Sunday 4th July saw fireworks of a different kind going off at the Retreat Lawn Bowls Club, with some spectacular bowls on display, as Alan ‘Choco’ Austin won on the final day of the monthlong Handicap Singles League competition.
Thirty-two entrants were divided into three groups and given handicaps ranging from 0-10 shots, depending on their recognized ability and experience. The winner of each match was the first bowler to reach 21 points.
Competition was keen through the early stages, with extremely close matches and a few upsets along the way. The handicap committee will certainly be meeting before the next outing, which is planned to commence on the carpet at the beginning of August. Watch this space!
After completing the league fixtures, the top 8 players, based on points and shot difference, went into Sunday’s knockout to determine the Inaugural Club Singles League Champion.
The standard competition format saw the quarter-finals drawn as 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6 and 4 v 5. This meant that two of the favourites in Darren Chatwin and Colin Brocklehurst were drawn against seasoned campaigners Alan ‘Choco’ Austin and Ian ‘Mushy’ McKissok on each side of the draw, leaving Aussie Mal Lockyer against talented newcomer Piya ‘Joke’ Klubmart, and his wife Anchana ‘Eung’ Klubmart against veteran lady bowler Nuanphak ‘Nok’ Ariyapattanaporn in the middle.
From the outset, all the matches were likely to be close but, in his match against Darren, Ian got a nose in front and was able to keep the pressure on to close out at 21-14. Alan and Colin traded blows for 24 gruelling ends before a lapse in concentration from Colin allowed Alan to close out at 21-20 in a nail-biting encounter. Mal proved too consistent for Joke, followed by maybe the biggest upset with Eung’s come from behind 21-18 victory over the experienced Nok.
Eung then progressed to a semi-final berth against Alan with the crunch match of Mal versus Ian as the other semi. Alan quickly got into his stride and dominated his match against Eung, winning comfortably 21-6.
The match between Mal and Ian was always going to be a mouthwatering encounter, and so it proved. Shot for shot and no quarter asked or given, it got down to the wire with Mal edging Ian out 21-18 in a 25 end marathon.
After nearly 50 ends of knockout competition in the heat of the afternoon, the two Aussie gladiators, Alan and Mal, faced off in the final for a real test of both skill and stamina. Both players gave it their all with some stupendous bowling, but Alan ‘Choco’ Austin got ahead and closed Mal out 21-14 after another 25 end marathon. A fitting climax to a wonderful event. Congratulations Alan!