The first Saturday competition since the Covid pandemic was the Joe Reid / Jo Stewart Pairs. The final of the premier Joe Reid was a game of 2 halves, with Sandy Sutherland and Pam Carmichael winning the first three ends to lead 3-0. However, opponents Vic Crockford and 12 year old Lewis Glover found their drawing game, grabbing a single and then changing the jack length with devastating results, securing a 4 at the fifth and seeing out the match with a 2 at the sixth and final end.
The Jo Stewart final (for first round losers of the Joe Reid Trophy) featured John Logan and Keith Lyons against Ellen Johnstone and Jim McNeil. In a pulsating contest both sides got threes and a single to enter the 5th end all square at 4 apiece. Ellen and Jim got a 2 which was enough to squeeze them over the line 6-5. Ellen had lost track of the score and thought the 1 shot loss at the final end had lost them the match and was delighted when skip Jim told her they had won!
The Tourist Trophy was held on 14th August and started in blustery conditions and ended in glorious sunshine. The round robin stage had a number of talking points, including visually impaired bowlers Paul Sharpe and Bennett Ward beating a strong pairing of Stevie Todd and Bill Alexander 8-6 and Junior Emma Lyon producing a virtuoso performance when playing with Jim Johnstone in their defeat of John Logan and Sheila Lothian 11-1.
The semi finals produced an extraordinary finish in the match between Irene Sutherland /Andrew Lyon and Alison McNeil/ Ian Robertson. With his last bowl, and needing three to tie the game, Andrew played a superb shot to change one up to four up! Was this to be a reverse of his bad luck in the SYBA Pairs final where he and Luke Jones lost a four and the match? Unfortunately no, as Ian Robertson had one bowl left and played a percentage shot into the pack of bowls to reduce the deficit to one and win the match. The other semi was a tight and fascinating contest with all ends bar one being won by a single shot, Vic Crockford and Sandy Sutherland overcoming Stevie Todd and Bill Alexander 4-3.
The final saw Alison and Ian gain a massive boost winning the first end by four shots, but Vic and Sandy roared back to bring it to 5-4 after four ends. However the brilliant drawing of Alison, the undoubted star of the tournament, saw them home 7-4.
The first COVID Pairs semi final saw current Ayr and Prestwick Seniors Pairs champions Sandy Horsburgh and Vic Crockford take a commanding 8-0 lead after four ends before father and son team, Neil and Luke Jones found their range, bringing it back to 9-4. The turning point came at the 13th and 14th ends which saw the Jones score 6 shots and take a 15-12 lead. In a pulsating final end, Vic’s final shot was just too wide, and the Jones squeaked home 15-14.
In the second semi, John Logan and Jim McNeil won the first two ends, but Ian Robertson managed to get in saving shots to keep the score tight. As the match progressed, Ian’s partner John Lorimer found his form, laying the foundation for an ultimately convincing 19-8 win.
The final was a one sided affair, with the Neil and Luke getting an easy five at the first end. Ian and John got a fortuitous single at the next, but thereafter there was simply no keeping up with the Jones’s! At the half way point it was 21-3, with little sign of any inspiration that could turn the tide. The second half was slightly more competitive but both sides knew that the game had long since been won. The final score of 26-12 in no way flattered the father and son combo.
Tom Brown won the Monday Night League Shield, but only after a scary final night! Ignoring the past history of Stevie Todd who opted to play his final game back in 2019 and see a 38 shot advantage wiped out, Tom also opted to play his final game, knowing he needed to avoid defeat by 17 or more shots. After 9 ends, he found himself 16-1 down! Deja vu all over again! However a sublime draw by Tom to the jack in the final end helped calm the nerves, and skip Bill Alexander cemented the position by taking the jack to the back of the rink to ensure a 2 shot advantage and reduce the deficit to only (?!) 13! Never has such a heavy defeat brought such relief! Well done, Tom!!
The Senior Singles saw Tom in action again against holder, Ian Robertson. Played on Friday night due to Tom playing in the Championship final the next day, the players had to battle the gathering darkness as well as each other. The match lasted almost 2 hours over 28 ends. Tom stormed to a 11-4 lead, due to a series of killer last bowls. Ian gradually came into it and brought it back to 12-11 .Thereafter it was anybody’s match and when Ian took the lead for the first time at 19-17, he looked favourite. But Tom played two excellent last ends to snatch victory by 21-19!
The Club Championship was won by Luke Jones who defeated newly crowned Senior Singles champion, Tom Brown. Well inside his comfort zone playing on the same rink as the Senior Singles the previous night, Tom roared into an 8-0 lead. But Luke kept his composure and came back into the game to reel off 4ends in a row to take a 10-8 lead. Tom, as is his wont, dug deep and they were all square at 15-15. .iIt was anyone’s championship after that, but Tom paid the price of dropping short to lose 3 shots and the match 21-19!
The Junior Championship saw Luke’s sister Alice taking on Chloe Buchanan. Although Chloe played some good shots , the sheer consistency of the battle hardened Alice saw her run out a comfortable winner, 21-7.
The Club Pairs final had Ian Robertson partnering Robert Murphy, taking on Vic Crockford and Robert’s father Rab. 7 unanswered shots in the first 4 ends set Ian and Rab up, and although Vic and Rab twice came back, a disastrous 6 shot loss in the 11th end meant a gap that could not be bridged in the six ends remaining, and they lost by an ultimately respectable 21-15.t
The John Prentice Triples was held on the 18th September in glorious sunshine. After the sectional matches were completed, the semis saw an intriguing mother and daughter match up with Chloe Buchanan (and Robert Murphy and Jim McNeil) taking on mum Yvonne (with Alice Jones and Tom Brown). Yvonne won out on this occasion!
The final saw ANOTHER mother v daughter face off, with Alice (with Jim Johnstone and Bill Alexander) taking on mother Elaine (with Jim Johnstone and Bill Alexander). Once again, it was a victory for motherhood, with a 5-2 win! The final end saw lots of bowls around the jack, but at 4-2 down, skip Yvonne needed at least two shots. She was one down but with three clustered behind the jack was still in with a chance. After she failed to connect with her last bowl, Bill wisely decided to forgo his final delivery! Well done Bill and Jim, but especially Elaine as she won her first ever bowling trophy, to complete an astonishing 8 days for the Jones family!
The first and last competition in the 2020 season was the inaugural Covid Pairs competition. After the two section round robin featuring 13 teams, four remained to compete over the weekend of 5th and 6th September.
In an exciting semi final day, John Lorimer and John Logan edged out Jim Johnstone and Tom Brown 17-16. Jim played well throughout and helped his team to a 4 shot lead with three ends to go. But John Lorimer became inspired and with a three at the penultimate end it was all square, and when he laid a perfect bowl on the jack at the last end, the match was won.
Bill Alexander and David McIntyre convincingly defeated Elaine Walker/Luke Jones to book their place in Sunday’s final. Bill and Dave took an early lead and never let up, and although Elaine and Luke played some good bowls they could not live with the consistency of their more experienced opponents, losing 21-10.
The final proved to be a one sided affair, with John Logan finding the faster green a challenge. This forced John Lorimer to play attempted conversion shots which seemed to find gaps or get tangled with shorter bowls. Meanwhile David and Bill piled on the pressure, culminating in a seven at the 6th end, and despite a mini rally at the end it was goodnight from both of the “2 Johnnies” losing 29-8.
It was deja vu, all over again for Elaine and Luke in the 3rd Place match losing by 17-11 to an impressive display by Tom and Jim. It was close for 9 ends, until an unexpected 5 for Jim and Tom gave them a lead they never looked like relinquishing.
The last event of the 2019 season was the Handicap Championship Final on 14th September, and saw Tom Brown exacting some revenge for his President’s Cup loss to Ian Robertson, turning in a superb performance to win 21-3. Already starting at plus 4, Tom piled on another 14 shots before Ian got out of negative territory. Tom’s accuracy and consistency kept Ian under pressure and victory was secured with a 2 on the 16th end.
An exciting Junior Pairs event was played on 31st August with four teams playing in a round robin. Going into the final session, any of the 4 could have won it, but Lewis Glover and Chloe Buchanan deservedly won through with 2 wins and a draw.
The winners of the Runner Up Trophy, Luke Jones and Martthew Campbell were also unbeaten with 1 win and 2 draws.
Congratulations to Sandy Horsburgh and Betty Collin, winners of the Thursday Morning League and Thursday Afternoon League respectively.
