Heroic Local Showing In First Ever County Match
The Paddy Power sponsored Isle of Man senior men’s team broke new ground on Sunday as they took part in their first ever Senior County Championship Match. Their historic inclusion into the Endleigh Insurance sponsored Crosfield cup was the culmination of so much work by so many people, which started way back in 2012, drew a capacity crowd for the home leg at Peel bowing club.
Logistically and financially this is the biggest and most complex project in the history of Crown Green bowls, not just on the Isle of Man but in Britain as there are four flights and UK travel to contend with and whilst there are always learning points from a venture like this, the day could not have run any smoother. It ended up a day in the sun, not only for the Manx men, but also for their opponents Shropshire who did their part in making this the most momentous day in the history of the game.
If organisational lessons were learned there were also some handed out on the bowling green with Shropshire in devastating form in both home and away legs. They are one of the favourites to win the entire competition and certainly held no punches against the Manxies. Our lads though can be extremely proud of how they played and whilst they didn’t win the match they certainly raised a few eyebrows with some scintillating performances of their own, in fact after four games in the away leg they actually led by three points.
The home side played well and despite some extremely close matches only picked up two wins, with Trevor Quayle recording a great 21-15 win over the talented Andrew Moss and young Adrian Skinner winning Endsliegh Insurance Man of the Match with his terrific 21-16 win against Andrew Judson. This is crown green bowls at the highest level and like all sports at elite level games are won and lost by fine margins and but for the rub of the green it could have been a very different story win the locals recording two 20’s a 19 and two 18 defeats. Ten more points from 5 games would have seen the draw 6-6 on games.
In Shropshire, as mentioned earlier, the team started superbly winning two of the first four matched and narrowly losing out 19 in the others to take a slender lead. John Kennish and Phil Kerruish led the way with good wins and Glynn Hargraves can be pleased to have played really well at this level. For me though David Bradford was the star of the show in the early stages and despite training 19-10, to arguably the best player in the Shropshire home side, he showed us what county bowling is all about having the resolve to fight his way back to narrowly lose out 21-19. The adventure into the unknown was always going to be difficult and their strength in depth really showed in the mid order; however we saved the best to last with Phil Kelly stealing the show with a mouth watering 21-11 victory over Peter Farmer.
Overall Shropshire won the 24 game match 477 to 358 but the local lads should be very proud of what they achieved in their first outing on the big stage. I cannot emphasise enough how much work has gone in the background to make this long standing dream a reality, and not just the player but the organisers and anyone who had ever had an association with Crown Green Bowls should be very proud of what was achieved yesterday. Shropshire may have won the match yesterday but without question the real winner was Crown Green Bowls on the Isle of Man.
Home Leg – Peel Sunset Bowling Club
Isle of Man 182 v Shropshire 241 – Colin Kelly 18, Martin Lloyd 21; Kevin Quirk 20, Richie Goddard 21, Neil Withers 18, Glyn Herbert 21; Paul Skelly 8, Darren Welling 21; Dean Kipling 20, Wayne Phillips 21; Stuart Garrett 8, Clay Flattley 21; Adrian Skinner 21, Andrew Judson 16; Jerome Surridge 16, Michael Beer 21; Chas Grills 5, Callum Wraight 21; Trevor Quayle 21, Andrew Moss 15; Peter Collister 8, Kiah Roberts 21; Barney Kelly 19, Wayne Rogers 21.
Away Leg – Sinclair Bowling Club
Shropshire 236 v Isle of Man 176 – Scott Haries 21, Glynn Hargraves 19; Spencer Clarke 16, John Kennish 21; Colin Beaman 21, David Bradford 19; Stuart Rutter 20, Phil Kerruish 21; Phil Emery 21, Matthew Keggen 17, Alex Jones 21, Jordan Cain 8,; Rich Lawson 21, Dido Kelly 7; Glyn Picknell 21, John Gelling 15; Alin Palin 21, Peter Slinger 6; Jamie King 21, Ewan Cooil 9; Peter Grimston 21, Paul Kelly 13; Peter Farmer 11, Phil Kelly 21.