Canada Life International League Titles Decided

The 2023 night league season ended with a double week of fixtures due to take place across all three divisions this week in the Canada Life International sponsored bowling leagues.

In Division One South Ramsey A officially wrapped up the title as they started the week 11 points ahead with two games to play. Whilst securing the Warburton Trophy for a third consecutive year was a formality, they did it in style with a 10-0 victory away to Douglas A. Winning to single figures for the Ramsey men were Bob Clark, Stefan Kelly, and Glynn Hargraves over Mark Kneen, Gordon Wynne-Smythe, and Shaun Seal. David Bradford had a game on his hands with Kevin Firth as he trailed 10-19 to Kevin Firth, with a big ask to recover from such a huge deficit Bradford went on to secure a nail biting 21-20 victory to remain in the hunt to secure the Division One Individual Merit.

South Ramsey’s match at home to Peel B on Friday fell victim to the heavy rain throughout the day as their game was postponed until Monday evening, with something to play for both teams. South Ramsey were looking to secure a record points total, whilst Peel B knew they needed to take three games off the league champions in their bid to stay up. When the fixture was played it resulted in a 10-0 home win for South Ramsey A, who condemned Peel B to the bottom two, they will have to wait to find out if they are relegated depending on the league structure in 2024.

Marown A rounded off the season with two victories as they beat their B Team 7-3 on Monday night, with Karl Parker causing the biggest upset of the night as he beat Colin Kelly 21-18, Matthew Keggen won 21-13 against doubles partner Paul Kelly, and Harry Barton beat Glenn Boland 21-15.

On Friday evening Marown A won 2-8 away to Port St Mary A, with Trevor Quayle beating Phil Kelly 21-8, and Tim Williams impressing with a 21-17 win over Peter Jones. Port St Mary scored highly in two other games as Wayne Roberts lost 19-21 to Colin Kelly, with the former sending both bowls into the ditch at 19-19, whilst Dave Saxon was beaten 18-21 by Neil Withers.

In the relegation battle South Ramsey B hosted North Ramsey A on Monday with a win being crucial. The home team performed well to take five games off the visitors, however four off the wins were close, with Ben Dugdale beating John Cannan 21-18. Eddie Carlyle and Lee Dawson both won 21-19 against Brian Colquitt and Allan Callow respectively, with Tony Hart edging home 21-20 against Jimmy Moffatt. The chalks gained on the victories were wiped out in one fell swoop by Rob Monk who beat Christian Caley 21-3. Also winning for the visitors were Steven Waters as he beat George Brew 21-10, whilst Steve Walmsley won a close game with Austin Hart 21-19.

Marown C secured a second season in the topflight by whitewashing Castletown A 10-0 at home on Tuesday night in a shock result, which put Castletown A in deep trouble, as Peter Kelly held off George Foy 21-18, whilst Tom Kelly just got past Ron Williams 21-20.

On Friday evening Castletown A hosted Douglas A knowing they needed a win to any score to stand any chance of not finishing in the bottom two places knowing that Peel B had to go to league champions South Ramsey A. The Town men did their bit as they claimed what could prove to be a vital 7-3 home win, with two Town players holding their nerve as Nathan Cooil and Nathan Hamilton won their games with Mervin Sayle and Keith Rise 21-20 respectively. Losing out in close games for Town were Ron Williams who lost 18-21 to Jimmy Sansom and Aaron Richardson was beaten 19-21 by Paddy Murphy.

The Town men will be keeping a close eye on proceedings at South Ramsey on Monday evening as they need the league champions to take a victory 8-2 or better, whilst Peel B know securing three points on the night will be enough to avoid finishing in the bottom two.

The race for the Division One individual merit hasn’t quite been decided, with South Ramsey A still to play David Bradford is firmly in the driving seat needing to win the final game of the season at home to Peel B. Bradford has won 20 games from 21 played, dropping just five chalks in his only defeat of the season to Kevin Quirk at Onchan. Should the unthinkable happen then Marown’s Neil Withers is waiting in the wings, as he has enjoyed a fine season with 21 games won from 22 played, with eight chalks dropped in his one league defeat to Tony Dugdale at South Ramsey.

In Division Two there was little change at the top with Finch Hill A winning the league to lift the Rayner Cup despite suffering a 7-3 defeat away to third placed Castletown B, they ended on a positive note as they beat Peel C 8-2 at home.

Ballaugh A finished in second place, as they started the week with a 2-8 win away to Peel C. Their home fixture with Port Erin A on Friday evening succumbed to the weather, however even without playing this they are guaranteed to finish in second place.

Onchan C finished rock bottom on 69 points as they return to Division Three, with Peel C finishing second from bottom on 79 points following two successive 8-2 defeats to the top two teams.

Noble’s B picked up 10 points last week as they finished on 85 points to drag themselves out of trouble to secure another season in Division Two as they lost 3-7 to their higher ranked A Team, then won 7-3 at home to South Ramsey C to secure their status.

Winning the Division Two individual merit with 19 wins from 20 games played was Finch Hill’s Dave McCabe.

In Division Three there was a thrilling finish to the season as just three points separated the top three teams Port St Mary B finished top on 145 points to win the Chatel Cup after they started the week with a good 8-2 win against Port Erin B on the shared Breagle Glen green, then ended the week with a 6-4 defeat away to South Ramsey D who finished in fifth place with their highest ever points total of 115, as they have something to build on next season.

Noble’s D started the week in third place, on the same number of points as Ballaugh B who had a superior ‘games for’ difference. The Noble’s men had a fantastic end to the season as they won 7-3 away to Finch Hill B, then took a resounding 10-0 victory at home to Douglas D to secure second spot on 144 points, just one point behind champions Port St Mary B.

Ballaugh B ended the season with two victories, however this wasn’t enough to finish in the top two, with a good 9-1 home win against Peel D, followed up by a 4-6 victory away to Marown D, in a close encounter as the Ballaugh men took the aggregate by five chalks (144-149).

A special mention should do to Noble’s C, with seven of their eight players having not played competitive bowls before this season, they excelled to finish in fourth spot as they caused a few upsets throughout the season, improving from game to game, they will be the team to watch out for next year with promotion firmly in their sights.

Finishing in bottom place were Port Erin B, who were hampered by being short of players for several matches, they surely would have finished higher had they been able to field a full-strength team.

Winning the Division Three individual merit with 20 wins from 22 games played was Finch Hill’s youngest player Sam Stannard-Duke.