We had Sensational Saturday and then we had Wonderful Wednesday! The Senior Singles will go down in the annals as one of the most dramatic in the competition’s history. Vic Crockford, 20-13 down to Ian Robertson and 2 close bowls down, his last bowl curled past Ian’s blocking bowl, taking the jack to his own two bowls to grab 3. Piling on the pressure Vic got back to 20-19, and lying 2, but Ian managed to draw second shot to stay in the game. Last end, Ian trails the jack to lie, only for Vic to take it out to lie 2, both within 2 feet. Last bowl, and Ian managed to hold his nerve to draw shot and win the match!!
Another historic occasion. The first ladies AND the first juniors to compete in the Nominated Pairs final. And what a see-sawing game it was, with Helen Kyle and Yvonne Buchanan leveling from 5-0 down, and the coming within 1 after being 12-7 down. But the dynamic duo of Lewis Glover and Luke Jones finished strongly, with Lewis putting bowls right on the jack at key times to seal a 17-11 victory.
What a difference a day makes! On 27th August on the same rink as Ian’s 21-4 win, Ian and partner George Gallacher were crushed by an almost identical score (22-4) in the Senior Pairs final. Architect in chief of the victory was Jim McNeil with a towering display, ably backed up by Skip Vic Crockford.
Ian Robertson returned to Singles action on 26th August, securing an unexpectedly comfortable win against an out of sorts Tom Brown. Tom grabbed an early advantage but it was one way traffic after that and a 21-4 victory was secured in well under an hour.
The Club Pairs Final on the 25th August an enthralling affair. Jim Johnstone and Yvonne Buchanan were in the ascendancy for two thirds of the game with Jim outdrawing the supposed lead specialist Ian Robertson, and Yvonne playing superb conversion shots to frustrate opposing skip, Keith Lyons. However astute use of the mat by Ian kept the pair in touch, and an uncharacteristic loose end from Yvonne yielded a three and the lead. 12-12 going into the final end, and when Yvonne ‘s final bowls missed the jack by inches, Ian and Keith breathed a sigh of relief, winning by a single shot!
The Novice Cup was a high quality affair staying close until half way, when Yvonne Buchanan applied the afterburners to defeat the gallant Dave McIntyre 21-10.
The Junior Championship was perhaps the most dramatic in the club’s history, both because of the closeness of the result (21-20) and the added spice of sibling rivalry, with 2 time Champion, Luke Jones up against sister Alice. Luke showed his character by coming back from 13-9 down to roar ahead 18-13. But Alice rallied brilliantly to take it to a winner take all final end. Alice said after the game that she was ‘like jelly’, but drew superbly to win the game -fittingly – on a measure!
The Club Championship was fiercely contested between Brian Rowan and Ian Robertson and was tied at 13-13 when Brian showed why he had won 5 previous championship by upping his level, eventually signing off with a superb dead draw to seal victory 21-14.
More drama in the Thursday Morning League. In the final week, Jim McNeil needed to make up a 10 shot deficit and in the last end of his match he had it in his grasp, only to see it slip away and fell short. Sandy Horsburgh having completed his 15 games had set the target of 20 points and a plus 61 shot difference. Vic Crockford had also completed his 15 games and also had 20 points but a shot difference of only plus 50 points. At the start of play, only Jim could catch the leaders. Jim drew a very good partner in Tom Brown and going into the last end and winning by 9 shots everything looked good. However they did not reckon on the tenacity of their opponents, Colin Carmichael and Les Stewart who took 3 shots in the last end meaning that Jim missed out on first place by 1 shot, Jim, however, did have the satisfaction of knocking Vic into 3rd place.
In a night of high drama, 19th August saw, as the late Sid Waddell once said, the ‘greatest comeback since Lazarus ‘. With Stevie Todd seemingly assured of the Monday Night League Shield with a two shot lead and a 30 shot lead over his nearest rival, he lost by 16 shots to that same person, leaving an amazed but happy Brian Rowan the winner! Well done, Brian, but it is hard not to feel sorry for Stevie who took the loss with great dignity.
Final Monday Night League standings.
On Sunday 18th August, nine Adult / Junior Pairs battled it out for the David Rowan Cup and the Runner Up Shield. Well done to Brian Rowan and Lewis Glover winners of the David Rowan and John Lorimer and Nicholas Weston winners of the Runner Up Shield.
Worthy winners of the John Prentice Triples on 18th August were John McKay, John Lorimer and Stevie Todd with 100% record in their three games. Runners up were Jim McCall, Marilyn Carmichael and Tom Brown.
Congratulations to our new Millennium Cup holders, Billy Herd, Archie Pagan, Stevie Todd and Sheila Lothian who came through their three games as the only side with 100% record.
In the Redox Triples played on 7th August at Midton Road, Bobby Blair, Colin Carmichael and Ian Robertson had a bad day at the office, losing all three games. The second team of Jim McNeil, John Lorimer and Keith Lyons drew one and lost 2.
Congratulations to Vic Crockford and Sandy Horsburgh who won in the final of the Senior Pairs at the same venue on the same day. They were 18-2 going into the 14th of 15 ends, after a masterful display of bowls against a strong Ayr side. When Ayr delivered about into the ditch the match was effectively over. Final score was 18-6. It was the first time Howie have won this Trophy since 1982, 35 years ago.
Monday Night League Table as at 5th August
It was a thrilling match in the Top Ten away to Kincaidston and Belmont on 21st July. Ian Robertson lost 21-16 in the Singles match – one game down. The Pairs combination of Vic Crockford and Sandy Horsburgh were going well until they dropped a 5 in the third last end to lose a match they probably felt they should have won. The full rink of Bobby Blair, Colin Carmichael, Bill Alexander and John Lorimer got a thumping win, including a seven, to leave it all on the Triples of Brian Rowan, Billy Herd and Stevie Todd needing to win by 2! The loss of a four by Howie at the 14th end made the match all square. In a breathtaking last end, Stevie piled on the pressure with three bowls on top of the jack. Back came Kincaidston to reduce the margin, then Billy put us back in the driving seat. However the opposing skip nudged the jack to his own bowl, leaving Brian to play his last shot. It fell agonisingly tight, meaning the game and tie was lost!
On the 20th July Brian Rowan and Ian Robertson came through the Tourist Trophy unbeaten with an overall 26 shot difference in their four matches. But it was never as comfortable as the scorecards suggested. They were tested in all their games but managed to play key bowls at the right time, and certainly enjoyed the rub of the green. In the final they got off to a great start against the other unbeaten team of Vic Crockford and Betty Collins leading 5-0, before being pegged back to 5-3 with one end to go. However, Ian managed to get his bowls close to the jack to reduce the options, and they finally won 6-3.
On the 19th July in the final away Seniors Triples League match at Crooksmoss in what has been an underwhelming season, Jim Mc Neil, Colin Carmichael & Billy Herd started badly, losing 5 shots in 3 ends to an effective skip who undid good drawing with aggressive shot play. However, they boys pulled it back to 5-5, before falling behind again. In the third last end, Crooksmoss were lying 5 shots when Billy’s last bowl lifted the jack and to lie shot to make it 6-9. That remained the high spot, with Howie eventually losing 10-7. In the home fixture, Crooksmoss started strongly gaining a an 8-0 lead after five ends played, and a brief ray of sunshine in the form of a 5 in the sixth was ruthlessly snuffed out in an exciting 7th end resulting in a loss of four with a potentially multiple shot saving bowl by Vic Crockford being knocked out to restore the count. The gallant Vin aided by George Gallacher and Tom Brown refused to give up, getting it back to 13-11 before losing out 17-11.
In a nerve jangling match, dynamic duo, Vic Crockford and Sandy Horsburgh came through a tight encounter in the Ayr and Prestwick Pairs semifinal against Peter Boyle BC at Ayr. From an apparently unassailable 9-3 lead, a loss of a five made for a thrilling finale, and with the scores level and four shots down, Vic drove to burn the end, and then drew the winning bowl in the extra end. The final will be played at Midton Road on 7th August.
It was an honourable draw at Prestwick BC in the Senior Triples League 9-9 on the 12th July, with the Howie rink of Bobby Blair, Colin Carmichael and Ian Robertson. The drama was in the 12th end with numerous touchers, a chap and lie and finally the jack in the ditch. When the dust settled Prestwick had the shot going 9-8 into the final end. Colin’s bowl on the jack earned the draw, with Bobby wisely electing not to play his final bowl. The home team of Jim McNeil, John Lorimer and George Gallacher crashed and burned dropping a five at the first end and finally losing 21-2.
Congratulations to Sandy Horsburgh and Vic Crockford who took on Davy Cavers and Gavin Lennon of Hawkhill BC in the ABA Senior Pairs at Craigie on the 10th July. With 3-ends to play Howie had a commanding 14 -3 lead but the Hawkhill team rallied, winning the last 3-ends but not enough, with the final score 14 – 9.
Congratulations to Stevie Todd, Bennett Ward, Brian Rowan and Bill Alexander, winners of the Gents Fours on 7th July.
