated Salty Towers, 7-6 4-2

Synthetic 3: Manning Up (4pts +10) defeated Unbelievabowls, 7-5 11-3

Synthetic 4: CD’s (3pts +2) defeated Bowling Stones (2pts -2), 7-4 5-6 1-0 in the tiebreak

Synthetic 5: Jackstreet Boys (3pts +3) defeated Great Bowls of Fire (1pt -3), 5-2 4-4

Synthetic 6: Team Tommy (4pts +14) defeated Stop Drop & Bowl, 4-3 13-0

Synthetic 7: The Lenny’s (4pts +9) defeated Macatac 1, 5-3 8-1

Synthetic 8: Ebowla Bad, Ibowla Good (3pts +10) defeated Jack Hunters (2pts -10), 5-9 14-0 1-0 in the tiebreak


Captain’s Comments

Helen, CD’s: “The original Manning mum’s have beaten the young Manning Primary mums”

Wilko, Crawshaw CC: “Look what happens when Decca comes back, and I didn’t even play! Never in doubt.”

Todd, Great Bowls of Fire: “It is what it is, 1 more point was all we needed from that 2nd set, unfortunate result but we’ve still had a good season, bring on the grudge match.”

Scotty, Buffed Helmets 1: “We’re coming in sober, we’re taking this seriously, we’re going to be sober from within 5-7 minutes of the first bowl!”

John, Manning Up: “Great game tonight, great competition, couple of big ends for both us, but most of them rolled our way!”

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