Ian Wilson's blog

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Continuing the virtual season for the Club’s A teams in 2020

 COAST LEAGUE   Saturday      End JUNE/JULY

The last Saturday in June saw the return games from the opening weekend, as we welcomed high-flying St.Asaph to a blustery, wind-swept green at the Vardre. A huge change from midweek when all players were seeking shelter from the 30 degrees heat and humidity. Overnight rain had slowed the green, and more rain was forecast around 4pm, which was a huge advantage to the visitors, who, like many, find our green difficult to play when it is running. The “Saints” have several experienced players in their Saturday A side and we knew we had a testing afternoon ahead, fully proven as our visitors raced into a 4-0 lead with the home team’s opening four (and the rest of the squad) looking dazed and completely down-hearted inside the first hour. A rallying call from our non-playing captain (rotation system of selection again) seemed to have the desired effect, as we recovered with 4 consecutive wins of our own to tie the match at 4-4. It was now all down to our final pair on the green, as we still trailed by 8 on the aggregate, but in Garth Evans and Phil Nash, our visitors had an impressive tail-end to overcome. As well as Marc and Paul played at the death, Phil’s mastery of a cross crown mark saw him recover to win to 15, whilst Marc bowled his customary corners to perfection to beat Garth 21-17. A 5-5 draw in games but the visitors took the aggregate by 10 to record a 7-5 away win. American Independence Day brought a local “derby” away at the Llandudno Oval – our corresponding fixture at Vardre early in the season had seen us win by the narrowest of margins, and so our hosts would be keen on avenging that defeat. The Oval green must be almost twice the size of our home turf, and it was in excellent condition on a rather blustery afternoon in the seaside resort. Good wins for Gwyn and Doreen in the opening 4 blocks was cancelled out by defeats for David P and Shan, but we lost our way slightly in the middle order as our hosts won 3 more games to take a 5-3 lead, and it would take a huge effort to overcome the aggregate in the final 2 jacks. Although both our captain and Marc led at one point, Ian struggled on a cross green mark over the crown against Richie, and eventually lost to 17 but Marc bowled his “former patch” to perfection throughout and won 21-12, giving us our 4th winner of the afternoon, which kept us marginally off the bottom above Dyserth, who lost 9-3 away at Beaumaris. Week 14 was a 2nd meeting in 4 days at home versus Abergele (we had beaten them 8-4 on Wednesday evening) although both sides had changes in personnel from their Mid-week League teams. Overnight rain had drifted east and the green was in good condition and running evenly. However we did not have the best of starts for the 2nd consecutive home Saturday game, and found ourselves trailing by 10 on the aggregate after 4 blocks. Admittedly it was 2-all in games, but we appeared to lack a touch of confidence having lost our previous home Saturday fixture, and our 2 opening winners only just scraped through. From here on in however the whole team played exceptionally well, and with just the one defeat in the final 6 games, we recovered for an unexpected 9-3 victory (going one better than our success in midweek) With Dyserth losing at home to St.Asaph, and Caernarfon suffering their 3rd consecutive defeat, we actually climbed one spot further from the bottom following this impressive win. Not many of our squad had played the Caernarfon green (half of them needed directions to find it) and in the mist rolling in off the Straits, it was even difficult to see it! The view of the famous Caernarfon Castle, normally visible through the trees from the Clubhouse, was also lost on a day of constant drizzle and low cloud. With the captain’s advice to make full use of the practice time etched on the team-sheet back on the Vardre notice-board, it was somewhat disappointing that 4 players were late arriving at the green – a combination of the poor visibility and the increase in traffic in North Wales on the first weekend after lockdown restrictions regarding travel and some accommodation were lifted. The home side raced in to a comfortable 4-0 lead, and matters looked even worse with a heavy loser at no.5 also, but a fighting display from our rearguard which also began to lift the gloomy conditions, saw us recover to gain 4 close winners in the 2nd half of the match. We had avoided what once looked like a white-wash to record an 8-4 defeat, a result that left both sides tied on 79 points, 9 clear of bottom side Dyserth, and very close to Bethesda and Abergele above us. With no League fixtures next week due to the BCGBA Championship, we have 5 crucial games in August that could determine our prospects of remaining in B Division for 2021. Current League standings at the end of July;

TOP  4                                                         P.    Pts.

1 Bangor City                                            15   117

2 Rhos Park B                                            15   113

3 St.Asaph                                                 15   101

4 Llandudno                                              15    97

BOTTOM  4                                                P.    Pts.

9  Bethesda                                               15    80

10 Caernarfon                                          15    79

11 VARDRE (Deganwy)                           15    79

12 Dyserth                                                15    70

The top 2 sides (Bangor & Rhos Park – both relegated from A Div. in 2019) are forging a slightly bigger gap in their bid to bounce back with promotion this season. It is a bit tighter at the basement, Dyserth are beginning to lag behind, but then just 8 points separate 6 clubs, with Holyhead, Beaumaris and Abergele all fractionally ahead of the bottom 4. FIVE matches for all in August may have some bearing on the final placings, with just 7 matches in total remaining until the last round of League games on Sept. 12th.

MIDWEEK LEAGUE   Wednesday    End JUNE/JULY

With the team sitting 9 points clear at the top of B Div, the 2nd half of the season commenced with a home match versus Rhos Park C. Temperatures during the day had reached the high 20s and there was little respite as the first games got under way promptly at 6-30pm.  Our captain reminded us of the need to stay focussed, and not be complacent for the remaining matches, as our advantage at the top could easily be pegged back by any one of 4 Clubs who were in the chasing pack. It was another excellent start for us as the ladies and Bill gave us a commanding 4-0 lead inside the hour, Rhona and Shan winning fairly comfortably but Katherine and Bill having a bit of a scare before winning to 19 and 17 respectively. Our visitors were having problems with the pace of the green but they did stage a minor revival with 2 winners of their own in the middle order. Leading 6-2 in games and with a healthy +30 on the aggregate, the match was well and truly won, only emphasised by the consistent Jones boys, who finished off the match to give us a 2nd consecutive 10-2 home win, to lift us 11 points clear at the top over 2nd placed St.Asaph. One would imagine that the green at Penrhyn New Hall was well-suited to our players, it is perhaps smaller in size but it runs away on the road side and we play there often enough during the course of a season. However we rarely gain any success there, as if in trouble there are few opportunities to alter your length, and we often struggle to pick out the pace. A couple of changes to Tommy’s starting line-up also, with Rhona away visiting family in Liverpool, and Ian recovering from having the twins over from Wrexham for a couple of days, courtesy of Mark Drakeford’s lifting of the 5 mile travel radius throughout Wales during lock-down. This match report therefore comes second-hand from our captain, who was rather disappointed with the performance of his team, especially as he himself had recorded an excellent 21-11 win over Dave Jones. “Too many of them never made their 2nd wood count, Ian. I keep telling them ‘you have two woods’ but they failed when there was plenty of room” He was reluctant to expand on individual performances, other than “he/she should have beaten…….” Anyhow to cut a short story even shorter, we had 5 winners apiece but lost the aggregate by 8, for a 5-7 defeat. Fortunately Tommy’s spirits were raised when he discovered later in the evening at The Links (a change from our cutomary watering-hole) that Llysfaen had beaten 2nd placed St.Asaph 8-4. He was quick to point out however that both Abergele and Dwygyfylchi were closing in on 2nd spot after excellent results, and Abergele were our next opponents, although we had home advantage. A constant drizzle, heavy at times, throughout the day, had saturated the surface of the Vardre green for the visit of Abergele. This was our 4th meeting of the season with them, and quite surprisingly we were scheduled to play against the same opponents 3 times within the next week (at home again on Saturday before a visit to play their Vets. A team next Tuesday) All previous 3 matches this season had gone to home advantage, and this evening’s encounter was destined to have the same outcome as we took an early 3-1 lead, with Rhona and Ian (both re-called to the starting line-up) and Alan, all playing the green well to record good wins. There was a moment of panic as Abergele recovered well in the next 4 blocks to gain another 3 winners to tie the match at 4-4, although with all being narrow wins we still had a good lead on the aggregate. Alun and David mastered the slowing green well in the closing stages to give us an eventual 8-4 victory. With St.Asaph surprisingly going down at Craig y Don, and our success versus Abergele, it was Dwygyfylchi who leap-frogged into 2nd spot after a 9-3 home win over Mochdre, but we still maintained a 12 point advantage at the top. However with 4 of our remaining 6 matches away from home, we couldn’t be complacent in the final run-in. After a week off on Cup duty, we returned to play Mochdre away on a cloudy but mild evening. This green for some unknown reason is not one of our most productive venues, but in the Jones brothers we had an added bonus as they are members of the Mochdre Club and bowl the green regularly. Tommy pulled a surprise order as, knowing David had an early finish from work, he put both brothers in the opening 4 blocks, alongside in-form Alan and Rhona, and was rewarded with all four winning cards and the best possible starts. This sparked the rest of the team with renewed confidence, and although the remaining 6 matches were shared, even our 3 losers had come very close in reaching 18 and 2 x 17s in an excellent team performance, and our best ever return from a visit to the Mochdre green. The post-match analysis in the Killer centred on our captain’s master plan to move Alun and David from their customary 9 and 10 roles, indicating that our opposition would never have expected them at 1 and 2, and that the 4-0 lead completely demoralised the home team. Well that’s one of our tricky away games completed, and far better than we may have anticipated. Big match next in a fortnight’s time when we host 2nd placed Dwygyfylchi, and a week later when we travel to 3rd placed St.Asaph. I would imagine after the next 2 fixtures we will have a far clearer indication of our promotion prospects for this season.

