Finals day at the Grange sees three titles for Wendy Baxter
On a rain-free but not too hot Sunday, the Grange Bowls club hosted the Rugby Bowling Association finals day.
The Ladies’ 4 Wood Singles final took place a few days before at the Grange BC where Wendy (Rugby Railway) contested her first final against Maureen Edwards (Thornfield BC).
From the start it was nip and tuck with 1s and 2s, progressing to the halfway stage where Wendy had a narrow lead of 10 shots to 8. A few more 1s, then a 3 shot to Maureen made it even, 12 all at 16 ends. Wendy picked up a 3 and a 2 going into the finishing straight and attained the 21 shots needed to become champion.
The first match played on Sunday morning again involved both Maureen and Wendy who were joined by their partners, Abby Ward and Mary Gollop respectively, to compete for the Britannia Plate ladies’ pairs competition. Wendy & Mary raced to a 4-0 lead but then Abby & Maureen came back strongly to lead 9-6 after 10 ends.
Wendy & Mary started to increase momentum and collected 6 shots on the 12th and 17th ends, so at the 20th end Abby & Maureen conceded the match, 15-24.
Carol Ryan & Peter Winn (Oakfield) were against Wendy Baxter & Dave Commons (Rugby Railway) in the Tony Dean Memorial Trophy (mixed pairs) but as hard as they tried in what was to be a very tight game, they were always chasing a more progressive score after the 5th end. At 19 ends with a score of 27-14 against them, Carol & Peter shook hands with their opponents giving Wendy & Dave the championship and also Wendy’s third RBA title in 2016.
The Dick Avery Men’s Singles started well with both competitors, Gary Tubb (Oakfield) and Phil Bale, defending champion (Grange), evenly matched in the early exchanges with Phil picking up a 3 and 4 and then Gary doing the same on the next two ends making the score 12 all at 11 ends.
Phil then started to put the pressure shots in and Gary was unable to reply as he did in the earlier ends, narrowly missing the draw shots and controlled weight shots, thus giving Phil the 1s and 2s he needed to reach that winning figure of 21 shots after 18 ends, retaining his title.
The Ralph Robins Super Singles is another first to 21 shots match, irrespective of ends played, and this proved to be so with Bob Page (Grange) and Fred Bastock (Thornfield) battling it out, tooth and nail. Fred took the first end but Bob piled on the shots to lead 8-2 after six ends. Fred came back to 9 all after 11 ends, and continuing to the 18th end where he made the score 17-11.
Bob picked up a 3, then Fred a 2, so at 20 ends Fred led 19-14. Fred now only needed two shots (always the hardest time in any game, crossing the winning line) and Bob needed seven.
Both were still playing well and it was down to Bob to grasp the game and take control, while Fred just had to play his best game to overcome his opponent and keep him at bay. Bob scored 6 on the next three ends so at 23 ends he was now ahead 20-19.
Again Fred came back to deny Bob the one shot needed to win and made it 20-20. Now the 25th end and Fred, having won the previous end, set the jack, but Bob soon held shot. Both bowlers visited the head and as there was only one bowl each left to play, Fred returned to the mat to bowl first, leaving the last bowl to Bob who stayed at the head.
Barring the end being tied or dead ended Fred had to make this shot count, but it his bowl rolled through and Bob became Ralph Robins Champion.
Thanks go to the Grange, Brian Mace-Humphries and Peter Lichfield for marking and Brian Sturgess for umpiring.
Report by Keith Oakes, pictures by Claire Oakes