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Before we begin, a big thanks to the following people for their work throughout the season: My running mate Richard ‘Half’ Price in whatever part of Bali he flew to on Thursday, Duncan, Kristy and the Krankin Cafe team for running the kitchen, Amber, Rachel Smiley and the bar staff for the emotional turmoil we’ve subjected you to, Dangerous David Nester for getting the greens ready for us, and to Mark Ellis and Adam Mac, who both helped out throughout the season.
They say all good things must come to an end, and after 6 weeks of fun and frivolity, we had reached the summit of the Summer 2023 Manning Jack Attack season, bringing a close to what has been yet another ripsnorting edition of the Greatest Social Bowls Competition Between Manning Road and the Canning River, and if there’s a better Jack Attack competition in Australia, then I haven’t bothered looking at it.
Of course, Wednesday was already a big day for Manning, because the Tuesday Premier League ladies, who were already the winningest team Women’s pennants has ever seen, defeated North Beach out at Cambridge to win their 14th Tuesday Premier League pennant in the last 16 seasons, and yours truly was on hand to witness yet another historic moment for the club:
Fun fact, Liz Matthews has played in every single one of those 14 flags, and on another note, I won’t mention what happened during the celebrations, except there was a flag raising ceremony, a couple of wedding dresses, a wedding ceremony, roll over shooters with Baileys and Butterscotch Schnapps, it’s a very long story.
Now, in case you’re unaware of the format, Finals Week is very simple – The major prize money finals are 1st vs 2nd (Team Tommy vs Buffed Helmets 1), 3rd vs 4th (Manning Up vs Great Bowls of Fire), 5th vs 6th (Bowling Stones vs Ten Pin), and this season marks the return of the 7th vs 8th final (The Lenny’s vs Verse 1), with the team in last and 2nd last playing off to get their names drawn onto the Wooden Spoon trophy, while the winners get a roll of toilet paper, because if you finish last, then you’re crap, and if you finish second-last you’re close to crap, and what’s close to crap?
Times are tough, so this time around we could only afford 2 ply.
Outside of that, the teams from 9th to 26th on the ladder get paired up and drawn against each other, with no grading of teams involved, although if there is a repeat fixture then adjustments will be made, and there’s no money for the 4 biggest wins on the night….
Now, on to the show:
The Corner to Corner Finale
With dusk well and truly set in, we had one last Corner to Corner Challenge to end the Summer 2023 season, and starting off on the Grass, we had a very rare sight, with Justin from Salty Towers, wielding a bowl loaned to him by Glen O’Brien, managed to land a toucher, a superb achievement considering the Grass Corner to Corner is notoriously tough to get right:
Naturally, Justin was a clear winner, with the runner-up prize going to Mike from Crawshaw CC:
And over on the always competitive Synthetic, the win went to Mazey from Buffed Helmets 1 (On the right), with Rede from the Bowled Guys (On the left) sneaking in for the runner-up spot:
It turned out to be a good omen for Mazey, with Buffs 1 going locked in and focused into the Grand Final…
The Overall Night
With Fawesome and Shapes unavailable once again, there were 12 games instead of 13, but as always, 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 10 teams won with 4 points, which is potentially an all-time record for a Jack Attack night, and just 2 games going to tie breaks, although most importantly, one of them turned out to be the Grand Final, which means 4 out of the last 5 Jack Attack Grand Finals have gone to tiebreaks.
Starting off the top, the CHAMPIONS of Manning Jack Attack for Summer 2023, earning the title of Champions of Challenger Avenue…
Buffed Helmets 1!
Yes, the Manning Tuesday Ladies thought they’d produced the greatest title-winning performance of Wednesday, but they were gazumped at the 20th hour by Scotty, Mazey, Kip and Carry.
