BRAMMER’S BIAS: Chris’ weekly bowls column
Have you ever had a day on the green when you just want to give up?
I had such a moment on Sunday at Cornard Bowls Club, playing against the hosts in the Quinton Cup.
For the most part I was pretty inept and when I did bowl a half-decent wood, I was soon usurped by a better one.
Before I go on though, I must make it clear that Cornard were a damn good side, the rink we came up against and the set of four players on our neighbouring rink, teaching our members a bowls lesson or two.
Yes, they had a bit of luck and that made matters worse on a baking hot day, frustration levels rising all the time, but it was luck with a small ‘l’.
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After all, you make your own in this world don’t you, and our counterparts, especially the unerringly accurate Dave Butcher and expert skip Graham Rowland, were in irresistible form for the most part – the home team eventually running out comprehensive winners.
As I left the green, I just thought, ‘what’s the point?’ – given the inconsistent nature of my form this season – but there are numerous players, older, wiser and much better than myself, that will have endured worse days and have stuck with the game and can tell the tale.
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I’m sure I’ll have many more bad days, but that’s the nature of the beast, given my level of ability at the moment.
I might have won the Suffolk Novice Singles last summer, but I am light years away in ability when it comes to some of the county’s best players.
After deciding against walking away from the game for good, I soon rekindled my enthusiasm, I always get a buzz on the day of a match.
I think it’s the competitive side of me that comes out, knowing that if I can play well on the night, I can make a difference to the game and the club’s league position.
On Tuesday night we went to Stone Lodge at Salmet Close and lost narrowly, although our rink played well – I was the lead – and we won our particular game by a few points
If any bowls clubs wants an example of what a green and its surroundings should look like, they should take a trip this Ipswich venue.
It was my first-ever visit and I was so impressed with how the club was presented, with ample seating, picnic tables and a sizeable pavillion scattered around the edge of a tightly-cut green.
On the green, wow! Just wow!
It was one of the biggest I have played on and for the first few ends, it was clear I should have had an extra Weetabix (Other breakfast cereals are available) as it required a real push to get anywhere near the jack.
As the game went on, I adapted to the conditions and found that ironically, I was playing better towards the end of the match when I was bowling a longer distance.
Definitely not a green for the faint-hearted but one that must be sampled as far as a challenge goes. It would be boring if they were all the same size and bowled the same, wouldn’t it?
My last game of the week came on Wednesday night and, as finishes go, it was quite a dramatic one.
Our opponents were Otley and after two rinks had finished, the scores on aggregate were level – the smell of sausage and chips – which the staff at the Margaret Catchpole pub were preparing for the teams, getting stronger by the minute.
The third rink came off and we led by a meagre two points, meaning all eyes were focused on the final set of fours.
It went down to the very last bowl of the last end, Otley were lying two and were set to get a draw from the game.
However, after consultation with team-mates, the last wood sent down by the Otley player was delivered with the intention of getting a third and winning the game overall.
It was a bold and brave move and almost came off, but unfortunately for them, and fortunately for us, one of our woods ended up being promoted to shot wood and we had the points in the bag.
A dramatic game, played in excellent spirits by two good teams. and, from a personal point-of-view, my best game of the season. I am looking forward to the rematch already.
Next week I play twice, including in the Junior Cup at Brantham, against Norbridge, on Friday night and, earlier in the week, against a very good Borough of Eye team, on our home patch.
Until next week!