LAWN BOWLS ISLE OF MAN
The 2022 season has been one to remember for Lawn Bowls IOM. New members, first time internationals and probably the most competitive season for a number of years. For the first time, representation in the pairs formats were spread across the membership, enabling all three (ladies, mens and mixed) to be played at the same time. These matches were followed by the mens and ladies singles.
The ladies final was contested between the pairing of Anne Watterson and Barbara Reed, who were playing in their first Championship together versus former champions Karen Slack and Bernice McGreal. The pair of Reed & Watterson took an early lead but the experience of McGreal & Slack soon kicked into play as they made their comeback. Despite the early pressure, Reed and Watterson were unable to take advantage of the position, as McGreal & Slack clawed their way back and then pushed themselves ahead. By the penultimate end with only 6 bowls between them and 9 shots behind the team of Reed and Watterson conceded defeat, McGreal and Slack were declared worthy winners of the 2022 National Ladies Pairs Championships.
The men’s finale featured two teams who had either not featured in the final before or hadn’t reached one for some time. On paper, the in form pairing of Philip Smoth and Eric Maddocks who had secured the premier pairs league with an unbeaten season were certainly the favourites, but their opponents John Kewley and Brian Lindsay who were playing in their first National Championship final aren’t the type to roll over and making things easy for their opposition. Maddocks & Smith started the strongest and were quick to push ahead on the scoreboard, however Kewley & Lindsay despite a slow start, by the 4th end started their challenge for the title, winning the next 5 ends to take a commanding 9 shot lead. Maddocks & Smith are never an easy team to defeat and began a determined comeback trying to claim their own counts and limit shots gained by Kewley & Lindsay, however following the script of the Ladies Pairs, by the penultimate end with 6 bowls left to play and 9 points adrift Maddocks & Smith conceded the match. Kewley & Lindsay placed the only blemish on their opponents recorded in the most important game of the season to become worthy winners of the 2022 National Pairs Championship.
The Mixed Pairs Championship took place between Gary Lenton & Dee Lewis versus the new pairing of Clive McGreal & Pat Lenton. The team of Lenton & Lewis took an early lead but the experience of McGreal encouraging his partner mounted their comeback and the following 9 ends provided the watching club members & spectators with some excellent entertainment as the lead continually changed from one team to another in a really close fought match. With 5 ends left to play the team of Lenton and Lewis dug in deep and scored 11 shots over 4 ends and incredibly once again in the penultimate end the team of McGreal & Lenton found themselves with only 6 bowls left unable to overcome the shot difference of their opposition and conceded to Lenton and Lewis who claimed 2022 Mixed Pairs Championship, with Gary Lenton also taking home the bragging rights from wife Pat!
The 2022 Ladies Singles Championship was contested between Dee Lewis and former title holder Janice Pilling. In Singles players have to reach 21 shots to claim victory with no limit on number of ends played. Lewis playing in her second Championship of the day was in the driving seat to begin until Pilling was able to mount her comeback gradually reducing any lead Lewis was able to build .Both players providing club members with excellent bowling skills displays until the 23rd end when with both Lewis & Pilling holding 19 shots the atmosphere was tense as only 2 shots were needed to claim victory. However on the 24th end Lewis managed to secure victory by winning the end by 2 shots to score a total of 21 and title of 2022 Ladies Singles National Championship. .
The Men’s Singles Championships was fought between Eric Maddocks, playing in his second final of the day and looking to not only right the wrong of his pairs loss, but also that of never winning a singles championship in his previous five finals, and Clive McGreal the 2021 winner of the title, who was looking for his 7th ‘W’ in 8 years! Both are experienced bowlers so it was always on the cards to be a close game and as they had both played in the earlier pairs Championships would both be keen to gain a victory. It was expected that this would be a close game with excellent bowling skills on display and club members and spectators were not disappointed. McGreal held on to a slim lead until the 26th end when with scores levelled at 19 shots each tension mounted among those watching sensing victory was close as on the next end Maddocks grabbed 2 shots to win the end 21/19 and claim victory as 2022 Men’s Singles National Champion.
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