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.