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Ross Bowling Club Short Mat Bowling 2017-18

The summer started well with the Ross team of Elaine George, Pam Park, Dave Watkins and Les Williams winning the Gloucester Open Fours event. After winning 4 of their 5 qualifying group games they defeated Hardwicke in the final to win the trophy. Later in the summer the team of Les Williams, Dave Watkins, Ian Roe and Ian Park took part in the Avon Open Fours in Bristol and, despite a disappointing start to the tournament, went on to win the plate competition.

For the second consecutive season Ross 1 failed to reach the County Summer League final after being drawn in the same group as the eventual winners, Woolhope whilst Ross 2 finished 4th in their group.

The club once again ran a full programme of competitions across the winter season, culminating in the climax of the club singles competition and an awards presentation and buffet supper. The final of the singles competition was a match-up between the previous year’s county singles finalists but not before each had to negotiate a tricky semi-final. Ian Park, 3 times county singles champion, met Leo Hughes, last year’s losing finalist, in his semi-final and after 10 of the 15 ends the game was tied but Ian then pulled away with a couple of 3’s and a 4 to win with an end to spare. Ian Roe came up against Peter Wright, this year’s surprise package, who was playing his first season of short mat bowls with a 6 handicap. Peter had used this handicap well throughout the competition, playing impressive bowls to keep lower handicapped opponents at bay in the early stages of matches and never allow them to achieve parity, let alone get ahead of him. In the semi-final, however, Ian won the first 4 ends to overhaul his handicap deficit before Peter had scored and he never let his lead slip despite Peter finding his composure later in the game to keep the game tight and round off a memorable first season with a solid performance. The final saw Ian Park dominate early on as Ian Roe struggled to find the pace of the mat but Ian Park’s lead never got above 3 shots and as Ian Roe settled down he started to claw back the deficit. A see-saw battle then ensued as first one and then the other led before Ian Roe took 3 consecutive ends to establish a 5 shot lead which proved too large a deficit for Ian Park to claw back and Ian Roe took his first club singles title.

Club president John Perks presented the awards for all of the club competitions which had run over the winter season. The competition winners were:

Singles                                 Ian Roe

Evening Triples                      Jillian Malsom, Maurice Leake, Ian Roe

Afternoon Pairs                     Ian Stephenson, Ian Park

Afternoon Australian Pairs      Derek Griffiths, Ian Roe

Afternoon Triples (1)             Pauline Mills, Betty Aubrey, David Millington Jones

Afternoon Triples (2)             John Churchill, Rob Mann, Les Williams

After two very successful seasons in county competitions, this year was disappointing for Ross players with the only final appearance resulting in a runners-up spot in the Mixed Fours for Elaine George, Ian Roe, Pam & Ian Park. Ali & Ian Roe, Les Williams and Dave Watkins narrowly failed to defend their Macmillan title, winning all of their matches but falling 4 shots shy of consecutive victories. Five Ross players did qualify to represent Herefordshire in the National Finals and Shaun Jones had a fantastic run in the Pairs (playing with John Mills of Woolhope) to reach the semi-finals and match the county’s best ever performance in a Nationals discipline. The full list of qualifiers, with their position in the national finals, was:

Singles    Shaun Jones                                        Qualifying group

Pairs       Shaun Jones & John Mills (Woolhope)     Semi Finals

              Ian Roe & Ian Park                               Qualifying group

Triples     Ian Roe, Pam & Ian Park                       Qualifying group

Fours      Kate Williams (with a Woolhope team)    Last 32

The Ross A team finished in the runners-up spot in the county league for the 11th time in 13 years, once again behind rivals Woolhope. The B and C teams finished 3rd and 9th respectively in Division 2. Ross reached the final of the LEH Herefordshire / Gloucestershire club knockout competition for the second consecutive year but lost out to Woolhope in a closely fought final, the outcome of which was in the balance until the closing ends of the Fours with Woolhope eventually edging the match by 4 shots.

Ross entered a team for the second time in the National Club Championships and qualified for the finals in Torquay. Despite securing their first finals victory against a highly rated Southampton side, two defeats in their other matches meant a place in the plate competition. After a win in the quarter finals Ross faced local rivals Woolhope in the semi-final and Ross produced a dominant performance to win all 4 disciplines and progress to the plate final against Kingscliffe from Somerset. Despite winning 2 of the 4 disciplines in a very closely fought contest, Ross were squeezed out by a mere 2 shots overall in a thrilling finale nevertheless enhancing the reputation of the club, and the county, at a national level.

The end of the season marked the end of an era as Les Williams, after serving as club short mat secretary and captain for 25 years, decided it was time to step down from the helm. Les has represented Ross and Herefordshire at short mat bowls at the highest level over that time, including numerous appearances in the National Finals, as well as doing more than anyone to promote and support the short mat game within Ross club so, although he will continue to play, his leadership and guidance will be missed. Les was honoured at the county’s awards dinner with the county association’s Achievement Award.

Across the season 11 Ross players represented Herefordshire in the Inter County Championships and Ian Park captained the county A team.

Les Williams, Elaine George, Dave Watkins & Pam Park win the Gloucester Open Fours

Club competition prize winners at the Ross Short Mat Presentation Evening

Avon Fours Plate winners Les Williams, Ian Roe, Dave Watkins & Ian Park

Ian & Pam Park, Elaine George & Ian Roe receive the County Mixed Fours runners-up trophies from HSMBA President Jamie Harris

Shaun Jones contemplates a shot on the way to the National Pairs semi-final

Macmillan runners-up Les Williams, Ali & Ian Roe, Dave Watkins with HSMBA President Jamie Harris

The Winter League ‘A’ squad :

Ali Roe, Les Williams, Ian Park, Elaine & Rob George, George Marshall, Pam Park, Ian Roe, Kate Williams & Dave Watkins with County President Jamie Harris

LEH Runners-Up

Ian Park, George Marshall, Ian Roe, Kate Williams, Ali Roe, Dave Watkins, Sue Dix, Les Williams, Pam Park, Elaine & Rob George with Norman Allen

Les Williams receives his Achievement Award from HSMBA President Jamie Harris

National Club Championships Plate Runners-up Dave Watkins, Les Williams, Rob George, Ian Park, George Marshall, Ian Roe, Elaine George & Pam Park