In the Senior Triples on 28th June, the away of Bobby Blair, Colin Carmichael and Ian Robertson came up agonisingly short in their away Senior Triples tie at Wattfield. One up going into the last end and lying one to an exquisitely trailed jack by Ian, Bobby played a great blocker. With his last bowl the Wattfield skip nicked the jack to three waiting bowls to grab a 14-12 win. At home, Sandy Sutherland. John Lorimer and skip Vic Crockford earned a much needed win against a very good Wattfield 14 – 4, with all three of top form, grabbing an early 8-0 lead they never looked like relinquishing.
A tremendous turnout from the Howie support could not quite roar Ian Robertson to victory in the ABA Over 55s Singles District Final at Prestwick Bowling Club against Ian Howarth of Peter Boyle. In temperatures that touched 33 degrees Celsius, lapses in concentration from both players was inevitable. Ian R came back from 19-11 to get to within touching distance at 20-17 but this time there was no Great Escape!
Congratulations to Stevie Todd and Sheila Lothian who showed sheer class in winning the American Tournament on Saturday beating gallant runners up Vic Crockford and Jim Johnstone. Despite topping their section with 100% record and an amazing shot difference of 23, they has no answer to Stevie and Sheila in the final, and were always behind. Two shots in the last two ends made it a respectable scoreline of 5-3.
The ABA Under 16 semi-final at Wattfield on the 21st June was a hard fought game that could have gone either way. Luke played a rematch from last year against Arran Hutchison from Maybole Memorial Park. Luke raced into a 5-0 lead after the first two ends and was looking good, but Arran fought back to go 8-5 up, then 10-6 after 10 ends. Then Luke came back at him to go 14-10 up. It was nip and tuck until Luke took the lead on the penultimate end to lead 18-17. Luke had been setting a short jack when he could, but went long for the final end which seemed to suit his opponent more who bowled flawlessly to score 4 and take the match 21-18.
In the Senior Triples League on 21st June, the away team of Billy Herd, Alistair Mcfadzean and Ian Robertson were up against Kincaidston in the Senior Triples and slumped to a 15-6 defeat. It was not much better for the home rink of Bobby Blair, Sandy Sutherland and Colin Carmichael going down 13-8. Howie were lying five shots to bring it to 12-11 when the opposing skip drew for shot and effectively end the match.
On 15th June, the winners of the Ross Rose Bowl on shot difference were Colin Carmichael, Billy Herd and John McKay. Runners up were Jacob Harvey, Stevie Todd and Jim Johnstone. The runners up looked certain winners going into the last game of the 5 team round robin, but crashed 8-2 against the previously underperforming team of Yvonne Buchanan, Pam Carmichael and Ian Robertson.
A sensational comeback by Luke Jones in the ABA under 16s Singles at Maybole on the 14th June battling back from 19-9 down against an accomplished Girvan opponent, to edge a thriller 21-20. Opponent Chloe showed great class in opening up an early 5-0 lead which she consolidated with a brilliant series of drawing bowls. Luke never gave up but things looked grim when he tapped Chloe’s short bowl in for shot when he was already lying shot, to go 20-13 down. With no room for error, he steadily ate away at the lead, and also his opponent’s confidence, and drew his way to a memorable victory!
Vic Crockford started well at Northfield in the ABA Singles on the same night, grabbing two 2s to make it 7- 3. Then a tactical error in changing the jack length proved disastrous losing a four and then a three to fall behind 7 – 10 and finally lost 21-20.
Finally, our brave pairing of Stevie Todd and Billy Herd took a hell of a beating, losing 33 (yes – a la teleprinter confirmation in words – thirty-three!) -2 ￼at Forehill! One of those nights!
In the Senior Triples on 14th June, it was a disappointing day against Peter Boyle, losing 12-8 away and 22-4 at home.
Ian Robertson came through a tough encounter in the ABA Senior Singles on 11th June, winning 21-15. Lying four at the 11th end, his Forehill opponent wicked in for shot, and playing a minimum jack, he grabbed a four at the next end when all four of Ian’s bowls sailed through the head, to complete a nine shot turnaround and bring the game back to 10-8. However, Ian regrouped and managed to close out the match.
It was a different story that night, in the second in a double header in the Scottish Singles at Northfield. 11-1 down in jig time, Ian rallied against an impressive Cumnock opponent, pulling it back to 12-10 before fading to a 21-10 loss. His opponent went on to win the the event.
On the 7th of June. Brian Rowan and Stevie Todd got off to a slow start in the 2nd round of the ABA Pairs, dropping a four and trailing 8-3 early on but came roaring back to record an emphatic 19-9 win with an end to spare.
Lewis fought hard against Emily Houston in the Under 16s ABA first round tie on 7th June and was leading 15-14 when he dropped a four. To his credit he got it back to 18-17 and a great attempt to knock out his opponent’s match-lying bowl just sailed wide, and he lost 21-17.
Ian Robertson won through in the Scottish Singles on 6th June in a scrappy but ultimately exciting contest. 15-8 down against a comfortable Annbank opponent, Ian grabbed a four and a one to get within range at 15-13, only to lose a four to edge towards the abyss at 19-13. Match shot down, Ian played a desperate, heavy draw which was going wide but got a wick to lie shot. Two ends later the umpire was called for a three way measure which could have lost the match but Ian just held shot. This seemed to inspire him against an increasingly rattled opponent and Ian went on to win 21-19.
In the Open Wappenshaw on Wednesday 5th June started in sunshine and ended in showers, Vic Crockford and John Lorimer won the sweep, and Vic also won the first toucher prize after a play off with Archie Pagan.
The Senior Pairs combo of Bobby Blair and Colin Carmichael started well against Forehill in the ABA championships on 4th June getting a 1 and a 4 to go 5-0 up. in a high quality match, Howie’s luck seemed to turn, giving shots away, or being pipped by a closer bowl. In a tight contest of one’s and twos, Howie eventually fell short losing 12-8.
Our Triples lost 13-4 on the same day despite a typically excellent performance by Sandy Horsburgh. It was 3-3 after six ends but Seafield piled on the pressure to run out comfortable winners. Skip John Lorimer said after the game “Jim McNeil and Sandy played well but their skip just kept taking our bowls out!”
Ian Robertson won his first round match in the ABA Senior Singles at a damp Kincaidston against Peter Mullen from Maybole MP, taking the jack through to his waiting bowls to complete an impressive 21-9 victory.
Sandy Horsburgh and Vic Crockford won the Joe Reid Trophy on 1st June, beating Les Stewart and Julie McCall in the first round, Brian Rowan and Pam Carmichael in the second round and finally Tom Brown and Yvonne Buchanan in the final. fittingly. in the runners up Trophy (named after his late wife) Les Stewart and partner Julie McCall ran out worthy winners.
Lily Stewart and Alice Jones played in the Under 25s Ladies 2 Bowl Pairs UK Championship qualifiers at Northfield on the 1st June. Although losing to much older and experienced opponents, they showed steady improvement over their three games, losing 25-3, 15-6 and finally 14-10, being 5-5 after 8 ends in match 2 and 8-8 after 10 ends in match 3. The second game against Zoe Penman and Kathryn Fisher was the highlight – an intriguing encounter – and it could have gone either way at the end. At the 9th end, when 3 shots down, Lily just failed with two terrific attempts to trail the jack to gain 3. The next end Alice lay shot, the opposing skip trailed the jack, and Lily responded by hitting the shot bowl but not quite at the right angle. At the 11th end, it was Alice ‘s turn to trail the jack, but the opposition skip drew shot! It was that kind of game! Well done, girls! You played an excellent game against the elite of the country’s young bowlers!
In truly horrendous conditions, Brian and Stevie completed the second part of their Pairs double header in the ABA Championships against Dalrymple at Seafield on 31St May. In a match curtailed to 11 ends, they stormed to an 8-2 lead, only to see it whittled to 8-5, then 8-6, and alarmingly 8-8 going into the last end. Stevie played a brilliant bowl with his last shot of the match to trail the jack for shot, and Brian played what turned out to be the decisive blocker to protect that vital bowl and secure a one shot win.
In the Seniors Triples League, the home tie was a game of three halfs! Howie were 6-1 up, then fell away alarmingly to fall 11-6 behind. Then they dramatically clawed it back in 1’s to go to the last end only one down. With Forehill lying two, Vic played a brilliant chap and lie, and then drew shot with his last bowl to win! The away team took a lead 9-8 with a four at the 10th end, only to lose a three at the next. In the last end, Howie led by two, but were lying 3 down with only one bowl left. A stunning shot by Bobby Blair, aided by a wick or two, saw Howie lie shot, but their skip took the jack to the back to tie the game!
