'Torquaytastic' week for local bowlers
8:01pm Wednesday 30th October 2013 in Sport
FORTY-TWO intrepid bowlers congregated at Penarth Library early on October 14 not for any literary reason, but simply to await last-minute instructions from mentor John Whitfield before boarding a coach for the annual trip to Torquay for a feast of combative bowls and the delights of the English Riviera.
The early departure was necessary as the first game against last year's adversaries, Blaina, was scheduled for 3pm that afternoon. Match captain Nick Chandler led his team out in confident mood and was rewarded with a convincing 25-shot win (68-43). Winning rinks were skipped by Nick, Ron Maggs and Bob Lewis. Unfortunately, Bob Hill must have left his talents on the Murch green as he suffered the only reverse (9-17). Nevertheless, a great start to the week.
A good night's sleep did Bob a power of good as the Tuesday morning contest against Teignmouth saw his rink chalk up a conclusive 21-5 win. Bob led the way but, regrettably, his skip colleagues could not follow suit and the team went down by six shots (52-58). Haydn Trow (8-20), Reg Dyer (10-17) and Nick Chandler (13-16) all lost.
The afternoon game against Marldon produced an encouraging success (51-47). Ron Maggs' rink led the onslaught with a 22-10 win, with the Dilys Hocking rink also producing an excellent 16-7 result. Brian Hocking's rink just missed out (15-16) and Ann Sweeney went down 8-14.
Team spirit was good at breakfast on Wednesday morning as players prepared for games against Plymouth Retired Civil Servants and Dawlish Marina. The morning fixture went according to plan with a 60-51win. The backbone to the success was provided by Haydn Trow's four, with a resounding 21-8 win. Nick Chandler's rink also contributed to the victory winning 19-11. unfortunately, Mike Conway (11-16) and Ann Sweeney (9-16) lost on their rinks.
The afternoon encounter with Dawlish turned into a bit of a nightmare as only Don Shirley's rink was able to muster a win, picking up the winning shot on the very last end (16-15). It was a general disaster on the other Penarth rinks as the local side went down 32-75. The other skips will be spared embarrassment by not being documented in this report - they know who they are! The after-match post mortem failed to conclude the reasons for the capitulation other than to note that Don Shirley continued to drink lager throughout the game. This could have been the missing link on the other rinks.
In an effort to assist the team skills for the final sessions on Thursday, an extension of the ''Happy Hour'' at the bowling club bar was negotiated. This appeared to have the desired effect as spirits were noticeably raised to near fever pitch.
The Thursday morning encounter was an emotional time for match captain Haydn Trow as he renewed friendships with his Babbacombe mates. Penarth members may recall his defection last year to play for Babbacombe and how he assisted them in achieving a narrow victory. The nasty taste still lingered! Unfortunately, for Haydn, Penarth just failed to turn the tables, losing by a mere four shots (51-55). Ann Sweeney's rink could not be faulted as they romped to a 21-8 win. However, the other three rinks all lost - Dilys Hocking (9-15), Reg Dyer (10-11) and Haydn Trow (11-21; oops!)
The final game of the week was a return fixture with Blaina, with Penarth fielding the same team as in the earlier skirmish and their opponents making a few changes in an attempt to settle scores. A close and, at times, vociferous battle brought a narrow six-shot win for Penarth (61-55). Success by the Nick Chandler (16-11) and Bob Lewis (20-10) rinks formed the foundations for the win, with Ron Maggs (13-17) and Bob Hill (12-17) both losing. However, Bob was quick to point out that, although his rink lost, if they had not scored their 12 shots, then Penarth would have lost. This must be a Murchism!
Having enjoyed a most pleasant stay at the Victoria Hotel, the happy, if somewhat jaded, touring party left in excellent humour comforted in the knowledge that tour mentor John Whitfield had secured a deal for 2014. Thanks must go to John and Sandra for their considerable efforts in arranging and organising the 'Torquaytastic' week and thanks also to all tourists who helped to make it such a great success. Roll up 2014!