Zone 9 - Sydney Northern District Bowls
THAT DREADED ONE SHOT . . .
THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF PENNANTS
APART from the 180 pennant players who will play for zone flag honours at Harbord on the weekend, this year's pennant season, despite it's trials and tribulations will for the rest of us, most probably disappear from our respective memory banks.
The Asquith club top scored with three section winners, namely their 2's, 3's and 5s, then two each by both Harbord (3's and 6's) and Manly (5's and 7's).
This year's unseasonable weather enabled scheduled play to be completed as per the program, however while the majority of greens ran 15 and upwards due to the dry spell, players questioned a much reduced pace on greens at two clubs in particular.
While the majority of grades experienced close finishes right up to the final game, the winners of all three sections in grade 3 had huge margins. Turramurra had a margin of 26 points, Warringah 16 and Manly 17 which should prove very interesting in their respective round-robin clashes.
While many players had hard luck stories that may have induced the odd blink of the eye, but certainly not convincing enough for a tissue, it's doubtful if anyone can top the Manly/Harbord saga in grade three.
THE ONE SHOT THAT'S
DEFINITELY ETCHED IN A FEW
Manly defeated Harbord on their home tiffy by one shot in round one. Harbord then got square at Manly regardless of it's reputation as the "graveyard" for visiting sides with a nine shot win in the return game.
However, in the interim Harbord had dropped another game to Avalon which put a buoyant Manly, despite them coming out worst in a draw against Neutral Bay, still on top of the table, while Harbord who were15 points behind at the halfway mark had ever so slowly clawed their way back into contention.
With one game to go Harbord had finally . . . well sort of . . . got their act together and were only half a point behind Manly.
Manly were away to Dee Why and probably happy to be on grass, whereas Harbord were on Neutral Bay's "fantastic plastic", which from all accounts ran well, a little better than 14 and interestingly enough out to the numbers on the adjoining rinks on both hands, and that's using model 17 Powers.
It's worthy of mention before the drama starts that Harbord's "Rosie", their most staunch supporter has awarded the Pirate's club the most hospitable of any club in the State (believe me, has that girl travelled).
Rosie was treated like royalty, heaters, arm chair, drinks plus more attention than she's ever had sitting on those planks of timber at that boring Harbord.
THAT DREADED ONE SHOT AGAIN
Regardless of how Harbord fared, Manly needed a 10 blot against D.Y. to seal the deal, however it was not to be as they dropped one rink . . by you guessed it . . . one shot.
Having finished a fraction earlier at D.Y., Manly's go-to man "Jazza" made a friendly call, purely out of interest to see how his Harbord mates were travelling, who co-incidentally were finished and ahead on two rinks with their remaining rink all square on 19 all and about to play their last end.
By the way this Harbord rink had led 19-8 just after the halfway mark, and then apparently went "walkabout" . . as you do when playing for section honours.
After ringing incessantly for what seemed an internity a spectator at Neutral Bay reluctantly picked up a phone from a stray bag to hear . . . "it's Jazza here, just thought I'd give someone a ring".
After some deliberation and a gunho attitude of hang the expense . . . the invitation to listen to a running commentary was offered and to hard to refuse, which apparently went something like this . . .
The Pirate's lead held two shots, then Harbord's second cut it to one, Pirate's second did nothing, then Harbord's third drew shot, then Pirate's third got a a fine edge and cut the jack sideways which remained in bounds.
Now skips to the mat and Pirate's held two but about the same distance from the jack as the "Coathanger" across the harbour.
The Harbord skip fell short with his first, not certain if it counted but just in case, the Pirates produced the canon, fired and only just missed, Harbord made up the lost ground with second bowl to finish just behind the jack. One for sure.
Amid all their Jacktars chanting from the sidelines plus the tension, which was absolutely electrifying, the Pirate's third gave his skip firm instructions, "load up again".
The Pirate skip made a miniscule adjustment to his glass eye by removing the patch and while Jazza climbed back up from the floor, hears "he's got it this time for sure" . . . and if Jazza'a heavy breathing was any indication of his heart rate and pulse, they were certainly in triple digits . . .
"Hang on Jazza, I can't believe it, it's missed by the proverbial hair and Harbord's won by a shot for a 10-0".
"Jazza, are you still there, Jazza can you here me?"
WHAT'S THE SAYING: "WHEN IT'S ALL SAID AND DONE . . . IT'S ONLY A GAME"