Getting Tight At The Top!
League leaders Marown A had to fight for their lives to overcome a battling Douglas A side 6-4 at the memorial playing fields on Monday. Douglas, the only side to defeat Marown this season, got so agonisingly close to picking up a famous win in almost a carbon copy of this year’s Rayner Shield final.
Marown moved into a 3-1 lead at the half way stage before the Villa men fought back to lead 4-3 with one game left on the green, John Gelling was always in control of the final match for the home side, but it was all about the aggregate points. Ken William’s dug in for his team but fell just short with Marown picking up the two bonus points by just two points.
Onchan A had to win big to keep the pressure on the leaders and they performed this task magnificently picking up another maximum win this time against Castletown B. There are now only two points separating them and Marown with three games to go, and both teams will be looking to pick up maximum points at home tonight to keep their title bids on track. A slip up from either side at this stage would open the door for the other to walk through and grasp the league trophy.
Third placed South Ramsey sat out on Monday but played a rearranged fixture against Ballaugh A on Wednesday and picked up a solid 7-3 home win. This leaves them firmly in the driving seat for the minor places as they now lead 4th placed Castletown by five points. South have four games left to play and although three of them are at home they couldn’t be any harder as the are yet to entertain Castletown A, Marown A and Onchan A and their results here will be instrumental in deciding the destination of top honours.
Ballaugh A had started the week in better form, picking up a vitally important 7-3 win over Peel A to move them out of the relegation zone and towards relative safety. They face a trip to the leaders tonight so are far from safe. North Ramsey A and Ports St Mary A had a mammoth battle at Mooragh park last week with the home side just edging it 6-4 to keep both teams on track for a mid table finish.
Castletown A had a good week to remain in fourth place and they added to the woes of Nobles Mixed A defeating them 9-1 at the Crofts. This result keeps momentum going for the towners and leave Mixed dead bottom of the table. Mixed travel to Castletown B tonight and with both teams firmly locked in a relegation battle this result couldn’t be more important, with a big win required for either side to drag them out of the mire. A heavy loss, however, will almost certainly see the recipients playing their bowls in the second division next term.
Second division league leaders Port Erin A suffered a shock 6-4 home defeat at the hands of Finch Hill A but still remain on top of the table now level on points with second placed Port St Mary B. Port St Mary B never had it all their own way either but managed to scrap to a 6-4 win over their C team to close the gap at the top.
Castletown C still have a lot to do if they want to get promoted but a 6-4 win away at Douglas B will go someway to helping them. They are 8 points off the pace with four games to go and will be hoping to claw back some of this tonight as they travel to Ballaugh B.
Finch Hill A and Onchan B are the only other teams realistically in with a shout of catching the leaders and are 13 and 13 points of top spot respectively. I don’t see them catching the leaders but this division has been full of shock results this season, and one unexpected big win for any of the top 5 would certainly throw the cat amongst the pigeons.
Nobles Park A are now odds on to win the third division title after a massive 9-1 away win over Douglas C sees them nine points clear at the top of the table. North Ramsey B have now moved into second place after a hard fought local derby win over South Ramsey A last week. If North do hang on an get promoted it will be a truly remarkable achievement when you think that this is only their first season in the league. Onchan C are the only team who can stop them just two points behind them after a shock 8-2 defeat away at Ballaugh C, however they will need to pull out all the stops as they travel to league leaders Nobles Park A this week.