On 30th May, Brian Rowan and Stevie Todd failed at the first hurdle in the Scottish Pairs, losing 19-8 to Catrine ‘A’ in damp, miserable conditions at Northfield. They competed well initially against a classy Catrine pairing, clawing back an early deficit to get back to 8-8, but dropped a five which seemed to take the wind out of their sails, eventually conceding defeat with three ends left to go.
In conditions that started cold and damp and deteriorated to atrocious, the Nan Power Trophy was won by Brian Rowan (skip), Alice Jones (3rd), Pam Carmichael (2nd) and Ian Robertson (lead) posting a 100% record in a round robin format against the other four competing teams, with all players making a telling contribution to the win. The critical game was against the eventual runners up Alistair Mcfadzean, Yvonne Buchanan, Jim Johnstone and Julie McCall, who had reason to feel it was a game they could and maybe should have won. Alistair tapped an opponent ‘s bowl at the third end to give away a winning position and they went in to the final end all square. Lying four down with blocking bowls in front, Brian was forced to play a running bowl, sensationally taking the jack through to lie 3. Alistair could not recover and eventually went down 6-2. Special congratulations to Alice for retaining the trophy she won last year.
Mixed fortune in the Seniors Triples on 24th May. The away rink of Ian Robertson, Alistair Mcfadzean and Colin Carmichael lost 13-9 at Ayr. It was 9-8 going into the last end, but two bowls from skip Ian sailed agonisingly by the Ayr shot bowl to lose a 4.
An amazing tussle at our home turf saw the scores tied 8-8 and again 11-11 but Bobby Blair, Jim Johnstone and Tom Brown entered the last end 2 down. But Tom drew 2 shots and Bobby applied the cou d’etat with his final bowl to snatch a win!
On 22nd May, in the first round of the Ayr and Prestwick Seniors Top Ten, against Hawkhill played at Forehill, Vic lost 21-16 after taking an early lead, falling victim to great conversion shots when lying a bundle. Ian Robertson and Bill Alexander drew 12-12, and Keith, Tom Brown and Sandy Horsburgh fell just short losing 12-10. The full rink of Bobby Blair, Colin Carmichael, Jim Johnstone and Alisdair Mcfadzean held off a late Hawkhill surge to win 17-16.
Ladies day between Fenwick and Howie was a very special day as they celebrated 50 years of bowling together. To mark the occasion Vice President Evie Forsyth presented an engraved plate to commemorate the day.
After ten ends played in great weather and in good company, a surprise gift of a beautiful planter filled with cordyline and begonias was presented to the Howie to display in our grounds. A lovely momento of the friendship between the clubs.
Luke Jones was not disgraced in defeat against Scottish International, Darren Weir in the Scottish Junior Singles, going down 21-4. Highlight in an entertaining match was four (or was it five, we lost count!) touchers in a single end, with Luke coming out on top!
In the first round of the Scottish, Ian Robertson came from 19-16 down to edge a thriller 21-19 against Sorn. In the second round Ian had a nightmare start and was down 11-1, before recovering to 18-14, eventually losing out to some inspired bowls from Auchinleck.
In the Senior Triples against Newton Park on 17th May, the home team started slowly, and were down 6-0 after three ends. Then the fightback started! . 1 shot at the 4th end and 3 at the 5th to make it 6-4, and even the loss of a 3 proved only a minor blip as the juggernaut of Bobby Blair, Colin Carmichael and Sandy Sutherland rolled on, typified by a brilliant bowl from Bobby to convert from 5 down to 1 up, and an even more dramatic bowl from Sandy to trail the jack for a seven! That broke Newton Park spirits and Howie eventually ran out 21-9 winners.
The away team of Vic Crockford John Lorimer and Ian Robertson won 15-9. The drama was in the second last end, and the tale of four touchers. Ian got the first, his oppo, appropriately named Jack, got two to trail the jack near the ditch. Resigned to going in to the last only one up? Not a bit of it! Vic drove the jack into the ditch to win the end, and suitably buoyed up, finished with a flourish to add another 4 at the last end.
Congratulations to Billy Herd, John Lorimer, Julie McCall and Ian Robertson, winners of the Buchanan Trophy on the 15th May. They were big 14 up winners, but were made to sweat as the second of the three matches saw Colin Carmichael, Marilyn Carmichael and Yvonne Buchanan post an amazing 13 up.
Is there a changing of the guard at the Howie? Our first Saturday event of the season was a Singles event, with the Ferguson Trophy and the consolation McAndrew Trophy for first round losers being played on the 4th May.
Amazingly, none of the “big beasts” at the club (Brian Rowan, Stevie Todd, and Vic Crockford) who have monopolised the Championship / President’s Cup in recent years made even the semifinals in either tournament!
So, who are the new stars? Step forward Archie Pagan, winner of the final of the Ferguson Trophy against Ian Robertson. It could be argued that Archie had the easier draw, playing only two games to make the final against Ian’s four. Whatever, there was no doubt that Archie was a worthy winner, surging to a 5 shot lead after 4 ends, and while Ian got three shots in the last two ends, Archie was always in control.
Sheila Lothian earned the kudos of being the first female winner of the McAndrew Trophy, with only her loss to Yvonne Buchanan in the Ferguson Trophy taking the gloss off her day.
And what a final it was, with Sheila Lothian gaining a 4-1 lead after four ends, before a spirited John Lorimer fightback levelled things after six, setting up a nerve jangling extra end. Sheila held her nerve to grab the vital shot, and make history!
Our Senior Triples won one and lost one against Northfield on 3rd May. The home team faced a red hot Northfield skip who executed a range of conversion shots which resulted in an 18-7 defeat. However our away team, relishing the championship greens at the National Centre, put on a dominant display to win 18-7 and secure a win and a bonus point.
The first Open Wappenshaw of the season took place on May 1st. Marilyn Carmichael won the first toucher prize after an exciting play off against Jim McNeil and Luke Jones. The winning rink was Jim McCall, Vic Crockford (yes, him again!) and Jim Johnstone.
The Gents got their Seniors Triples campaign off to a disappointing start, losing both home and away to a strong Craigie side. The away team of Billy Herd, Tom Brown and Ian Robertson started slowly and could never get in front, losing 14-11. The home team of Colin Carmichael, Jim McNeil, and Bill Alexander were 9-8 up at one stage, but lost a five at the last end to lose 17-9.
The first winners of the 2019 season were the best winning rink on Opening Day. Take a bow, John Lorimer, Luke Jones, Keith Lyons and Sandy Sutherland.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2018 SEASON
The Thursday Morning League went down to the final end of the final match of the season. Jim Bryceland, in pole position only needing to win, was partnered with Tom Brown against Les Stewart and Vic Crockford. His main rival George Gallacher and partner Sandy Horsburgh got a good start and at tea were leading Tom Howson and Colin Carmichael 8 – 3. However with Jim taking an 8 shot lead, and George being pegged back to peels, it seemed an easy run in, but the tables turned, with Jim losing a 5, and at the final end being a further 2 shots down. However Vic’s last bowl fell short to give Jim a single shot win and the title!
The grand slam has been achieved! Vic Crockford created history, by bagging the Championship, President’s Cup and Senior Singles in a single season! But he was made to work hard for his victory in the Senior Singles against a gallant Ian Robertson. Vic’s drawing game, so excellent of late, was not quite as deadly on a sunny Wednesday morning on the 29th August, but he showed his mastery of all aspects of bowling by playing two stunning conversion shots which proved to be crucial. At the 19th end, with Ian having pegged back an early deficit, he tapped Ian’s shot away from the head to grab a three. But even better was to come. At the 25th end, with the score at 17-16 to Vic, but with Ian lying three with a bowl covering the back, Vic’s last bowl trailed the jack perfectly to take the end, and eventually the match by 21-18.
There was to be no miraculous victory for David McIntyre in his showdown with John Lorimer for the Novice Cup. Needing to win by a 10 shot margin, David found himself 17-2 down in double quick time, and although he pegged back the deficit to 17-11, it was John who was to take this prestigious trophy.
Another title for serial winner Vic Crockford in the final of the Nominated Pairs which saw victory for our Number 1 and Number 2 ranked players at the club – Vic and Keith Lyons. The dynamic duo came through 16-12 in the 17 end final, played in extremely cold and damp conditions. against gallant runners up, Tom Howson and Sandy Horsburgh. Vic and Keith took an early 8-1 lead, only to be pegged back to lead 11-8. The highlight was the 14th end with multiple touchers, with Sandy taking the jack through, then drawing to lie 2, only for Vic to return the favour to lie 2 himself, to open up a 6 shot cushion. Despite a brilliant bowl from Tom at the penultimate end when match lie down to keep the game alive , they needed a full house to tie, ultimately coming up 4 bowls short.
