Outsiders win title
After an action packed Saturday afternoon involving the top three teams, Outsiders racked up enough chalks in both fixtures to win the Manx Petroleum sponsored Outdoor Winter Bowling League title.
The session also saw defeats for the leading two players in the individual merit – Helen Martin (Mooragh Lakers) dropped three points, whilst Glynn Hargraves (A-Team) scored 19 to move a little closer; both have two left to play with a gap of just two chalks.
Waiting for any slip-ups are Matthew Keggen (Louie’s Angels) who is seven adrift of the leader and eight behind is Brian Corner (Govags).
Moving back to the action, things began with leaders Outsiders easing to success against 2018 champions A-Team, although the 13 points dropped by the victors must have given the watching Mooragh Lakers a little glimmer of hope.
Lakers then joined the fray, as the weather took a turn for the worse and they sneaked home by just two chalks over A-Team, but also dropped the same amount of points as Outsiders, so the gap was back to where they started earlier.
The pair then went head to head with Lakers needing a similar performance to that from a few weeks previous when they won by nine against the same opponents; however Outsiders were in no mood to let this chance slip and recorded a 14 point advantage win to take one of the hottest contested titles in the club’s history.
Unfortunately Outsiders captain Ben Dugdale has not been able to play recently due to a back problem, but this is not the first time he will have had his hands on the shield, after he won with New Found Glory back in 2011.
The winning margin that year was 12 points, whereas just one year earlier his team, then named Angry Mob, missed out by only two to the Chancers. The next closest ending was in 2017 when Lakers pipped Seven-Up by the slender advantage of seven.
Results for Saturday, February 23: Outsiders 113 (5), A-Team 96 (1); A-Team 111 (3), Mooragh Lakers 113 (3); Mooragh Lakers 106 (3), Outsiders 120 (3).
Sunday’s opening fixture featured third placed Seven-Up and began on a foggy afternoon, with them needing as many points as possible – firstly to put some pressure on Lakers who are second on average and also to keep Louie’s Angels at bay as they were only nine behind at the start of play.
Finally to fend off A-Team who were keen to climb back up the table after slipping down two places just the day before.
Surprisingly they dropped 11 points in their opener against basement side Bits n Bobs, before they let another two slip when they played Castletown Corkers; however they did enough to remain above A-Team, but will have to wait for their final position to be decided.
The last outcome of the session saw Corkers just miss out on a full-house when they inflicted the twenty-second defeat of the campaign on Bits n Bobs and need to score just 126 points from their final outing to finish above their stablemates.
So all in all there are still nine league positions to be settled over the one weekend of fixtures yet to play, along with seven team merit winners.
Results for Sunday, February 24: Bits n Bobs 90 (2), Seven-Up 115 (4); Seven-Up 124 (5), Castletown Corkers 96 (1); Castletown Corkers 124 (5), Bits n Bobs 88 (1).
An entry of 24 took part in the midweek round robin, with one group having the top four separated by just one point at the end of play and after a roll-up it went in favour of David Clucas and Bernie McPhee, ahead of Allan Kennaugh and Marg Tasker.
The other section had Brian Kelly and Sefton Dent as clear winners, with second spot being taken by Frances Radcliffe and Ken Karran.
Two more names have been added to the team, which will take on the league champions in the end of season finale, they are Mark Kelly (Seven-Up) and Franz ten Donkelaar (Bits n Bobs).
The club heads into its final month with the league schedule almost complete and two major dates yet to come – the championship, for which entries are still being taken, will take place on Saturday, March 16 (and Sunday 17 if required), with the prize presentations afternoon the following Sunday, for which raffle prizes would be much appreciated.