BOWLS: Bushmills and District pairs and singles competitions

Bushmills and District pairs competition was held on Monday, March 25, in Bushvale Hall, with J Elliott umpiring what turned out to be a great night of bowling.

Matches were played through to a final between host club Bushvale’s pair of N Hartin and H Christie and neighbouring Armoy’s pair of J Gillan and S McConaghie, who settled in quickly and Armoy were swapping the shot by hitting it out and then being the end winning shot bowls, building a 6-1 lead in the fourth.

The next four ends were single pointers with Bushvale claiming three of them, however in the penultimate ninth end, Armoy were the shot lying bowl with Bushvale surrounding it with second, third and fourth shot. N Hartin then delivered a controlled weighted swapshot bowl down the backhand to nudge the Armoy bowl just out of the count and add his to it, to put them in the lead 8-7.

In the last end Armoy held their nerve to draw two in behind the head to reclaim the lead 9-8 and the Bushmills and District Pair’s winning Girona Shield with Bushvale receiving the Toberkeigh Shield for pairs’ runner-up. These were presented by host Bushvale’s representative R Lynn.

Tuesday night saw the Bushmills and District Singles competition, again umpired by J Elliott. This played through to a final between Ramoan’s S Molloy and Bushvale’s N Hartin who had very similar style of play and bowling deliveries,albeit in opposite hands.

While ordinary bowlers are content to get our bowls past the stick and on the mat in the vicinity of the jack, these bowlers take it to another level, where they can bowl up to and touch the jack without moving it, landing on it like a mark of spray chalk, or place cover bowls anywhere on the mat.

The trial end as expected was all touchers. The match was like watching a bowling game of chess, with touchers drawn and cover bowls placed to claim the rolling jack. In the first six ends each bowler got three ends a piece, ending five shots each. N Hartin then took the lead with 2 in the seventh and S Molloy replied by setting a bowl fair on the jack, which when tapped would put it over to the left hand corner, so N Hartin placed a cover bowl exactly here where the jack run to after the touching bowl would be hit with his next bowl.

Ordinary bowlers would have placed a blocker to protect the lying bowl but these chess bowlers think differently and S Molloy just neutralised this cover bowl by running it with his next bowl into the ditch. The position and way the touching Ramoan bowl was lying, percentage ways it was going to follow the jack and count no matter what way it was hit.

It was this slightest of margins in such a tight game which meant S Molloy went on to win 9-7 and claim the Bushmills and District Singles competition and the Dervock Perpetual Cup for 2023-24 and N Hartin the Singles runner-up Ballywatt Cup presented by the host St James’s representative N Clarke.

Related topics: