Despite suffering disappointing defeats in the singles, pairs and fours, Jersey’s lady bowlers could hold their heads high, after putting in some sterling performances against the best of British.
Gaynor Thomas – back on home ground in Wales – and Suzie Dingle took to the green as defending champions in the pairs, and saw their reign come to an end in cruel fashion, as the rub of the green favoured their English opponents.
Val Osmond and Sue Latham, from the Ardagh club in Bristol, took a 7-0 lead over Thomas and Dingle, who hit back with a devastating seven-end sequence, 1-1-1-2-1-3-1, to lead 10-7 after ten ends.
A count of five from the Bristolians on the 12th end changed the course of the game, but the Jersey duo seemed to have weathered the storm when they scored a treble to go into the last end with a one-shot advantage, 16-15.
Good bowling from both leads left everything to be played for, and, when Latham delivered her last bowl it seemed as if an extra end would be required, but her off-target missile somehow clipped an English bowl into the head for a match-winning count of two.
‘I have to say luck was on our side today,’ said Latham, inspecting the scorecard that confirmed she had won, 17-16.
‘I admit it – I missed my line, and got a lucky result.’ What did the Jersey duo think of that? – ‘It was cruel way to lose your title, but that’s bowls,’ said Dingle.
‘It just shows what can happen if you reach the head – at least you give yourself a chance!’ Thomas and Dingle had no time to drown their sorrows – they were required back in action in the fours semi finals, where they came face to face with the English quartet who were making life difficult for the organisers.
Lynne Whitehead, Jean Baker and Pat Oliver were also engaged in the triples, and were on the green for at least ten hours yesterday, but, with Pauline Marples at second, provided Jersey with a stern test.
In a low-scoring encounter, Tracey O’Connor, Katie Quémard, Thomas and Dingle matched the England champions every step of the way, and the final 14-9 scoreline shows that only 23 shots were scored in 18 ends.
Jersey led 5-2 after five, but England were 9-5 in front after 11, and a great finish was guaranteed when there was only one shot separating the teams with three ends left to play.
England finished with a single, a double and another single, but Dingle defiantly killed the last end, and forced a replay before signing the card.
‘I really enjoyed that,’ said Katie Quemard, daughter of Jersey bowls star Alan Quémard, who was experiencing her first taste of international bowls, and acquitted herself well.
Only eight weeks ago, she gave birth to a baby son, Casey, presenting AQ with a grandson.
Her partner Lee Nixon is another key figure in the Island’s bowling ambitions.
Sue Noel, Jersey’s singles representative, trailed local heroine Kathy Pearce for most of their singles semi final, but took the lead at 18-17 for the first time after 21 ends, but Pearce responded predictably, scoring a double and two singles to win 21-18.
As far as Jersey’s prospects are concerned, however, the day’s honours belonged to Allen, O’Neill and Bisson, who scorched into a 14-1 lead against the Scottish triples champions, and held on patiently to win, 18-8.
Bisson, who has already won the British singles and pairs titles, is determined to add the triples title to her impressive haul.
In today’s final, the Jersey trio face the winner of this morning’s clash between England and Wales.