WITH the outdoor season rapidly drawing to a close for Penarth Bowling Club, last weekend featured the culmination of both Mens & Ladies competition finals. Saturday saw a glorious day and the bowling matched the weather.

The men opened up with the two wood pairs with Grant father and son in opposition. Colin partnered Colin Hicks and Robert with Lawrence Brooke. The more youthful pairing had the edge on the day with Rob and Lawrence leading throughout and eventually winning by 21 shots to eight.

Playing on adjacent rink was the triples final involving Ralph Mould, Don Shirley and Nick Chandler who were pitting their wits against Dave Holdaway, Brian Hocking and Jack Beanland. Nick's rink proved too strong in a one sided encounter running out victors by 21-8. Jack's hopes of an elevation to skip next season were not necessarily enhanced by this encounter.

In the afternoon, Peter Small, who many consider to be the master of two wood competitions met a resilient and if form Mike England. A real battle followed with Mike just edging the game throughout and never falling behind, finally ending up victorious by 15-12.

Going on at the same time was an epic handicap final between Ron Birkby and Terry Buckingham, both of whom are regarded as first choice leads in the club. Their expertise of drawing ability came to the fore in an excellent game. Ron took a little time to settle as Terry raced to a nine shot lead after eight ends. Terry continued to dominate the game to extend his lead to 15-5 at the 15th end. This signalled the time for Ron to steel himself and raise his game to force a comeback to level the scores at 19-19.

Picking up a shot at the 29th end Ron led 20-19 and was lying game when with his last wood, Terry produced a wonder wood to turn the head to a winning two shot lie and 21-20 was the final winning result for Terry.

Sunday, with the weather deteriorated considerably, Peter Small and Bob Lewis were paired up in the seniors final. Predicting the winner of this would not be easy and a tight battle ensued. Bob kept his nose in front throughout and managed to edge out a determined Peter by 15 shots to 11.

The unfavourable weather on Sunday morning saw some disruption to the allotted timetable with several games having to be rearranged.

However the mixed pairs got under way on time despite a slow start Sue Croll and Nick Chandler wrestled control of the game and after 16 of the 21 ends, led by 19-10. The concluding five ends turned the game completely on its head with Colin and Wendy Grant picking up a total of 14 shots, which included a seven, to win the game 24-21.

The ladies also commenced their finals on Saturday morning also with a triples of Jackie Regan, Joan Lewis and Kath Jenkins against Lynda Jones, Val Letton and Jayne Edwards. A real tight and hard fought battle followed Jayne's rink holding the lead right up to the 11th end. Kath and her crew edged the lead to 11-9 and kept in front up to the penultimate end when a three shot end saw Jayne lead by two shots going into the 18th and final end, in which they picked up three shots to secure the title by one shot (15-14).

Christina Church and Joan Lewis were doing battle in the two wood singles. Chris quickly took control and held her grip on the game to eventually win by 16-9. Joan had engineered a fight back in the middle section to get to only one shot down (8-7) but Chris wrestled back the initiative to run out winner.

Val Turner and Jill Gaskell were pitted against each other in the novice final, which again proved to be an exhibition of good competitive bowls. Val had fallen behind early in the game and after 13 ends was suffering an 11 shot deficit (4-15). However to her credit she staged a recovery which to her regret was just not enough to get close enough to Jill's consistent bowling. Jill winning by 21 shots to 11.

The two wood pairs matched up Belinda Price and Christina Church against June Williams and Lorraine Palmer. This proved to be a really close encounter right up until the 15th end when only one shot separated them. Belinda and Chris held the lead at that point and never surrendered it winning four of the last five ends to secure a 17-11 win.

The triples final was played for the Jean Alexander Cup and was competed between Ann Thomas, Sandra Roberts, Kath Jenkins and Lynda Jones, Barbara Brown, Betty Jones. Kath Jenkins skipped her three to a well earned victory after taking control early on. Despite a dropping a five late on and losing the last three ends the lead they had built up was sufficient for Kath to hold on to win (19-14).

As ever the highlight of the finals weekend are the two singles competitions, which always promise excellent entertainment. This year was no exception and produced some superb quality bowling from both events.

Val Letton and Jill Gaskell took centre stage for the Ladies and produced an exhilarating contest in somewhat difficult conditions. The game was nip and tuck right up to the 14th end when the score stood at nine all. At this stage Val started to edge away picking up seven shots from the next three ends. Jill was still very much in the game but Val continued to find that little extra to keep in front. The game eventually ended 22-14 in Val's favour to become 2017 Club Champion. Val had achieved this title some 39 years ago so you can imagine her delight at winning again. She must have been 10 years old when she first won it.

The men's championship final was a family affair with father and son competing in what turned out to be another epic and nail biting affair. Colin and Rob Grant squared up to one another like gladiators of the bowling fraternity. Banter had been flowing for weeks between them and the match up had all the makings.

The early ends saw dad move ahead but son very quickly retrieved the position, only for dad to press ahead again. At nine ends the score stood at 10-9 in dad's favour and this signalled a period of winning ends for him, producing a lead of 16-9.

Eventually dad amassed a lead of 20-13 and look like a certain winner. Junior Grant was having nothing of it and came right back to level the scores at 20-20. In a really tense final end with the lead changing hands several times, Grant senior bowled the last wood of the game a managed to promote an earlier short wood of his to win a stunning victory. Mum Grant could be seen to be delighted with hubby, but one sensed regret that her little boy had lost.