It was a superb Grand Final between Buffs 1 and Team Tommy, there were plenty of superb bowls played, both teams were having a laugh (Especially at Mick coming down to inspect the head before his last bowl), all the things you desire in a game of social bowls, and it started off with the Buffs landing a 4 on the first end to set up their 8-4 1st Set win, then they looked like they were going to win in straights when Kip landed an absolute cracker to go from 3 down to 3 up and lead 4-1…
Then Team Tommy struck big and landed a 4 turned into 8 on a powerplay on the 4th End, pretty much ensuring the Grand Final would be decided in a 1-end shootout, which was confirmed when Team Tommy held 2 on the final end to win it 11-4…
And under pressure, the Buffs excelled, as Scotty started off by landing 2 very good bowls, the second of which was a toucher on the jack, Carry added 2 more into the head to leave Mick on the mat 4 shots down, needing to somehow drive the Jack out the back or out of play to respot it on the T, given Team Tommy had the back covered…
To Mick’s credit, it was a superbly played drive that cleaned out just about everything, including the holding bowl, but somehow the jack stayed pretty much exactly where it was, the front bowl survived, leaving Mick having a tough draw shot to win it, and it was a just a bit too wide straight out of the hand, and the Buffed Helmets 1, so often the red-headed step child of the Buffed Helmets crew, had won the Manning Jack Attack title!
Quite ironic to see Team Tommy getting beaten by a Red Right Hand.
In addition to the trophy, the winners also received some fantastic looking (And tasting) custom cookies that John McGinn’s partner whipped up and donated to us (Thank you to Onya By Tonya), and I can confirm the Buffed Helmets enjoyed them immensely:
And if you ever want your own custom cookies, here are the details for Onya By Tonya:
Of course, there was one more major award Buffs 1 picked up on the night, outside of being the Biggest Drinkers, and that was for team captain Scotty Jordan, who was named as this season’s Mitchell Trophy winner as the Best & Fairest player!
A great win for a bloke who stuck by his team through the dark times while everyone in the Buffs wanted to play for the 2s…
In fact, they still do.
So the Buffs are the Champs, and for every winner there’s a lonesome loser, so commiserations to the Team Tommy crew of Steve, Mick and Troy, it’s been superb having the Tommy Shelby boys back in Jack Attack after they were sorely missed in Spring 2022, and it’s also great to see Steve coming down every Wednesday night, because he could very easily be training Tommy Shelby’s progeny to win the midweeks at Cannington, but instead he’s been passing on his vast array of knowledge of bowls to Mick and Troy, and we thank him very much.
Moving on from the Grand Final, the 3rd vs 4th Final between Manning Up and the Great Bowls of Fire (on Synthetic Rink 5) always promised to have some fireworks, given it was the rematch of the Summer 2022 Grand Final and their Week 4 matchup, both of which went to tiebreaks that finished in favour of the Great Bowls of Fire, but this time around Manning Up came in focused and fired up after winning their way into 3rd last week, and it showed on the scoreboard as Manning Up went on to cruise to an 8-1 1st Set win, then they jumped ahead 6-1 with 2 ends to play, and the game was as good as done when the Great Bowls could only hold 1 on their powerplay next end, leaving them needing 4 to force a tiebreak, which was never a chance as Manning Up held them to 1 to seal the deal 6-4 in the 2nd, so congratulations to Manning Up, the Bronze Medalists for this season!
I think that scoreline is an indication that the Great Bowls were still suffering from the shellshock of losing last week and missing out on a Grand Final spot, but still, after winning the last 2 Summer Jack Attack tournaments prior to this season, 4th place is still a very respectable effort for Todd, Jonesy and Paul Alphabet, although they do have to live with the fact they got done by Manning Up for the next 7 months.
Next up was the 5th vs 6th game between the Bowling Stones and Ten Pin on Synthetic Rink 3, and the Bowling Stones were already over the moon with the fact they were actually playing in a final after years stuck down the bottom half of the ladder, and with the Bowling Stones tongue & lips team shirts finally getting their moment in the limelight, the ladies made the most of it and defeated Manning Jack Attack’s original inhabitants 9-3 5-2, denying Peter, Deb and Coral any chance to take the game to their natural element of the tiebreak.
The great irony of the win was that team captain Tiffany wasn’t there to enjoy it, although the ladies did use her purple bowls to full effect….
Which means Tiff, when you read this, you have been put on the trade table for next season.
So that means Ten Pin get the nod for 6th place, a welcome return to form after a couple of midtable performances over recent seasons, and it’s always a pleasure to see Ten Pin playing in Manning Jack Attack, because as you may or may not know, they are the longest tenured team in Manning Jack Attack, having played since at least the Summer of 2016, when they won the title.
The final money game of the night was the 7th vs 8th game between The Lenny’s and Verse 1 on Synthetic Rink 2, and with Stewie (formerly of Fawesome) filling in alongside Jared and Kelsey once again after last week’s tremendous success, the Lenny’s would prove too good for Verse 1, winning 8-5 8-4 to secure the lucky 7th spot, leaving Mick, Peg, Ronni and Sally to round out the Top 8:
If we’d had the game on St Patrick’s Day, then I think Mick’s Luck of the Irish would’ve kicked in and the result coulda/woulda/shoulda been a bit closer, although I’d say Peg was the one celebrating St Patty’s Day a bit early, based on this photo:
Of course, the other important game of the night was the Wooden Spoon game between Crawshaw CC and the Salter Point Spinners out of on the crummy confines of Grass Rink 3, and despite Disorderly Decca having to head back to work in the hospital, and Wilko wanting no part of the Crisis Committee, the Crawshaw residents, led by Patsy and and Peter, still proved too good for the Salter Point residents (Sue, Denise and Jenny), winning 10-4 11-1 to claim the Close to Crap award and crawl their way out of the Jack Attack cellar, having spent so long down there they’d forgotten what sunlight was.
Which means the 2-ply bog roll has made its way to Crawshaw Crescent, where it will be divided into equal squares among the needy residents, while the suburb of Salter Point will be engraved on to the Wooden Spoon trophy, whenever John McGinn gets time to scribble it in, an honour that will be sure to crack a mention in the Salter Point Community Group.
How will I break the news to my mother that the Spinners finished last.
Now, to complete the remainder of the results for the Grand Finale, the overall winners on the night, and by a considerable margin, would’ve been Macatac 1 for their enormous +30 shot victory against Stop Drop & Bowl on Grass Rink 1, which is by far and away the biggest win by any team this season, but unfortunately for Macatac 1, they picked the wrong week to perform, because due to the Money Finals taking up the chunk of prize money, we don’t award money to the Top 4 variance teams in the final week.
2nd place on the night would’ve gone to Crawshaw on an ends countback due to 2 teams finishing on +16 shots, the second of which was Macatac 2, who defeated the Unbelievabowls 13-2 9-4 on Synthetic Rink 6, a nice end to the season for Macatac 2 as they finished in 9th and the best of the teams that didn’t finish in the money, although the fact that they finished above Macatac 1 is consolation enough…. especially for Dianne Mac.
4th overall would’ve gone to the Bowled Guys, who defeated Ebowla Bad, Ibowla Good by +14 shots (15-8 8-1) on Synthetic Rink 1, and it was a game that featured some massive powerplays in the 1st Set, first of all with EBIG coming from 2-7 down to lead 8-7 thanks to a 3 on their powerplay, only for the Bowled Guys to hit back with a massive 4 on their powerplay to win the set 15-8, and it was much more comfortable from there for our follically challenged champions with an 8-1 win in the 2nd Set, ending the season in 11th place after being in the cellar following Week 2, while EBIG finish as the best of the rookie teams in 12th, a fine performance from Lee, Dave & the team.
Going back to the Grass, the only other tiebreak of the night was the game between the Jackstreet Boys and Salty Towers on Grass Rink 2, and after pulling off the upset of the season last week against the Great Bowls of Fire (Which was formally recognised during our awards ceremony), the Jackstreet Boys found themselves facing a tougher opponent, as the Salties recovered from a narrow 1st Set defeat (5-4) to run away with the 2nd Set 7-2 to force the tiebreak, and proving that Justin’s win in the Corner to Corner was no fluke, the Salties went on to win the one-end shootout.
On Grass Rink 4, the CD’s (Nat, Kelly and Marg) defeated the Top Shots (Jerry, Leslie, Irene & Gordon) in straight sets, a game that never lived up to any noteworthy heights, but was certainly played in high spirits, as you’d expect in any game involving the Top Shots, who were once again recognised as the Friendliest Team in Jack Attack.
I would note that Wednesday night would’ve marked the last game of Jack Attack for CD’s captain Helen, after an established 4-year stint on Wednesday nights that has led directly to her taking up pennants with Manning and already winning multiple club championships, most recently the Novice Singles Championship on Sunday…
But it turned out Helen was unavailable this week, so her last game was last week’s tiebreak win to deny the Bowling Stones a Grand Final spot, so all the best Helen, and hopefully we’ll still have the CD’s for a few more seasons.
