Island Team Hold Their Own in U.K. Tournament

The Isle of Man Team took part in the 2023 BCGBA Senior Supplementary County Championship which was held on Sunday at Bellingham Bowling Club in Wigan on a good playing surface.

Drawn in Group 1, as expected the opposition was tough with Cheshire, South Yorkshire and Wales awaiting.

In the first round of matches the eight man team were up against Cheshire as the
the Manx men won 5-3 on games with Peter Jones, Paul Dunn, David Bradford, Bob Clark and Glynn Hargraves all winning, with the three games lost being to high scores (17,19 & 19) as they scored highly to win by 25 chalks (160-135) to make a positive start to pick up two points for the win.

In their second round match South Yorkshire were the opposition, the team managed to win three individual games with the winners being Paul Dunn, Jordan Cain and Bob Clark. Losing out in close games were David Bradford who lost 17-21 to Ross Meese and Neil Withers who was beaten 17-21 by Tom Boyd as they lost this one by a margin of 13 chalks (137-150) just two chalks a man to show the very fine margins between victory and defeat.

In their final match they faced Wales with all still to play for, winning four individual games from Peter Jones, Jordan Cain, David Bradford and Matthew Quirk. The team ultimately won the all important chalks as they won by 9 chalks (150-141) to pick up two points for the victory, helped by high scores from Neil Withers (20), Glynn Hargraves (18) and Bob Clark (17).

Cheshire ended up topping the group, going on to the reach the final where they came up against Warwick & Worcestershire who prevailed in Group 2, in a group that included Merseyside, North Midlands and Potteries. In the final Warwick & Worcestershire edged out Cheshire as they won by just four chalks (146-142) with the winners hanging on to a 22 chalk lead at the half way stage to take the title home.

The Isle of Man Team who were managed by Phil Kerruish and assisted by Juan Kermode finished in a very respectable second place on four points in the group to surpass last years performance in this competition, as they also finished +21 on aggregate chalks to show they can compete with other counties, with Cheshire progressing largely thanks to a huge 50 chalk win over Wales in their second round match, they then went on to beat South Yorkshire by seven chalks to also finish on four points and progress to the final with a better aggregate (+32) than the Isle of Man.

To put this into perspective the Isle of Man have just 13 bowling greens available on the Island, with a limited pool of bowlers to choose from. Whilst other counties have hundreds of greens to play on and thousands of bowlers to pick from, it could well be argued that the Isle of Man are punching above their weight.

A great team effort overall, with all players winning at least one game, no defeats to single figures and generally high scores even in defeat helping contribute to the overall result. It says a lot that the team were disappointed not to reach the final, to show the expectation has increased within the squad.