Super Challenge 2017 – Round 1
BRONZE ROUND 1 – VS CANNON HILL @ RED HILL
We had a home game to kick off the Bronze Super Challenge season. We were up against the little known Cannon Hill team but we knew this would be their ‘top’ side so the competition would be tough.
It was humid and cloudy as the games got underway. Our ‘star’ of last season Glenn “Magilla” Norton was again playing singles for the Hillbillies. Not unusually, Magilla was a bit slow out of the blocks and was down 3-10 early on. No need to panic because we knew Glenn would fight back – and that he did! In fact half way through the match Magilla had hit the front, leading 16-14. However, the brief rain delay did not suit us and the momentum switched. Although fighting hard, Glenn could not re-find the mojo to turn the game and he went down 21-31. Although he was disappointed, Glenn played well against a strong opponent, and there are plenty more singles wins in store for the big Gorilla!
We had a new look 4’s team with PC skipping for ‘Jamie’ Dury, Dave Lee, and Mara. This match was nip and tuck all the way with scores level at 10-10 after 10 ends. However, led by a rampaging PC at skip, the local lads picked up 8 shots on ends 14 through 16, to get away by 19-12, and we were able to hold on to that lead to get home by 21-18. It was a nerve wracking affair though, and PC was driven to drink at the game’s conclusion …… and from all reports, he had earned it!
In the triples we had Denis the Kirkinator up front, followed by Keith and Danny K. After being 5 all after 7 ends, our boys struggled and were stuck on that score through the next 9 ends, and found ourselves down 5-21. During this period, and for the whole match, the Cannon Hill skipper (Peter Hawke – prominent ex Premier League Skip!!!) played some outstanding bowls, saving the day time and time again for his side. It wasn’t that our boys were playing badly, they were just continually thwarted by the Hawke! After the rain delay we gained some momentum for a while and drew back to be down just 16-21 with 5 ends to play. Unfortunately we could not keep it going and the visitors went on to win by 17-30. A loss, yes, but our team could say that they were beaten by some outstanding bowls, primarily from one man ……
In the first of our pairings we had Jason B teamed up with the ever reliable Pottsy. However they were unlucky enough to strike a red hot Cannon Hill side that flew out of the boxes and won 10 of the first 11 ends to lead by 2-16. Again, it was not that our lads were playing that badly but whatever they tried seemed to be covered by the opposition. We went down in this one by 5-26. It was the first ‘hit out’ together for Jason and Mick and better things lie ahead for sure.
The final match saw Ando team up with Birksy. This was a topsy turvy match with Ando playing some excellent bowls early and the locals getting away to a 6-1 lead. However the visitors got the mat and went for very short ends and it was successful for them, winning the next 7 ends to lead 6-14. The rain came and gave Ando and Birksy a chance to regroup, and regroup they did! On resumption, the locals won 7 straight ends to lead by 16-14 with just 2 ends to play. It was very tight at this point, and playing the last end and 3 down on a tight head, Ando played a gem of a bowl to split the head moving the jack back to rest close to a well positioned (8 foot through the head) bowl of Birksy! The locals were able to hold onto this shot and take the win by 17-15.
So overall a loss by 3 matches to 2 but it was still a good start to the season. History may well be repeating here, as we lost a close first game (to Logan) at home last year before going on to play finals. A couple of fine bowlers return to the fold for our next match so there is reason for confidence as we go forward!
GO THE HILL!!!
SILVER ROUND 1 – VS TOOMBUL @ RED HILL
Super Challenge 2017 kicked off with a bang featuring a “double header” at home for Silver & Bronze. The Silver side took on the very highly rated Toombul (last year’s runners-up) in what was going to be a tough opening fixture!
The Jet was our singles representative, (having recently completed a very successful campaign down in Ballina as a warmup) and swooped early establishing a good lead while the opposition was trying to work out the green. But once this happened it settled in to a real dogfight and a 9-2 lead quickly came back to 15 all, then 20 all, then 23 all, as when rain came. The short delay worked best for Jet as he found the pace and line immediately and got away to a handy lead before Toombul’s Gary Schultz (a regular Brisbane North Representative) closed it down again at 27 all. A few tight closing ends saw Jet pick up a few and hold game before again Toombul came back yet again, cutting the lead back to 30-28. What turned out to be the final end saw Toombul with 2 absolute crackers right on top of the jack and potentially holding game until Jet produced one of his own to move the jack to advantage. But it wasn’t yet over as Toombul responded again to the challenge, drawing shot, before Jet (with an ounce of luck!) managed the final shot to win 31-28 on the 41st end. Great start for the Hill!
The fours team of Fillet, Ned, Axe and Roller had an easier time and commenced proceedings with a 5 shot first end and never really looked back winning 14 of the 21 ends played. It is hard to write much about this game other than it was a good team effort with everyone doing their job and making it easier for Roller to leave a few bowls short and not pay the price. Great start for this new-look rink, up by 27-11
The triples team was also a new combination this year with the addition of Nathan Chapman who played in the middle of Aka and Marto. Can’t say much more about the debut of Chappy at the hill other than stunning. Played all the shots and when he missed it wasn’t by much and complemented Aka perfectly. Aka also had a fine start to the year and managed to keep the little circle on the inside all day! Marto was solid and played a number of good shots when required. This rink was tight early and was looking to be anyone’s game at 20-18 with 5 ends to play, but the Hillbillies put the foot down over the closing ends recording a solid 27-18 victory.
So that was 3 rinks and a win for us in the pairs would be bonuses! Down at the far end of the park we fielded yet another new combination in Kitch and Macca and the boys did very well. We had a bit of a slow start in this one, and were down 2-6 before we took off winning the next 4 ends (including a 7) to establish a very handy 18-6 lead. Barely had we done that when the Toombul boys dragged the jack away from a cluster of our bowls over to a group of theirs at the back, and we dropped a 5. But the boys kept their nerve and played some great bowls to keep the lead in an area, that while not insurmountable, was none the less comfortable. Always enjoying a grandstand finish we managed to drop a 4 on the final end to sneak home 23-22 in a scoreline that wasn’t a true reflection of the game.
The final pairs game saw a further new combination of Haydos and Tank (now known as Lego head) on the grandstand rink. This was another one which was very tight early before we snuck away to establish a handy lead at the hallway mark. All was going pretty cruisey as we entered the last end with an 8 shot lead so feeling rather comfortable. But we didn’t count on some Muncher magic and dropped the full count of 8 to send such shockwaves through the clubhouse that Cunno almost fell off his stool and almost came outside to see what was happening! So an extra end was called for and we did enough, (despite a blinding last shot from Muncher) to hold on for a 23-22 victory.
So we ended up with an unexpected, but highly valuable 5-0 clean sweep of Toombul which is a brilliant start to the season. A week off now before we take on Cleveland on their paddock so we will have to be on our game.
Well done boys!