All to Play For
As we enter by far the most anticipated climax to any bowls season in my memory things are hotting up with every single team in the first division having something to play for, whether it be the title race, the battle for third or the fight to avoid relegation. Nothing has been decided yet and this is beyond exciting, and it is a shame that with the September Bowls festival on this week we have to wait until fixtures resume next week to see how things end.
With Marown A sitting out last week champions Onchan A had the chance to hit the summit and seize the initiative in the season long title race. It is yet to be seen whether their 7-3 win away at Ballaugh A will be enough the help them towards an incredible eleventh straight league title. This result puts them five points clear of Marown who play their game in hand a week tonight against a tenacious South Ramsey A side.
The final games of the season are to be played a week on Wednesday and if Marown come home from Ramsey next Monday with the five points needed to draw level I think they will end the week as Champions. Onchan arguably have the tougher finale, themselves heading to South Ramsey, but as stated in previous reports the Crosby men’s trip to Castletown B is a potential banana skin especially since the southern outfit are now locked in a relegation battle and fighting for their lives.
Whatever happens on Monday the league title race is going down to the final game of the season and the intrigue it has sparked can only be good for our sport. I am going to tip Marown to win the title but only after another twist or two in the tale as I fancy South Ramsey to beat one if not both of the title contenders next week.
As you may have gathered South Ramsey A have on paper the hardest finish to thins league campaign, with the only saving grace being that both games are at home. They have been a revelation this season and with some of their players now playing regular bowls will be a force to be reckoned with next season. They picked up a great 8-2 away win in the local derby with North Ramsey last time out and will be looking to raise a few eyebrows this week as they entertain the who’s who of local bowls. They have slipped down to fourth place, albeit only a point adrift, and whilst I now think third place is beyond them with their tricky end to the season they wont agree so watch this space!
Castletown A have moved into third place and now look odds on favourites to finish there after they picked up a maximum 10-0 win over their B team. This win not only sets the A team up for success but it leaves the B needing their own grandstand finish as they have been plunged into the depths of the relegation zone, now second from bottom in the table. With the visit of Marown looming on the horizon for Wednesday the B realistically need to pick up a win from their trip to Ballaugh A on Monday to give themselves any real chance of survival.
Douglas A have probably the easiest run in of any of the top teams with two home games and will be looking to try and pick up a position if South struggle this week, although they were made to fight for every point last week by a battling Nobles Mixed side. Douglas may have left the park with a 6-4 win but it was Mixed who left the happier with another four points on the board. Mixed only have one game left and that is next Monday at home to Port St Mary A. The home side need at least four points and then they will have to wait and see how the other games pan out midweek.
Port should be safe now whatever happens after their recent run of form and another fine 8-2 win over Peel A has left them mid table ten points above the drop. This result however was not as kind to Frank Watson’s Govags who are now bottom with two games to go. They travel to Castletown A next and any points they can pick up will be a bonus before their must win match against North Ramsey A on Wednesday.
The battle is also well and truly still on for division 2 honours and with both leaders Port Erin A and second placed Port St Mary B picking up respective 7-3 away wins last week, it is all going down to the last two games of the season with only three points separating them. Not only that but next time out they both face off at Port St Mary and if the home side can pick up a surprise 7-3 win or better they will find themselves in pole position going into their final game.
Realistically whatever happens in that game I still see Port Erin as massive favourites to the lift the title as their last match is at home to Castletown D whilst their rivals have the unenviable trip to the fortress that if Finch Hill A.
Castletown C picked up a strong 8-2 win over their D team to leave them with an outside shot at the second promotion place. They need to find seven points on the second placed outfit and will be hoping Port Erin win the top of the table clash well to leave them in with a fighting chance going into the season finale.
Division three is also looking like it will be decided with a top of the table clash as next time out second placed North Ramsey B travel to league leaders Nobles Park A in a match which will most like determine the fate of the championship trophy. Onchan C are the only team who can crash this party and they will be hoping that both teams take points off each other opening the door for them to slip through.