The Half Time Whistle - your weekly bowls round-up
Sorry about the long wait for this week’s Mirfield League bowls report, folks. But, hey, it’s the half way point of the season, the Mirfield packs up for a couple of weeks, I decided to pack my backpack and went off walking, trying to rediscover how to turn 20 into that elusive 21. Not sure I worked it out, but here is this week’s report, as delayed as an Ian Shuttleworth delivery, but hopefully nestling close to the block.
Speaking of the Shuttleworths, we’ll begin this week with their team and our local side, Ossett Flying Horse, who welcomed title chasing Pudsey BC to Dewsbury Road. We had a roving reporter at the Fly and by all accounts Pudsey got a quieter-than-usual reception, the aforementioned Shuttleworths opting to play cricket instead! A decent crowd in attendance in glorious sunshine, Pudsey took the first 4 cards with 3 games very close. Josh Mordue knows how to turn 20 into 21, playing a dead 'un along the top edge with the last bowl at 20-20 to remain unbeaten. James ‘Floyd’ Hanson also cruised home for Pudsey, unbeaten record still intact. Dave Poole top-scored with 21-2 for ‘Top Club’, who will have been happy with a 9-3 away win. Kev Burns was once again the top Flyer with 21-16 for the home side. Flying Horse can consider themselves unlucky not to get their share of the close games. Here’s hoping the cucumber sandwiches at the cricket were top. Fly, though, remain bottom. Ossett Flying Horse 3 Pudsey BC 9.
Home form has deserted our other local team, Denby Grange, who entertained Lower Hopton ‘B’ in a match that may influence the relegation battle come the end of the season. Don’t be fooled by the ‘B’ in Hopton ‘B’. Yes, it’s Lower Hopton’s second team and, yes, it’s their first season in the top-flight. But looking at their line-up, there is probably more Mirfield First Division experience in this Hopton ‘B’ ten than in most other teams. And it showed. The more experienced Hopton ‘B’ did a professional job on a Denby side struggling to get to grips with their home midden. Clearly missing talisman Scott Fisher, Denby saw the first four swing strongly in Hopton ‘B’s favour, the momentum propelled onwards through the middle four. Gary Wike potted the Hopton sweep with 21-10. Denby window cleaner Stephen ‘Licker’ Walker always has a good reach, winning 21-9. Staring at a heavy home defeat, Denby’s back two both won to limit the damage, but this night belonged to Hopton ‘B’. Denby Grange 4 Lower Hopton ‘B’ 8
It was a night for the away teams, it would seem. As Hopton ‘B’ celebrated their away win, news filtered through from behind the pigeon fanciers’ hut to Graham ‘Churchill’ Hurst that Hopton’s star-studded first team had suffered an unexpected home defeat at the hands of Kentucky Fried Chicken chompers, Crossgates. To get five winners at Lower Hopton is one thing, but to take the aggregate too would have been a bitter blow to the title chasers from the Mirfield suburb. The stand-out performance from the southern fried Crossgates boys came from Ira Jeffers, who battered his opponent 21-5. Wayne Hurst and Graeme ‘GI’ Wilson responded for Hopton ‘A’ with 21-12 to share the kitty, though it will have felt like small compensation and a dent in their title hopes. As any pigeon fancier knows, it’s all about getting home. Lower Hopton ‘A’ 5 Crossgates 7. A great away day for the ‘Gates that could just turn this league into a four horse race.
Time then for Thongsbridge to turn the screw on the league with a home game against mid-table Dearne Sports? Due to the number of imports from Sheffield and Doncaster in the Thongsbridge team, many would class this a South Yorkshire derby, and anything can happen in derby games. The form book went out of the window over in Nora Batty Country, with a resurgent Dearne registering no less than six winners out of ten. Once again, the top Dearnesman was exiled brummie, Paul Bailey, with a very strong 21-10. Thankfully for Thongsbridge two big cards in their four wins secured the aggregate, Jonny Sneddon’s 21-9 hoovered aside by Jack Dyson’s 21-6 to clean up the Thongsbridge sweep money. Despite such heavy suction, have Thongsbridge lost their grip on the title? Not quite, but it’s still wide open at the half-way stage. Thongsbridge 6 Dearne Sports 6.
We’ll end with the only convincing home win of the night in the battle of the moors. Pudsey Littlemoor aren’t that far off title-challenging pace themselves. Their home form is, as usual, solid as a rock, but they are probably a couple of away results short of making their own title charge. Visitors from Huddersfield were Crosland Moor, still smarting from a rare home defeat. Littlemoor dominated the encounter, with Paul Wilch…Wilc…Wilz…Wilczynski again on top form with 21-5, ably supported by Mark Allman’s 21-9. Crosland Moor won’t be too disheartened to leave Littlemoor with three points, Mike Sweeney and Liam Fallas sharing the Crosland kitty on 21-16. Littlemoor 9 Crosland Moor 3.
Standings after week 9:
Pudsey BC 68
Thongsbridge C & BC 68
Lower Hopton WMC ‘A’ 65
Crossgates BC 58
Dearne Sports 54
Lower Hopton WMC 'B' 49
Crosland Moor 49
Denby Grange BC 47
Ossett Flying Horse 27
In Division 3 Ossett C&AC made home advantage pay with a convincing win against Milnsbridge. Ossett Cricket is a tough green for away teams and the visitors from Huddersfield struggled to make an innings. They did manage two winners, the best performance coming from Sean Price with 21-11. Most of the Ossett Cricket winners were to half-way, but Stuart Daniel made quick work of his time at the crease, thrashing a swashbuckling 21-2. I’d love to post an action shot of Stuart here…..but I can’t find one, so I’ll just have to leave it to your imagination. Sorry Stuart. Ossett C&AC 10 Milnsbridge 2.
Horbury WMC remain second bottom, though the gap towards safety is widening. Visitors Elland C&AC always look too solid for third division bowls and they left Cluntergate with a solid 8-4 away win. Horbury isn’t an easy green to read, which made David Greenwood’s 21-4 away win for Elland all the more impressive. Of the Horbury winners on the night, Arthur Clarkson’s 21-9 was pick of the bunch. Horbury WMC 4 Elland C&AC 8.
In Division 4 Thornhill lost top spot at the turn around to Lowerhouses, though still sit comfortably in the title race. Thornhill were well beaten away at Spen Victoria ‘B’, with just two winners in the shape of Brian Sweeney (21-10) and Martin Laycock (21-12). Spenners enjoyed a lovely balmy evening of 21s, with Derek Goor top-scoring on 21-10. Spen Victoria ‘B’ 10 Thornhill C&BC 2.
As I write this the Bowlsnet website has had a glitch and the Mirfield Old Bank v Denby Grange ‘B’ results have disappeared into cyberspace. I can confirm that the final score was Old Bank 9 Denby Grange ‘B’ 3, with Adam Conlon top-scoring on his Denby debut. The Mirfield main man remains a mystery. My apologies, but we’ll have to wait for that result, arriving by carrier pigeon courtesy of the Lower Hopton & Mirfield Pigeon Fanciers Society.
Enjoy your break, folks.