B Div. TABLE     (end of July)    

  TOP  4                                                     P.    Pts

1 VARDRE (Deganwy)                           13   103

2 Dwygyfylchi                                        13     91

3 St.Asaph                                              13     87

4 Abergele                                              13     82

   BOTTOM  4                                           P.     Pts.   

7 Craig y Don B                                      13    72

8 Mochdre                                              13    71

9 Rhos Park C                                         13    62

10 Eirias Park B                                      13    57

Quite a healthy position with 5 matches remaining, but as already stated, the next 2 results are vitally important.

SENIOR CITIZENS LEAGUE  –   Tuesdays     JULY

It has been a rare occurrence this summer to have rain throughout the day, but such were the conditions for the visit of Mochdre, in the return fixture from the opening Tuesday of the 2020 season. The green was naturally wet after constant drizzle, but the bowls seemed to glide over the moist surface, and gauging the pace was going to be a problem for all. Honours were shared in the opening 4 blocks, with Mochdre just edging the aggregate following a good 21-9 win, but our middle order turned the match around, winning 3-1 on games, but with two 21-8 wins, we now led by 19 on the aggregate, further improved upon with Alan and Shan completing an excellent 9-3 success. The win took us within one point of 3rd placed Trefnant, who were on the wrong end of a similar 9-3 scoreline at leaders Rhos Park. Away at Abergele was our 3rd meeting with the same Club inside 6 days, having played them at the Vardre in both the Wed. and Sat. leagues during the week. All previous 5 matches this year had been won by the side playing at home, and with only Rhos Park having won on the Abergele green this season, we looked hard-pressed to alter that sequence of results. Nevertheless with the Abergele green in pristine condition, we made a very encouraging start and led on aggregate after the first 4 blocks. With 2 winners apiece Gary J’s clear win 21-9 had given us the edge, but that was undone an hour later as Abergele’s 2 good winners in the middle order altered the initiative in their favour at 4-4 in games. With the last 2 pairings on the green, we needed both to win quite substantially to win the game, or if they both just won, at least a 6-6 draw. It was just not to be, for although Katherine triumphed 21-16, Gary B. lost to 13 meaning we lost the aggregate by 19 in the end and an overall 7-5 loss. Trefnant widened the gap between us in 3rd/4th with a 9-3 home win, but our 5 points gained at Abergele made it 100 so far for the season after 15 League matches, an average of 6.6 points/game. A journey to the foothills of the Clwydian range today to play Dyserth, who currently lie mid-table. At the back end of the 2019 season we recorded an excellent 9-3 away win on this green, and vice-captain Shan was keen that we aim to repeat a similar scoreline. We certainly could not have got off to a better start as Alan, Tommy and Katherine all had good wins, but Dave H went down narrowly having led midway through his game. Dyserth however recovered well in the middle order to gain a 5-3 lead in games as all four gained impressive results. This set-back was short-lived however as Shan and Gwyn came up trumps at 9 and 10 to give us the aggregate and a narrow 7-5 away success, a result we would have settled for prior to the match. Week 17 next week at the end of July and we have a tough home encounter with 2nd placed St.Asaph, although we ourselves are sitting comfortably in 4th spot at present. It had rained virtually all day on the Monday prior to our match versus St.Asaph. In the corresponding fixture in 2019 on a hot August afternoon with the green very quick, we recorded an amazing 11-1 win (admittedly there were two 21-20s, one 19 and two 18s in our favour) but with conditions entirely the opposite, it was hardly likely we would gain 9 individual winners today. Furthermore most of their line-up had played our green twice already this season (Wed & Sat leagues) with the Saturday side winning here 7-5. Honours were even after the first 4 blocks and even the aggregate was tied after four very close games. The green was much heavier than usual and the “pegging” marks were absent, but Alan and Gary J mastered the conditions in the middle order and gave us a slight advantage by gaining 2 good wins, so that even with Rhona and Katherine going down, it was 4-4 in games and +11 as the final 2 pairings were on the green. A further two more close encounters saw games shared but we managed to retain the aggregate advantage to record a narrow 7-5 success in our favour. With 2 full months of fixtures remaining, and still another NINE League matches to be played the current A Div. table reads;

TOP  4                                                P.    Pts.

1 Rhos Park                                      17   153

2 St.Asaph                                        17   127

3 Trefnant                                         17   123

4 VARDRE (Deganwy)                     17   114

BOTTOM  4                                       P.    Pts.

11 Dyserth                                        17   88

12 Meliden                                       17   87

13 Mochdre                                      17   84

14 Copperfields                                17   81

Rhos Park well clear at the top but an interesting situation developing at the bottom; even Eirias Park in 7th spot on 93 points are just 12 points above bottom side Copperfields, so all to play for in the next 9 weeks.

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SENIOR CITIZENS  –  Tuesday        JUNE

