The Club was filled with 32 players plus reserves, plus managers and supporters and spectators from the four clubs that had reached the semi-finals of a competition that started with 47 entries
Umpire Darren Stanford alongside the team captains/managers – John Watkins, John Carey, John Smith & Nick Brett drew for the semi-finals. Huntingdon v Hounslow and Adur v Whiteknights. All four teams had very strong sides out including the current World No.1, the National Men’s Pairs Champions, the National Over 60s’ Singles Runner-up amongst the wealth of international, county and talented club members. Every person in the team played their part and it was very noticeable that the rinks were a “team” and not made up of four individuals.
Huntingdon got off to an excellent start against Hounslow. Dave P’s rink caught up to within one shot of Huntingdon then a poor end by three of the Hounslow team left everything to Dave who played a great shot but the jack didn’t go as expected and Hounslow dropped a 6. This really sealed their fate and Huntingdon won with a convincing 52-21.
Whiteknights v Adur was nip and tuck all the way 12-12 after 12 ends on one rink and 13-13 after 13 ends on the other. It was so, so close. The range of shots coming up the green was tremendous and all the supporters and spectators had a great view of the action. In the end, Whiteknights had one excellent end within the last few ends which clinched the match for them, but only by a few shots, even though it was 1-1 in rinks.
After a short break for an excellent buffet served by Kim, assisted by Martin, Kerry & Ellie Payne, the losing semi-finalists were presented with their cheques for £150 each and the other two teams were back on the green to play for the all-important trophy and £1,000 for their club and £500 to the runners up.
I think we all watched in awe for the whole of the match at the precision of some of those bowls! “How did he do that?” seemed to be asked several times! Nick Brett’s team were behind Robert Newman’s for half the game before clawing their way back to level-pegging. Nick’s boys crept ahead but on the final end, Robert’s chaps managed to win the end for a draw. On the other rink, Whiteknights had successfully managed to kill two ends on the trot and the Huntingdon skip was heard to say “I haven’t bowled a bowl for 30 mins.” But he certainly made up for it when he did and took the shot! With the one rink finished, it was all to play for on the other. Whiteknights were 5 shots down going into the last two ends. They took the penultimate end, now it was only 3 shots to make a draw and the bowls’ world equivalent of a penalty shoot out! Alas they only managed to pick up 1 on the final end.
After 6+ hours of play for both teams, the final was won by Huntingdon by 2 shots. Unbelievable! I’m sure it made the long drive home a bit sweeter!