Isle of Man vs Derbyshire
The Paddy Power sponsored Isle of Man Senior Men’s county team took the greens for the final time this year and fell just short of finding their first illusive overall victory.
They took on a very strong Derbyshire team both at Castletown and away in Burton on Trent and despite losing out in both legs can draw many positives from another brilliant display at the highest level.
It was an emotional day all round for both counties as they spent the match was dedicated to the memory of both our own Lillian Slinger and Derbyshires Darren Smith, two of the finest exponents our sport at seen.
It had almost become the norm for the Manxmen to win their home leg, having done so on the last three occasions, and the performance of the visitors to stop them was a stark reminder of just how hard bowls is at the top table.
Gellings home man of the match Phil Kerruish was the only local winner in the first four and he was simply magnificent as he beat Belvedere’s ‘Matt Kelly-Walley 21-13. Paul Stretton (Belvedere) won the Endsleigh Insurance player of the leg award for his 21-12 win against Peter Collister.
There was more success in the next four blocks as the Isle of Man added two more victories with Port St Mary’s Ewan Cooil winning 21-12 against Chris Adams (Burbage) and John Kennish fighting his way back with a brilliant performance to win 21-19 over John Dewey (Belvedere).
David Bradford added his name to the winners list playing extremely well to beat Paul Hawker (Whaley Brodge) 21-15. That was in for the locals on home soil as they went down 8 games to 4 and by 30 points.
Across he water something quite remarkable was happening as the men in red in yellow put in their finest away team performance to date and at one point and unprecedented away leg victory looked on the cards, however they lost out by just four points overall.
Barney Kelly led from the front with a totally assured Captains performance to put the Isle of Man 1-0 up as he beat Dave May 21-17. Neil Withers lost out by the narrowest of margins in the next game going down 21-20 before Jordan Cain righted the ship with another inspired away county performance beating Conor Chamberlain 21-18.
The Island didn’t have to wait too long for their next win as Rob Monk was in truly sensational form to win 21-9 against Neil Worthington and pick up the Endsleigh Insurance Man of the match awards for his efforts. I can’t put into words how well he played and I am sure he made his grandma Lillian proud with his breathtaking performance.
Matthew Quirk and Peter Slinger both came close, scoring 20 and 19 respectively, before Paul Skelly picked up his first county win and the Isle of Man award for man of the match after a spirited performance to fend off the battling Mick Grattan 21-19.
Phil ‘Rambo’ Kelly is fast becoming the patriarch of the Isle of Man team and he put in another stunning display last man on to beat arguably Derbyshires best player Paul Chamerlain 21-15. To put this into perspective Chamberlain has won his other two home matches this year 21-4 and 21-6. Five wins, two 20’s and a 19 is not just competing away from home it is showing that we really can mix it with the best. I am sure it will not be too long before our stars align both at home and away to bring us the overall match victory we so desperately want to see. A massive thank you to sponsors Paddy Power, Castletown for hosting the match and anyone else who helped in any way.