The start of a month of 5 matches that would take us up to the mid-point of a hectic Vets. League programme saw us entertain Meliden, rare visitors to the Vardre green, on an afternoon that was to be enjoyed, as the weather was due to become cooler and wetter almost immediately following the match. Meliden were promoted as B Div. champions, but they had spent just the one season outside the top flight, and were regulars in A Div. before that, which is why the 2 clubs have rarely met. Our previous encounter at the Vardre in 2016 had been a narrow 8-4 win as they had recorded 3 single figure victories that day, and despite having 6 winners to their 4 we won the aggregate by just 5 points. With our green bare in patches following another 5 days of blistering sun, it was difficult for all players to gauge the inconsistent pace, but we had the best possible start and led 4-0 within the first hour. Meliden recovered after that and gained 3 winning cards, but our 9-3 success temporarily (at least) lifted us into 4th spot. Week 10 and a trip to Kinmel Bay, and a traffic and pedestrian-free run down “the strip”, as lock-down restrictions prevented holiday-makers accessing the numerous caravan/leisure facilities in the area. Arriving therefore in good time, we received praise from our vice-captain for our efforts thus far, but Shan was quick to point out that today’s match was a stern test, as we often struggled on the Kinmel green, which looked quite parched despite the weekend rain. A reasonable start with 2 winners apiece and very little in the aggregate, was undone in the middle order as we had just the 1 winner and 3 quite heavy losses. The aggregate was way beyond us now but we could salvage something if both Gary J. and Shan managed a win at the death. Fortunately both bowled exceptionally well on a difficult surface and although the team suffered inevitable defeat, we did manage to take 5 points back home along the coast road. On a humid afternoon with storm clouds gathering up the Conwy Valley and beyond Tal y Fan mountain we entertained Rhuddlan at the Vardre green. With more consistent rain falling over the previous few days the green was recovering in appearance but naturally losing some of its pace. A pleasing start with 3 winners in the opening four jacks, Gary B and Rhona winning to single figures but Gwyn having a much closer win, 21-19 over ex-goalkeeper Les. Quite surprisingly in the middle order, Alan who currently leads the club’s averages in the Vets. league, lost to 17, but the remaining 3 cards won giving us a 6-2 lead and a healthy aggregate advantage. With honours even in the remaining 2 games we eventually took the match 9-3, thereby once more leap-frogging over Denbigh into 4th place, as they went down by the same score-line at St.Asaph. A tough trip to 3rd place Trefnant next week, before we conclude the first half of the season at the end of the month with a home fixture versus our friends from Copperfields.    With its sloping surface in certainly 2 directions, and with little opportunity to alter your length if required, the Trefnant green has always proved to be a difficult venue and in previous seasons we have rarely mastered it. Last season it resembled a mud patch as heavy rain during the match turned the bare, bone-hard surface into a greasy and slippery sludge, so we were much relieved to view a much improved green as we entered through the tall wooden gate from the roadside. We probably could not have got off to a better start as by just after 3pm we were quite surprisingly 3-1 up in games with wins for Alan, Bill and Dave L. Our acting captain almost made it a clean sweep but eventually lost to 18, so we had also gained a good aggregate advantage after 4 blocks. However after that, just like the green, it was all downhill, and we failed to register a single winner in the final 6 cards, resulting in an overall 9-3 defeat as our hosts also overturned the aggregate in the disappointing 2nd half of the match. With temperatures hitting 30 degrees less than a week ago, the weather turned autumnal over the weekend and heavy blustery showers had given way to a slightly calmer, though dull day for the visit of our friends from Copperfields (or Ffynnongroew or Point of Ayr, as they have in previous years been known) The green had slowed somewhat but we got off to the perfect start with 4 good wins. It seemed to be our day as the middle order came away with another 3 wins, especially as all four were trailing at one point – Tommy’s recovery perhaps the best of all as he was behind 5-15 at one point. It could have been a dismal afternoon for our visitors but Maureen Luke again showed her class, running out 21-16 at no.9 to give them their 2nd winner of the match. Our 10-2 success lifted us into 4th spot in the League at the exact mid-point of the season. Our 3 home matches in June had yielded an excellent 28 points, with consistent performances and by making good use of green advantage. The Senior Citizens League has a familiar look after 13 matches played;

TOP  4                                    Pts.

1 Rhos Park A                       118

2 St.Asaph                               98

3 Trefnant A                            93

4 VARDRE(Deganwy) A          86

BOTTOM  4                            Pts.

11 Meliden A                          66

12 Mochdre A                         66

13 Kinmel Bay A                      66

14 Copperfields A                   63

Rhos Park look to be heading towards retaining their title with a 20 point lead at the top at the half-way stage, but there’s a real scrap at the bottom with just 3 points separating the bottom four clubs, and Dyserth, Penrhyn NH and Eirias Park all within another 4 points above them.

MIDWEEK LEAGUE    Wednesday JUNE

Llysfaen were the visitors to the Vardre on the first Wednesday evening in June, and the weather had changed drastically. Much needed overnight and early morning rain from the north had made little impact on the green, but the temperature had dropped a good 10 degrees and the majority of the team donned their sweaters and coats for possibly the first time of the season. With 2nd placed Abergele losing 4-8 at Rhos Park on Monday evening, and 3rd placed St.Asaph facing a difficult test away at Mochdre, Tommy was confident that we might increase our lead at the top with a decent home win. Llysfaen have some good, experienced players and they have played the Vardre green on numerous occasions, so we had our work cut out to match our captain’s expectations. League Secretary Christine provided the visitors with an early success with a narrow win over Rhona, but we led 3-1 after the 1st four blocks with wins for Gwyn, Shan and Gary. Bill was unlucky in drawing their top player, Paul Morris, who rarely loses even on our green, and Katherine lost narrowly to 19 in a very tight game. Fortunately the rest of the team managed to win to give us a comfortable 9-3 victory, which after the change in conditions, we were happy to take. It also extended our lead at the top to 6 points, as Mochdre did us a favour and beat the Saints 7-5. Week 8 and a journey along the prom to play Eirias Park B, promoted from C Div. in 2019 but currently at the foot of the table finding it tough one league higher. The heavy rain that had been promised most of the day arrived shortly before our practice, accompanied by some thunder claps and lightning. It was a similar scenario to the previous year when we met their A side in the first away fixture of 2019 in the A Division, but this time the green was in slightly better condition, and absorbed the water far quicker. We forfeited our practice and both captains were in agreement to delay the start until the rain eased. Our first opportunity to wear our wet weather gear as we got under way shortly before 7pm with the green playable, but quite difficult for the opening four. It seemed that we were making up for lost time (or perhaps it was the thought of reaching The Killer 30 minutes late) but a flurry of “twos” from the visitors, having the advantage of the jack on a totally changed green from when the home team had practised, saw us take a commanding lead in all 4 games. Eirias rallied however but we gained 3 good winners, and 2 more in the 2nd four blocks with the green drying out. We had been forced to make a change at no.10, as Dave had been stranded at work somewhere up the Conwy Valley line due to the heavy rain. Fortunately Tommy had his woods in the car (although he had stepped down originally for this game) and despite bowling well he reached 16, as his opponent stretched him whenever the opportunity arose on a heavy green in fading light. Alun won to 12 so we recorded an 8-4 away success, which was sufficient to keep us at the top despite both Abergele and St.Asaph gaining 9 points at home versus Mochdre and Dwygyfylchi respectively. Six cold and wet bowlers certainly felt the “warmth” of The Killer’s hospitality shortly after 9-30pm, with the bar staff claiming “never thought you’d be playing in that weather, so we weren’t expecting you this evening. The usual is it?” It was another day of humid weather and anticipated storms, but like previous days the storms and rain appeared to hit all parts of North Wales bar the Conwy estuary. Craig y Don B were this evening’s visitors, and with St.Asaph having taken over top spot following their 7-5 win at Rhos Park on Monday evening, we were in need of a good win to overhaul our close rivals and put some space between ourselves and the chasing pack at the mid-season point. The rain kept off, but the mist rolled down the mountains in all directions around us , as we made an excellent start, with Bill winning to 12, immediately followed by our three ladies (Shan, Kathy and Rhona) all also reaching 21. With a great start (84-59 up on the agg) it looked as if we may get the good win our captain had wanted, but our visitors responded with a couple of excellent results and we were pegged back to a 6-2 lead, before the Jones brothers finished off the fight-back in their customary style with 2 more successes at the back. An impressive 10-2 home win to lift us back on top of the league by a margin of 9 points with half our 2020 fixtures completed. At the post match analysis at our customary hostelry, we were interrupted somewhat by a disturbance close by above our heads. What LIVE football, Man City v Arsenal? I can hear a crowd but I can’t see one!! So at the exact mid-point of the season the B Div. reads;

TOP FOUR                                      P.    Pts.

1 VARDRE(Deganwy)                   9     71

2 St.Asaph                                     9     62

3 Abergele                                     9     59

4 Penrhyn New Hall                     9     59

BOTTOM FOUR                             P.    Pts.

7 Llysfaen                                      9     50

8 Rhos Park C                                9     47

9 Craig y Don B                             9     45

10 Eirias Park B                             9     39

Of the 9 matches played to date, we have had 5 at home, and with difficult away fixtures at St.Asaph, Penrhyn NH and others yet to face, July through to September in the midweek Wednesday League is going to prove an ordeal. The chasing pack is sure to be waiting for us to slip up.

