Island Team Hold Their Own in U.K. Tournament
The Isle of Man Team took part in the 2022 BCGBA Senior Supplementary County Championship which was held on Sunday at Fox Lane, Leyland with the team returning to this format of the competition after last playing in it in 2014, having played in the Crosfield Cup in 2015 and 2016 the men have not had the opportunity to represent the Island for six years in a team competition.
Drawn in Group 1, as expected the opposition was tough with South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire awaiting.
In the first round of matches the eight man team were up against South Yorkshire, with the Manx men drawing 4-4 on games with Jordan Cain, Bob Clark, Neil Withers and Matthew Quirk all winning, with the latter the best winner. Paul Dunn just missed out 20-21 as the team lost out by just 12 chalks (142-154).
In their second round match Greater Manchester were the opposition, once again they managed to win four individual games with the winners being Jordan Cain, Bob Clark, Paul Dunn and Neil Withers with the latter winning 21-8. Losing out in close games were Glynn Hargraves (19), Colin Kelly (18) and Matthew Quirk (15) as they lost this one by a margin of just four chalks (145-149).
In their final match they faced Cheshire. The team didn’t let their heads drop after two narrow defeats as this time out they dug deep to pick up a 5-3 victory on games and ultimately win the all important chalks as they won by a healthy margin of 23 chalks (140-117) to pick up two points for the victory. Individual wins to single figures arrived from David Bradford and Bob Clark, while Colin Kelly, Jordan Cain and Neil Withers also won.
South Yorkshire ended up topping the group, going on to the reach the final where they came up against Derbyshire who prevailed in Group 2, in a group that included Potteries, Cumbria and North Midlands. In the final South Yorkshire edged out Derbyshire as they won by just five chalks (145-140) 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 in the group to match their best performance in this competition, as they also finished +7 on aggregate chalks to show they can compete with other counties. In the first two rounds of matches they lost out by 16 chalks – just two chalks a man to show the very fine margins between victory and defeat.
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 Jordan Cain, Bob Clark and Neil Withers each winning all three games played on the day. The day can be considered a success for the Island Team, who demonstrated a good team spirit and togetherness as they went unbeaten on match games in all three rounds. Thanks must also go to everyone who helped organise the trip.