LAWN BOWLS ISLE OF MAN
As the end of the 2018 season drew to a close the National Singles and Pairs Titles were determined over the weekend, Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th September, with more than an element of deja vu from the previous year’s championships.
The Ladies Singles title between Janice Pilling and Bernice McGreal being a rerun of their encounter in the final from last season. With the early exchanges kept pretty even showing some fine displays from both players it was Pilling who soon took command of the match to draw out a lead of some 6 shots by the 10th end and never looked back as she mastered the conditions and a tricky rink to overcome Bernice for a second year running by a final score line of 21 shots to 11.
In the Men’s Singles event it was again a re-match of the 2017 Final between father and son Clive & Mark McGreal. Since representing the Island at the Commonwealth Games earlier in the year the season has been a marked contrast for the pair with Mark commanding the Singles League and competing for all the major titles whilst Clive has undergone a hip replacement and missed out on much of the superb weather and bowls competition during the summer looking on enviously from the side lines. In the final it was McGreal senior who started the better taking a 10-3 lead with a range of good drawing shots. However, not to be out done Mark mounted a spirited challenge during which the spectators were treated to some spectacular bowling and world class shots by both players. Having clawed back the score to just a 2 shot deficit to trail by 17-15 Mark seemed to have gained the momentum to stake a claim for the title. With the standard of play quite remarkable for the conditions on the day the match continued into the 31st end with Clive finishing the stronger to win 21-16 in a thoroughly entertaining match enabling him to take the National Singles Title for the 4th successive year.
The Ladies Pairs match between the in-form Janice Pilling & Marcia Pearson taking on Karen Slack and Anne Watterson promised to be a close run affair with the scores level at 7 each midway through the match with Slack and Watterson then taking the next 3 ends to move into the lead with just 7 ends remaining. It was at this stage that Pilling and Pearson got their act together producing spell of some excellent bowling to take successive counts and finish as comfortable winners 21-12.
In the Men’s Pairs final it was the 3rd successive year that Mark & Clive McGreal have contested the silverware against Phil Watterson & Gary Lee. Once again the match was played in a great spirit with President Watterson giving a great display of lead bowling and despite being short on match experience Lee acquitted himself very well against the McGreal pairing who were in great form during the final. Whilst the standard of play remained high throughout the match the result was a resounding win for the defending champions taking the Championship with a few ends to spare by a score line of 24-7 making it a hat trick of titles in as many years.
The Mixed Pairs event having been resurrected after a few years break was accompanied by a new trophy generously provided by past President and Life Member, Eric Maddocks. Indeed it was Eric together with the Ladies’ Champion, Janice Pilling who contested the final against Mark McGreal and Charlotte Dutton. The match was evenly balanced until well into the last few ends when Pilling and Maddocks took a couple of shots in consecutive ends with some class bowls to put some daylight between the pairs which they managed to maintain in a deserved victory by 4 shots.
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