COAST LEAGUE  –  Saturday       JUNE

Well what a change to the weather as North Wales woke up to a blustery north-westerly wind and heavy rain. Conditions were due to improve about the time we were setting off into the Clwydian Hills and our away fixture at Dyserth. In footballing terms this was the classic “six-pointer” as we both occupied the 2 relegation places and a win would be of benefit to both Clubs. The early morning rain had obviously slowed most greens down, and Dyserth was no exception, which was probably to our advantage, plus the fact that they had not had a Saturday home match since May 9th. We had an excellent start and led 3-1 (and +11 on the aggregate) after the opening 4 blocks with wins for Dave P, Marc and Alan. Dyserth rallied well and recorded a white-wash in the middle order, taking all 4 games and a healthy advantage in the overall aggregate following two wins to 8. So from +11 to -24 in the space of barely 45 minutes, the game was lost. Some consolation however as both captain and vice-captain recorded narrow wins at 9 & 10 to close the gap to a 7-5 defeat, which kept us marginally ahead in the table. Old adversaries and fellow promoted Beaumaris B was our destination in a consecutive away fixture in early June. The corresponding fixture in 2019  occurred on the last Saturday in August, and we had to negotiate the crowds attending the town’s Food Festival, in stark contrast to the quiet streets devoid of holiday-makers, day trippers and even locals in lockdown Beaumaris today. Similar to last season we were fortunate in having a couple of days’ rain prior to the match to slow the pace of the green, always a stern test for even the experienced bowler. The home side’s squad had been boosted this season with a couple of additions from last year’s A team, and so they were likely to be an even tougher proposition on their own patch. Having exchanged pleasantries with Thommo, I proceeded to make the draw with the Pawky Professor. In previous seasons I have been able to work out more or less his running order but with a few changes in the line-up, I wondered if he might alter his customary sequence. Apart from the odd player, not much had changed but Messrs Begley, Ormond and Thomas gave them a good 3-1 start. In our middle order Alan and Marc reversed last season’s results here with narrow wins, but we went into the final 2 games trailing 5-3 with the aggregate way beyond us. The green was gathering pace in the sultry late afternoon sun, which normally suited our last pair, but honours were shared with one winner apiece in 2 closely-contested games. Another 8-4 defeat here at the Happy Valley (a similar result to last Aug.) but this season we are at the opposite end of the table (albeit B Div) when in 2019 our 4 points gained here virtually secured us the C Div. title with one game remaining. Last match in the first half of the current season next week when we welcome Bethesda to the Vardre green. It was another pleasant Saturday afternoon as the sun began to poke through the clouds around midday, and we were in good spirits for the visit of the “Quarrymen” – I’ve watched the recent series on S4C!! Another club who, because of our rise into B Div. of the Coast League and the fact that they operate midweek in Gwynedd competitions, we rarely have the opportunity to play. After Gwyn had exchanged greetings and recent news with a family relation in the visitors’ camp, and I had been able to practise my limited Welsh tongue in offering a “panad” as they arrived, it was down to business. Unfortunately both clubs are at the wrong end of the table, and so points were of the utmost concern to both camps. After the first 4 blocks honours were even, just less than an hour later nothing had changed as the match was evenly poised at 4 winners each, and our visitors narrowly ahead on the aggregate. However both Marc and Paul (our younger Club members) found line and length from the outset and turned the match in our favour with excellent wins at the death. So an 8-4 success on the day of the Summer solstice, that also heralded the exact mid-point of the Saturday Coast League season, and the B Division table reads;

TOP 4                                              P.    Pts.

1 Bangor City                                11    83

2 Rhos Park B                                11    82

3 St Asaph                                     11    75

4 Prestatyn Highbury                   11    71

BOTTOM 4                                     P.    Pts.

9 Caernarfon                                 11    58

10 Bethesda                                  11    58

11 VARDRE Deganwy                   11    57

12 Dyserth                                     11    51

A close battle at the top with both last season’s relegated teams, and not much separating the teams at the bottom either. Llandudno, Holyhead, Beaumaris B and Abergele are all squeezed in the middle, all on ponits in the 60s+ range. A very interesting 2nd half of the season is about to unfold!!!

SENIOR CITIZENS LEAGUE  Tuesday   MAY

Sadly our captain was still unable to bowl but he had been present at our home matches, encouraging and cajoling his team to 2 victories in April. However Rhos Park provided a very stern test on the opening Tuesday in May, as the sun returned but a cool easterly wind swept across the green. There are few weaknesses in the Rhos squad, they have dominated the Vets. league in recent years so we were well aware that we needed a good performance for any kind of result today. The visitors looked  determined, even in their practice but we matched them in the first 4 blocks, in fact we were marginally up on the aggregate after Katherine’s good win to 10. Again we had 2 winners in the middle order but two of the visitors’ Welsh players had excellent wins which shifted the advantage in their favour. We now needed Alan and Dave L. to record reasonable wins to take the match, but Glyn Pyd and Colin offered significant resistance, and despite Alan’s narrow win to 19, Colin bowled consistently throughout to beat Dave to 14. So a 5-7 defeat which matched our 2019 result, only today we were slightly closer on aggregate. Our first home defeat of the season, but then the opposition are in no mood to relinquish their title. Week 6 and we are making the short journey over to Eirias Park. The squad has been stretched somewhat in the absence of our captain, with sometimes just the bare 10 available for selection, but Shan was doing a sterling job in sustaining our momentum. The green at Eirias Park is very familiar to several of our players, particularly if turning out in the Thursday friendlies, and it was certainly in much better condition than 12 months previously. The draw was quite favourable to us and Gary J., Rhona and Dave L. got us off to a brilliant start with convincing wins in the opening four, our only loser reaching a very creditable 19, which saw us take an early 3-1 lead and a huge +20 on aggregate. Our middle order also looked strong but the homesters bowled the green exceptonally well and gained all four winners to turn the match on its head and take a 5-3 lead. The aggregate was now also just in their favour but our last 2 on the green, Tommy and Bill were holding their own at 11 across and 10-13 down respectively. With the rest of the team giving good vocal support, both our players dug in and began to find some excellent woods, Tommy beginning to pull away and Bill hitting a consistent line and length on a short 22-25 metre mark. To rousing cheers both won to 17 to give us the 5 winners and the agg. (just 3 points in it) and our first away success of the year in the Vets. League. Penrhyn New Hall came over the A470 as our next opponents, and the green was in desperate need of water as the fine sunny weather seemed to be endless. It was difficult to master the green as there were bare areas beginning to appear, but one also had lusher areas of grass that made the pace irregular. Players on both sides appeared to struggle, and without playing well it was difficult to understand how we managed a 9-3 win, as most individual games could have gone either way. PNH could easily have had 5 or 6 winning cards themselves, as no-one on the home side bowled with any consistency – still you get matches like this from time to time… After a glorious Bank Holiday Monday, the weather was rather cloudy on the morning of our trip to Denbigh, but as if by magic as we approached a 2-15pm start the sun burnt back the cloud and once more we were about to play in ideal conditions. We lost 11-1 here last season, admittedly the green was in a bit of a state, but it was no excuse for a poor team performance -even our hosts were surprised with the margin of their victory. Shan rallied her team beforehand but things looked bleak when Denbigh won the first 4 “chalks” (never used this term myself but have heard it- does it refer to chalking up the result on the board?!?!) Anyhow it was the worst possible start as we knew the opposition still had some strong players to come. A slight improvement in the middle order as we recovered with wins for both Gary’s and Shan to make it 3-5 on games, but the overall aggregate was possibly beyond us. Ian redeemed a loss here last year by winning to 15, but Alan drew the short straw in playing their top block “Elvis” and managed 17 in a closely-fought encounter. This 8-4 win lifted Denbigh above us in the League as we had just a 1 point advantage over them going in to the game. On paper we have a slightly “easier” fixture schedule next month – there are 5 matches in June to take us up to the mid-point of the season, we have 3 at home and four of the 5 matches are against opposition currently below us in the league, the trip to Trefnant being our toughest proposition. With no disrespect to the bottom 3 Clubs at present, we really need to make the most of home games versus Meliden, Rhuddlan and Copperfields, the other away fixture being at Kinmel Bay. The A Division currently reads;

TOP   4                                     P   Pts

1. Rhos Park                           8    69

2. St.Asaph                             8    61

3. Trefnant                             8    60

4. Denbigh                             8    53

BOTTOM  4                            P    Pts

11. Dyserth                            8    40

12. Rhuddlan                         8    40

13. Meliden                            8    40

14. Copperfields                    8    37

Little change to the top although Rhos Park have increased their lead slightly. We remain in 5th spot, 3 points behind Denbigh. The other end of the table is much closer as above the 3 clubs on 40 points are another 3 (Abergele, Eirias Park and Kinmel Bay) on 44 points, with Mochdre and Penrhyn NH both tied on 45 points. Nothing in it as EIGHT teams have just 5 points between them, and Copperfields, after a very difficult start, are just 3 points behind now,  and reducing the deficit week by week.

