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Bowls Matters - 2015
Bowls Matters - 6 - Canadian Championships IV

PLAY-OFF PREVIEW

The round robin just completed at the Canadian Championships - 2015 version and BC has 5 teams playing for medals - 3 for gold and 2 for bronze.

Men's Pairs (Hiren & Gord) ride an 8-1 record going into their match against Alberta's Greg Wilson & Derek Dillon. Hiren beat the young guns in the last round of the round robin and go in as the distinct favourites.  But watch for Greg.  He has big game potential and does not get phased under pressure.

Men's Triples (James, Kin On & Mike) were derailed by Alberta in their last round robin match and will have to fight for a bronze against Saskatchewan A.  That means a date with former World Champion Keith Roney and the Watson brothers (one U18, one U25).  BC had their weay with Sask 22-6, but that was early in the rounds.  I'm guessing the young guys have learned a lot since then.

Men's Fours (Steve, Derek, Joe, Tim) will have to recover from an absolute heart-wrenching loss against Alberta to win a bronze.  Playing the 16 end, the guys were 4 up in the game and a measure for shot.  On the last bowl of the end Lyall Adams made a perfect short raise of bowl onto the head to convert for 4 shots.  BC scored 1 on a measure in the 17th to take a 1 shot lead into the final end and set up a thriller.  Down 1, Steve trtailed the jack on his first bowl back to Joe Hunt's bowl to lay 2 close shots with lots of stuff in front.  Lyall missed his first attempt and Steve added a third shot.  With the game a a gold medal match on the line, Lyall threaded the needle through traffic and dragged the jack for 3 and the match.  They guys will take on Ontario A, with whom they tied in the round robin.  This one is a push.

Women's Triples (Jenny, Shirley, Gigi) took their first loss (12-14 to Alberta), but already knew they would be facing Ontario B.  They beat Ontario B in the round robin, but Ontario has been very strong as their plus huge shot differential shows.  This should be a great game!

Women's Fours (Mary, Anne, Belle, Ann) finished on a high with a big 19-8 win in what served as a tune-up match for the gold medal tilt against Ontario B. The fight for 2nd finally sorted itself out when Ontario B and and Nova Scotia won their final games to pull ahead of the pack with a 6-3 record.  Ontario B took second by virtue of their 16-15 win over Nova Scotia in the round robin.

Cheering on our teams will be the Women's Pairs (Katelyn & Wendy) and Women's B-Fours (Mary, Chris, Frances, Lynn).  These two teams had opposite runs.  The Pairs started strong at 3-1, lost a couple of key games by a total of 3 shots and never recovered.  The less experienced Women's Fours started aginst the top teams, which was tough as they worked to find their rhythm.  Found their rhythm they did and finished 3-1-1.  I'm guessing they're laready looking forward to next year.

So BC is guaranteed 3 medals and could win as many as 5.  Whatever has happened on the score-board, you know that the whole team and the team coach, the irrepressible Dave Mathie have represented BC with pride and been super ambassadors for every single one of us.

Good Luck BC!!

Bowls Matters - 5 - Canadian Championships III

With just one round left (2 for our BC-B team), we know a bit more about where our BC squad is heading.  Nova Scotia proved to be the toughest challenge our crew has faced so far: just  3-3 split in games, but wins were picked up where they were most needed.

The Women's Triples remained the only undefeated team, now at 8-0.  They already know they are playing for gold against Ontario B (Marg Lepere, Wendy Devonshire & Sue Roth).  That should be a good one.

As mentioned in the last post, The Men's Pairs and Women's Fours had their gold medal matches booked and so their losses did nothing to stop that.

The Women's Pairs had another rough ride and now sit 3-5.  Those two cliff-hangers against Ontario seem to have knocked the steam out of them.

The Men's Triples won a close 14-12 match.  They know they will play or a medal and it still looks like their final match against Alberta will decide what the colour will be.

The Men's Fours has one of the most crowded group at the top I have ever seen.  NO less than 5 teams have 1 or 2 losses, which means that one o these worthy quartets will be on the outside looking in when the medal rounds start.  It seems unlikely that it will be our guys, but nothing is sure, so their game against Lyall Adams' Alberta team will be crucial.

By this time tomorrow (actually sooner), we'll know the play-off matches and I'll try to break it down for you.

Cheers!

