League Bowls Is Back!
After over 19 months since league games took place it was great to be back bowling in the night league. After a day of heavy rain on Monday only three first division fixtures went ahead with the current champions and league favourites Marown A hosting Noble’s A at Crosby. The home team showed no mercy to the visitors with a 10-0 whitewash. One notable absence from the Marown line-up this season is Dean Kipling, with Juan Killip stepping up from the B Team, with Killip just scraping home with a 21-20 win over Steve Cook to ensure the visitors went home empty handed and soaked through. Noble’s look to be in for a tough time this season, having had a tough winter with the club rumoured to be close to collapsing, there has been a fantastic effort from the remaining club members to ensure the club survived and are able to prosper once more.
Ballaugh A having been promoted in 2019 have had to wait a considerable amount of time following their return to the top tier, they hosted Port St Mary A with the visitors claiming a 2-8 win thanks to Robbie Cooil winning 21-19 against Patrick Grant, whilst Paul Skelly won to the same score against John Maddrell. For Ballaugh Barry McDonald and Tony Quine beat Tom Collins and Paul Russell respectively. Ballaugh look to have a good blend of youth and experience, however I do feel they will need to rely heavily on their home form to remain in division one come the end of the season.
Castletown A look to have got their team heading towards their strongest eight players at the club with one eye on the future, they hosted North Ramsey A at the Crofts with the home team claiming a 7-3 victory. That said 79-year-old Mike Hargraves stepped in at late notice and proved he can still compete seeing off Tony Smart 21-20. Bob Clark marked his return to the A Team with a 21-4 victory over Allan Callow. Winners for the visitors were Gary Merrill who beat town captain Ian Watson, Ray Skelly who took a notable 21-15 win against Association Cup holder Sam Clague, whilst Steve Walmsley beat Jordan Drewett 21-18.
On Wednesday evening the weather was much kinder to the teams that had rearranged their fixtures with the closest match of the first round of fixtures between Douglas A and Onchan A at the Villa. With the match tied 4-4 on games the visitors just edged the chalks by seven (136-143) to claim the two aggregate points with a 4-6 victory. For the visitors Mike Thomas beat Mervin Sayle with a 21-13 win, Kevin Quirk & Frank Watson beat Gordon Wynne-Smythe & Shaun Seal 21-11 respectively, whilst Peter Slinger had to work for his 21-17 win over Gary Conwell. For the home team Andy Cannell claimed the biggest win of the night with his 21-6 victory over Reginald Temporaza. Keith Rise claimed a good 21-15 win against Phil Kerruish, whilst Ian Moore and Jimmy Sansom both edged home 21-19 against Jordan Cain and Mark Kelly respectively.
Rayner Shield holders Peel A hosted their newly promoted B Team in the sunset city with the higher ranked team taking a 9-1 win. The only winner for the B team was Paul ‘Pookie’ Quirk who claimed a stunning 21-7 win over Gary Smith. Rayner Shield hero Peter Greenlees continues to impress and has remained with the A Team this season, George Gadsby made his comeback after a seven-year gap, whilst Darren Young returned to the fold after last turning out for Peel in 2018.
South Ramsey A hosted Marown B with the visitors coming away with two points following their 8-2 loss. New Marown signing Glenn Boland won 21-15 against James Teare, whilst Kevin Kelly stepped up from the C Team to stun Alan Moore with a 21-18 victory. Leading the way for the home team were David Bradford and Glynn Hargraves with single figure victories, whilst the other four home wins were comfortable.
In division two Castletown B have a wealth of experience and will be looking for an immediate return to division one, they got their season off to a flying start with a 1-9 success away to Finch Hill B. The other team relegated to division two was South Ramsey B, they started off their campaign with a 3-7 victory against their C Team who have been promoted from division three, they will be keen to consolidate their place in the division this season.
There are just two A teams in division two with Port Erin looking the most likely to challenge at the top, they got off to a good start with a 1-9 away win against Peel C with David Cain & Peter Addison both winning to single figures. The other A Team in division two are Finch Hill A who made a solid start to the season with a 3-7 victory at Port St Mary, with Dave McCabe and Peter Hughes both taking single figures victories.
Marown C had to juggle their team this week due to rearranged fixtures, this didn’t stop them from recording a 7-3 home win over Douglas B with Jamie Joughin the biggest winner for the Crosby men.
In division three Port Erin B gave Douglas D a drubbing with a 0-10 away win at the Villa, with the D Team including a number of new bowlers it was always going to be tough. Noble’s B scored well individually despite losing 1-9 at home to Ballaugh B, with Terry Bates sparing the whitewash with a 21-20 win over Dicky Watson. Onchan C matched Ballaugh’s victory with their 9-1 home win over Douglas C with Michael Knowles the only winner for the visitors, who won 21-18 against Jamie Clague.
Marown fielded a D Team for the first time in their history and performed well taking four points following their 6-4 loss away to Ballaugh C, whilst Castletown C made a positive start to the season with a 7-3 home win over South Ramsey D.