Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Best game of my bowls career

The number of bowls fixtures at our club is amazing. Well over 200 outdoor matches, events, club competition games and social roll ups. Tonight the National Top Club fixture against Eaton Socon. If we win our first few County fixtures the club is then drawn against other County winners. A string of wins would see us through to the National Top Club quarter finals and beyond!

Only heard about this match on Saturday night. I'm shoehorned in to replace one of our club's best players, committed at County level. Think it was a case of who was most available.

Had stuck the time in my diary as 6.00pm, being 6.00pm for a 6.30pm start. Cooking up a cheese and onion omelette at home at 5.40pm. Sudden panic, is it in my diary as 6.00pm 'cause it's a 6.00pm start? Cue much rushing around and absence of tea to arrive at the club for 5.50pm. Not a person in sight... it is a 6.30pm start!

Didn't have a clue what the format was. Assumed we'd be playing triples or fours. Turns out a mix of all formats. One 2 bowls singles, followed by a 4 bowls singles on the same rink. Other rinks playing pairs, triples and fours. So five matches in total, the club winning the best of five goes through to the next round.

So you can imagine how far my jaw dropped when I'm informed I'm representing the club in the 2 bowls singles. One of the five ties resting on me alone? 'Lambs to the slaughter' was the comment to me from our 4 bowls singles candidate, one of our A team. Uh oh, sounds like we're up against good players!

First to 21, two trial ends. Worst fears confirmed when my opponent rolled all his trial bowls right up to the jack. Continued accuracy in the first two ends, 4-0 to him!

And then it happened. I managed to nudge my two bowls in on the third end. Fourth end I played a long jack on which he struggled. Continued the same theme for the next three. I was bowling a perfect length and my line wasn't bad either.

On the seventh end he managed one. No surprise, next end the mat placed right up the green and a short jack. But my judgement of length was so good it didn't make any difference. Another two to me. Same again on the thirteenth end, and a demoralised opponent. Didn't let up right through to 21.

Our captain was unable to play himself through County commitments. When he arrived some time later he congratulated me on the style of my win. Been selected for the 2 bowls singles because of the scare I gave him in the club 2 bowls semi final last August.  To read how close that was, click Kicking myself.

Told I'll definitely be selected for the next round of the National Top Club competition... yes, we won 3-2 to go through. Both the triples and doubles matches went our way. Well behind in the fours, we managed to get within three of the opponents before they reached 21. And my colleague playing the 4 bowls singles struggled with length as the evening drew in and lost by two.

What seemed to click for me was getting a consistent length and using intuition to judge the right line. No more agonising over hitting marks exactly. The combination seemed to ensure bowls landed very near the jack. Oh, and the narrow focus mentioned under Concentrate.

I'll be buzzing with this result for days! Here's the scorecard.

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