Today at the National Sports Centre, the Isle of Man Indoor Bowls Association held the Island’s Indoor Championship finals in which members of LBIOM claimed all but one of the trophies up for grabs.

First up was the triples competition. Our members Bernice McGreal, Janice Pilling and Clive McGreal faced off against Jimmy Sansom, Paula and Stuart Garrett. The girls performance was outstanding, blowing away their opposition and giving Clive an armchair ride in the skip position. Bernice, Janice and Clive ran out 15-4 victors.

Next up was the pairs event, the trophy for which has been held by a LBIOM member for the last 6 years. David Quirk was joined by Dee Lewis and faced a highly skilled team of Shaun Seal and Ian Moore. David being the more experienced lawn bowler showed his ability and gave his skip Dee the perfect platform to take a commanding lead. However, as the game came into the final few ends the Seal/Moore duo fought back, and if it wasn’t for the bold call of David and Dee’s trust in him to play the shot with conviction which reduced the count with the final bowl of the match then they would have won. So the game went to a tie break end, which was nervy for both teams, but David and Dee held it better than their opponents to ensure their names were the next to be etched onto the honours list.

As is with tradition, the men’s and ladies pairs are played simultaneously. Janice Pilling was looking to dethrone Paula Garrett, whilst Mark McGreal was looking to reclaim the trophy he had to relinquish last year.

I am sure that Janice would have been full of confidence having played exceptionally well in the triples earlier in the day and getting the better of Paula, but a change of rink and a few hours of downtime seemed to be the main difference in the ladies final. Janice struggled with the weight adjustment as the temperature of the hall changed whilst Paula seemed re-energized by the break. The first set was hard fought until the latter stages where Paula ran away with it, taking the set 9-4. This seemed to take the wind out of Janice’s sails as she struggled to match Paula in the second set as she was now the one full of confidence and playing with ease. Paula won convincingly 10-1 in the second set to win back to back indoor titles.

The men’s final was a pretty close encounter. Despite only having some warm up practise games prior to the championships, Mark was confident that he could do the business! In the last four years, Mark has only lost one singles match at the NSC, which was to his father last year, so he had every reason to be. Although Jimmy was no push over, as he made Mark work hard during the match. The first set went back and forth throughout with incredibly close heads making those who believed they were holding shot choose not to play their last bowl on occasion, and with Mark one up on the board prior to the last end, Jimmy had work to do. Unfortunately for Mark, it wasn’t his best end, and Jimmy made his last bowl count to edge the set 6-5. The second set was lead from start to finish by Mark, who outplayed Jimmy tactically and technically. So with the end finishing 9-6 in Mark’s favour, the match went to the dreaded one end shoot out. Mark won the toss and chose to set the jack and play the first bowl, a pressure bowl but one that he nailed, and the second he put close. Jimmy had little option but to play a touch of weight to disturb, whilst Mark just played positional bowls. Jimmy failed to hit the target with all of his attempts, meaning Mark was able to take the trophy home for the thrid time in four years.

Mark will now join Clive and Bernice, who are the LBIOM representatives, at the forthcoming World Bowls Indoor Championships later this year.

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