Junior Island Team Feel The Heat

The Isle of Man Junior Team took part in the British Crown Green Bowling Association six-a-side Championship at Heaton Park in Manchester on Sunday, having come through the group stages at Windle Bowling Club in St Helen’s in May.

As expected the opposition was a lot tougher this time round, as their group consisting of four teams included a strong South Yorkshire, Derbyshire B and Cumbria on a tricky green in blistering hot weather all day, with no shade available to provide any respite.

In the first round of matches they faced South Yorkshire who were widely fancied to win the group, with the Isle of Man team losing 1-5 and by 35 chalks. Shannon McMullan made it into double figures losing 11-15 to Jodie Dickinson, whilst younger sister Madison McMullan performed well on her debut for the Island Team and with it her first game on foreign soil as she scored 12 before losing out to Grace Rhodes. Rebekah Kelly was the lone winner in this fixture with a 15-12 win over James Haigh.

In the second round of games they faced Derbyshire B with the team performing well as they lost out 2-4 and by just 12 chalks (60-72) – just two chalks a player. Ryan Hargraves made his first outing in this fixture, led 9-8 against James Causer only for the latter to run out with a 15-9 victory. Madison McMullan picked up her first win as she performed brilliantly to pick up the best win of the day with a 15-6 victory over Max Pearson. Not to be outdone older sibling Shannon also won to the same score against Nathan Hawley. Rebekah Kelly cruelly missed out on a second successive victory as she was narrowly beaten 14-15 by Josh Leeson. Grace Gawne was unfortunate not to score more as she faced her second tough opponent of the day, with the score not reflecting the overall performance.

In their final round of fixtures they were up against Cumbria, the same team they lost out to by a solitary chalk to at St. Helens in May. This time they lost out by just five chalks (74-79) to show there is a very fine margin between the teams. Rebekah Kelly had to dig deep in this one as she got home with a 15-13 win over Sam Blackstone to cap off a good day. Shannon McMullan made it into double figures, only to lose out 10-15 to Harry Preston, Toby Hart bounced back from two tough games earlier in the day to beat Jack Preston 15-11, the same opponent he faced and won against back in May. Madison McMullan clocked up her second win of the day with a 15-10 win over Reuben MacPake, whilst Victoria Johnson also put her first round game out of her mind as she battled well and was unlucky not to run out on her opponent as she lost 13-15 to Jack Brannon.

South Yorkshire ended up topping the group, going on to the reach the final where they came up against a strong Warwick & Worcestershire A side who had also topped their group that included Derbyshire A, North Lancs & Fylde A and Greater Manchester A. In the final Warwick & Worcestershire proved to be too strong for South Yorkshire.

Once again the Islands Juniors represented themselves and the island in impeccable fashion, it was great to see more supporters than players there to help encourage our Junior bowlers. Thanks also to everyone who helped organise the trip.