Once again Wealden Bowls Club Finals weekend produced a memorable mixture of close finishes, fighting comebacks and above all a very high standard of bowling.
It was also encouraging to see so many new names finding their name onto the honours board.
Joan Howson became the Ladies Singles Champion for the eight time when she defeated Wendy Botfield in a game that could easily have gone either way. For a large part of the game there was very little to choose between the two players but towards the end Howson raised her game enough to pull away from her opponent to win by 21 shots to 16.
The Men’s Final in contrast was between two players who had never reached this stage of the competition before but Andy Corben was always slightly ahead in the opening stages and played well enough throughout to gradually extend his lead over David Meadows in a game that was a lot closer than the final score of 21 shots to 11 would suggest.
Both champions were involved in other finals with Howson and partner Malcom Goman decisively beating Ann Daly and Tony Butler in the Mixed Pairs and in the Ladies Triples with Shirley Nelson and Jill Saunders overcoming Babs Hooker, Margaret Smith and Rosemary Richmond by 21 shots to 17 despite dropping four shots in one end in the latter stages of the game after being comfortably ahead.
She also came out on top in the Ladies Pairs with Shirley Nelson when they nullified a brief rally by their opponents Dorothy Gladsby and Margaret Winton by winning the last four ends for a conclusive 23 shots to 11 victory.
In contrast Corben lost out in his two other finals when he teamed up with Valerie and Peter Menniss in the Mixed Triples eventually losing out to Sally Butler, Mel Woodhams and Andy Clews by four shots after a tense low scoring game and with his wife, Sheila in the Married Pairs.
Another busy bowler was Steve Perris who featured in four finals over the weekend winning the Men’s Triples with Tony Cook and Tom Palmer as well as the Men’s Fours with the same pair and Richard Monk.
Although both games ended in comfortable wins they were pulled back to just two shots in their clash with David Carr, Tony Butler, Roger Gorringe and Dave Bissett in the Men’s Fours but who then inexplicably dropped 10 shots in two ends to put the match beyond their reach.
In the Mixed Fours with Jan Noyes, Barbara Griffiths and Jim Wakefield they were always in with a chance against Margaret and Chris Winton and Jill and Peter Flint. As the match progressed on two occasions, including the last end, they were holding a match winning five shots before being thwarted by some superb saving bowls by the opposing skip.
Perris also lost out in the final of the Singles Plate after edging the first set by one shot he was well beaten in the remaining two by Dave Brooks.
The closest result of the weekend was in the Drawn Triples which went to a sudden death extra end after the match was tied at 16 shots apiece. The trio of Ann Daly, Alan Bradley and Ray Fletcher found themselves holding two shots against Gary Styles and Peter Daly with only one bowl left to play.
Resisting the temptation to play a weighted wood into the head, skip Tony Szylka played the perfect bowl to draw within an inch of the jack to clinch the one shot victory for his team.
Another excellent game was in the Backbone Trophy, played to a completely different scoring method. The pairing of Linda Kipps and Andrew Hathaway were up against Mike Wheeler and Bill Bankier and on six separate occasions during the game the two teams were level pegging before the latter pairing drew away over the last two ends to win by 101 shots to 89.
One of the innovations at the club this year has been the introduction of a football league based on a format that gives a result like a game of football. The Cup Final was between Liverpool represented by Janie Champness, Sue Hanlon and John Harriyott and Newcatle made up of Peter Brooks, Ray Fletcher and Alex Parsons.
Substitutes are allowed in this game and with no goals scored at half time Newcastle brought on Mike Marshall and Mike St Jean a move that eventually paid off when they scored the three shots needed for the opening goal of the game.
Not to be outdone Liverpool pulled one back on the penultimate end and with the match drawn a penalty one bowl shootout saw Newcastle win the day by the narrowest of margins.
This was another well organised Finals weekend thoroughly enjoyed by all the players and numerous spectators.
Ladies Singles: Joan Howson 21 Wendy Botfield 16.
Men’s Singles: Andy Corben 21 David Meadows 11.
Singles Plate: Dave Brooks 2 Sets Steve Perris 1 Set.
Ladies Pairs: Shirley Nelson & Joan Howson 23 Dorothy Gladsby & Margaret Winton 11.
Men’s Pairs: To be played at a later date.
Married Pairs: Sheila & Andy Corben 15 Jackie & Bob Smith 23.
Mixed Pairs: Ann Daly & Tony Butler 9 Joan Howson & Malcolm Goman 24.
Ladies Triples: Babs Hooker, Margaret Smith & Rosemary Richmond 17 Shirley Nelson, Jill Saunders & Joan Howson 21.
Men’s Triples: Dave Brooks, Bob Smith & Mel Woodhams 11 Tony Cook, Steve Perris & Tom Palmer 19.
Mixed Triples: Andy Corben, Valerie Menniss & Peter Mennis 12 Sally Butler, Mel Woodhams & Andy Clews 16.
Drawn Triples: Ann Daly, Alan Bradley & Ray Fletcher 16 Gary Styles, Peter Daly & Tony Szylka 17.
Men’s Fours: Tony Cook, Richard Monk, Steve Perris & Tom Palmer 27 David Carr, Tony Butler, Roger Gorringe & Dave Bissett 15.
Ladies Fours: Jill Flint, May Urben, Margaret Winton & June Page 22 Lee Godley, Veda Coleman, Sue Hanlon & Janet Birch 14.
Mixed Fours: Jan Noyes, Barbara Griffiths, Jim Wakefield & Steve Perris 13 Jill Flint, Chris Winton, Margaret Winton & Peter Flint 18.
Backbone Trophy: Linda Kipps & Andrew Hathaway 89 Mike Wheeler & Bill Bankier 101.
Football Final: Newcastle 1 (Peter Brooks, Alex Parsons, Ray Fletcher & subs Mike Marshall & Mike St Jean) Arsenal 1 (Janie Champness, Sue Hanlon & John Harriyott). Won by Newcastle on the penalty shoot out.