Saturday, 27 May 2017

The ballad of Ian Jackson, part two

A full week was promised but, due to weather and the death of bowls, we
only had to drag our little club that can't really but has a go anyway
to two midweek games. With Captain Pete Gangsta Greenhill terrorizing
downtown Detroit, Steve had stepped in ably as his deputy. This Tuesday
though is one i don't think Steve would have sent Pete the result of
right away. A very strong Ward End side showed up and found the
assorted Taverners making up the numbers to be rich pickings. We lost
and only picked up a solitary winner, one lone victor, a point on its
own in a wilderness as once again my tactic of playing the crankiest
marks i can find just that tiny bit less worse than my opponent paid

Wednesday a trip to Wythall was called off due to inclement weather and
everyone cheered. We were due to be playing in the bomber cup on the
Friday but i received word Sutton park couldn't fulfill a fixture they
would have undoubtedly won. Short of bowlers passing away the, Sutton Park not being able to fulfill a fixture is the
most depressing thing i have ever heard at bowls. Well behind the news
That taffy Ieuan Jackson was joining us.

Thursday saw Scotty return and the sides fortunes pick up amazingly
from the week before. Especially as i had put Cj in the draw when he
wasn't playing and i had written Dave Kitten instead of kiffin. I
maybe wrong but i don't remember Kiff frolicking with Mr Mestophales
on stage during Cats but i must have gotten the idea from somewhere.
After last weeks 3 winner loss at home the signs were bad for us but
jaymo and Sheldons own smouldering sex symbol were winners in the
first four. Scotty came back from 19-10 down to give us as many
winners away as at home and with some other close games i think the
overall result was a smaller loss than anyone hoped for.

Hero: a tiny word only 4 letters and two syllables but with Immense and
weighty meaning. It can be overused and misunderstood, what is a Hero?
What makes one? Is it a sporting Hero? Is it someone massive in the
annals of history such as Ghandi? Martin luther King? Martin Luther? Or does it relate to artistic
genius like Michelangelo, or Shakespeare. The possibilities are
endless. One thing i do know though is i witnessed one of the greatest
feats of heroism i have ever seen from a ginger tinged Yorkshire
pudding who was sopping wet in stirchley. After avoiding bowling for
years with excuses such as work, hang nails, headaches, the plague,
leprosy, and losing both legs in a freak shopping cart incident in
tesco's, on a day of a monsoon with everyone scattering and hiding
under any shelter they could Yorkie strode forward. With shoulders thrust back
chest out he strutted to the green bowled a quick fire two ends before
retreating to the club house. Yorkie is now convalescing at an
undisclosed Barbadian get away for a month.

A bit of a catch up

Two Tuesdays past, or is it three, your brave hero's took a trip to the Brookhill with
little more than change for the car park and a hat full of hope. We
returned with an empty hat and no change. We did however double our
winners from our last Tuesday night's foray to the land of Lunchy with
Good wins for Steve, Scotty, some guy called Craggers and another
midweek masterpiece from the maestro Cat Crane. The green was
remarkably quick for a chilly Tuesday evening and is a monster of a
thing. I hope they can continue to keep improving the surface year on
year as it a really fun green to go and play.

Like Ovett and Coe, McEnroe and Borg or Spassky and Fisher some
sporting rivalries last through the eons captivating millions,
breaking hearts and kick starting dreams. Life itself sometimes pales
in comparison to these huge life altering events and rivalries. We
know where we were when Borg beat McEnroe in an 5 set epic, we all
remember Coe and Ovett beating each other and when Fisher played kings
night to d2 we all lost our minds. The Olton verses The Greville is a
bit like that, but it probably only matters to a few Olton players
most of whom died 30 years ago. Still as a traditionalist there was
no way that bunch from up the road were going to come to lode lanes
finest and get anything other than a rather nice but over priced drink.

We Started well with Scotty winning to 8 but it went south from there
with the next 3 cards all losing and leaving us 13 shots adrift.
Thankfully to go along with Steve's close game there were wins for
Handsome Craig Taylor who was swoonsome throughout, another mercurial
masterclass from Dora and some bloke who apparently plays for us
called Ian Johnson, or jockson or something. I think he is from
Newcastle or something like that - has a really strange accent. Seems a decent
kid but his win tonight i think we can put down to beginners luck. A win by 15 but
more importantly a really good night and the conversation where Roy
and my old man were trying to figure out what is where the dolphin
used to be now was classic.

Thursday we were leaderless, rudderless and hopeless as Scotty took a
well earned break and left us to a home game that we thought we would
be good enough to win. Unfortunately Knowle had a couple of great
performances and with Iain wacksons luck running out we were left
losing at home with only 3 winners. Actually listening to the new lad
more i think he is Scandinavian if Netto is Scandinavian for value Ian
Jackson is Scandinavian for rubbish.

