Ian’s Blog

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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