Dutch Open 2014
Manx bowlers representing the Island took part in the second Invitational International Dutch Open played at Haarlem near Amsterdam over the last week. The tournament started in glorious sunshine and featured a number of experienced international teams from across three continents. The standard of play lived up to its international billing with many top players in attendance amongst the sides. With some Commonwealth games teams yet to be selected for a few of the teams this was a last chance for prospective players from Ireland and Canada to book their place at Glasgow later this summer. The hosts of the event at the City Bowls Club at Haarlem were magnificent throughout the tournament with first class administration and management of the event with each of the volunteer members demonstrating tremendous hospitality and support during the competition to all the players. Whilst the Manx squad comprising Win Kewley and Bernice McGreal, Michael McGreal and Clive McGreal along with Team Manager Pam Makin entered the tournament as rank outsiders and least experienced in international competition of all teams they nevertheless put up some fine performances losing narrowly to China and USA in the mixed fours discipline which is a format rarely played in the Island.
As the week progressed and the weather deteriorated to rain and gale force winds the playing conditions were mastered by the Scottish contingent, led by their Manager the legendary Willie Woods, who completed a clean sweep in each discipline by winning the Men’s Pairs, Ladies Pairs and Mixed Rink. For the Manx team the highlight of the tournament was securing a victory over the hosts, Netherlands in both the Men’s Pairs and Mixed Rink on their home green where the Dutch national finals are held annually. This earned the team some reward for their efforts during the week in which the players endured over 9 hours of completion on some days as the play continued under floodlights into the evening. Overall the participation at this event was another step forward for the Flat Green Association on the international scene gaining a number of contacts and establishing friendships around the world of bowls which can only bode well for the future development of the sport on the Island.