BOWLS is nearing the big switchover period.
In the next 10 days both the indoor and outdoor winter bowls will be over for the majority of our region for another seven months whilst we welcome the new summer campaign with the start of the 2011 season’s first outdoor competition.
It is weeks like this where it is always hard to decide which event deserves top billing. Instead, maybe it is easier to work in a chronological order based on which competitions are drawing to a close before moving on to the new ones.
After a battle to ensure their games were not totally defeated by the snow in December, the winter bowlers at Woodhouse Moor saw their qualifying for the Winter Pairs play-off draw to a close last Sunday.
The competition now moves on to the final championship round on Sunday, leaving a one-day shoot-out for an overall competition prize fund of £900.
The competition has been dominated by Phil Hill and Danny Towning all winter, with the pair scooping 102 points in their table-topping effort.
Their nearest competitors, S Kane and I Ballentyne, were 24 points behind. In terms of the points available per qualifying round, that is three week’s worth of points separating the top two pairings.
Although Hill and Towning will start as favourites, the fact that they now face up to other regular group winners in a one-off game does not necessarily mean that their progress will be as smooth as it has been through qualifying.
Especially when they could face up to the likes of Ian Howard and Tracey Lawrence, who are one of a number of pairs who are good enough to qualify, but who may not necessarily play as many games as the pairings around them.
What a victory in a semi-social winter pairs competition will mean to the forthcoming season is unclear.
However, with Hill challenging on a number of district fronts and Towning looking to rise above the status of “promising junior”, a win could herald a change in terms of this summer’s champions.
What could happen is that the likes of Howard and Lawrence, or the Wilcox pairing of Peter and Lynn, could come through the final hurdle as champions; suggesting that very little has or will change this summer.
But then, as stated, although competitive, this is as much a social excuse to keep the hand in over the winter as it is a full-on challenge to secure a pair of winners so we shouldn’t really read too much into what it might mean for the winners – other than a bit of money and pride over their local rivals.
The latest winners from last Sunday were:
W Wilson and M Lally; P and L Wilcox; B Dowling and B Chaffer; and P Hill and D Towning.
The full field of qualifiers for Sunday’s play-off is:
P Hill and D Towning; S Kane and I Ballentyne; J Sanders and A Smith; L Walsh and E Earnshaw; W Wilson and M Lally; M Underhill and K Hill; M Hall and J Wilkinson; I Howard and T Lawernce; N Wood and N Wood Jnr; M Gregory and I MacPharlane; P Harrison and D Burns; A Ford and A Bennett; P Wilcox and L Wilcox; M Cameron and G Craven; D Hughes and N Hughes; L Oddy and C Oddy.
Meanwhile, the first-round draw for the West Riding Cup took place on Monday night.
The tournament is what this column views as the official opening to the 2011 Crown Green season, even if the competitors are getting their campaign under way long before the majority of greens have been cleared to open.
Both Pudsey clubs have two entrants with Pudsey A playing Spen Vic B, Pudsey B up against Brighouse Sports A, Littlemoor A facing Harold Club and Littlemoor B meeting Elland CABC.
Crossgates will play Eccleshill B and South Leeds Cons will meet Cleckheaton Sports A.
The event, held on neutral greens, can lay claim to the point where Pudsey’s recent run of success took off with the side clinching the West Riding Cup and then the Brotherton Cup in 2009 before joining the ranks of Yorkshire Cup winners last year.
The first round takes place on Saturday March 26 from 2.30pm. The winners progress to the second round, whilst the losers take their place in the supplementary Pilling Cup.
Full draw: (venue in brackets): Cleck Sports B v Moorend (Spen Bottom), Spen Vic C v Lower Hopton (Harold Church), M.O.B. B v Hanging Heaton (Heck’wike 1), Littlemoor B v Elland CABC (Bramley Libs), Lower Hopton A v Guiseley (Pudsey BC), Ossett Flying Horse v Heck’wike (Mirfield Old Bank), Eccleshill A v Greengates (Guiseley), Cross Gates v Eccleshill B (Lower Hopton), Pudsey A v Spen Vic B (Hanging Heaton), Overthorpe v Morton House (Spen Vic Top), Clayton v Bramley Libs (Cleck Sports 2), Harold Club v Littlemoor A (Brighouse 1), Spen Vic A v Brighouse Sports B (Elland CABC), South Leeds Cons v Cleckheaton Sports A (Brighouse 2), Pudsey B v Brighouse Sports A (Overthorpe).
● With the winter events all but over and the final details of the indoor season still to come through – we will, bar a paragraph or two, now start to draw a line under their season and start to look towards the summer months.
Here, therefore, is an opportunity to ensure that your clubs, competitions or regions are at the forefront of our coverage over the next couple of weeks.
As we start to release dates for competitions and league programmes, if you have your own club agenda – such as a call for new players, or open competitions – get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will give you a forum by which to reach out to the bowlers of our region.