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2016 IOMFGBC Championship Finals

Pairs Championship Finals

Isle of Man Bowls ClubFollowing very little rain during regular league fixture times for much of the season, it appeared a full years worth arrived overnight on Friday 3rd September leaving the green under several inches of water calling off the scheduled singles finals fixtures for Saturday 4th. All that was missing was a few ducks and a few slices of bread considering the green looked more like a lake than the fine bowling surface members have become accustomed to this season. Although I am sure it would have been fine had the green keeper not watered the green too! Astonishingly the water drained away enough on Sunday 4th September under the bright early morning and afternoon sun shine, allowing the pairs championships to go ahead. The green was a little damp under foot during the initial stages, but it soon dried up over the first few ends of play. From the get go both the ladies and mens matches provided the spectators with an exciting prospect as in both matches the lead changed hands several times until a winner was determined, with both matches going down to the wire!

Isle of Man Mens BowlsThe ladies championship was played between the 2015 champions Pam Makin and Win Kewley, who were looking to make three in a row, and the new paring of Bernice McGreal and newcomer Charlotte Dutton. Makin and Kewley started the stronger but McGreal and Dutton soon found their rhythem as by seventh end it was 5-5. Makin and Kewley regrouped and by the eleventh end they were leading 9-7. McGreal and Dutton consolodated their efforts bagging 5 shots in the fourteenth taking them into the lead 12-11 from being behind 7-11. They also took the next end to extend their lead 14-11 and looked well in control. Given how close the match had been it was looking like the McGreal/Dutton pairing had one hand on the trophy. The sixteenth end however turned the match on its head once more with an unexpected long jack was capitalised upon by Makin and Kewley as they mounted a comeback, scooping 6 taking them into 17-14 lead. With the match not over, although disapointed, the penultimate end saw the spectators move to the edge of their seats. Dutton showed that experience isn't everything as she delivered two bowls that could be described as world class; the first moving the jack from to the edge of the green, just shy of the ditch and the second was drawn within a few inches. Neither skip were able to change the standings at the change over, so the score was reduced to 17-16 to Makin and Kewley as they prepared for the final end. The jack was set to McGreal and Duttons preferred shorter length, although a measure was called for, but it was deemed to be good, only 3 inches over the bare minimum length. Dutton and Makin set a fair head of bowls, Dutton holding 1 at the change. Kewley had gotten use to the longer jacks played in the previous ends as she played her four wide and long. McGreal drew on her extensive experience to draw her last bowl to gain second shot for the team and the match, taking the final score to 18-17 and snatching the trophy away from Makin and Kewley. It may have been Dutton's first victory, but the engrosed spectators were sure it will not be her last. Nor will it be long before her talents be noticed by the international selection committee.

Isle of Man Mens BowlingThe mens final was a similar match in many respects, and equally as exciting to watch. Phil Watterson and Gary Lee paired up to take on the league winners, the father and son duo of Clive and Mark McGreal. Watterson leading off set the jacks long and consistenly left at least one if not two near to the head, with Mark stuggling to match him during the early stages. The Watterson/Lee pairing taking a 6-0 lead by the end of the fifth end. Over the next three ends it was a different story though, Mark found both line and length, and with some superb follow up shots by Clive the father and son team were ahead 9-6 at the end of the eighth. The middle portion of the game was nip and tuck, both Clive and Lee produced excellent deliveries moving numerous jacks into advantageous positions, and removing bowls that were lying shot, taking them out of the equasion. As a result by the end of the sixteenth the scores were tied as 12-12. In the penultimate end all players seemed to be highly focused, but a very tight head of bowls fell Watterson and Lees way so as the match moved into the final stage they were leading 13-12. The eighteenth and final end was a tense affair with the spectators trying to work out who was lying shot and what shots should have been played. Pressure seemed to affect all four players as bowls were either short, long or wide by around two foot. However, Mark managed to bend nicely around Watterson's short and wide bowl on the back hand which initially looked to be in his line to give him and Clive an advantage at the change over. Clive and Lee mirrored their leads efforts and appeared to struggle to change anything, until Clive with his last bowl, realising he only needed to draw another shot, delivered a beautifully weighted wood between two of his oppositions bowls to slide into the head arriving just short of the jack, gaining a two shot advantage and ultimately victory in what was certainly a hard fought game. The McGreals took the iconic 'one handled' championship trophy 14-13.

Isle of Man Bowls ChampionshipBoth matches were certainly appreciated by all spectators who gasped and applauded throughout. The committee would like to thank the competitors of both matches for a thoroughly enjoyable and exciting afternoon of bowling. Thanks are also due to club members, Onchan Commissioner Kathryn Williams and member of the public who attended to support the players. A special thanks is also in order for club President Eric Maddocks for umpiring and presenting the awards, and Martin Atkinson for his recording of the scores.

Singles Championship Finals

Lawn Bowls Champions 2016Following the Saturday's disapointment the singles championships were initially rescheduled for the Thursday following, but again the green was waterlogged causing a further delay for those involved. Finally, following a spell of nice weather the matches were played on Saturday 10th September. The ladies final was played between a former champion, Bernice McGreal and club newcomer Marcia Pearson. The mens championship saw Clive McGreal face off against his foe from the previous week's pairs final Phil Watterson.

The winner of the singles competition is determined by being the first to score 21 shots. During the ladies match , despite the green playing heavy from the previous day's rain, Bernice McGreal managed to find the winning line and most importantly adapted quickly to find the weight, as she stormed into a 10-5 lead by the seventh end. Although Marcia Pearson mounted a comeback, it was short lived as she was unable to prevent Bernice from holding a commanding lead to claim victory on the fifteenth end 21-9.

Clive McGreal and Phil Watterson's encounter was more closely contested with some wonderful skills displayed. This was demonstrated by a score of 5-5 at the completion of the seventh end. The next few ends saw Phil edge ahead by a few shots, but this was soon closed down by Clive who finally set out his stall, firstly drawing level with Phil and then surpassing him. Clive had now built a commanding lead and despite a last minute effort from Phil it was too late, Clive's experience in tight competition proved to be vital as he overcame the challenge from Phil, retaining the trophy he won last year in a match that ended 21-12 on the score board.

The IOMFGBC committee would like to extend their gratitude to all its members that attended and showed their support on both days of play. In addition a special mention goes out to the club's president Eric Maddocks who presented the trophies whilst sporting the famous yellow jacket. Additionally, thank you to Karen Slack and Dave Ball for playing your part scoring the matches.

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