Brammer’s Bias: Not every day you share a green with Ipswich Town FA Cup hero

Mick Lambert does a lap of honour around Wembley after the FA Cup final win.

Mick Lambert does a lap of honour around Wembley after the FA Cup final win.

It’s not every day you get to share a bowling green with an FA Cup winner.

Mick Lambert (right) with Kevin Beattie.

Mick Lambert (right) with Kevin Beattie.

That’s what happened to me on Wednesday night though when Stone Lodge Bowls Club were the visitors to the Margaret Catchpole club.

Standing on the adjacent rink, skipping his team, was none other than Mick Lambert, who was inducted into the Portman Road Hall of Fame in 2015.

Winger Lambert scored 45 goals in 219 games for Town, between 1969 and 1979 – his last appearance for Ipswich coming on May 5, 1979, in a 3-2 defeat at Chelsea – and was a 77th-minute substitute for goal hero, Roger Osborne, as the Blues defeated Arsenal 1-0 back on that memorable day in 1978 at Wembley.

Mick, who also played cricket and was on the ground staff at Lord’s, once being 12th man for England, helped his team to a 6-1 victory at our place – a contest that included two tied rinks and which was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests.

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As our captain, Steve Prentice said afterwards though, the table does not lie, and we currently find ourselves bottom of the Ipswich & District League Triples, Division Two.

It’s time that we bucked our ideas up.

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As for Mick, he’s obviously one of those people that good at most sports he turns his hand too – I’d just like to be good at one!

It was nice to meet him in our pavilion afterwards too, our members fondly reminiscing his corner that led to Mick Mills’ goal in the FA Cup Semi-Final victory at Highbury, against West Bromwich Albion, and he was quite happy to indulge them.

Mick isn’t the only ex-Town player to have taken up bowls since retiring, former Northern Ireland international Allan Hunter having also played regularly for a number of seasons, while from a non-league point-of-view, Mark Morsley has recently taken up the sport, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, playing for his local club, Brantham.

The green at Margaret Catchpole on Wednesday was just like Wembley too, although it felt like we were rolling our woods on a glass-top table at times, and credit must go to our greenkeepers, Jim Anderson, John Atherton and Ted Hendin for producing such an exquisite surface.

On Saturday, I played in our club’s annual Ralph Gage Singles tournamnt, which was a three-wood singles format played with EBA Rules.

On a baking hot day, 18 players took part, being split up into three groups of six, each playing five games of six ends which, if you conceded heavily over the first couple of ends, made it difficult to claw your way back. That is all part of the challenge though.

Luckily for me, I managed to four of my five games to progress to the semi-finals, where I played team-mate David Corrie.

I had managed to get a win against David in the group games but it was a different story in the semi-final as I was taught a bit of a bowling lesson, losing 9-1.

I left the green resembling a lobster, having taken my factor 30 but having forgotten to apply it!

Schholboy error!

One consolation for me was that David ended up going on to win the competition, defeating Steve Prentice in the final, watched by a large number of the club’s members.

Congratulations David and I am sure he will enjoy being presented with the award by EADT editor-in-chief Terry Hunt, who kindly agreed to be the guest of honour, at our end-of-season awards evening in November.

Speaking of fast greems, I played at Marlborough on Tuesday night, where the East of England Co-op were our hosts.

It was a beautiful, albeit muggy night, and the green provided a real challenge with deliveries requiring minimum power.

We won the game overall, our rink having a particularly satisfying 26-13 victory, but it was tough and it resembled playing on a glass-top table at times.

Otley Bowls Club are holding their annual 2-wood Invitation Pairs tournament on Sunday, August 13.

The tournament will consist of four games of 10 ends/45 minutes, under Federation rules.

The entry fee is £16 per pair, which includes two lunches. Extra lunches may be ordered at £6 each.

If you would like to take part, please return your entry with payment to Mrs Helen Quilliam, Ellan Vannin, Chapel Road, Otley, Ipswich, IP6 9NX.

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