Bowls: Last-bowl agony for Jersey
MONDAY brought its fair share of disappointment to Jersey's finest bowlers in the British Isles indoor bowls championships at the Stanley Club in County Durham, but they could at least look forward to contesting one semi final.
Malcolm De Sousa and Thomas Greechan were probably the unluckiest players on show, with even their opponents, Midlothian's all-Scottish international duo Ronnie Duncan and Colin Walker admitting that the Jersey pair deserved to win their tense quarter final clash.
Men's singles: B Mellors (SCO) 21-6 T Greechan (CI)
Men's junior singles: R Atkins (ENG) 21-19 M de Sousa (CI)
Men's pairs: Greechan/de Sousa (CI) 17-18 Duncan/Walker (SCO)
Men's fours: Ireland 21-9 Channel Islands
Ladies singles: A Merrien 21-9 W Price
Ladies junior singles: S Laidlaw 21-7 R Macdonald
Ladies pairs: Petit/Merrien (CI) 20-19 Seymour/Falkner (ENG)
Ladies triples: Channel Islands 8-18 Wales
Ladies fours: England 23-12 Channel Islands
Oozing class, the Scots looked comfortable as they opened up a 15-7 lead by the 14th end, but, when the pace of the carpet changed, De Sousa and Greechan took control, and charged back into contention, scoring two trebles, a double and a single to lead, 16-15.
Two ends later, when the last end got under way, the Jersey duo were still one shot in front at 17-16, and they were only one shot down in the head when Greechan stepped on to the mat to deliver his last bowl on the 21st end.
'If I had left things as they were, we would have tied at 17-17, and earned an extra end, but there was a good chance to rest Scotland's shot bowl to set up a match lie,' recalled Greechan.
Attempting to win the game this way involved an element of risk, and Greechan's brave delivery not only failed to take the shot, but pushed Jersey's nearest bowl away from the jack to give the Scots a double that saw them through to the semi finals.
'We were totally out-bowled over the last seven ends, and Jersey deserved to win,' said Duncan. 'Tommy was very unlucky, and to us it feels as if we lost – though when the dust has settled, we will realise that we are still in with a chance of winning the title.'
However, there was no luck about Greechan's exit from the men's singles, in which he was drawn to play East Lothian's Billy Mellors in the quarter finals.
Mellors, a former winner of the British Isles outdoor singles title, is hoping to join an elite band of players who have won the title indoors and out, and, apart from a few isolated ends, he dominated the game, winning, 21-6.
But Greechan's wife, Lindsey, who teamed up with her mother-in-law Helen Greechan and Doreen Moon, did suffer some bad luck against the defending triples champions, Mary-Clare McCulloch, and the Packwood twins, Kerry and Kelly.
The women's triples semi final was evenly poised after ten ends, when the Welsh trio led 10-8, but a disaster occurred on the eleventh end, when Jersey could have picked up a game-changing count of six shots.
Wales were holding four shots, but Jersey had six bowls at the back of the head, tempting skip Lindsey to attempt to carry the jack through. There seemed to be no gap, and the shot looked to have been delivered perfectly, but Lindsey's bowl somehow managed to speed through without touching a thing, so Wales counted four shots, and led, 14-8.
Rachel Macdonald, now back on Jersey after a spell in Ireland, was unable to cope with the consistent accuracy of Scotland's Stacey Laidlaw, who beat her, 21-7, in the quarter-finals of the women's junior singles.
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