MIDWEEK LEAGUE   Wednesday    MAY

I’d had it on good authority but I believe Tommy had decided to rest one of the Jones brothers for the visit of Mochdre on the first Wednesday in May, but the late withdrawal of Alan, tied up with a virtual choir rehearsal, meant that both Alun and David were in his starting line-up. There was much discussion amongst his squad regarding Tommy’s choice of 1st four blocks, as in the opening 3 matches of the season we had failed to get off to the best of starts. We need not have worried – we started with 3 winners to single figures as Tommy reverted to a more familiar line-up, with only Paul failing to win as he was narrowly beaten to 19. The momentum continued in the middle order with another 3 wins, rounded off by the Jones brothers to give us a resounding 10-2 victory and +72 on the aggregate. This win lifted us two places in the table, and a much happier captain was in full voice in the Killer after the match. Week 5, another very pleasant evening following a nice sunny day, and for a change in midweek we were heading west to the picturesque setting of the Dwygyfylchi green, with views over the bay towards the Great Orme and Moel Lus and the Sychnant Pass as a contrasting background. The homesters had been relegated from A Division with us in Sept. 2019, but they had survived three seasons in the top tier, and although losing some excellent players to neighbours Penmaenmawr, they were still a strong force and among the favourites for promotion back up. There were some very close games where the lead changed hands many times, and after 8 blocks it was 4 winners apiece but we had a slight advantage on the aggregate, courtesy of Shan’s win (21-9) when all other games had been in the high teens. This left the 2 Daves on the green, Messrs Leech and Jones, and provided  both reached 18 (we had a lead of +7) we could not lose the aggregate. Both these games were also tight affairs, and both were behind, but Dave L. ran out from 14-17 down on a corner mark, and despite Dave J. also pulling back some points, sadly he lost to 19. This meant an impressive 7-5 away win, as we had won the aggregate by +9. For a change from our usual watering HOLE (The Killer), we visited the 19th HOLE (Pen Golf Club) and with a few of the home players, we celebrated not only a fine win but toasted Ian’s reaching of “three score years and ten” – He’d also just managed a win on his 70th birthday! With Abergele losing 4-8 away at Llysfaen, our 7 points at Dwygyfylchi would have lifted us to the top, had not St.Asaph scored 9 at home to Eirias Park… and next week 2nd placed Vardre (36 points) at home to leaders St.Asaph (37 points). May 20th was the hottest day of the year so far, and with the green cut early morning, you can imagine how it was running at 6-30pm after a full day’s hot sun. When the green is this fast it becomes a challenge for the home team as well, and certain marks are extremely difficult. Quite a dilemma for our captain also as, in a tough game versus the League leaders and following a good away win at Dwygyfylchi (and with everyone available bar JC) he had a side to select. Our visitors played it very tactically and fielded possibly their 4 best blocks at the start. It paid off as they took an early 3-1 lead and were up on the aggregate by 20 points – it could have been worse had not Gwyn fought back from 6-14 down to win 21-17 in a game that lasted well over an hour(about par for the course for Gwyn!) The middle order reversed the trend and after 8 games we were locked at 4 winners each but still trailed by 9 points on the agg. With the green losing some pace as the shadows lengthened, and the Jones brothers rarely bowling a loose wood, the match was finally won 8-4, as both Alun and David won to single figures. Dwygyfylchi’s 5 winners away at Abergele in a 5-7 defeat confirmed that we moved top after six matches played. It’s Cup matches next week but, because these monthly virtual reports are getting rather lengthy, I shall refrain from commenting on our progress in the B Div .Cup (well for now at least!!) It was a thirsty group of bowlers that descended on the Killer after-match, and a jovial atmosphere to celebrate Tommy’s team moving to the top of B Div. part-way through the season….

TOP 4                                                     P.    Pts.

1. VARDRE(Deganwy)                         6    44

2. Abergele                                          6    42

3. St.Asaph                                           6    41

4. Penrhyn New Hall                           6    38

BOTTOM 4                                            P.   Pts.

7. Craig y Don B                                   6    33

8. Mochdre                                          6    32

9. Rhos Park C                                      6    30

10. Eirias Park B                                   6    30

The B Division is extremely close one third of the way through the season. We were fortunate to gain 25 points from our 3 matches in May, but any Club likely to put a string of victories together through June and they could quickly rise up the table. We shall be looking to consolidate our lead, as again we have 2 of our next 3 matches leading up to the mid-point of the season at home at the Vardre. All Clubs have also to experience a match in adverse conditions, as the sun has shone brightly on all 30 League matches through April and May. Tommy is feeling confident because despite the defeat at Abergele, he feels we have the measure of most sides, although Llysfaen at home next time out are a side that are unpredictable, and they have the ability to cause an upset. Will Llysfaen’s performance alter the mood in the Killer next time, will Tommy make changes for the Cup game and will someone PLEASE have one of Dave Leech’s crisps?

COAST LEAGUE   Saturday    MAY

 We welcomed May in with a trip to Anglesey and having negotiated the road-block on the Britannia Bridge, insisting that the Holyhead green was far from our 2nd “holiday home” we practised with the sun reflecting off the rocks on Parys mountain. Captain Marvel had attempted to select his fittest and strongest (arm strength) team, in the hope that when we lost the block, we may be able to match our younger opponents on the longer marks – a common feature of previous encounters on this green. To this end Rhona, Doreen and Tommy were rested and JC was still a non-starter, emergency registration Dave Leech replaced the unavailable Bob, and our captain had even thought about promoting Canadian Tom from the B squad in an attempt to field a really formidable-looking team on the day. With the green extremely dry the corners were more reachable than normal, but we failed to negotiate many of the other marks on an interesting green and gained just the 3 winners in a 3-9 defeat. Compared to previous visits to Holyhead, we were reasonably happy with this result. Bangor retained top spot and St. Asaph leap-frogged over Llandudno into 2nd on an afternoon when all home teams won. Another warm sunny afternoon as we welcomed League leaders Bangor to the Vardre green. Fortunately our opponents were slightly under strength as Boris’ statement “to return to work if possible” had deprived them of a couple of good blocks. Several changes in our ranks also after the Holyhead game to sustain our rotation system of selection, and we provided the shock of the day (inflicting only the 2nd defeat of the season on our visitors) with a narrow 7-5 success. Our visitors were extremely humble in defeat, they were full of praise for the condition of the green and our hospitality, and a couple of their players even more appreciative as they return next Saturday to compete in the Gwyn Morris Senior Merits, our green having been selected as a neutral venue for the 3rd year in succession. After a week’s lay-off we returned to Saturday action with a tough away fixture at Prestatyn, not having visited the Highbury green since they slightly altered the crown 2 years ago, and after all this warm weather and drying wind it was likely to be pretty quick also. The forecast rain was barely a dribble and so the green was as expected. Good wins by Bill and Rhona in the first 4 gave us an early advantage, and this was increased when numbers 5 & 6 also won, but Highbury had a sting in their tail and they won the last 4 games and also overturned the aggregate. So an 8-4 defeat kept us 3rd off the bottom as both Bethesda and Dyserth suffered also, away at Rhos Park and Bangor respectively. The end of the month saw no let up in difficult fixtures as we entertained Rhos Park at home. Although only their B side that had been relegated from Div. A last season, they still had a squad of experienced and very competent players, several of whom had played the Vardre green at the start of May in the Vets. League, and inflicted our only home defeat of the season so far in a tight 7-5 game. We’d had 3 days of beautiful sunshine and Saturday was no exception, the green had been watered after the Wednesday cup match that we hosted, and we delayed cutting until the morning of the game, but the green was flying.. It obviously suited our visitors and again there were also some “almost unplayable” marks as you couldn’t keep your woods on the green in places. Our experienced visitors also realised that anywhere near the edge, a short wood was a good wood. They raced into a 4-0 lead and things looked ominous as the Vardre players stooped off the green, hot, sweaty and demoralised. In hindsight they had led with four of their top players, but we had a lot to do to salvage some respectability (images of their 11-1 win here in the Wed. Lge. last season sprang to mind) Our remaining players seemed to learn from earlier errors, and we did well to gain 4 winners at the death. Rhos Park were again worthy winners (think they like our green) and we slumped into the relegation zone, having gained just 18 points from our four May fixtures, resulting in a table that reads;

TOP    4                                                          P.    Pts.

