2017 Super Challenge – Rounds 6 & 7

March 26, 2017

Silver Round 6 vs Toombul (Away)

Round 6 for Silver Super Challenge saw us travel over to the bullring to take on Toombul. Despite us winning our home game 5-0 against the Bulls this was always going to be difficult on their home paddock. The game was played on a straw coloured paddock which promised a lot of pace but failed to deliver on that promise as, due to heat stress, the green had been heavily watered a few days before this game and had held in a lot of the moisture.

The singles always promised to be an exciting game with our very own Jet taking on Gary Schultz again. Gary was keen on revenge after going down 29-31 which took 41 ends over at the Hill. Jet had struggled to find the pace of the green in rollup and continued to struggle during the game and in a complete reversal from the 1st round Jet found himself down 7-1 after a few ends. We weren’t overly concerned and expected a fight back but Jet was stung dropping consecutive 4s and was soon down 3-15 and in deep trouble. Jet fought it out but there was no way back but to his credit he stopped the bleeding and but that margin remained and it was all over with us going down 17-31.

So down 0-1 and the Manager was worried and looking for some winning rinks. He didn’t have to look for a long time as the Fours were providing Aka, Ned, Axe and Chappy were doing the job down at the far end of the park. In a completely dominating performance Chappy was chirping early and the Hillbillies lead the Bulls to the slaughterhouse and took them apart. Of course it wouldn’t be a game if Aka didn’t throw down a wrong bias which we note he has completely perfected making sure he knew the line to go the wrong way from rollups. But that just added to the amusement for this team and in a great performance dropped on 5 ends in recording a great victory 30-9.

So the Manager (and other spectators) were happy with what was going on down at the fours but still looking for a further 2 rinks as the Master board was 1-1.

The pairs team of Kitch and Bwian however were the ones which provided some relief. It would be fair to say that this combination had struggled so far this season and we couldn’t work out why as they are both such good bowlers………well Kitch is anyway. But Bwian showed the form he is renowned for and had a blinder and this fired up Kitch as well and there was no stopping the team. In a close game early with the scores 8-6 in a favour after 8 ends the boys put the foot down and won the 7 ends to establish a 22-6 lead and nothing was going stop us and we recorded a very comfortable victory 31-9.

So 2-1 to the Hillbillies and now looking for that elusive 3rd rink win from either the triples or the other pair. On the sideline we figured it had to be the triples to get us over the line as the pairs were up against Muncher again who was also keen on revenge after going down in an extra end last time around.

Our triples had won convincingly at home last time but this was a different combination as we fielded our very successful team of Fillet, Marto and Roller. But the boys struck trouble from the start dropping a 4 on the opening end and never quite getting their game going. But that changed on the 13th end (unlucky for some) when there was some confusion about the score (it was 9-12), a disrupted head and eventually a Toombul player substituted due to illness. Our boys were the first to recover and proceeded to put together a number of winning ends and we snatched the lead back 17-14 and the Manager was starting to relax. But never do that as we then proceeded to drop more shots and were down 17-20 after 20 ends. Now within sight of the finish line and knowing how much we needed this rink the boys dug deep and consecutive 3s saw us get enough of a lead to play the last end comfortably to record a victory 28-25.

So we could relax now and enjoy the final few ends of the Tank/Haydos pairs game as we led 3-1 on rinks.

This final game was a cracker with the Hillbillies leaping from the blocks to claim a 6 on the opening end. The match then settled down and by the halfway point it was 12-11 to the good guys and anyone’s game. Our boys were the first to stake a claim on victory winning 4 of the next 5 ends to go to a 20-12 lead but there is no way you can be comfortable against a team that has Darren Mullens as the skip and so it proved to be. The 4 shots Darren had given us on the previous end were taken back immediately and then with a few more ends added it was 20-19 and playing the last end. And what an end it proved to be with the Bulls putting one right on top of the jack and then adding a great second with Haydos about to play the final bowl of the night. The shot was meant to be a great drive to take the shot bowl or kill the end but ended up way too tight, hit the pack and with bowls going everywhere the jack went back and sat on a Tank bowl. Not the way it was planned but that’s bowls and we scurried out with a win 21-19.

So a great 4-1 win and importantly it was an away win. So we are in a good position on the table and our future is in our own hands with 4 games to go.

Silver Round 7 vs Cleveland (Home)

Round 7 of Silver Super Challenge saw the second game of a double header weekend and the return clash against Cleveland. Cleveland had beaten us in the opening game but this one was on our turf and we were keen for revenge. We were also very positive after a great result the night before in our away game against old rivals Toombul.

Jet was back into the single after Roller had taken the spot in the earlier game against Cleveland and Jet was out to make amends for an out of sorts display the night before. Jet was slow to get going, dropping the first 2 ends but then he found his range and away he went, establishing a great 17-4 lead. But Cleveland fought back well as Jet went off the boil a bit and soon it was Jet up 20-16. But no real problems as Jet always seemed to have that extra gear and so it was when he powered away again and won the game 31-19.

The Manager was happy during this game as he could see a rink win here but was concerned about where the other wins may come, as the boards on the other rinks all looked shaky.

The best hope for us looked to be the Fours who were taking on a pretty much unchanged Cleveland line-up who had beaten us in the first round. But what Cleveland didn’t count on was that we had changed our team after that defeat and the new look fours of Aka, Ned, Axe and Chappy had really started to work well and were now proving to be tough to beat. And so it was here where the boys again combined well in a great team effort, including personal best games by Axe and Ned. Aka was proving to be a handful up front as well so with Chappy roaring encouragement all day we stormed to victory on this rink 20-16.

So Manager a lot happier with 2 rinks in the bag and now looking for that elusive third rink.

