Monday at the Nationals. Big Games!

Sadly Tonia lost to her Devon opponent yesterday. The green seemed to be one-handed which made it difficult if your opponent got that side first!

Cathy nearly ran out of time in her Singles as it was neck and neck all the way with only 1 or 2 shots between them all the way through. At 18-19 Cathy was lying match down then she put her bowl through the head and picked up a 1.  Cathy was holding match on the next end, when her Oxon opponent did the same thing. The match reached 20-20; the volunteers were packing up all the chairs from the surrounding greens getting ready to go home!

Final end and Cathy’s opponent ditched her bowl and Cathy’s was short.  Cathy’s next bowls weren’t particularly close to the jack and her opponent just needed to draw shot. She’d done it before! Her bowl was wide and shortish so both girls went up to inspect the head. They looked at in from all angles and Cathy’s opponent offered her hand and admitted defeat.

This morning’s match is v Suzanne Green from Norfolk. Good luck!

Meanwhile , the Ashford Four of Luke Mann, Joe Lovett, Mark Smith & Matt Larman had a great start in the morning beating the Chatham, Kent, team by 3 shots. It wasn’t a comfortable win as the older Kent chaps were getting into the head and forcing Ashford to focus hard. Mark’s first bowl in the final end trailed the jack giving a brilliant result leaving Kent’s skip an almost impossible shot to remove Mark’s bowl whilst keeping his own on the green to get a 4. He missed. The boys progressed to the final 16 v Norfolk including Wayne Wilgress,

Wayne is no push over winning both indoor and outdoor championships. Only last week, he and his wife Bex win the National Mixed Pairs.
The match started with tight heads but tiny angles and millimetres in favour of Norfolk cruelly saw Ashford rapidly 3-17 down.
Suddenly for no obvious reason, the tide turned and Ashford picked up a 2, a 3, then a 5!  13-17. Game on!  A couple more ends passed and the pressure was building when they reached 19-19 going into the final end. The head changed hands and, from where we we were sitting, it was impossible to know how many shots anyone was holding. Mark Smith definitely pushed out a Norfolk bowl for shot but was it only 1?  An overhead camera would have been useful! The next Norfolk bowl moved Mark’s bowl when Matt played an absolute corker displacing the Norfolk bowl and the Ashford boys and supporters leapt into the air! Wayne nudged the bowl with his first bowl so it came down to the skip’s final bowls. Matt’s was short – a deliberate blocker? ( probably not at 4 feet). Wayne took aim. He looked as if he needed to kill the end to give his team a chance. His bowl glided through no change. Well you must have been able to hear the cheers all the way back in Twickenham. Ashford had defeated a very strong four and were now in the quarterfinals… with no accommodation booked for the night as they were expecting to go home and be back at work today! Hope they have kind bosses.
So, this morning they face four chaps from Northants who are as exuberant as Ashford and their supporters both on and off the green.
Duncan & I are playing in the Friends of English Bowling Two-Bowl Pairs also at 10:00. There should be live scoring on the Bowls England website and scores and commentary of Cathy and Ashford’s matches (not ours) on the Bowls Middlesex Facebook page.
Good luck to all of the players. It would be brilliant to see them go through another round or 2 or 3!

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