1.Bangor City                                                8    60

2.Rhos Park B                                                8    56

3.StAsaph                                                      8    55

4.Llandudno                                                  8    53

Bottom    4                                                    P.    Pts.

9.Holyhead                                                   8    46

10.Bethesda                                                 8    42

11.VARDRE(Deganwy)                                8    40

12.Dyserth                                                    8    35

Unfortunately Dyserth had played 3 of their 4 fixtures in May away from home and had picked up just 13 points – in their only home game of the month they too had lost 4-8 at the hands of Rhos Park, who had won 2 of their away matches this month to leap-frog both Llandudno and St.Asaph into 2nd spot behind leaders Bangor. Three more matches in June before the mid-point of the season is upon us, and we have a lot to do to climb the table, especially as 2 of our next 3 games are away (trips to Dyserth and Beaumaris before a home game versus Bethesda, but at least we do avoid teams in the top half of the table)

NEXT VIRTUAL 2020 SEASON  –   A TEAM REPORTS   –  end of JUNE.      KEEP SAFE EVERYONE.   

Ian

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Not sure whether you have seen them or not but Dave Matthias (Beaumaris) has been producing a weekly “virtual” match report of the Beaumaris A Saturday team games in his recent blogs. They can be seen on the FORUM page of the Bowls web-site occasionally and on the Beaumaris BC web-site, just a bit of fun but creating some interest in this lengthy period of inactivity. With many of my outdoor chores done in the April sunshine, I am in need of finding activities to break up the colder, wetter days that look to be forecast at the start of May, so have begun a series of “blogs” for the Vardre (Deganwy) BC web-site on a similar theme;

SO the month of April 2020 (the warmest and sunniest on record) and all matches played in unseasonal weather, and on greens suddenly gathering pace.

COAST LEAGUE – Saturday

The move up to B Division was always going to be a true test of our progress as a team, but with Tommy and Bob now recovered, Bill committing to a regular spot, and newcomers Paul, and mum Doreen included, Captain Marvel had selection issues. With 14 players at his disposal, he had patented a unique rotation system of selection, but coming in to the match versus Caernarfon at the end of the month, he wondered why he had been left out for the first 4 fixtures!! We had not had the best of starts with a 10-2 drubbing at St. Asaph, although we had a 20 and two 19s amongst our losers. The Saints on this form however look a strong bet for contesting the title come September. A week later we managed the narrowest of home wins over neighbours Llandudno, 7-5 with just the one solitary point in the aggregate. Newcomer Paul playing at no.10 fighting back from 16-20 down to win 21-20, after the first 9 blocks had left the match tied. Sadly Doreen lost to 17 in her debut game, but had bowled well against a formidable opponent. On to Abergele on week 3 and an immaculate green, certainly quicker than our own, but quite suited to several of our players also. We made a pleasing start with 3 winners in the first four blocks but the home side rallied and eventually won 8-4. On the final Saturday of the month we entertained Caernarfon at the Vardre, our opponents being rare visitors, and with the green running well on yet another glorious sunny afternoon, they struggled with the pace and managed just the 3 winners in a convincing 9-3 home win for the Vardre. So 4 matches played – 2 home wins and 2 away defeats – with both Alan and Paul boasting 100% records in their 3 games played. At the end of April the Coast League B Div. table reads;

TOP 4                                                                                              

                                                                     P   W   Pts

Bangor City                                                4    3    32

Llandudno                                                  4    2    29

St.Asaph                                                     4    2    28

Rhos Park B                                                4    2    26

BOTTOM 4

                                                                     P    W   Pts

Beaumaris B                                              4     2    22

VARDRE (Deganwy)                                  4    2    22

Caernarfon                                                 4    2    21

Bethesda                                                    4    1    19

Bangor are the early pace-setters, their solitary defeat being 5-7 away at Holyhead. Llandudno had lost narrowly away (5-7 at both Vardre and Caernarfon) but won convincingly at home. St.Asaph were similar with 2 comfortable home wins but they had suffered at the hands of Highbury and Rhos Park away, and 4th placed Rhos Park B lost 5-7 away at Beaumaris B on the opening Saturday, and again at Highbury a fortnight later. Caernarfon had been subject to a difficult start playing the top 2 sides at home in the opening month and Bethesda had been unfortunate in playing fellow Gwynedd League opponents in 3 of their opening 4 games, their solitary win coming against visitors Abergele on the slopes of the Carneddau on the last Saturday of an interesting month.  Only 5 points separating Highbury in 5th spot on 24 and Bethesda on 19 at the basement, as most Clubs benefit from home advantage as the greens are quicker than normal due to the exceptionally dry April.

So we enter May at the weekend and further selection problems for Captain Marvel as we travel to Holyhead, and it’s started raining!! We had a chance of reaching the corners (some of us anyhow) had it remained dry and sunny, but the odds are beginning to stack against us, so I’ve placed the squad on upper arm strengthening routines for the remainder of the week in their daily lock-down exercise slot.

SENIOR CITIZENS LEAGUE – Tuesday

With our leader JC still recovering from a fall at home, it was left to vice-captain Shan to guide us through the opening matches. Very little change to our 2019 squad other than Dave H being available on a more regular basis, so it was hoped we may continue where we finished off, when a strong run in September (36 points from the final 4 matches) lifted us into a very respectable 4th spot in the A Division. As in 2019 Mochdre away was our opening fixture, and although the green was in far better condition, it still proved to be one of our “bogey” venues as we lost on the aggregate by 9, having secured 5 winners apiece (so one better than last season at least) Most matches in the A section were relatively close on the opening day in the Vets. League, but good away wins for St.Asaph at Copperfields and Rhos Park at Trefnant. Week 2 and the sun kept shining as we hosted promoted Abergele at the Vardre. After 6 blocks this game could have gone either way as we had 3 winners apiece and our visitors were up on the aggregate by 7, but wins to single figures by both Shan and Gary B. edged the match in our favour as we ran out 8-4 in another close game. Impressive home wins for St.Asaph and Rhos Park as both won 10-2 against Kinmel Bay and Rhuddlan respectively, and the only away winners on the day were Trefnant at Eirias Park. Another dry and warm afternoon greeted the teams on Week 3 as we played a consecutive home fixture, with Dyserth the visitors. We had managed the “double” over Dyserth last season with a resounding 10-2 success at home last June. With the “tricks” in the green beginning to appear, and having gained a few extra yards in pace, the visitors again found it difficult to master but gained 3 narrow winners (1 better than last year) as we recorded a comfortable 9-3 win. Good wins for Gary J, Dave L, and Katherine certainly improved our aggregate score. Just for a complete change a rather damp and grey afternoon accompanied us on Week 4 for the 2nd visit of the season to the cathedral “city” of St.Asaph (we had lost our opening match of the Saturday League at the same venue) Our hosts were joint-leaders with Rhos Park after 3 matches  (both with 100% records) so we knew we were in for a tough game, and like most bowlers we would have preferred the sun on our backs. However we coped rather well and recorded 3 winners, but we had another 4 players in the high teens, and caused a few problems to the “homesters”, who also would have wanted a drier afternoon. Elsewhere Rhos Park edged ahead at the top, courtesy of an 11-1 home win over Copperfields. End of the month and A Div. reads;

TOP  4                                                                          P    Pts

Rhos Park                                                                   4     37

St.Asaph                                                                     4     35

Trefnant                                                                      4     28

Denbigh                                                                      4     27

(We are actually 5th    with 25 points)

BOTTOM  4                                                                P    Pts

Mochdre                                                                    4    21

Meliden                                                                      4    20

Rhuddlan                                                                    4    18

Copperfields                                                               4    14

Both Copperfields and Rhuddlan can count themselves unfortunate,  as in the first month of fixtures they have both come up against the top 2 Clubs. Meliden have also had 2 difficult games in the opening month, away at Denbigh and home to Trefnant (whose only defeat was at home to Rhos Park on the opening Tuesday) Mid-table is very congested at this early point of the season with just 4 points separating ourselves in 5th and Dyserth in 10th spot.