 

Bowls Matters - 4 - Canadian Championships II

BC is ruling the world right now, or at least the Canadian Championships.  It has been a long time since we have seen this kind of 'across the board' domination.  After three full days and one round from day four, there are three BC teams that are still undefeated!!

Women's Fours and Triples and Men's Pairs all enjoy perfect 7-0 records after sweeping aside the host Ontario teams A and B and Manitoba.  That means that the two women's teams have clinched Gold Medal matches and the Men's Pairs have as good as clinched.

The Men's Fours and Triples are also having strong campaigns.  The Fours pushed their record to 5-1-1 after this morning's win over Manitoba.  But it's tight at the top.  Ontario A is tied with 5-1-1 and Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan are a nose back at 5-1.  Even Alberta at 4-2 are in the mix, so no one here has clinched anything, yet.  The guys final two matches are against Nova Scotia & Alberta, so they have their fate in their hands.

In some past years, the Men's Triples record of 5 wins and 2 losses would be top for BC - not this year.  But, it is a really good record and has them in a gold medal match position with 2 games to go.  Their final round robin game against Alberta will likely decide I they play for gold or bronze.

The Women's Pairs have had a really tough go.  Although they have a losing record of 3-4, they are +19 shot differential (by comparison, Ontario A is 5-2 and -6).  Katelyn & Wendy played really well yesterday and came away from their two games against host Ontario with nothing but pride to show for it.  Their losses were of the heart-breaking variety: 15-17 to Ontario B, followed by 18-19 to Ontario B.  A fairer result would have been at least 1-1, and 2-0 was oh, so close.  This morning's loss to Manitoba and the uber-experienced Elaine Jones may have sunk their play-off hopes.

Last, but not least, is the BC-B Women's Fours.  You knew after their close, but no cigar losses earlier that they would cash in on their solid play and they did yesterday with a tie and a win.  They now have a 1-4-1 record.

We now have a rain delay.  Next installment will be the play-off preview.

Bowls Matters - 3 - Canadian Championships I 

Only two postings this year!?!  That will never do.  Well, instead of whingeing or nagging, the Canadian Championships give me the chance to talk about something positive.  We have a great team competing for BC and the medal haul is expected to be considerable.  After 2 days and 5 rounds, expectations are not being disappointed.

The Women's Fours (Mary Wright, Anne Mathie, Belle Chan, Ann Van Basteleare) are a perfect 4-0 and +47 after 3 big wins and 1 close one.  The only team that has been able to get close so far is Team BC-B (the only B team BC has sent).  The BC-B Women's Fours Team (Mary Mulligan, Chris Fereday, Francis Tester, Lynn Chwartacki) have yet to win, but their 0-3 record has been hard earned.  They have played three high quality teams and never lost by more than 5 shots.  Some patience will soon be rewarded with wins, probably big wins.

The Men's Fours (Steve Santana, Derek Kaufman, Joe Hunt, Tim Mason) have a solid 2-1 record.  Their only loss was a close 15-18 against a very strong Saskatchewan side that is sure to be challenging for medals.

Our Women's Triples (Jenny Siu, Shirley Lai, Gigi Chan) are also an unblemished 4-0, +26.  They'll be taking on host Ontario A and B when their perfect record will be put to the test.

The Men's Triples (James MacGowan, Kin On Lau, Michael Leong) are also 2-1 like the Men's Fours.  Their sole loss came against a sticky Saskatchewan B team skipped by Doug Propp.

The Women's Pairs (Katelyn Brierly, Wendy Lubinich) enjoy a 3-1 record.  They will play this event's favourites - Laila Hassan & Crystal Shepherd tomorrow.

The Men's Pairs (Hiren Bhartu, Gord Fall) is the third BC team that has yet to lose.  They sit at 3-0 with a gaudy 68 shots for and only 26 against.  After a few year's hiatus from competitive bowls, Hiren has stormed back with a vengeance, winning 2 provincials and now a strong start at the Nationals.

So, BC is a collective 18-6 after the first 2 days.  Like I said, high expectations are still high.

Go get' em BC!!

 

For full details, see the Bowls Canada website.

Bowls Matters - 2 - Outside the Fence, People!

I have probably annoyed a few readers with some forth-right opinions and thoughts.  If that is the case, I'm about to really brass off some folks.  The topic is event participation.  I recently did a survey of clubs as to why our bowlers were not participating in events outside their club.  The biggest reason given was that people didn't think they were good enough.  Everything else was way down the line (about 40% were disinterested).  Well, that was wrong!!!

