Wealden Bowls Club Finals Weekend

AS always, Wealden Bowls Club’s Finals Weekend provided a heady mixture of close finishes, new names coming to the fore and very high standards of bowling.

The biggest disappointment of a superbly organised weekend occurred in the Men’s Singles Final when Mike Marshall was forced to retire with a knee injury, which gave Ralph Steele his seventh Singles title. In compensation the Ladies Final proved to be an exciting encounter with the experienced Carol Templeman eventually overcoming Beryl Seal by the narrowest of margins.

It was all Templeman over the early ends as she rattled off nine shots without reply, but as the match progressed Seal fought back to eventually hold a seemingly match-winning lead at 20 shots to 18. However, on the final end Seal failed by the narrowest of margins to reduce the three shots her opponent held for the title.

There were three players who won three titles over the weekend, with Steele partnering Malcolm Goman in a comfortable win over Jonathan Couper and John Baker in the Men’s Pairs and adding to his haul in the Men’s Triples when partnering Goman and Rick Chapman.

Playing against Tony Cook, Mel Woodhams and Robert May, they clawed their way back in the game after being well behind to level the scores at 15 shots apiece with two ends remaining. Dropping two shots on the penultimate end and lying one shot down with only one bowl left, a win looked impossible, but with a superb last wood Steele pushed out the shot wood to give his team the three shots they needed.

The other winners of three titles were Rosemary Richmond and Margaret Smith who partnered each other in the both the Ladies Triples and Fours. In the Triples with Pam Parsons against Pearl Hathaway, Ann Lindsay and Carol Templeman, they found themselves behind for most of the game. But after levelling the scores at 14-14 they won the next four ends to win by 20-14.

It was a similar story in the Fours when, with Parson and Gill Saunders, they squandered an early eight- shot advantage to find themselves level at 18-18, but a single shot on the remaining three ends sealed their win.

Richmond’s other win came in the Mixed Triples with Pat Younger and Tony Redshaw when they completely changed the course of the game by scoring six shots on one end to pull ahead for the first time at 16-15 and added two shots over the closing ends for an unlikely victory. For her third title Smith partnered Mike St Jean and they had a resounding win against Jan Noyes and Peter Mennis, who conceded early with the score at 22-9.

The Ladies Pairs also produced a comfortable win for Janet Keddy and Janet Birch against Gill Saunders and Elizabeth Gooding who were always in the game early on but were never able to recover after falling behind.

The Mens Four team of Peter Colbourne, Norman Dobson, Mike Marshall and Chris Thomas were hoping for their third successive title but in a close game they just lost out to Tony Cook, Robert May, Tom Palmer and Steve Perris.

After taking an early lead they fell behind but a poor run left them trailing at 19-11. A winning streak of four ends saw them pull back to be just two shots adrift but that proved to be the end of the rally as they lost out by 18 shots to 22.

In a low-scoring game in the Drawn Triples the combination of Joan Spershott, Bryan Mills and Ken Cunningham found themselves 1-2 down and seemingly out of contention, but a late rally saw them pull back to be only three shots behind with one end left to play. But despite gaining another shot on the final end they lost to Jacquie Warren, Jonathan Couper and Barry Nicholls 14-12.

The Backbone Trophy is played in a different format, with the four bowls nearest the jack counting, and it is never easy to recover from a slow start. This proved the case in the final with Ken Long and Nick Goodman taking an substantial early lead against Maureen Hounslow and Clive Smith and maintaining this advantage throughout to win by 106 shots to 64.

All RESULTS: Ladies’ Singles: Beryl Seal 20 Carol Templeman 21; Mens Singles: Ralph Steele v Mike Marshall (retired injured); Singles Plate: Tony Cooke 2 (sets) Margaret Smith 0; Ladies Pairs: Janet Keddy & Janet Birch 21 Gill Saunders & Elizabeth Gooding 13; Men’s Pairs: Malcolm Goman & Ralph Steele 25 Jonathan Couper & John Baker 9; Mixed Pairs: Mike St Jean & Margaret Smith 22 Jan Noyes & Peter Menniss 9; Married Pairs: Lyn & Phil Soper 21 May & George Urben 7; Ladies’ Triples: Pam Parsons, Rosemary Richmond & Margaret Smith 20 Pearl Hathaway, Ann Lindsay & Carol Templeman 14; Men’s Triples: Rick Chapman, Malcolm Goman & Ralph Steele 18 Tony Cook, Mel Woodhams & Robert May 17; Mixed Triples: Sally Butler, Andy Clews & Mel Woodhams 15; Drawn Triples: Joan Spershott, Bryan Mills & Ken Cunningham 12 Jacquie Warren, Jonathan Couper & Barry Nicholls 14; Ladies Fours: Pam Parsons, Gill Saunders, Rosemary Richmond & Margaret Smith 21 Janet Keddy, Sue Hanlon, Carol Templeman & Janet Birch 18; Men’s Fours: Peter Colbourne, Norman Dobson, Mike Marshall & Chris Thomas 18 Tony Cook, Robert May, Tom Palmer & Steve Perris 22; Mixed Fours: Phil Soper, Lyn Soper, Ivan Parsons & Jan Noyes 16 Ann Duncan, Sue Hanlon Mel Woodhams & Steve Perris 12. Backbone: Ken Long & Nick Goodman 106 Clive Smith & Maureen Hounslow 64.