Into May next week and we entertain League leaders Rhos Park at the start of the month!! Local derbies versus Eirias Park (a) and Penrhyn New Hall (H) follow before the daunting trip to Denbigh on 26th. An interesting month ahead…

MIDWEEK LEAGUE  –  Wednesday

Captain Tommy’s pre-season rallying call suggested an attempt to regain Division A status, having been relegated after just one season among the elite. The outlook was favourable as we retained all of last season’s squad with the addition of young Paul, and Tommy himself had vowed to play a more active role in proceedings. So with 13 players at his disposal (JC unavailable) we had an early start to life in B Division with a Monday evening trip to promoted Rhos Park C. Needless to say Tommy wasn’t too pleased shortly before 7pm as the first 4 blocks had all gone down, as players on both sides showed a slight “rustiness” in their play so early in the year. He looked a tad happier a short while after as the 2nd four were all up in their respective games, but we gained just the 3 winners in this group as big Stan rallied on his short mark to the centre of the green, to give Rhos a 5-3 lead in games and a 12 point advantage on the aggregate. Tommy gave a wink as he had saved the Jones boys (sorry Gary – the other 2) till the end, despite both being present at the start of the match (few trains running so Dave was early too) Almost like clockwork they showed little sign of “rustiness” and turned the match in our favour (quite characteristically) with wins to 14 and 11, making it +8 to us and a winning 7-5 scoreline. At the after-match analysis in the “Killer”, Tommy threatened big changes to his opening 4 for next week’s home game versus Penrhyn New Hall. On the Wednesday evening Abergele were the biggest winners with a 9-3 success at home to Craig y Don B, and Dwygyfylchi went down narrowly at Llysfaen. Mochdre and Penrhyn New Hall both won with home advantage. Week 2 and Tommy had “dropped” (he told us “rested”) three of his first 4 from the previous week!! Our visitors PNH often play our green well and this evening was no exception as they shot into a 3-1 lead, Rhona the sole survivor from last week’s opening 4, winning to 16. (don’t know what Tommy will do next week as the 3 players he brought in ALL lost) However, as in the previous week, the team recovered well and ran out 8-4 winners to sustain a 100% start. In the Killer post-match, Jenny confirmed that Abergele had won again (away at Eirias Park B) so next week’s game at their green pitted the 2 unbeaten sides to date together!! For the trip to Abergele on Week 3, Tommy re-instated Ian, Gwyn and Shan (who along with Rhona had been the losing opening 4 at Rhos Park) – Rhona, Bill and Tommy himself stood down and with JC still unable to bowl, it meant another opportunity for Paul, despite his narrow defeat at home the previous week. Tommy also changed his running order moving his almost 100% middle order (Dave L had lost narrowly to Stan in week 1) to the front. For the 3rd successive week our opening four failed to produce but this time Alan, Katherine, Gary J and Dave L all lost in the start that we were not expecting. Fortunately numbers 5-8 (Gwyn, Shan, Paul and Ian) all recorded their first wins of the Wednesday League season to stun the home side and put us right back in the game. So 4 winners each and with Alun and Dave to come, it was stitched up for an away win BUT… the Jones boys had a rare off-day and their opponents bowled really well so that Abergele triumphed 8-4 at the death. No match next Wednesday, it’s Cup week and we have a bye, so the league table for April in B Division is complete after just 3 matches;

TOP  4                                                         P    Pts

Abergele                                                    3     24

St.Asaph                                                    3     23

Dwygyfylchi                                              3     20

Vardre(Deganwy)                                    3     19

BOTTOM  4                                               P    Pts

Penrhyn New Hall                                   3     17

Rhos Park C                                              3     15

Craig y Don B                                           3     13

Eirias Park B                                             3     12

Both Abergele and St.Asaph have played 2 of their 3 matches at home. Eirias Park B’s only home game was a defeat to leaders Abergele, and Craig y Don have had to play both Abergele and St.Asaph away in the opening month. Back to 6-30pm starts in May and we have 2 of our 3 scheduled games at home, Mochdre and St.Asaph,  with an interesting trip to Dwygyfylchi in between. Follow next month’s VIRTUAL report…. Who will Tommy select, does he “rest” the Jones boys, and who will make up his opening 4 blocks???

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24th March 2020

Having just returned from our green after discussing the revised maintenance programme with Bobby, in the light of there being no bowls for the foreseeable future during 2020, I decided (with approval and assistance from our web-master) to produce another blog, if only to ease the current depression (but it also occupies some of my “social distancing” time) Believe it or not, Bobby is going to spray an “almost immaculate” green with soil conditioner in the morning, and now 3 days after our intended opening, and having had some glorious weather that would have brought the members flocking to the green for much-needed practice (and the social inter-action) we are left to woe THE OPENING THAT FAILED

It may come as a surprise to some but I actually had my basic NOKIA phone with me when I visited just after 2pm on Saturday 21st, barely a week after a good number of our members had completed the final preparations and clean-up at the green, and possibly at the exact time our President Bob was due to send out the first wood. In six seasons at the Club, I have not seen the Vardre green in such excellent condition for the start of a season.  PHOTOS 1-3

There is a lush covering of grass over the entire surface, the usual “barer” corners (near right and far left from the Clubhouse) being no exception. Bobby’s treatments have all but eliminated the moss in the last few weeks, and there is barely a single weed over the whole green. Every time we cut the green, both Dave and I comment on how “inviting” it is in appearance. Furthermore, thanks largely to that man Tommy (and his “hired work-force”) the surrounds had been painted, (toilet area too) and other minor alterations and improvements made to the already impressive facilities. He had re-positioned most of his 80 or so plant pots, filled them with compost, and was preparing to transfer his 1,000 or so plants. Snowdonia Nurseries were beginning to fear the competition from the Roberts Garden Centre on Ronald Avenue in the Junction!! But seriously we are all disappointed by the fact that the green is not opening, in view of the time and effort Tommy has put in over the cold, wet winter months he more than anyone must be devastated. The benches were out around the perimeter (including some extra seating against the western fence) and the advertising banners in place. We now have a total of 14 sponsors providing an extra source of income to the Club, all thanks to the persuasive approach of David Rogers-Jones. He is to be thanked for all his hard work in securing the support of the various businesses, but also for his consideration and effort in gaining the approval of all our neighbours.  PHOTOS 5

BUT SADLY with all this preparation, the anticipation of a new season and the prospect of many hours in the summer sunshine, we had to leave the GREEN CLOSED sign in a prominent position, and the nearest our woods would get to the green at present was in one of Tommy’s recent innovations.  PHOTOS 7&8

On a serious note I hope all members have seen the reminder concerning assistance in these unprecedented times. Call someone, get in touch and STAY SAFE. I am extremely grateful to Gwyn for having the patience to endure my lack of technical knowledge and editing these pieces, his web-site is a perfect platform for us to keep in touch with one another. And huge thanks to Lynn and Katherine for keeping us all informed of the recent developments, and instigating considerate policies.

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18th March 2020

The sad (but possibly expected) news that there was to be no bowling for the foreseeable future in 2020 will have certainly been a very painful blow to all our members. There is no doubt that the Club has made the correct decision in line with current Government policies on the virus, and we should adopt a united front to safeguard the health of the community. We are certainly not alone in closing our facilities as a brief look at other Clubs’ web-sites yesterday evening confirmed, so initially denied any competitive bowls matches in the various Leagues, within days we now have to curtail any social bowling also. On an even more depressing note, I had just purchased 2 new polo shirts and a  pair of sparkling white trainers to start the season – thought the shorts may last a couple more months !!!