Vic Crockford added the President’s Cup to the Championship he won the day before, with another hugely impressive performance in frankly driech conditions on Finals Sunday . His opponent Stevie Todd tried everything to turn the tide, but there was no stopping the man of the moment. Vic said after his 21-6 victory that this event had been his prime target this season, as he won the cup for the very first time.
The Club Championship was won in emphatic fashion by Vic Crockford 21-8 over Ian Robertson. Ian showed some grit in keeping in touch over the first 10 ends, trailing 10-6. However, Vic was in great form, backing up solid bowls with great shots to either reduce the count, or take the shot. Eventually the pressure told, and Vic piled on the pressure to finish the match with a four and a two.
The Junior Championship saw defending champion , Luke Jones, post a 21-12 win over Sandy Fisher. Short jack specialist Luke just had the edge over Sandy. While graciously not blaming the rink, it was clear that Sandy’s bowls seemed to straighten along the line which made consistent bowling difficult. Luke acknowledged the fortitude of his opponent, but ultimately ran out a convincing winner.
The Club Pairs Final was won by Stevie Todd and Bill Alexander, beating a gallant Keith Lyons and Tom Brown 18-9 with an end to spare. While disappointed , Keith quickly acknowledged the quality of the opposition with Bill having numerous touchers, building a great base for Stevie to exploit with marvellous drawing bowls. Although the first 8 ends were hard fought, it was only at the ninth end that Tom and Keith registered their first score. It proved too big a start, but the game was high quality, played in a very sporting spirit.
Yvonne Buchanan just came up short in her bid to be the first lady member to win the Monday Night League . Stevie Todd was beaten, and a win for Yvonne would have seen her through, but she suffered a heavy defeat, to slip to 4th. Congratulations to Stevie and also to Bill Alexander who was the eventual runner up.
The second Junior Pairs Tournament was held on the 19th August with six teams doing battle. The winners were actually a trio ( due to total competitors numbering 11), skipped by Luke Jones, ably supported by Ruby Macrae and Orietta Pezzaioli.
The Runners Up Shield was won by Fraser Ferguson and Chloe Buchanan.
The Millennium Cup was delayed due to heavy rain, and eventually started late morning. Conditions were not conducive to good Bowling but no one told Brian Rowan, Tom Brown and Jim Johnstone who player brilliantly throughout and emerged with 3 wins out of 3, leaving runners up Tom Howson, Helen Kyle and Colin Carmichael the only other team with a positive win/ loss record.
An enthralling final in driving rain saw grandfather and son team of Vic Crockford and Jake Harvey lift the David Rowan Trophy at the inaugural Adult / Junior Pairs Tournament with a superb win over Stevie Todd and Sandy Fisher. Interestingly Stevie and Sandy had already registered a win over their opponents in their group match, but were edged out by superb leading of Jake, who had numerous touchers and immaculate drawing bowls throughout the match. Stevie pulled out a brilliant running bowl with his final shot to burn the very first end when six down. Undeterred, Vic and Jake took a 4-3 lead going into the final end. A brilliant draw by Vic to a few inches of the jack gave them match lie, and with Stevie’s effort only millimeters wide, victory was secured.
The first “sheeted” competition of the year was decided on 9th August. In the round robin Senior Pairs, the only two teams with 100% records battled it out for the trophy in their final game. In an engrossing tussle, Vic Crockford and Ian Robertson won out against Tom Brown and Jim Johnstone 17-15 in the fifteen end match. A potentially key moment in the game was the last bowl in the 9th end. With Vic and Ian 6 shots ahead and lying five shots, Tom drew a superb bowl to within an inch of the jack. By the next end the score was 10-8, with Vic and Ian seriously rattled. However a four at the next end eased their nerves and they went on to close out the match. Vic was disappointed with his performance, saying he was unable to get the line, but in truth all four players performed well. A special word of praise for Jim Johnstone who is playing out of his skin as a first year rookie. Ian said after the game that Tom and Jim were definitely the best team they had met in the competition.
History was made on 4th August, when the John Prentice Triples was opened up to men and women for the first time, with Betty Collin being part of the winning team along with Jim Johnstone and Archie Pagan. Let’s not forget Jim Johnstone ‘s amazing first season as a bowler, snagging his first Trophy, to add to two single semi final appearances and a winning debut with the Senior Triples team. Leading 5-0, against a strong team of Bobby Blair , Tom Brown and John McKay, it was game on when Tom played three superb draws which eventually netted a two shot advantage to reduce the deficit. In the final end, Jim Johnstone played the bowl of the day, trailing the jack to lie shot. Bobby replied brilliantly to hit Jim’s bowl and jack into the ditch. As Jim’s bowl had not been chalked or formally nominated, it was left to Archie to draw superbly to within 2 feet of the ditch to seal a 6-3 win.
Congratulations to Bennett Ward and Keith Lyons, winners of the Visually Impaired Pairs Trophy held on 3rd August.
The Nan Power Trophy was played as a Triples League. In an exciting contest played in mainly dry, occasionally sunny conditions, the winning team was Alice Jones, Steven Todd and John McWhirter. Special congratulations to Alice on her first open competition win!
The Senior Triples finished their league campaign against Northfield . The home team of Bill Alexander, Tom Howson and Sandy Horsburgh pulled away in the second half to record an impressive 11-6 win. The away team of Colin Carmichael, Keith Lyons and Ian Robertson started and finished well but the middle part was disasterous and were well beaten 24-5.
The Seniors came agonisingly short in both games against Prestwick in the Triples League. The away team of Vic Crockford , Tom Brown and Ian Robertson stormed into an 8-1 lead only to lose 11-9. At home, it was the reverse, with Bobby Blair, Keith Lyons and Colin Carmichael falling 8-2 behind,then fighting back to 11-11 only to lose the match on the last end.
Things did not get any better that night at Maybole against Maybole Memorial Park in the Top Ten. Ian Robertson played the singles leg, going down 21-9, losing a four at the first end and another mid way through the match when trying to take out his opponents bowls, only succeeding in knocking his own out. The Pairs team of Billy Herd and Stevie Todd went down 27-2, with the opposing lead right on the jack and the skip in inspired form. Triples of Bobby Blair, Tom Howson and Colin Carmichael crashed 32-7, but again the team played well enough but not helped by Bobby electing to drive when 2 up to end up losing a 7! The full rink with debutants Jim Johnstone and John McKay teaming up with old hands Vic Crockford and John Lorimer also lost heavily 26-9, again being unlucky against a very good Maybole outfit. So while the score looks horrific, Howie players all had their moments, and should look forward to more productive evenings in the future!
Congratulations to Colin Carmichael and Keith Lyons who beat Ian Robertson and Joan Horsburgh in the final of the Joe Reid Trophy on 30th June in glorious sunshine. Ian had an impossible shot with his final bowl 2 shots down and Colin having played a brilliant bow just behind the jack. His drive careered off a front bowl dislodging the jack to get one shot back, but it was not enough.
There was a welcome return to the winner’s enclosure for Jim Irving who was runner up last year in the Jo Stewart Trophy, winning with partner John Lorimer, who won the Joe Reid last year. Runners up were our Visually Impaired bowler John McKay and Julia Harvey in her first Saturday competition ! They struggled to get the line and were finally beaten 5-1.
On 27th June Bobby Blair and Colin Carmichael played Hawkhill in the Ayr & Prestwick Seniors Pairs Competition. Bobby and Colin were in control when disaster struck! They were holding three shots but having no back-bowls, when the opposing Skip carried the Jack and picked up a seven!. With 2 ends to play, Bobby and Colin trailed by 15 shots to 11 The next end they were holding 2-shots but Bobby moved the jack back with his last bowl and took one shot. On the last end again holding 2 shots, Bobby again drew to the jack but again moved the jack back so retaining just 2 shots instead of the three needed for an extra end, with his last bowl, Bobby went through the smallest of gaps without disturbing the head and finished up losing the game by 1 shot.
In the singles Vic Crockford played Kincaidston/Belmont in the A & P Seniors Singles. This was a real ding doing affair, Vic going ahead 5 – 2 , but slumping to fall behind 11 – 5. A brilliant comeback saw Vic regain the lead 14 – 11 but lost a three and a four and a one to trail by 19 shots to 14. In the next end, with one bowl to play, my opponent held 3 shots, Vic played the shot of the match to drag the jack through to pick up a 2. This was to be the final turning point, and he went on to win 21 – 19.
Bennett Ward, was in action in June at Llandrindod Wells playing for Scotland on his international debut. He told us that the greens were like a snooker table, (a bit like the Howie!) in the tripartite match against England and Wales. Bennett played a great match against England just losing by the odd shot – 20-19. Thereafter he won two and lost one to complete a highly satisfactory debut.
