2017 Super Challenge – Round 9

March 26, 2017

Silver Round 9 vs Manly (Away)

The penultimate game of the season saw us travel down to Manly who were keen on revenge after falling 5-0 when they played us earlier in the season. Manly sat on the bottom of the table having had a number of 2-3 losses so would have loved nothing better to knock us off our perch.

We made a change this week and gave the birthday boy a break and bought Kitch into the singles. This one was an extremely tight match with neither player managing to make a decisive break all game, a game which lasted 37 ends. When Kitch snaffled a 4 at a key point in the game and managed to sneak away to a couple of shots lead the supporters all got a bit excited and thought that this might be break we needed but Manly fought back. At 25-23 to Kitch we were very hopeful but then a series of ends where Manly scored a single shot saw us go down 25-31.

So 1-0 down but the Manager wasn’t too worried as he had already found a lot of joy on the other rinks.

The triples of Fillett, Marto and Roller were again a bit slow out of the blocks and behind 5-7 early. But, as in previous weeks, the boys managed to find their games and combine well to string a number of ends together and by the halfway point we had a comfortable 23-10 lead. From that point we were never going to be beaten and cruised out to a 30-17 lead before dropping a few in junk time as the boys were distracted by other rinks. But a 31-26 victory was a great result here for a good team effort once again.

So 1-1 and the Manager was still happy as he had counted 3 rinks where we were going to win. Unfortunately it wasn’t both pairs rinks as the boys were having contrasting games.

In one of the most dominating displays of bowls Tank and Haydos were never headed and dropped only 7 ends in recording, dare I say it, a comfortable victory 35-10. Like the triples this was a team effort with Haydos absolutely superb, especially with his drives followed up with a dead draw to break their hearts. And the Tank played possibly his best game of the season as well so as a combination they were unstoppable.

The other pairs rink where the birthday boy Jet teamed up with Macca was a different story, but for different reasons. This was one of those days where no matter what we did the opposition always seemed to have the answer. Time and again over the early ends we held any number of shots before Manly would come in with a good bowl or off some other bowls and steal it away. We figured that it couldn’t happen all game but it did and in the end, despite some great bowls by our guys, we went down 14-28.

So 2-2 overall and the Manager wasn’t at all worried as he had already put the fours down for a win. Why wouldn’t he you ask as they had shot to an 11-0 opening after just 5 ends and were looking unstoppable. Then Manly started to fight their way back into it but we were leading 18-3 so no need for concern was there? Well when the opposition scored 11 shots in 3 ends it was all quiet in the Red Hill camp, especially when Ned added to the drama by changing the scoreboard and having Manly in front. But still, with 2 ends to play we held a 6 shot lead – and then we dropped a 4!! So all hush for the last end. First up was Aka and in this huge moment the wagers were being taken on the bank, would his first wrong bias of the game be with his 1st or 2nd bowl. Much to the joy of the supporters, and even more to Chappy they both turned in the right direction and better still, one was very close. Up next was Ned he also got one close – I think Chappy was excited but it was hard to tell. But always the spoilsports Manly disrupted the head so it was up to Axe to get one close. Cometh the hour, cometh the man and Axe did just that, again to the muted joy of Chappy. By this time Tank was streaming the end live back to Red Hill and Bev SIllett was providing some analysis of the end. The Manly skip had 2 attempts to remove the shot bowl but failed on both and we held on for a 22-19 win.

So a 3-2 win recorded and the good news kept coming when we found that Musgrave Hill and been beaten and we sat on top of the table. That doesn’t change what we have to do next week to hold that spot which is to beat Musgrave Hill at home but with the spirit shown by all our players I am sure this can be achieved.

Bronze Round 9 vs Carina (Away)

The rain fell heavily in the morning but both sides were keen to complete their Super Challenge seasons. The losing team would certainly be out for the year, and the winners only had a very slender chance of making the finals, relying on other results.
That didn’t stop the match from being very competitive on all rinks.

Firstly, the Singles. Al Daniels was called in to try to turn our luck in the Singles. Early on, Al struggled to find range and was soon behind by 2-11, then 8-15, then 11-20. Al was hanging in there though and his game was improving as the game progressed.
It was end for end for a while but, with the score at 18-27, Al picked up a full set and suddenly hopes were raised. It was oh so tight and at 26-29 and a crucial part of the game, Al sent his first bowl scuttling down the green with the little circle on the outside! What is it with circles and the name Alan? The remarkable thing about this though was that Al then drew three beautiful shots to pick up that 3 to go to 29 all. With all the momentum Al plonked two beauties right on the jack on what turned out to be the final end. Al wins 31-29 with a magnificent comeback. 1-0 to the Hill.

Next game finished was the triples. Here we had Ando, Keith and Brettman representing the Hill. This was close. After 11 ends it was 9 all, then 12 all after 16 ends.  It was at this point that Ando, the Gatorade man, should have insisted on the boys taking a big swig, because, on just straight water, we seemed to lose our way. We lost 7 of the next 10 ends with the Carina skip (Steve McMillan) playing some excellent saving shots. At 15-26 with only 3 ends to play the game was lost. We managed to pick up a few late but went down by 20-28. Overall 1-1.

In the 4’s, we had Sir Les up front, followed by Leon, Kirkinator and Wally at the pointy end. Our boys played some great bowls early and got away to lead 10-7 after 8 ends. Then we hit a hurdle! We dropped a 5 then a 3 on consecutive ends and found ourselves down by 10-15 after 10.  With Les playing great lead bowls we crept back into the match and drew level at 16 after 15 ends, then again at 18 after 19 ends. On the penultimate end, Wally drew a beautiful shot to give us 2 and so we went to the last end up by 20-18. However the last end proved a difficult one for the Hillies. Les got within a foot with his first bowl but his opponent snuck 2 inside him. Then we struggled to hold on and edged our own bowls out going for the win, eventually dropping a nasty 4 for a loss of 20-22. Overall now down 1-2.

The 2 pairs games would decide the overall match and they were both cliffhangers.

Almighty Bruce and Jason the Stud represented us in the first game. After being down 3-8 early, our boys played some terrific bowls to pick up 8 shots in three ends to lead 11-8 at the half way mark. The game see-sawed over the next several ends but we led 14-13 after 17.
Bruce was at his almighty best and Jason cleaned up when it was necessary but our opponents also played some great bowls. It was high quality bowls. We just kept our noses in front with shots changing every bowl or two, but when the umpire called a halt, we held the lead by 17-16. A great win by Bruce and Jas. Overall 2-2.

So to the final match which saw the old guard of Birksy and Pottsy back together representing the Hill. This time the good guys jumped quickly from the gates and led 8-1 after just 4 ends. It was much tighter than that score indicated though and after 11 ends, the Hillies led by 11-8.  After 15 ends, we still led by 14-10 and an unusual event happened on the 16th end. A very tight measure was called to determine the end with both bowls about 6 inches from jack. Leads could not determine the winner of the measure so called the Umpire.
The Umpire happened to be the skip playing on this very rink – far from an ideal circumstance. After much consternation, he decided that the bowls could not be split and the end was left as ‘no result’. Birksy and Pottsy did enough to hold their lead in the closing ends with Mick, in particular, playing some excellent controlled weight shots. The score ended up a very flattering 21-12 but it was closer than this indicated. Overall a win for the Hillies 3-2.

The win keeps our hopes alive but a miracle is really needed with just one outstanding match to be played. In that match we require Cannon Hill (bottom of the table) to defeat Algester by 5-0. That match is to be played next weekend. Nonetheless, it has been a good season and we have proved to be competitive on most rinks in most matches. All good experience for the upcoming pennant season.