In discussion with Dave and Bobby, we still have to keep maintaining the green but we shall not be lowering the cut now, sustaining its current height to 8mm in order to keep the growth to protect the green more through the hot, dry periods (should we have any)  and possibly only cutting once a week. Verticutting, aerating, fertilising and watering will also continue as required, so that should we get the all-clear to re-commence the season, a lowering of the blades is all that may be required.

I have begun to organise myself in preparation for reaching 70 next month and being restricted further, but the social-distancing is already in place. We now exercise Alfie on Penmaenmawr beach more regularly (almost 2 miles of sand- when the tide’s out- and rarely anyone in sight), I now watch Cath gardening from the safety of the bedroom window, and we have decided to have a bath separately !!!

One of the best  things I have seen on the demise of virtually all sporting activities; A man with no football/results etc. to watch on the television was joined on the sofa by his wife. His comment ” she seems quite nice but I didn’t know she’d been made redundant from Woolworths”

On Breakfast TV the other morning they were giving advice on how you could plan your day if having to self-isolate. Reading, exercising, taking up a new hobby, doing more cooking (if you’ve got the ingredients after the panic buying) etc.. I’ve discovered another one for us bowlers if you have access to a computer. After moving here in February 2014, in just less than 6 seasons with Vardre BC (I missed 2 months in 2017 with my illness) I have played exactly (if my Maths is correct) 345 League games for the club. That’s 3 leagues (Tues, Wed & Sat) Thought it was quite interesting and it only took me less than an hour (fantastic web-site the North Wales Bowls site -nearly as good as Gwyn’s – will have to send them another donation. Three hundred and forty-five….. that’s a lot, and then I imagined match fees !!! At £1 and then £1-50 a time -that’s enough for a holiday away, but it won’t be this year- sadly no flights !!  My next task is….. averaging 28 ends per game, and averaging 30 metres per end (some short marks and some corner to corner) how far have I walked? Then there’s Cup games…or how many wins/ how many points? There’s plenty of scope to keep you going for days, let alone hours !!!

JUST trying to lighten the mood in these depressing times. To all of you KEEP SAFE and hopefully HEALTHY.  Cath and I are available at present to help out anyone who may need assistance, and let’s hope it’s not too long till we are back on the green.

REGARDS IAN

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Sept 2019

Being an avid follower of “The famous Mathias blog” since returning to North Wales and playing bowls again, I decided that my Vardre match report be in the style of our President elect (obviously with his approval and sanction) Sadly I shall never match the quality of his blogs as I do not possess his valued knowledge, his marvellous wit and his eye for detail that are so prominent in his writing.

“I had an inkling of the state of the Happy Valley Nou Camp green. Walking our dog early on the morning of the game on the Llandudno West Shore, I chatted to Wyn the Coastguard (not sure if his name is Wyn but quite appropriately for his vocation his car no. plate reads WYN 999) With his binoculars set west in the direction of “Sir Fon”, ensuring visitors were not trapped by the incoming tide, I requested him to train his gaze in the direction of Beaumaris castle and true to form (through the marquees on the front) he confirmed that the green was cut short and looked pretty quick, but rain was in the air. 

Having been thankfully fore-warned regarding the parking restrictions in the town during the Food Festival event, we set off in good time in Gwyn BT’s GT with Tiny Tom eventually strapped in the back around his sling and pot. Travelling west on the A55 through the notorious headland tunnels that border my birthplace (and my home village up to the age of 18), a glance up to the old quarry workings indicated that we were on schedule for our pre-match practice. As youngsters a watch was never on our birthday or Christmas present lists, as the quarry clock served all our needs – it was the half-time and full time “whistle” for all our football matches on the beach (no added time in those days); a time check for all bus/train departures and a guarantee that we were never late for dinner/tea or being home at night at the precise time our parents demanded.

And on to the match itself, where perhaps the draw might have an added influence on the final result. Certainly no repeat of the 11-1 game at the Vardre which Thommo described as “a bad day at the office” earlier in the season, as the Islanders were sure to seek revenge. With Bob the chef and Tiny Tom unavailable through illness and injury and Bill (no not the 60’s actor) Holden away in London treating a lady friend (it had to be really) to a West End show, we recruited emergency players, our Silver Fox Chancellor and Chairperson Kath. Both went into the opening 4 blocks where we expected the Pawky Professor to list his most experienced players namely Beggars, Twinkle Toes Thommo, The Great Orm and Robin (nearly 91 and still playing bowls) – and true to form our hunch paid off. Sadly for the homesters it was not the start they had wished for as despite Twinkle Toes Thommo waltzing his way to a 21-5 win on short marks over the crown against Gwyn BT -(Ken turned to me after a few ends and said “I think this one likes long marks”)- and giving his team an aggregate lead, they still trailed 3-1 after the first 4 blocks. Our Chairperson Kath (having an excellent season in the Vets. and Wed. Lge.) frustrated Beggars to win to 19, The Bingo Queen (Rhona) did exceptionally well to defeat the Great Orm, particularly as she could see very little when he led, and our Silver Fox Chancellor (Dave is Treasurer of our Club and Penmaenmawr GC Seniors) made the come-back of the day against Robin (who is now approaching 92 and still playing bowls -I believe) In fact Robin rarely had to use his “picki uppie stick” as Dave ( true gentleman that he is) often picked up Robin’s woods or the jack for him as they gossiped away in Welsh throughout.

Despite trailing 68-74 we were quite happy as we had 3 points in the bag (in previous seasons we have been white-washed at the Happy Valley Nou Camp) and we were expecting a reasonable return from our middle order. However Mrs. Barclays (Ann Banks -husband Mr. Barclays wasn’t playing) gained the upper hand on our 5k Fun Runner (Shan), Danny Boy recovered his composure to beat Dapper Dave (Pritchard), the Pawky Professor reverted to long marks to out-bowl Claret Cartwright, and the recovery of the day for the home side saw Geraint (never seen your nickname for him Mr. President) score 8 consecutive points at the death to defeat our Potteries Plasterer – much to the displeasure of Alan’s wife and mentor,and marker and our No.1 supporter, Ann.

So now we were behind (3-5 on winners) and an irretrievable aggregate. and Beaumaris had left their “cheerleaders” to the end. Bisto and Bobby had been quite vocal throughout (but never offensive) as they supped their coffees at the side of the green and encouraged every home wood. Our tail-enders Morris Minor (young Marc) and (myself) Captain Marvel -well WHAT ELSE eh! (far better than Pugwash or America!!) knew we had a tough game ahead, and that 4th winner was perhaps not vital, but definitely preferential (especially after our initial 3-1 lead) Needless to say Bisto and Bobby were still boisterous (but fun) during their games and I cannot comment much on the other match, but I managed a late surge to narrowly win to 19 that gave us the result that on reflection we would have been happy with prior to the match. The green was slightly to our advantage after the morning rain the coastguard had predicted, and we just managed to stay 2 points clear of our hosts at the top. However with the close game at Eirias Park between 3rd and 4th placed clubs, it now looks odds on that ourselves and Beaumaris will do battle again next season in B Division.

Finally it was a pleasure to travel with Gwyn BT at the wheel as not only did he know all the “back” roads via Llansadwrn into the town from his days with BT – he also pointed out a short cut to Ysbyty Gwynedd (hope I never need that one) – but as an historian he also gave me a potted history lesson of all landmarks, and to cap it all on the way home he became a Michelin guide, pointing out all the good food inns (and the ones to avoid) as we returned on the bottom road via Menai Bridge.”

WELL THAT’S IT Mr. President, you have the first and only copy of my blog to date. Hope you are not offended and only with your sanction will I transfer it to our web-site. Rather lengthy so I shall not do another. Hope you had a good time at the Isle of Man festival and look forward to bumping into you very soon.   

CAPTAIN MARVEL

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location Vardre Ave Deganwy LL31 9UT

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