Town but Not Out

League Week 5 Report by Mark Kneen

Castletown A travelled to Isle of Man Bank Mens Division One Champions Onchan A last week and gave their all in an epic tussle near the top of the table. They left everything they had on the green, they came, they saw and they fell just short. Score lines rarely tell the full story and when you look back at the record books you will just see a 7-3 victory to Onchan, you will not see the drama that went into making this one of the most toughly contested encounters in recent memory.

Like I always say there are 3 sides to every story, yours, theirs and the truth. The Castletown version will be one of heartache and hard luck and what could have been. With the last game on the green they trailed 4-3 with their man needing to win 21-19 or better to seal the points for his team and an historic 6-4 win for the visitors, and with the leg finally balanced at 16-16 anything looked possible.

The victor’s story will be one of resilience, strength in depth and the emergence of a new hero. Despite leading 3-1 at the half way point they surrendered the lead to tie going into the last two blocks and an unthinkable defeat at their usually impenetrable fortress loomed on the horizon.  With the seventh game sealed the weight of expectation rested firmly on the shoulders of the new kid on the block, Jordan Cain who in only his 5th league game for the champions showed composure beyond his years to bring home the tie for his team and more than justify his place in their stellar line up.

The truth as always is somewhere in between and there are two major truths I have gleaned from this result. Town may not have left with a victory but they left Onchan Park with something more than that, they left hurt. This is because for the first time since their championship winning team of the 90’s they have genuine belief that they belong at the games top table, that they can beat anyone. This pain will help them as they will not want to feel it again going into tonight’s big clash against South Ramsey A.  The Onchan story is far more frightening however as despite not firing on all cylinders yet they are still capable of dishing out that pain and any doubts on whether this year’s line-up has what it takes have been quashed, well for now at least.

The other major contenders in the division had things more their own way. Leaders Marown continued to top the tree and pulled another point away from Onchan with an 8-2 home win over North Ramsey A. The only thing I would say is that although this is a good result, they were winning games like this 10-0 a few weeks ago so maybe there is a chink appearing in their armour? Douglas A leapfrogged town back into third place with a solid 8-2 win over Peel A at this Villa, whilst South Ramsey remain in fifth place, tied on points with Town, thanks to a 7-3 win over Nobles Mixed.

Port Erin A have finally managed to reach the summit of division 2 after a crushing 10-0 defeat of Peel C. On this evidence I think they may pitch their tent and remain there for the remainder of the expedition. As I have said before they are a class outfit and will take some shifting in this tier. Castletown D remain on course for a shock promotion and they picked up another big win to find themselves in second spot, just one point adrift.

Port St Mary B are now stringing some form together and in reality are likely to soon surpass Town D and move into a promotion place and their 7-3 win over Finch Hill B will do their chances no harm at all. The only other outfit I see with a realistic chance at promotion are Castletown C and their superb 9-1 win away at Port St Mary C keeps them in the hunt. There are a lot of teams in this division capable of taking points of each other and this championship race really could come down to the wire.

Division 3 leaders Onchan C have settled nicely into their groove and a comfortable 8-2 win against Douglas C sees them four points clear of Nobles Park A in pole position. I was at the Villa Marina for that game and it was amazing to see a handful of new young bowlers on the display. The future of our sport certainly is in good hands.

Nobles Park A won the derby against their B team to keep them in second spot and in line for promotion at the end of the season.