Almanac Lawn Bowls – We Were Good In The Rain

Colin, David and I are excited.  It is Friday night and we are playing in the Repechage Grand Final of the Eltham Bowling Club Annual 40-40 Lawn Bowls for Beginners competition.  It’s a big deal making this final, not many people appreciate just how much of a big deal it is.


The teams that won most of the lead up games are in the actual Finals, leaving our aptly-named team, the “Try-hards” to compete tonight against the somewhat confusingly-named “Golfers.”


Our team captain, Sharon, has been unwell and removed her name reluctantly from the team list.  Colin’s other half, Maggie, has work commitments, leaving it to the boys (that’s us) to bring home the bacon.


Colin and I arrive early, find our bowls and hit the rink for a spot of practice.  We are leaving nothing to chance and want to make sure we get our eye in.  We bowl a few, reminding each other which side of the bowl is favoured by the bias.  The club has laid a new, artificial lawn rink and we are struggling with the wild lateral movement. Given that this is a final and we are on the big stage, we are determined that we will keep our bowls exclusively on our own rink tonight.  David joins us and bowls a couple down too.


It is now six o’clock and the final is about to begin.  We are pumped.  My phone buzzes.  It is the weather bureau with a severe storm warning. We toss the coin and I call heads correctly.  The first victory of the night has been secured.  It is with great assurance that I elect to bowl first.


Right on cue, a few heavy rain droplets begin to fall.  The first end is played in tricky conditions as the skies become more threatening.  We can see that it is pouring down somewhere nearby.  Keeping the bowls dry is an issue, which we solve by using our shirts until someone points out that the club has provided a towel for our convenience.  This is a watershed moment for both teams!


Colin squeezes one of his bowls next to the jack and we have our first point!  First blood to us!


The rain grows heavier.  We are leading one-nil when play stops briefly due to bad weather.  I spend the next ten minutes trying to convince the tournament organiser to call a halt to proceedings right here.  He just laughs, not sure what to make of my unusual request.


Conditions improve and enthusiastic bowlers resume their enthralling contests.  So do we.  David is feeling confident and declares that we will use our power-play in the second end.  Points in a Power-play end are doubled, provided you actually win the end, of course.  Despite our best efforts, this fails to eventuate and the score is now one-all.  The rain is clearing.  The rink is drying out.


We continue to lose ends with great consistency.  No matter how close we bowl, our opponents seem to always end up closer.  No matter how wide we start, we still seem to go past the jack and miss by metres on the other side.  At one stage, I start my bowl so wide I am aiming it at Lower Templestowe when I release it.  It fails to come back far enough.


My highlight comes, when, having rotated into the Skipper’s position of final bowler, I roll down a pearler, straight on target.  It cannons into an opponent’s bowl, promoting it from third position, past two of ours, into shot.  This is when I realise that this is not going to be my night.


Colin’s highlight comes when he bowls the final bowl of an end into second position, reducing the opponents score from five to a mere one, a moral victory for us.  David, having decided to use a much heavier bowl tonight for the first time, finds control to be very challenging.


The inevitable happens and a stray bowl from the adjacent rink mistakenly finds its way onto our turf, embarrassing everyone by settling nearer to our jack than any of ours.  Tom, the Golfer’s skipper, places it neatly in the gutter and gently reminds its owner that he played against them last week!


With two ends left to play, we are down 19 to 1.  Stung into action, we regroup.  David finally gets on target and rests a bowl against the jack.  Take that, the Try-hards are finally back in the game!


In the fading light of the evening we win our last two ends and improve our score to a much more respectable 19-5.  As I prepare for the final bowl of the night, I decide to leave it way short, just in case I end up with a second highlight to rival my earlier one.



It is clear that we handled the adverse conditions better than the Golfers, having won all the ends that were played in rain or fading light.  It was just the benign conditions that tripped us up. Man, we were good in the rain!


Time for a beer.  We’ll get them next year!  Go Try-Hards!


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About Joe De Petro

My favourite period in history began with the Summer of Love and came to a sad end with the birth of Disco. It was from 1967 to 1975. What was not to like in those days? The Grateful Dead, Creedence, The Beach Boys, The Doors, Janis Joplin, Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond and the mighty Tigers won Premierships every other year. It was a magical time, much like the current period in history.


  1. A great effort, life is about participating and enjoyment, anything else is a bonus

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