Terrific Top Club performance

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This morning saw the second round of the National Mixed Top Club played at Bournemouth IBC. Bournemouth have been fantastic in this competition in recent years winning the national title in 2012/13, national semi-finalists in 2013/14 and national runner up in 2014/15.

The Five Rivers team knew this was going to be one of the toughest matches they had played in recent years but set off to Bournemouth in good spirits knowing that a win would fill them with confidence in the matches to play.

The men’s two wood singles was played first as Alan Geary from Bournemouth had to leave early. Five Rivers’ current club champion, Jordan Moody, set the pace early taking a 7-1 lead drawing close and consistently. The two wood singles now played over 18 ends was over very quickly with Jordan showing a demonstration of clinical precision winning the match 17-9 and securing 2 points for Five Rivers in the match.

Unfortunately the ladies’ two wood singles was a one-sided affair but for Bournemouth this time. Bournemouth’s stalwart singles player Sue Dadson played fantastic bowls from start to finish, not letting Five Rivers’ Ann Humphries even a look in and Sue took the match 22-5, but more importantly securing 2 points for Bournemouth.

The mixed pairs saw the regular Five Rivers duo of Janice Rowe and Tom Warner play against Mixed Pairs National Finals regulars Julie Hudson and Chris Daniels. The Bournemouth pair started off brilliantly taking a 13-3 lead after 11 ends. However, ‘unlucky 13’ proved to be the case with some big bowls from Five Rivers saw them pick up six unanswered shots and bring the scoreline closer at 13-9 after 14 ends. Despite a single from Bournemouth on end 15, the Five Rivers due pulled out two big counts of 3 and 4 on ends 16 and 17 to take a 16-14 lead going into the final end. After 7 bowls from each side the state of play was Bournemouth holding the two shots needed to tie the match. However, a big final bowl from Tom saw him promote his own bowl onto the white and give the shot to Five Rivers. Unfortunately this only left one of Tom’s bowls in the head with Bournemouth having two seconds – Chris then played a fantastic attacking bowl to remove Tom’s from the head and pick up three shots to win 17-16 and 4 points.

The next match to finish was the mixed fours consisting of Five Rivers newcomer Jenny McShane, Joan Coleman, Jamie ‘Jock’ Reynolds and Nick Revell against Joan Halliwell, Liz Messer, Barry Coates and John O’Donnell. This match started in a similar fashion to the pairs with Bournemouth taking an early 7-0 lead after 3 ends and continuing in this way with a 13-5 lead after 8 ends. However, the Five Rivers’ foursome started to play great bowls with some fantastic conversion shots from the back end saw them pick up nine unanswered shots over the next five ends to take a 14-13 lead after 13 ends. Despite a single from Bournemouth on the fifteenth end, the Five Rivers four saw out the match 18-15 and picking up a crucial 4 points.

With the match now stood at 6 points a piece the match all rested on the result of the mixed triples, with Five Rivers knowing that they must get a win as a draw would not be enough due to Bournemouth’s superior shots scored. At the halfway point the Five Rivers’ triple of Janice Bull, Graham House and Fraser Boynton trailled 11-7 to Bournemouth’s Jean Arnaud, Craig Patterson and Dave Kerr. However, in the same spirit as the other disciplines exhibited the Five Rivers’ threesome played some big bowls to take a 16-14 lead after 15 ends. The next end saw Dave’s final bowl executed perfectly by removing Graham’s bowl from the head and picking up a big count of 4 shots to take a 18-16 lead with two ends to play. However, the Five Rivers’ team spirit was not dampened and the next end proved to be a big one – on Dave’s first bowl, with Five Rivers holding shot, a perfectly timed attacking bowl saw the jack hit four yards to the back of the rink. Luckily, for Five Rivers one of Janice’s bowls at the back was in a perfect spot to hold shot when Dave trailled the jack through. Fraser’s first bowl was drawn beautifully securing a near enough back toucher to an off-centre jack to hold two shots. Dave’s bowl was overplayed and floated through to the back and Fraser drew another shot jack high. Luckily for Five Rivers Dave’s last bowl was short and tight and enabled Fraser to draw a crucial fourth shot to take a 20-18 lead into the final end. The last end, watched by the remainder of both teams and several supporters, proved to be a nail biting affair for both sides. Graham’s first bowl was played beautifully to draw the shot about three inches away, however Craig, not to be outdone, played a beautiful forehand draw for shot about two inches away. The head stayed this way until Graham’s last bowl in which a wonderful forehand draw saw him land right on the jack for shot – then it was time for Five Rivers to go defensive. Fraser played a brilliant back bowl splitting all of the Bournemouth bowls up and played a blocker which was in the eye line, although slightly further adrift than Fraser would have liked. Despite Dave’s best efforts Five Rivers kept the shot, took the last four points and took the match 10-6.

The team spirit, enthusiasm and bowling ability was fantastic with all Five Rivers players exhibiting clinical control and precision. Five Rivers now host Victory A in the next round on Sunday 7 January.

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