Lawn Bowls

The Manning Division 1 Blue crew are going up to 1 White!

I’m moving on up
You’re moving on out
Moving on up
Nothing can stop me
I’m moving on up
You’re moving on out
Time to break free
Nothing can stop me

Last week I provided an update that the Manning Division 1 Blue South crew (featuring yours truly), fresh off our narrow win against Safety Bay, needed just 6 more points from our final 2 games of this pennant season to secure top spot, bringing with it an automatic promotion to Division 1 White + a spot in the Division 1 Blue Final on the first Sunday in April…

Well, on Saturday we played bottom-placed Hilton Park at Manning in our last home game for the season, and after delaying the start of the game by 15 minutes so both teams could watch the West Coast Eagles lose to North Melbourne (True story), the Manning Eagles went out and completed our years-long quest for promotion to White, thanks to yet another workmanlike 88-64 aggregate win, with 7 points to 1!

Going through the results:

Murray Piggott’s rink (Jaxon, Steve, Graham and Murray) won 21-11, a win that would’ve been sweet for Muz after his rink suffered a frustrating 22-9 defeat in the reverse fixture at Hilton Park just before Christmas, which ended with his last bowl of the game narrowly missing the jack to give us an extra shot to get the outright victory (It finished a 75-75 draw and 4 points apiece).

Wayne Heldt’s No.1 rink (With yours truly leading as inconsistently as ever alongside Matty and Mark Ellis) won 25-12 after leading comfortably all day, a game that featured a heroic performance from Mat Hoskin hobbling around on one leg after coming down with gout on Friday, and I’d contend that Matty should get gout more often, because he jagged the jack 4 or 5 times and set up holds of multiple shots every time, which meant we were leading 16-4 after 9 ends and never in danger.

Also, in a little personal moment of pride for our team, that win confirms Heldty as being the No.1 ranked Skip in Blue South for this season with 13.5 wins out of 16 games played, with a game still to come:

And for some reason I’m now ranked 2nd on the Leads table:

Moving on:

Mike Carey’s rink (Macca, Ron & Greg) were the biggest winners with their 29-14 performance, and it should be noted that game was right up for grabs with the scores at 19-14 with 4 ends to play, but the Carey crew went 4, 1, 4 & 1 to end the game, which also cost our rink the middy vouchers for the biggest winning margin of any Manning team.

The only blemish was Alan Taylor’s rink (Phil/Floppy and the brothers Brett & Shane Adams) having a stinker and losing 16-27, as Tails consistently found himself under pressure before he’d even stepped on the mat thanks to the Hilton foursome, a result that was luckily cancelled by the other 3 rinks all winning comfortably, but it’s yet another inconsistent result for our fourth rink, which has provided some real headaches for the selectors all summer long.

So, as I previously mentioned, those results mean that after 4 long years of trying, Manning’s second team will be playing Division 1 White next season, as we lead by 11.5 points with only 8 points still available!

Exciting times I tell you, exciting!

I’d reckon that confirming the automatic promotion was a sweet moment for the likes of Gobby O’Brien, Floppy Herbert, Greg Hogg, Mike Carey, Steve Lambert, Brett & Shane Adams, Tails, Heldty and Hoskin, who had all been involved in losing Challenge Finals over the last few seasons, last year’s defeat being especially cruel after missing out on top spot to Kalamunda by 2.5 points after a late-season defeat at home, then losing the first Challenge Final to South Perth 72-67 at Cockburn after Hoggy tested positive 2 days before the game, and Heldty’s rink lost 26-8 to a team containing his son Blake.

Still, it’s been a funny old season, because despite being top with a game in hand, we haven’t really been dominant in the traditional sporting sense of the word, as we lost 2 out of our first 3 games and have only claimed all 8 points twice, but the key is that we’ve made minimal team changes, consistently picked up 6 or 7 points every week and won just about every close aggregate we’ve been in, and that’s what’s led to us going from 4th and 9 points back at Christmas to confirming top spot by Round 17.

The night got even better for the club when we found out that the Premier League team had claimed a remarkable 8-0 shutout of Osborne Park at Osborne Park to go top of the ladder, despite the fact there was only 12 shots in the aggregate margin (75-63), but they’d somehow won every rink by margins of 6, 3, 2 and 1 shot respectively, which means they’re now 5 points clear on top with 1 game (against relegation-threatened Mount Lawley) before the Finals, and if the Premier boys do finish top, then they’ll host the Saturday qualifying finals (April 1) for the first time ever.

So this coming Saturday we’ve got an enjoyable day out at Kardinya, a very rare thing to say about a Manning Division 1 team, and we’ll also find out if we’re playing one of Doubleview or Osborne Park in the 1 Blue Final the following Sunday…

Finally, here’s a summary of what the celebrations looked like at 6pm Saturday:

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