Granville Park is celebrating their 100th anniversary.  They are hosting a tournament on Victoria Day (chosen so as not to conflict with one of the many events in the V&D calendar) and they sent out an invitation personally to every club president to have their club represented by a mixed fours team.  Apart from a great day of bowling on really good greens to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime event, everyone gets a commemorative towel as a souvenir.  This is not the World Championships, just a social/recreational event.

The response has been UNDERwhelming.  Some clubs have been great and eagerly accepted the invitation.  Others have declined, saying that they have their own event going on that day and they can't find four people to go.  Included in the "Thanks, but no thanks" group are clubs with 150 odd members, or more.  And they can't find four people willing to forego some club draw!!  Really??

This is bad - very bad.  The Sport of Bowls exists outside the fences of your club.  Believe it, or not, there are bigger and better things going on at other clubs.  I've been knocking my head against a brick wall for years (and will continue to do so) trying to get clubs to encourage their members to go outside their club and experience the full potential of our sport.  During that time, I've come to acknowledge that many of our members are a bit timid, when it comes to 'trying their arm'.

But this is totally different.  This is not a competition or championship.  It is a pleasant event for a great reason.  Who doesn't want to celebrate?  Evidently a lot of bowlers in Metro Vancouver.

Well, I'm going to be there with bells on and, in all likelihood, my club will be represented by two teams.  We're busy celebrating our 100th and preparing for our own events (we have 3 inter-club tournaments and host 2 V&D Championships), but we can spare some time to go out and congratulate Granvile Park on their accomplishment of 100 years of bowls - in person.

Bowls Matters - 1 - Selecting Your Top 10 Team

For some clubs, the prospect of having to select fellow club members to be on or off a team is a stress that many do not want.  This is one barrier to clubs not entering a team in the V&D Top 10 Competition.  Other clubs struggles with finding a way to perform this task that does not create conflict and cries of favouritism.  In general, clubs in Canada do not have to deal with ‘selection’.  It is almost always a matter of everyone who’s interested is in (and often we are twisting elbows to get participation).  In the major bowls nations selection is the norm.  They do this all the time and so they have gotten pretty good at it.  They have also developed some fairly thick skin.

I would like to offer the following advice on team selection (could be for anything, but my comments will be focused on Top 10).  Most of it is common sense.  Hopefully, some clubs will find it useful.

1.)  Don’t have just one person making the selections.  Even if you have a designated expert,
       they should still run their thoughts past other knowledgeable club members.

2.)   Have a written policy with criteria and follow it.  If there are any complaints, you can
       always refer to this document and point out that the policy is written for all to read. 
       The main thing is that the selections should not seem (or be) arbitrary.  The criteria I
        use in choosing a team are:

       a.   Technical ability (who throws the best bowls most consistently)
       b.   Team compatibility (who plays well with others); if I have a duo or trio that play
              together regularly, that will be a factor in my decision-making
        c.   Previous success (what have you won); someone who has won a national or
              provincial medal or a V&D crest are not only good, they know how to win
        d.   Commitment; if I have two relatively equal bowlers and only one is practicing
              regularly and is keen to improve, that guy gets my vote

        BTW, these above criteria are also used to select our National Team, a good
        procedure is always good.

3.)   Have a sign-up sheet, but do not be afraid to approach individuals who have not signed
       up, but who are clearly top bowlers.  The idea is that you want the best Top 10 team you
       can create for the best chance at success.

4.)  When you’re putting your teams together and you’re asking yourself which combination
       is best, ask yourself which team you think would be the toughest to play against

I’d like to add, once you have your team selected, don’t stop there.  Get the team together for some practice.  If you’re not familiar with the Top 10 format, you want to remind everyone of the importance of score.  Whatever training you do on the green, it’s really good to have a little team-bonding.  Last year each round our team all wore bracelets made with the club colours.  Finally, if you are getting into Top 10 for the first time, don’t expect too much too soon.  Building a championships team takes time.  My club started in 2007 and in the first 3 years we won a single game (1-11).  In the past 3 years we’ve made the semi-finals twice (but even at that we got knocked out in the first round in the span).  All part of the learning experience.

 Hope to see every club out there in the Top 10 this year.  Every club has at least 10 members.  And for those clubs who think they are “too small”, the two smallest clubs in the V&D (26 and 42 primary members) not only competed in the Top 10, but made the semi-finals.