Leaving behind the snow and storms of home there are 4 Manx bowlers amongst the strong field at the Tenerife Open Pairs competition which features a good number of UK entrants making the trip especially for the event including a sprinkling of former international representatives. With each pair playing 3 pool matches the quarter final knock out phase will be determined by the best 8 qualifying teams.

Bernice and Karen were drawn on the notorious end Rink 1 in their first match against the fancied local ex-pat pair who had the local knowledge of the very tricky green conditions which they used to their advantage in racing into a 10 shot lead. With matches played over 18 ends there was enough time to claw back the deficit and playing some super bowls Karen Slack, who was skip, kept their side in contention right up to the last end when her final bowl missed the jack by millimetres in attempting a jack trail to win the match lost by the narrow margin of just 2 shots.

In their second match the ladies played the pairing of Gardener and Cathcart, the latter being the resident bowls coordinator on site and assistant manager of the complex. Both having a wealth of experience on the rink it was a tough challenge for Bernice and Karen and whilst they matched their opponents shot for shot for the majority of the game they ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard by just 5 shots.

Whilst David and Clive playing in their first pool match under twilight conditions were also pitted against a Scottish-Irish duo who spend 6 months of the year in Tenerife and play their competitive matches throughout the winter at this venue. However, starting their session with some good length bowls the manxies took an early lead and were well in front when dusk fell and before the floodlights illuminated the green to a poor extent. Accompanied by an increase in the wind speed and some gusts of some 30mph the conditions became a little more challenging as the local pair closed the gap. With just 2 ends to play and the manxies laying 5 shots down at the head Clive played his last bowl of the 16th end to within a few inches to take the vital shot and secure the next couple of ends to run out winners by 6 shots (21-15).

In their second pool match they faced defending champions Mike Hicks and Mike Evans who won the event in 2023. These seasoned campaigners spend the winter 6 months at the venue and have multiple local titles to their name. The match was played under close scrutiny with a number of interested spectators gathered at both ends of the green. The quality of bowls on display was indeed worthy of a final in itself with both leads playing some fine bowls and equally both skips turning heads in their favour with regularity. The match was always likely to be a close-run affair and as Clive played his final wood of the match he needed to take out the opposing shot bowl just inches from the ditch and remain on the green for a count of 4 for a tie. Almost perfect execution with the opponent bowl removed Clive’s wood dropped agonisingly into the ditch to make a count of just 3 shots to lose by a single shot.