Great results in the Senior Triples League against Hawkhill. The home team of Tom Brown, Colin Carmichael and Bobby Blair staged an amazing comeback to turn a 12-2 deficit into a stunning 18-12 win! The away team containing Jim Johnstone (who has only been playing for 9 weeks), Sandy Sutherland (less than a year) and Ian Robertson, won 9-6, in an extremely tight game with the scores tied 4-4 after 8 single shot ends.
The Senior Triples team of John McWhirter, Tom Howson, and Sandy Horsburgh were in the Ayrshire District Final on 22nd June. On a fast green and a hot sun, our lads were 5 down after three ends, following brilliant leading by the Seafield Number 1. After that it was all about John . They say that you need a good skip to change the head, and John did that in spades! Only problem was that he gave away more shots than he recovered! We lost count of the number of touchers he had, but end 13 summed it up, touching the jack to give the shot away, and then burning the end! The final score saw Howie losing 14-8 to a fine Seafield outfit.
Luke’s attempt to win the District final of the Under 16s singles got off to a sensational start – even before a bowl was delivered. Luke’s bowls were declared illegal by the umpire as it only had the BIBC stamp. Playing with hastily borrowed bowls, Luke showed incredible composure moving to a 6-1 lead, later holding an 18-12 advantage. Jamie fought back to bring it to 19-17 when the match turned in a dramatic end. Jamie got a toucher, with his bowl going into ditch. Both players played brilliant draws, inches from the jack, with Jamie holding shot. Luke drove his third bowl, hitting the jack to the right. Jamie’s bowl went out of play, and with three yards to draw shot, Luke’s last bowl fell agonisingly into the ditch . To add insult to injury the toucher counted a second making the scores level. Jamie then saw the job through with three expertly played bowls to win 21-19. The match was a brilliant advertisement for youth bowls, with both bowlers deserving enormous credit for their skill and sportsmanship.
The Buchanan Trophy was played on 20th June was a Triples tournament with the team with the biggest shot difference being declared the winner. No doubt about the winning rink with Bobby Blair, Betty Collins and Steven Todd, good a team as they are, scoring an unexpectedly big 13 up against a strong looking combo of John Lorimer, Helen Kyle and Sandy Sutherland.
The Ladies Triples on 19th June saw an emphatic victory for the ”dream team’ of Betty Collin, Sheila Lothian and Johan Brown who sailed through unbeaten.
Luke Jones has made the district final of the Ayrshire Under 16s beating his opponent from Maybole Memorial Park 21-16 at Forehill on Friday 16th June. In a tense match, Luke came from behind to take a commanding 18-13 lead. He opted for an ill advised take out when lying 3 shots down, but his opponent failed to land a full house which could have proved psychologically damaging. To his credit, Luke saw the job through with steady drawing in a match where neither player really came to terms with a very tricky rink.
Our Pairs combo of Bobby Blair and Billy Herd fought a great battle against Northfield at Maybole, but eventually went down by 2 shots, losing 15-13. Four down, they wiped out the deficit in a single end, but eventually lost out in a very well contested match.
The Triples team have seen changes in personnel in all their three ties in the Ayrshire Senior Championship to date. The latest line up of Sandy Horburgh, Tom Howson and John McWhirter were in action at Northfield and continued the pattern of inflicting heavy defeats on their opponents by winning 18-11 to reach the final. Howie played the team from the Maidens and got off to a good start taking a 4 at the first and third ends going on to lead 10-4 after six ends. They continued with the advantage and opened up a lead of 14-4 but as the weather turned colder and the rain started the Maidens team came back into the game to draw it back to 14-11. However the Howie replied with a one shot end to stop the rot to lead 15-11. In the twelfth end the Howie managed to shift the jack to take a further 3 shots and that was enough for the Maidens to concede 18 -11. The final is on the 22nd June at Craigie Bowling Club.
In the Ayrshire Senior Triples League on 15th June, we had to scratch our home match due to insufficient numbers, but Tom Brown, Archie Pagan and John McKenzie won away 21-9 coming back from a 6-1 deficit.
The winners of the American Tournament played on the 8th June were John McWhirter and Yvonne Buchanan who comprehensively beat a gallant Keith Lyons and John Lorimer in the final. This was a special moment for Yvonne who was runner up in this tournament last year. Both John and Yvonne played well throughout but it was Yvonne’s brilliant drawing on very fast greens that ensured victory, winning all four matches in the process.
Bobby Blair and new partner Billy Herd won a thriller at Newton Park against Seafield in the Ayrshire Senior Pairs, winning 17-16. Howie lost five but got it back with interest at the next scoring a six! At the final end, the scores were level but Howie were 2 down with Bobby’s final bowl to come. Attempting to take the two bowls out clean, Bobby hit the outside edge of one which hit the jack sending it to Billy’s bowl, to grab victory!
Congratulations to Luke Jones who beat Robert Rafferty from Girvan 21-3 in the Under 16 Ayrshire Singles at Seafield on Friday 8th June.
Bizarrely, it was the same score in the Ayrshire Singles at Forehill but this time Howie represented by Brian Rowan were at the wrong end of the 21-3 scoreline. Just of of those days, Brian !
Howie are through to the Ayrshire Senior Triples semifinal with another emphatic win – this time 23-7 over Peter Boyle. Sandy Sutherland was drafted in for his first knock out tournament and put in a bravaro performance as lead, ably assisted by John McWhirter. Skip Ian Robertson had only to make the occasional telling contribution in what was a splendid team performance .
Howie back to winning (ish) ways in the Senior Triples winning away to Crooksmoss 15-9, and losing at home 13-8, meaning we get the all important bonus point. The away team won courtesy of impressive drawing by Ian Robertson and Tom Brown leaving skip Vic Crockford to put up the blockers. The home team fielded debutant Jim Johnstone a first year bowler .and he and his team mates Keith Lyons and Phil Simpson were not disgraced in an initially tight scoring match until Crooksmoss struck with a couple of 2 shot ends to seal the win.
Ian Robertson ‘s run in the Scottish Seniors came to a shuddering halt at the semi final stage, losing 21-6 to John Ferguson of Craigie. It all started so well, with Ian getting three touchers in the first three ends, leading by 3 and lying 3 behind a bunch of bowls. But John drew to within an inch to make it 3-1 instead of 6-0. Would it have made a difference? Maybe not, but John played minimum length which Ian could not come to terms with, constantly sailing past the jack, giving away 4s and 3s. The game was lost when Ian knocked John’s bowl in when lying shot. It was that kind of game!
Disappointingly Tom Brown could not sustain his brilliant early form in the Scottish and Ayrshire singles, and lost in both, 21-13 and 21-14. However valuable lessons were learned and Tom has vowed to work on his concentration levels. Sounds ominous for his upcoming opponents in the Howie Championship and President’s Cup!
After a great start to the season, Howie Seniors have now suffered three whitewashes in a row, with a heavy defeat to Peter Boyle with our rink of David McIntyre .Sandy Sutherland and Philip Simpson losing 26-6 at home (after being four in front after 3 ends) and George Gallacher , Alistair Mcfadzean and Jim Bryceland losing14-8 away, with ex-member Tom Dunlop being executer-in-chief converting heavy deficits into wins end after end!
On a more positive note, our Triples steamrollered Newton Park 21-7 to go through in the Ayrshire, and a scratch team of Bobby Blair and John Lorimer won a thrilling encounter 11-10 after seeing a lead in the opening end of 5 shots evaporate.
Vic Crockford played John Wardrobe in the ABA singles and after shooting ahead 17 – 4 and holding 3-shots, knocked his bowl in and gave the shot away. Vic ever the master of the draw was temporarily stymied by John firing taking the jack or my shot away and picked up two threes and a two. However, Vic prevailed 21-16.
Our first foray in the Under 16s ended in defeat for Nicholas but there were many positives to be had in a 21-16 defeat to an opponent 4 years older and a foot taller. Long jacks was the secret of Girvan opponent Damien ‘s success, but the contest was conducted in great spirit and sportsmanship by both players.
Dream Team Bobby Blair and Vic Crockford triumphed over Forehill in the Pairs. Coming back from 9-1 down, the pair showed composure and poise, with Vic showing how a lead should play, with bowl after bowl round the jack, and Bobby blocking when required and adding shots when circumstances allowed. A splendid 5 at end 8 saw Howie take a lead that they would never lose.
Ian Robertson enjoyed an unexpectedly easy win against John Steele in the Scottish Senior Singles with a 21-4 victory at Northfield . On a tricky rink, neither player was totally comfortable , but Ian took advantage of uncharacteristic loose ends by John to open up an early lead, closing the game out with a three. Onwards to the semifinals!
