Not for the first time this season a week’s events at Laurencekirk Bowling Club are dominated by the achievements of the ladies, who on Tuesday afternoon capped a fantastic campaign by winning the Aberdeen District Ladies Bowling Association [ADLBA] League.
With some notable Granite City scalps already in the bag they travelled with a fair degree of confidence to the Woodend green for the final encounter against their counterparts from Dyce - although mindful that they would have to be at their best to have any chance of securing the ultimate prize. The anxieties of the travelling support were soon eased by the dominant display of Isobel Smith, Mary Young, Margaret McNicoll and Betty Ritchie skip who saw off their opponents by 16-7 while the other quartet Sheila Wilson, Mary Wink, Tracy McGillivary and skip Marylen Easton although beaten by 17-15 did enough to ensure overall victory by the narrow margin of 7 shots.
Three years after becoming members of the Association the League championship trophy has been secured by a group of ladies. Let’s not forget that in addition to Tuesday’s winners Betty Hampton, Elsie Thomson, Irene Macdonald and Margaret Mitchell have all played a part, for all of whom defeat is an alien word. If only the men could show such resolve in the A&K and Kincardine Leagues.
On Monday evening spectators settled down to enjoy a double treat with the final of both the Men’s and Ladies Championship due to be contested. The deciding match in the Men’s event was unusual in that Bill Russell, whose presence at this stage is almost as predictable as the failure of his favourite football team to claim victory in Govan, was a notable absentee. The reason for his non appearance was due to the hammering he received in an earlier round by 2009 champion Doug Henderson who now entered this deciding match determined to elevate himself above the group who have worn the crown on only one occasion. He was well aware however that this would be no easy task as his opponent Robert Smith, in addition to being a demon on the St Cyrus carpet is no slouch on the grass at Laurencekirk as he soon demonstrated by shrugging aside the loss of 2 shots on the opening end with a devastating 1,1,3,3,3 burst to lead by 11-2 six.
Smarting from this reversal Doug replied in positive fashion, claiming over the course of five ends 6 shots with only a single in reply to reduce his opponent’s advantage to 12-8. Now leading by a mere 4 shots Robert quickly assumed total control with a second electrifying surge, counts of 2,2,2,2 and 1 carrying him to victory by 21-8. So congratulations to a worthy champion and proud holder of the ancient McMillan Cup for season 2011. Commiserations to Doug who on this occasion had the misfortune to face an opponent firing on all cylinders. The final of the Ladies Championship was predicted to be a close affair with both contestants, Betty Ritchie and Irene Macdonald, battle hardened members of the ADLBA District team and as such well accustomed to pressure bowling. How accurate those predictions appeared to be with the score peeled at 3-3 after six, 7-7 after ten and 11-11 at the conclusion of thirteenth end. Then 2007 champ Betty embarked upon what looked to be a decisive five end charge during which she picked up 9 shots with only 3 against to stand on the threshold of victory, leading by 20-14. Few could have envisaged the drama that was about to enfold. On the nineteenth with match lie against Irene trailed the jack to the back of the rink to pick up a maximum count of 4 and on the very next end with her opponent’s bowl snugly against the jack she played a superb chap and lie to claim a priceless shot. Although still trailing by a single shot the momentum was now with Irene and on the twentyfirst end she claimed a count of 2 to seal an amazing fight back with victory by 21-20. Phew what a match! Well deserved congratulations to the new champion and holder of the Fraser Fashion Cup and sympathy to the gallent runner up who on two consecutive ends held a match winning lie only to end up empty handed. Aye Betty bowling can sometimes be a cruel game.
Over the years Marylen Easton and Margaret McNicoll have enjoyed many a close encounter and to the list can be added this seasons final of the Carr Cup which goes to the first contestant to claim eight ends. Trailing by 7-4 after eleven, Margaret staved off defeat for three consecutive ends to peel the score at 7-7 before Marylen wrapped up victory by securing the fifteenth. In the Men’s equivalent for the Eccles Cup revenge was sweet for Doug Henderson when he came from behind to claim the spoils from Robert Smith by 8-5.
At the weekend Steve McGillivary won the Club 7 End competition when he pipped Sheila Wilson to claim the Stables Trophy. Sheila made the best possible start to the final with a maximum count of 4 on the first before Steve found his line and length to peel the score at 4-4 after four. Counts of 2 were then exchanged so that with one end remaining the score stood at 6-6. On the nerve jangling seventh Steve picked up the vital shot to seal victory by 7-6.