We didn’t have to look far as over on rink 3 we had the triples. Again a different line-up for us from the one which was annihilated down at Cleveland and if those boys thought they were going to get another romp in the park Fillet, Marto and Roller had news for them, and it was all bad. Fillet jumped out of the blocks and was all over it and kept us in the game while Marto and Roller struggled to find their games. And in a great team display when Fillet eventually went a bit off his game the other 2 chipped in. But at 11 all after 15 ends it was looking way too close for comfort but he boys clicked into gear and away we went and Cleveland only got 3 more ends and we recorded a great victory 31-16.

So the Manager was now extremely happy with 3 rink wins in the bag and now looking for some cream – but he was going to have to look elsewhere as our pairs were both struggling.

Birksy (Goose) had been drafted in to team up with Bwian and we had high hopes on this rink, especially considering the form Bwian showed the previous evening. We were taking on an unchanged Cleveland team who had beaten us in a dramatic final end shootout at Clevelend. Unfortunately the Bwian of the night before had gone missing and been replaced by an unknown person who struggled to get it close. Birksy was in great from but playing alone couldn’t keep up is the game and by the hallway point we were down 5-16 and no hope. But then the wind changed and the real Bwian turned up and stared going his thing and before we knew it the score was 16-17 with 3 ends to play. But alas, it was not to be and Cleveland managed to sneak away again and we went down 17-22.

Down at the other end of the paddock Tank and Haydos were in battle against a team they had recorded a comfortable victory against in the first round. But today was going to be far from comfortable and, while it was close, we never managed to get our noses in front at any time. In what turned out to be an epic battle we were 1 behind playing the last end so needed another Haydos miracle bowl but it wasn’t to be and we went down 14-16.

But it was a 3-2 win overall for us and consolidated our spot near the top of the table. But it gets harder from here with 2 away games and then we take on the leaders in the last game so we have to be ready to play, and we are!!!

Bronze Round 7 vs Algester (Home)

The Red Hill Bronze Team is ‘on the move’. Last year it was a late flourish that saw these guys make it through to the finals – could it be the same again in 2017. It was off to Algester for a must win game today, and in an absolute thriller that came down to the very last bowl of the day, the Good Guys prevailed by 3-2!!

The green at Algester was just that; very green and accordingly slow. The wind was a bit tricky but the speed of the green meant that it seas narrow on both hands, and the order of the day was to play up to the head.

Pottsy was a new entrant for our Singles position, having kindly volunteered to have a go at this difficult spot. Mick was slow to get started and, although he was thereabouts, he dropped the first 5 ends and was down 0-6. The game then changed and Pottsy was clearly on top for a while, sand actually led by 16-13 after picking up a 4 on end 17. Unfortunately he got ‘stuck’ on 17 for a while and his opponent picked up 10 shots over the next 5 ends.  From 17-24, the comeback was just out of reach and Algester took the match 20-31 to go 0-1 up.

This week in Triples, we welcomed Chris Hoskins to the Bronze team and he led for Leon (at 2) and Brett at skip. Chris has proved something of an expert away sub and gets the nod to play wherever we need help. Up to now it has been all the away games. He led very well though and was ably supported early by Leon and Brett we led by 12-5 after 11 ends, then17-15 after 18. It was tight! After getting to the lead by 20-18, we dropped a clumsy 4 and dropped to 20-22. It was tight ends all the way to the finish from here but our guys just could not get the shorts they needed. We went down by 22-25 in a very tight match and that gave Algester a 0-2 lead.

Our 4’s team welcomed the Judge, Sir Les, back to their team and he led followed by Magilla, Kirkinator and Wally. This unit (in the main) have been very reliable for a couple of seasons and today was no exception.Some excellent bowls up front from Les and Glenn saw us out to an 11-5 lead at the half way mark. However, we managed to drop two separate 4’s over the next few ends and the score tighter up, even though we were clearly the superior team. Leading 15-13 after 15 ends, we picked up a 4 of our own and then were able to hold that lead through to the end. So a win for the Hillies by 21-18 and the match now 1-2.

The Pairs games were last to finish and obviously, we needed to win both to take the match. Keith and Al were the first pairing. These guys trailed all day but just kept fighting. they were down 8-13 after 15 ends, and 10-15 after 18 ends. But like true champions, both our boys played outstanding bowls to pick up 1,1 and 3 over the last 3 ends to make the score – 15all. So it was off to a tie break. It was brilliant end with many close bowls and our opponents looked certain to take the match when they sat a bowl right on the jack. Not so says Al, and he played a brilliant bowl to wrest the shot away and take 1 shot for another Red Hill win 16-15. Match score 2-2.

So the final and deciding match saw Almighty and Birksy in the hot seat. This match had also been tight all day. It was 8 all after 7 ends, then 13 all after 13 ends, then 18 all after 17 ends. The Algester skip found some extraordinary bowls to keep them in the match when it seemed the Hillies were going to get away. Down 18-21 with 3 ends to play, our boys picked up a 1 then a 2. So it was 21 all with a single end to play. Fortuned changed on this end several times. When both skips had just one bowl left, Algester were holding 2 shots at the head. Almighty convinced Birksy to drive at the shots – he did and he hit! Both shots flung out BUT the jack also moved.  It hit a back bowl of Birksy’s and seems to ‘plug’ there about 8 inches from that bowl. Holding 1 shout BUT Algester with a bowl to play. They took their time! Eventually the bowl was played in front of a huge excited crowd. It had weight and was wide of the mark but it cracked a wide one and deflected towards the jack. The bowl went across the face of jack and came to rest about 12 inches from kitty. Whew! A win for the Hillies by 22-21 and the match by 3-2.

So our hopes of a finals berth are very much alive and it was a real fighting win today. Next week back on our home track against Scarborough, and a challenge we are all looking forward to.