Honiton knock Kingsley out of the County Trophy competition

Looks like the bowls world folk are thinking about their Christmas dinners not bowls, but the men were in action on Wednesday in an Over-60s County Trophy match against Madeira, writes Tony Broughton.

Honiton were successful o no fewer than three of the four rinks contested, but lost the match buy four shots with Exmouth-based Madeira triumphing 81-77.

The winning Honiton rinks were; Ken Clarke, Peter Baker, Keith Parsons and Eddie Sharman (23-19 at home), Ian Veitch, Mike Dart, Tony Tooley and Trevor Pipe (19-16 at home), whilst Terry House, Peter Goodwin, Bill Sheerman and Mike Smith won 18-17 away where the four of Fred Cowey, Denis Hillyear, Bernard Tonkin and Malcolm Seaborne went down 29-17.

I seem to remember a similar affair in a semi-final of the Middleton Cup, (The England Inter County Championship), during the 1990’s. Norfolk lost on five of the six rinks that day, but the John Ottaway rink, a great England and Commonwealth Games player, had a huge win and carried the match. I think the opposition said ‘Oh Blow’ – or similar!

John is a very quiet unassuming man, a lovely man that many players don’t know as a bowls legend, but he is one of only three men to have won the English Bowls Singles Championship more than twice.

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The first was Percy Baker four times from 1932-55 the second the legendary David Bryant six times from 1960-75 and John 1989, 1996 and 2000.

In the last effort he beat Devon’s own John Evans of Torquay in the semi-final 21-16 and Andy Wise from Marlow 21-9 in the final. He played for England right through from 1985 to 2009 in the 1988, 1992 and 2000 World Bowls and the 1990, 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games. He won the team gold and two bronze medals in the 1988 Worlds Championships and the four’s gold in the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Remember the name? I certainly do for I umpired some of those matches.

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Honiton men did play Kingsley on Saturday in the County Trophy competition.

In years past in Devon there was only the county trophy for men and it was played as a league. This was changed to a knockout competition and a new Inter Club League (ICL) was started.

Guess what? Honiton had a decisive win of 82-75 and, as this is now a knockout, Kingsley are out!

They may have thought we would be a walk-over as they were top of the Over-60 league and Honiton are bottom. Well, that’s bowls!

The score were; at home - Wally Heard, Keith Parsons, Tony Tooley and Trevor Pipe (22-12); Ken Clarke, Denis Hillyear, Malcolm Seaborne and Eddie Sharman (29-11), and away; Terry House, Steve Coles, Mike Smith and Phil Spreadbury (8-31); Peter Goodwin, Roger Binmore, Kieran Daniels and Kevin Lovering (23-21).

Honiton now go through to the quarter finals and play North Devon, Barnstaple.

Finally, one mixed friendly match played Saturday against Chardstock was an 80-65 victory. Honiton top rink was Dave Jones, Joan Mackintosh, Harry Riley and Ken Morfey with 30-16. Nice to see new players winning again.

The Over-60 competition is played in groups as a league and the scoring is rather strange.

There are three points awarded for each rink win, one for a drawn rink and eight points for a match win.

There’s a bonus point for a match victory by 11 to 21 points and two bonus points of the match is won by over 21 shots! So adding our nine points to the three we had it means that, with other clubs having played four games to our three, we remain bottom of our group. Kinglsey were top! We still have to meet them in a group match.

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