Finishing off the games on the end Synthetic rinks, the Buffed Helmets 2 defeated the Dynamics in straight sets on Synthetic Rink 7 (8-0 5-2), a good win by the Helmets considering the sole Helmet in the team was big Cheese, briefly joined by Richard ‘Half’ Price for a fleeting moment, before young Xavier from Ebowla Bad, Ibowla Good was drafted in to play for the Helmets, with both Cheese and Xav bowling 3 bowls each after Dynamics were good sports and offered to also play with 2 players, and it only takes 1 good bowl to get shot in this game, and evidently Buffs 2 managed it.
And lucky last, the only remaining game was the game between The Shah’s and the Jack Hunters on Synthetic Rink 8, and the New Kids on the Block finished off their season with a win against the Spring 2022 runners-up 7-5 11-2, and the game was also the highlight of the Jack Hunters’ season, because it meant it was finally over, as they fell from runner-up down to 23rd, a bigger free fall than the one Tom Petty performed in 1989.
And that is IT for Manning Jack Attack, Summer 2023 edition, thanks everybody for reading throughout the season, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something from this week and haven’t included it, but right now, I could not care less.
Synthetic 1: Bowled Guys (4pts +14) defeated Ebowla Bad, Ibowla Good, 15-8, 8-1
Synthetic 2 (7th vs 8th): The Lenny’s (4pts +7) defeated Verse 1, 8-5 8-4
Synthetic 3 (5th vs 6th): Bowling Stones (4pts +9) defeated Ten Pin, 9-3 5-2
Synthetic 4 (GRAND FINAL): Buffed Helmets 1 (3pts -3) defeated Team Tommy (2pts +3), 6-2 4-11, 1-0 in the tiebreak
Synthetic 5 (3rd vs 4th): Manning Up (4pts +9) defeated Great Bowls of Fire, 8-1 6-4
Synthetic 6: Macatac 2 (4pts +16) defeated Unbelievabowls, 13-2 9-4
Synthetic 7: Buffed Helmets 2 (4pts +11) defeated Dynamics, 8-0 5-2
Synthetic 8: The Shah’s (4pts +11) defeated Jack Hunters, 7-5 11-2
Grass 1: Macatac 1 (4pts +30) defeated Stop Drop & Bowl, 19-1 14-2
Grass 2: Salty Towers (3pts +4) defeated Jackstreet Boys (2pts -4), 4-5 7-2 1-0 in the tiebreak
Grass 3 (Wooden Spoon Game): Crawshaw CC (4pts +16) defeated SPCG Spinners, 10-4 11-1
Grass 4: CD’s (4pts +6) defeated Top Shots, 7-5 7-3
Todd, Great Bowls of Fire: “It was a good season, good weather to finish the year off, we got lucky with the weather all season, if only it could help me bowl better”
Mick, Team Tommy: “Great to be back, it was a great season, Steve’s used to coming first but there’s no shame in coming second”
Mick, Verse 1: “Thank you to Jason and Pricey for all the laughs, we’ve been In Jack Attack for 4 years and it’s been brilliant how it’s grown, well done to everyone”
Scotty, Buffed Helmets 1: “It’s been an emotional roller coaster today, I feel like taking the day off work and just having a solid session, except that when I wake up there’ll still be work, children and a hangover…”
“So I’ll have a couple more and think about it.”
“As for the Mitchell trophy, it’s going to sit proudly on my desk, next to the Allison Fan, after it travels the world – First stop, Chiang Mai!”
Carmo, Buffed Helmets: “We noticed Kip was drinking water on a Grand Final night (Co-inhabitance has had no influence on this matter)”
Duncan, Macatac 1: “The handicapper got us this season, we were very excited to notice that there were some new players, good players and old players that were desperate to win, we failed to improve and subsequently fell away, but enjoyed the fact that our new players have provided an exciting future for us.”
John, Manning Up: “Big thanks to the Jackstreet Boys, they sent the Great Bowls of Fire down with us, and once they were down there they got done because they didn’t MAN UP.”
“In all seriousness, we love playing Todd, Jonesy & Paul, because we always get a good game with them, no matter the result.”
Some other photos from the night that didn’t make the cut
The crowd for the presentation:
Richard ‘Half’ Price delivers the State of the Union address:
Scotty giving a speech on behalf of the winning Buffed Helmets 1, while you can see Carmo indicating what position they finished this season:
And finally, it would only be fitting that on the last night of the season, the Buffed Helmets, now the Champion team to go with their numerous Biggest Drinkers titles, would be the very last team to leave…
Categories: Lawn Bowls
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