Isle of Man on a Roll
The Paddy Power sponsored Isle of Man senior men’s team competed in their second senior county championship match against Staffordshire on Sunday, and whilst they didn’t win showed marked improvements from their first match.
In both the home and away legs they picked up the Endsleigh Insurance man of the match for two breath taking performances. Colin Kelly won the award at home as he saw off three times Staffordshire Merit winner Mark Picknell 21-7 whilst Port St Mary’s Ewan Cooil won the award over the water with a brilliant 21-12 win over David Hayward.
These were just two of the many highlights in a day of top quality bowls with the Manx Men proving their worth and showing they belong at the top table of the sport. Things started so brightly in the home leg at Castletown and it looked as if there may have been an upset on the cards as the local team led 3-0 and by 31 chalks with the first three games off the green.
Man of the Match Colin Kelly was the first home after his relentless display and he was quickly followed by team mate and Gellings Manx Man of the Match award winner Dean Kipling who overcame David Semper 21-10. They were soon followed by local number one John Kennish after he had to work hard to see of the challenge of Ben Dixon 21-15.
The visitors experience then shone through and momentum swung their way as they moved into a commanding lead after eight of the twelve games played. The Island were not done yet though and finished almost as strongly as they started with Stuart Garrett beating Jamie Elliott 21-17 and Trevor Quayle adding to his win at Peel in the first match with an impressive 21-18 win over the talented Jason Groom.
It was almost going to be tough for the away side and to get any winners away on a strange green, against top class opposition but they battled admirable and will have learned a lot from their day in the sun against an awesome Staffordshire side.
They were made to wait until the ninth game to taste victory and Ewan Cooil lapped it up in style as he bagged his impressive win. He was closely followed by Paul Dunn who battled for every point to overcome Nigel Egan after a herculean encounter. Barney Kelly nearly added to the tally in the next match as he just fell the wrong side of a 21-19 score line.
Overall though it was a very credible performance by a Manx Side who are improving with every bowl played at this level and with one more game to go on the 5th July let’s hope they can improve again. Away manager Mel Gilbert, who is the only man ever to be awarded and MBE for his services to Crown Green Bowls, praised the local outfit and said he, is sure it is only a matter of time and experience before they draw blood at the top level as they already have and array of talent in their ranks.
Thanks go to Castletown Bowling club for hosting the home leg and to all sponsors, supporters and anyone who has helped along the way to make it possible for the Island to play at this level. I am sure when they take to the green in July they may have more surprises up their sleeves.