Title race rolls on

The top two sides recorded a maximum apiece as they continue their quest to become champions of the Manx Petroleum sponsored Outdoor Winter Bowls League for the first time and they now head into their final weekend with a points gap between them of just 16.

The weather was on the side of the organisers once again as they managed to avoid the heavy rain, with battles for league places, beginning on Saturday with fifth and sixth on the agenda.

Parkers began the three-team session trailing Louie’s Angels by two points, but started the task to overhaul their rivals with a good total of 123 against Govags.

Next up the two challengers went head-to-head in a fixture which ended three-all on games, but with a five point advantage win for Parkers; a result that left their opponents needing a maximum score to draw level and therefore retain fifth spot.

Govags however had other ideas and battled their way to a good victory and in the process relegated Angels down to sixth and with a gap of 16 points to make up if they are to overtake Parkers.

Match details, with Angels first: Matthew Keggen 21, Peter Kelly 12; Thomas Keggen 10, Lynda Wilson 21; Ken Karran 21, Bob Berry 17; Tricia Bull 21, Doug Allan 18; Rebecca Teare 20, Mark Kelly 21; Debbie Leece and Rita Callister 15, Vicky Lloyd-West and Julie Reilly 21. Louie’s Angels 108 (3), Govags 110 (3).

Remaining results for Saturday, February 4: Govags 96 (1), Parkers 123 (5); Parkers 110 (3), Louie’s Angels 105 (3).

Another bout of heavy rain and cold conditions overnight made things underfoot a little soft on Sunday, but this didn’t deter second-placed Seven-Up who began with the season’s 12th maximum, against a Bits n Bobs outfit who scored a total of 69.

Leaders Mooragh Lakers meanwhile fought a tough fixture against Erin Porters, one in which they dropped 12 points, so their advantage at the top was down to only eight.

The contenders then swapped opponents, but unfortunately for Bits n Bobs things didn’t go much better when they suffered another whitewash, as their opponents Lakers pushed to gain back some of that advantage.

More bad news for Bits n Bobs as a consequence of the two heavy defeats, they slipped down a position and are now precariously close to bottom side Castletown Corkers.

Lakers meanwhile had completed their outing and watched as Seven-Up, with three victories on the card, tried to keep that deficit as low as possible.

However, a loss to 16 took the points difference back up to 13, before the final two games came off with wins for Porters to 20 and 19; this meant another three chalks in favour of Lakers. Well done to Erin Porters for putting up a good fight against both sides.

I think these four results all-but take current champions Unstopabowls out of contention for the title, but bearing in mind Seven-Up and Lakers were separated by just one point in the final standings in 2016, this outcome is just too close to call.

Also taking into the mix that teams can call upon players from other teams, providing they haven’t played six games or more for any one of them – watch this space.

Results for Sunday, February 5: Erin Porters 88 (2), Mooragh Lakers 114 (4); Bits n Bobs 69 (0), Seven-Up 126 (6); Seven-Up 118 (3), Erin Porters 94 (3); Mooragh Lakers 126 (6), Bits n Bobs 64 (0).

Interestingly in the individual merit battle, the top two, Jordan Cain and Jenny Moore, played the same opponents, both winning two, with 20 against.

The midweek round robin had a gang of 31 from which Alan Phair and Bernie McPhee won the doubles ahead of Derek Clarke and David Galbraith.

Whilst in the other group, played as triples, success went to Vicky Lloyd-West, Erwin Gelling and John Lightfoot; second meanwhile was decided after a roll-up, with Derek Allen, Julie Reilly and Steve Parker snatching the spoils.