After a great start to the season, Howie Seniors have suffered back to back whitewashes! This time it was the Top Ten against Northfield at Seafield. Ian Robertson was 14-5 up in the singles, but failed to trouble the scorer thereafter, losing 21-14. In the Pairs, matters were not helped by Bobby Blair forgetting his glasses! At least he was spared the vision of his pairing with Vic Crockford going down 19-8, with the game conceded after 12 ends. The Triples team of Keith Lyons, Alistair Mcfadzean and Sandy Horsburgh were always behind losing 15-9, slightly flattered by a solitary ray of sunshine with a 5 at the penultimate end. The Fours of George Gallacher , Tom Howson , Tom Brown and John Lorimer won five ends in a row to take an early lead, but a loss of 4 seemed to knock their confidence and ran out 20-7 losers. Always next year, chaps!
Brian Rowan completed a grand slam of singles tournaments, adding the Ferguson Trophy to his impressive Howie CV on 26th May in glorious and hot conditions. He beat debutante Jim Bryceland playing in his first tournament by 13-3, executing a bewildering array of conversion shots to put away a gallant opponent. Brian was equally impressive in beating his great rival Vic Crockford 11-6 in the semifinal.
In the runners up McAndrew Trophy, ex Champion Stevie Todd beat another first time tournament player, John McKay . Although ends were tied, Stevie’s heavier firepower saw him run out an 8-4 winner. Again, Stevie was impressive throughout the tournament , shrugging off an early defeat in the Ferguson Trophy to record heavy wins over John McKenzie and Ian Robertson.
Congratulations to all of our Hedgehogs (Alice, Luke, Lucas and Nicholas ) who made their debut in the SYBA Championships at Northfield on Friday. Special congratulations to Luke who made the Semis losing by a single shot against Jamie Noon. Full report on the event will appear in the Juniors page.
It was a ‘bad day at the office’ for the Howie Teams in the Senior Triples. Playing both games at the Howie ( Ayr’s green is under repair), and given Howie’s imperious home form, a whitewash was confidently expected. Well, it came but not in a good way! The team comprising George Gallacher, John McWhirter and Skip, Archie Pagan played consistently well and went into the last end with what was thought to be a comfortable lead but who could have foreseen that Ayr would pick up a 7 and roll out the winners. The other rink of Tom Brown, John Lorimer and Skip, Vic Crockford, although struggling to find their form kept in touch with the Ayr side for most of the game but went into the last end 4-shots adrift. One of Vic’s better shots of the day saw him take out the shot bowl to leave the Howie holding 3 but Vic had the chance to make it 4 and level the game with his last bowl but he muffed it and they lost by 1 shot.
Congratulations to Tom Brown who battled back from 5 down to win his Scottish singles match on Thursday.
Well done to Bobby Blair and Vic Crockford, victorious in the Scottish and Ayrshire Pairs. A heavy schedule awaits our dynamic duo.
Ian Robertson was engaged in a titanic Scottish Over 55 singles match against Colin Shanks, Newton Park on 24th May on a Kincaidston rink that was definitely Howiesque. After 6 ends on consistently heavy bowls, he was 12-4 down, the 4 coming as a full house when he hit the jack to his back bowls when three shots down. Ian finally found his range, remembering to put into practice coaching notes he himself had compiled (free to members on request!) . At what proved to be half way in the contest, he had got back to 16-9 down. At the 18th end lying one, he touched his opponent in for shot and to add insult to injury lost 2 at the end to a fortuitous wick, to go 18-12 down. Finding another gear, Ian fought back but still trailed 20-18. With Colin seeming to wilt in the heat, Ian got a 1 and a 2 to win by the closest of margins, 21-20 after 24 pulsating ends.
A pattern is emerging in the Senior Triples League. Once again, our hometown heroes had a thumping victory over a lack lustre Wattfield team, running out 17-5 winners.
Our away team lost more heavily – 20-3, depriving Howie of a vital extra point. The Wattfield skip was inspired, constantly drawing past serried arrays of blocking bowls to convert a heavily losing position into a win. Vic Crockford who was the opposing skip had to resort to striking, but one effort took his own bowl out to lose 4 shots, and later did the same to lose another 5! It happens to us all, Vic !
Alistair Mcfadzean and Stevie Todd played Hawhhill at Crooksmoss in the National Pairs Championship on the 17th May. A tight, edgy 9 ends saw Howie just 1 behind at 6-5. Thereafter Hawkhill had the best of things taking a seemingly unassailable 12-6 lead with only 4 ends left. Then out of nowhere Howie grabbed an amazing 5 shots and used this to build momentum and eventually tok the lead at 13-12 for the first time since the 4th end. Going into the final end, Stevie played all his bowls short, leaving Hawkhill lying 2 and match, with the jack seemingly protected. Summoning amazing will to win, Alistair twice hit the jack, but agonisingly failed to move it away from the two Hawkhill bowls. So Howie fell just short, losing 14-13.
Ian Robertson won his first round singles match in the Scottish Championships beating Gill Martin, Maidens BC, at Forehill Bowling Club, a match played in in gorgeous sunshine. The match was highly competitive with Howie leading narrowly 6-5 after nine ends. The arrival of cheerleader Vic Crockford seemed to inspire Ian, and a crucial full house gave him breathing space . Despite Gill pulling off a couple of brilliant recovery shots to save match lies , eventually the pressure told and victory was secured by 21-14.
The latest match in the Senior Triples League saw Howie lose out 3-2 to a strong Seafield team. The home team of Bobby Blair, John McWhirter and Colin Carmichael got off to a poor start losing all of the first four ends, before completely turning the tables to win the next 6 ends to take a 10-7 lead. The final two ends saw each team taking 2 shots to make a final score of 12-9.
The away team of Vic Crockford, Keith Lyon and Ian Robertson found things tougher. After a good start which saw Howie lead 4-1. the Seafield skip played a series of brilliant conversion shots to transform promising Howie positions. Six shots won by Howie in the last two ends probably made the final score of 16-11 a more accurate reflection of the keenly competed contest.
On Star Wars Day, May the 4th (be with you!), Prestwick Howie Seniors took on Newton Park in the A & P Seniors Triples League. Howie were desperately short of available players and the home team had to call on the services of the Club’s oldest member Sam Milliken (95). Sam, playing his first game of the season took the lead’s role with George Gallacher second and Vic Crockford Skip. It was a close fought contest with the Howie eventually winning by two shots. The away triple consisted of Colin Carmichael, lead, John Mackenzie, second and Bobby Blair Skip. Again another close game. Going into the last end Howie were 4-shots up but a disaster in the last end saw Newton Park pick up 4-shots to end the game honours even. The results mean that the Howie get 4 points & Newton Park get 1 point.
The Senior Triples League started on Friday 27th April. The away team of Vic Crockford , Alistair Mcfadzean and Ian Robertson faced a daunting trip to Craigie. Ian and Alistair took time to settle and it was Vic who pulled off great and sometimes lucky conversion shots to keep Howie in the game. The strain told however and Howie were trailing by 5 when a spectacular 4 shot end pulled them to within one. That was the best Howie managed, losing a four in their turn, and alhough the front end (Ian in particular) were finding their range, the Craigie skip was inspired, pulling off a series of great shots to earn Craigie a deserved 15-8 victory.
The home team of Bobby Blair, John Lorimer and Colin Carmichael pulled off a fine win, 18-5 on a heavy green. The standard was high from both teams, with the leads showing their class. Almost all of the first 10 ends were decided by a single shot, indicating the competitiveness of the contest. Bobby had to pull out all the stops in the eight end, with a wonder shot under almost unimaginable pressure to convert a 5 shot down situation into a single shot advantage. The flood gates opened over the final ends with Howie grabbing multiple shots at two ends. With victory assured, the final end loss of three shots represented only a minor blip in an impressive display.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2017 SEASON
Visual Impaired Pairs Competition was held on the 22nd September.
Congratulations to Bobby Ferguson and George Gallacher who won the event.
Colin Carmichael teamed up with Brian Rowan to take on Billy Herd and John Lorimer in the Club Pairs and it proved to be a hard fought contest.
At the midway point it was anyone’s game with the score 9-9 after 9. Colin and Brian seemed to adapt to the fading light and temperature and pulled out to 19-9 before Billy and John picked up a 1 & a 2 to take the game into the final end. Colin closed the head down with a perfect bowl to seal the game.
The Novice Cup was won by Tom Brown with a convincing win over Keith Lyons. Going in to what proved to be the final end, Tom held a 20-12 lead. His first bowl rested next to the jack, and that is where it remained to give Tom what must surely be the first of many singles triumphs.
Well done to Lewis McCarrell and Lily Stewart, winners of the Junior Pairs Cup held on Saturday 16th. In an entertaining final with multiple “touchers”, they won through against Lucas Neil and Alice Jones by 6-2 in the five end final.
