VENUE LOWER DARWEN U.R.C.
As the teams arrived for the final they were met by a steady downpour which had suddenly decided to envelop this small patch of green, some brave souls were not to be denied the chance of a practice before the match and decked out in waterproofs they actually got a decent amount of time to get a feel of conditions, as is the case in many games by the time the match was due to start the weather had changed it`s mind and for the rest of the evening it would stay dry which was good for both the teams and for the good turn out of supporters and spectators, the draw had been done and it was time for the final to get under-way, the handicaps for the teams were NOMADS +8 and DARWEN SUBS -8, the final result is on overall aggregate not on games won, each team would have four players who got the block to start with, NOMADS would have blocks in the games 1,3,5,& 7, and DARWEN SUBS in games 2,4,6,& 8,
First games on the green were REG v. S.CLOUGH, GREG v. S.ASPIN, IAN v. L.LONGLAND & CRAIG v. H.HARGREAVES,
First to show was IAN, off to a good start he was leading 7-2 then 9-4 playing across the green top to bottom, he continued to hit a very good length and went on to run out and record an excellent 21-4 win , this doubled our advantage in the handicap and gave us great momentum early on, REG was next off, he was off to an early lead of 4-0 which then turned into a close game as his opponent fought back to lead 7-4, in turn REG pulled back to level at 7-7 before opening up a lead of 13-8 and then 17-9 over the next 9 ends, he then turned this into 20-11 and what looked like it would be another great result, however his opponent showed his fighting qualities and pulled his game together to get back to 17-20 before REG got his final point to win a great game 21-17, and another very good result, GREG was involved in a really close game, leading 5-3 he then went 5-11 down before pulling back to 10-11, his opponent then retrieved ownership of the block to reassert his lead at 17-12, yet again GREG found himself battling back, he managed to reach 14-18 and then 17-20 before his opponent found the point he was after to take the game 21-17 and end another keenly fought game, CRAIG in the last game of the first half was down early on at 0-4 and then 3-7 before gradually and playing with confidence got himself back into contention first at 8-8 and then creeping into a lead of 15-11, however his opponent then put together a run of 6 ends on a mark across the top edge of the green to take control at 19-15, with the pressure on CRAIG played a great wood to save the game and then on a diagonal mark across the green regained the momentum to claw his way back and in a thrilling finish he crowned a superb fightback to take the game 21-19,
First half stats, 3-1 but the all important agg. 80 – 61 without the handicap being applied ( 88 – 53 with the handicap) so a very healthy lead of 35.
A brilliant first half performance from the NOMADS had given us great momentum and more importantly a real sense of belief that this could be our chance of lifting the cup.
Could the second half players keep up the pressure on our opponents, those given the task were BARBARA v. D.KHAN, MARK C.v. L.HAMMOND, MARK M.v. P.RENWICK & DAVE v. W.STEMP.
BARBARA found herself in a real tussle, the early exchanges saw BARBARA holding a slim lead at 5-4, the game then levelling out at 7-7, 10-10 & 14-14, her opponent then took his own slim lead of 16-14 before BARBARA put together what looked like the deciding break to go into a 20-16 lead with some great leads, however her opponent yet again got hold of the block and in a nailbiting finale clawed his way back to consign BARBARA to a 20-21 defeat,although this was another great result for the team in only losing by one chalk BARBARA had got the second half off to a great start for the NOMADS, MARK C. was away to a very good start in his game up 4-1 he then extended this to 10-2, his opponent then started to find his own game and gradually got back into the game first at 7-11 then tying the game at 12-12 before taking the lead at 15-14, MARK then managed to wrest control of the block back and went on to record another excellent win 21-17,
That made the overall score 129 – 91 and a lead of 38 with two games left on the green.
Would the NOMADS hold on or could DARWEN SUBS pull off a great comeback.
It was looking grim early on in both games as both MARK M & DAVE struggled to gain footholds down 1-10 & 1-11 in their respective matches, but we hadn`t got to the final without having to battle through the early rounds,and both players again showed that fighting spirit and determination, MARK gradually began to find his length and got back into the game first at 6-11 and then drawing level at 14-14,yet again his opponent opened up an advantage to lead 20-15 but again MARK fought back brilliantly to 19-20 before his opponent found the winning wood and take the game 21-19, DAVE like MARK got himself back into his game first at 7-11 and then 10-14 before his opposition put together a break to take the game away from DAVE and run out to a 21-10 win.
It was not enough, the NOMADS had successfully negotiated the second half and held on to win by an overall score of 158 – 133 (inc. h/cap) with the games tied at 4-4, This was a superb performance by all the players on the night , a proud captain ( IAN ) was presented with the cup by league president J.BENTLEY, after the team photos and much congratulation the team celebrated with supporters and quite a few pints at a well known watering hole (BLACK BULL) , I would just like to thank all the players on the night and those who played in the earlier rounds for their contribution to our success and to all the support received on the night and commiserations to DARWEN SUBS who gave us an excellent challenge on the night.