In the runners up competition for first round losers, Nicolas and Orietta beat the McRae sisters, Ruby and Anna.
Brian Rowan retains the Presidents Cup. Brian was given a walk-over by finalist Tom Dunlop after an unfortunate breakdown in communication re the time of the final. Tom was unwilling to consider rescheduling the tie and Brian was declared the winner. It was a pity that the competition ended like this as it promised to be a titanic struggle between two of the best bowlers in the Club.
The Ladies Fours was a well fought competition. There were a number of close games with 3 teams in contention to take the cup going into the final game, we’re a draw was enough to give the winning team a 1 point lead. Winners were, Moira Speirs, Nina McGregor, Yvonne Buchanan and Skip Evie Forsyth.
The Gent’s Thursday Morning League Shield was in the balance until the final minute of the final game.
At ten o’ clock, three players were in the mix. If Vic Crockford beat Tom Dunlop, barring a miracle, he would be Champion. If Tom won, and Ian lost, Tom would be champ, and if Ian won and Tom lost, Ian would take the title.
Ian’s team won comfortably, so it was all on the game between Vic, Jim Irving and George Gallacher against Tom, John McKenzie and John McVie.
With one end to go, Tom was one shot ahead. Then the drama began! With a nervous Ian watching from the side, John McKenzie played a perfect bowl to draw the shot. Then Vic took the jack to lie 2 shots, then Tom played a magnificent bowl to lie two shots.
But with the final bowl of the match, Vic somehow found a way to get through a cluster of bowls to hit the jack once more, and take it to the back of the rink to lie 3, and win the match by 2 shots!
But the drama was still not over! The miracle nearly happened. Ian’s 17 shot win took him agonisingly close to snatching the title on shot difference, but came up just short! A truly amazing finale!
Provisional date for the Novice Cup is Thursday 21st September at 6:30 pm. The match promises much, as it features two of the “form” players this year, Keith Lyons and Tom Brown.
5 Time Champion Triumphs!
In a pulsating match, Brian Rowan came from 12-3 down, to pull off a dramatic victory, taking 2 shots at the final end to snatch victory from a gallant Bill Alexander. Brian could not contain his emotions, and delivered a defiant fist pump to the appreciative crowd. “This one’s for John Prentice” Brian declared after the game.
A sporting Bill conceded graciously. “I was relaxed and playing well”, he told our roving reporter. “I had been playing long jacks, but I tend to prefer a shorter length, I changed to a short one. That turned the game!”
Luke Triumphs in High Quality Final
Luke also had to overcome an early deficit to an inspired Nicholas, who pulled off stunning shots to take an 8-3 lead. “I thought I would lose” admitted Luke after the game. “I reckoned my only chance was to play long jacks, as Nicholas was superb at the shorter length. Mind you, he wasn’t bad at the long jack either!”
Nicholas agreed with this assessment, and felt the turning point came in the 12th end when, with the scores tied at 9-9, Luke got a full house. From there, he won 5 out of the next 7 ends, and although Nicholas pulled off a great shot under pressure in the penultimate end, he had to concede to a worthy winner.
Luck or Tactics?
In the Senior Singles. Billy stormed to a 13-1 lead, but Tom fought back gallantly to come within 3 shots after 19 enthralling ends. Both players admitted that the breaks favoured Billy, with Tom being particularly unlucky in taking the jack to Billy’ s back bowls on a number of occasions. “I had to use my experience and dig deep and play defensively during the middle part of the game” Billy admitted. He saw out the storm, and eventually posted a 22-12 win.
In his post match interview, Tom laughed “I was robbed!” before generously acknowledging Billy’s tactical nous and tactically placed bowls!
Redemption for Tom Brown
Redemption for Tom Brown in the Nominated Pairs final playing a vital role with Alistair Mcfadzean in putting in a strong second half performance to see off the ever impressive dynamic duo of Brian Rowan and Stevie Todd. Final score was 16-9.
Another first for Vic Crockford! He has won the Gents Monday Evening League Shield – the Premier League of the Howie bowling season!
Congratulations to Brian Rowan, Sheila Lothian, Betty Collin, and Joan Horsburgh, winners of the Ross Rose Bowl on 23rd August.
The Millennium Cup was won by Brian Rowan and Betty Collins. Congratulations to them!
The John Prentice Triples held on 5th August was won by Sandy Horsburgh, Luke Jones, and Ian Robertson. Special congratulations to Luke who stepped in at a very late stage to compete.
The American Tournament was won by Tom Dunlop and Margaret Ward ( in her first ever Saturday competition). Well done, and commiserations to runners up, Alistair Mcfadzean and Yvonne Buchanan (also in her first Saturday competition).
The Tourist Trophy was won by Helen Kyle and Betty Collins who beat Ishbel Macleod and Tom Brown in what was reported to be an outstanding final.
The Jo Stewart / Joe Reid event saw a great turnout of 22 bowlers and lots of spectators. The “runner up” Jo Stewart saw a well deserved if a little flattering 8-5 win for Stevie Todd and Colin Carmichael over the gallant Sheila Lothian and Keith Lyons.
The premier Trophy saw the strong pairing of Les Stewart and John Lorimer win 8-3 against Betty Collins and Jim Irving, the shot of the match being a brilliant forehand draw by Jim which trialled the jack to snatch 2 shots early in the contest.
In conditions more like mid winter than mid summer, the Nan Power Trophy was played on Saturday 24th June, and saw one of the most convincing wins in recent history.
In a format where a team of four compete as a full rink, 2 pairs, and a Triples and a single, the winning team had a clean sweep, winning all five games! Well done to Vic Crockford, Helen Kyle, Sheila Lothian and John Lorimer!
Congratulations to Barbara McKinley, Evie Forsyth and Ishbel Macleod, winners of the Ladies Triples on a truly gorgeous day.
The finals the singles tournament on the 10th June threw up an intriguing Gents V Ladies contest. In the “runner up” McAndrew Trophy, Stevie Todd opened with a confident full house to go 4-0 up. And was he glad of that! Sheila Lothian started to get her line and length, and made impressive inroads on that lead, but finally came up just short, losing 9-6.
In the premier Ferguson competition, Keith Lyons was matched against Betty Collins. 9-5 down, going to the final end, Betty made an incredible effort, lying four shots with Keith’ s final shot to come. With amazing composure in the red hot atmosphere, Keith drew shot to win 10-5!
Mixed fortunes for Howie in the ABA competition. Perhaps worn out from his exploits on Wednesday, Tom Dunlop could not get the win in the singles. The triples of Tom McMoneagle, Ian Robertson and Colin Carmichael came agonisingly close to clawing back a 3 short deficit in the final end against a strong Newton Park side. The full rink of Bobby Blair, John McWhirter, Sandy Horsburgh and Michael Trainer pulled off a sensation one shot triumph with Bobby drawing the winning shot with the last bowl of the game.
The Top Ten tie against Prestwick Midton Road ended in heartbreak. The pairs of John Lorimer and Colin Carmichael lost heavily but this was balanced by a hard won victory by the full rink of Sandy Horsburgh, Les Stewart, Keith Lyons and Tom Howson. However the drama centred on the other two ties. Tom Dunlop rallied brilliantly to overturn a 20-10 deficit into a stunning win. The triples of Ian Robertson, Tom McMoneagle, and John McWhirter came back from an early five shot deficit to lead by 12-6, with two ends left. However a calamitous loss of 6 shots and then a one shot loss at the final end meant that Howie are out on shot difference!
The Ladies “took one hell of a beating”! in their annual match against Fenwick Ladies. Our special reporter was understandably emotional when filing her report, but it is thought the final score was 42-5. On the bright side, the sun shone (sometimes), the meal was great, and the raffle had a special prize of a watch donated by Philip Simpson (thanks. Phil!). Never mind, there’s always next year, ladies!
The first Saturday club competition of the year was held on 20th May. The winners of the Buchanan Trophy were Colin Carmichael, Steven Todd, and Margaret McMoneagle. They edged out runners up John McWhirter. Helen Kyle, and Ann Jack on shots scored – 29-25 in a keenly fought round robin event.
Our annual match against Maybole Memorial Park for the Ailsa Trophy was a close run affair, with Maybole edging the contest 58-53. Interestingly, the total wins for each club now stands at 23-22 for Howie. This should give an added edge to the fixture at Maybole next year!
The reason for the name of the trophy is lost in the mists of time. The competition dates back to 1972 when Maybole were starting up, and were keen to get fixtures. Now they are so busy, they find it hard to fit us in!
The opening day match between the President and the Vice President went to the wire. Despite the President’s rink enjoying a well merited 7-4 victory, the aggregated scores of all the rinks showed a narrow 35-34 win to the VP team.