2 years ago Boldmere was the scene of the nicest man in bowls snapping
at team mates, Wiggy throwing a strop of toddler proportions and Chris
Greenhill being the most Chris Greeenhill he has ever been. I quit as
captain putting Wiggy and Killer in charge. in the 3 minutes they were
joint captains we had 3 losers, there were floods in china, protests
in Armenia, two plane crashes, a boat capsized, Cj spilled a mild and
Donald trump decided to be president. For crimes against humanity they
were promptly removed from office and replaced by an aspidistra. This
year, well, we were decent really and held our own losing by 42. There
were no tantrums, no nappies needed changing just a decent day and
good performances. On a personal note it is not a great idea to go
playing 10 pin as a roll up though as I spent the whole game looking for
somewhere to stick my fingers. I can't tell you what the food was like
or how many plates killer consumed as we rushed off to a wedding.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Starring Jamo as Charles Bronson and A.N.Other as James Coburn, with JP and Richie arguing over being John Layton

The Saturday B side took the trip to Lea Hall with two plans in mind.
Win the game and load up on cheap mild and i'll be buggered by the
state of them they managed both. After a slow start to the season the
B team are picking things up with their second away win on the bounce
with strong contributions from the whole team.

For those of you with long memories you may remember my Mexican cousin
who used to post on talking bowls, Chukilito Burrito. He called me last
night to congratulate the side on, and I quote "their Massiiiiivee
Cajones" i don't know what he is on about as i don't speako the lingo
but i know one thing, we showed we have big bollocks yesterday.

The A side has had a rough start to the year being bowlers missing
through all sorts of reasons and with a strong, undefeated Boldmere in
town life looked like it could well be tough. For context the
Boldmeres last two performances at ours were winning by 68 and coming
from a shed load down to lose by 2 at the death.

We went into this game with a further two seniors missing. Kiff was on
on holiday and is probably trying to convince the Spanish they should
take up bowls and Wiggy, well what can i say about wiggy. After his
mini meltdown last week we thought he should take a break and Spindle
very kindly shoehorned him into their Torquay bound short mat team. I
gather they needed someone to roll the mat up after the game. Thank
you Spindle from all at the Olton as we know its not easy but your
services to babysitting should earn you a knighthood. If Wiggy hasn't
bought us all some rock back or fudge then he is in major trouble.
Luckily to mitigate the shortage we had Richie available after a
hiatus and Larry had his operation cancelled and decided to gut out
the day bowling instead of following doctors orders and resting.

The first four was a mixed bag with some very good performances but no
real results for the home team. Larry battled gamely with his back to
lose 19. Cat was brilliant to get 14 against Paul Copson who always
performs on our green. I lost 13 to Jonah who bowled very well but
from 13.11 up it was a poor card for us, especially with my army of
followers watching on with hot chocolates in their hands. Thankfully
despite a late rally Dave Hosgood managed to hold on and win to 17
against Steve Carter. So 13 down after Four the Boldmere had their
tails up and a good card going on the green.

Steve Harper bowled excellently to win 3 and bring the deficit to 31
Messiah endured a bad day at the office with nothing going right.
Thankfully our old stagers found their form of yesteryear with Richie
winning 5 and JP continuing his resurgence in form, winning to 8 to
bring the game back to a two shot difference. Killer showed all the
experience and poise that went missing last week and despite a rough
game for him he managed to keep focused and grind away for some vital
late shots to finish with 12. So after 8 we were 11 down

Dodge had earlier purchased tea from the pub at great expense when it
is free in the club house, proving that he is quite mad, but his return has greatly
boosted us with a timely win to 13 to bring the deficit down again to
the odd few. Sharky smelt blood in the water and went after Andy on
his first senior game in quite a while. Andy worked hard and held of
the predator for a while but Sharkey's experience and class told with
him running out winning 11 to take the lead 13.

The game was in the balance but Boldmere were confident, both their players only had to get to
fifteen to secure the victory. Alan was 7.4 up against Scott and
Jaymo was level pegging with John Daley at about 12-12 i was sure it
was fourteen across but that would mean Jaymo and John would have
played at an epically slow pace that would have had Chris Baker
chanting Boring. The Noise from Boldmere was deafening but slowly we
found our voices as while Jaymo's game seemed to tread water Scotty
abandoned his usual game and started nurdling various marks around the
crown scoring some quick fire twos to go 20-8 up. At this point Alan
pounced and at 20 nine down and jack in hand and with the other game
poised at 16 across a good couple of ends would change momentum. Alan
led okay but he hadn't done enough to change the mark and Scott bowled
in leaving Alan with very little room to play with. Alan sent his wood
and it looked tight from the get go but took an age trundling across
the grass before it was obvious it couldn't count and the game was
done 21-9. Scott had been kicking himself allowing the final shot but
in truth it changed nothing - 8 or nine Chris had to win to win us the
game all that mattered was winning it straight back.

Amazingly Chris was now only 17 16 and was just bowling his lead wood. The end
finished and with two arms in the air he was informed of the situation
win and we win. The Atmosphere seemed to have weighed heavy on
Boldmere's final two - while my double act were Blues brothers cool,
Sinatra and Martin cool and those of us on the side were three
stooges manic. Jaymo managed to run out to 16 to seal the game and an
epic 4 shot victory.

Last week i had bemoaned the team's attitude shift from the week before.
This week all complaints, gripes and worries were answered
emphatically, now we just need to learn to keep that team ethic and
effort at that level all year. It is amazing what can be achieved if
you do. A big thanks to all the supporters today, even the ones who
just stood on the balcony looking perplexed as to why grown adults
would be putting themselves through such torture for fun. This feeling
is why we do, there have been some amazing results since i came back
to the Olton: wins away at places we hadn't thought possible but all
in all this was the result. A historically flakey side coming back
from 31 down against a side that strong shows how much people have
improved. Maybe it doesn't show in the plus or minus column or in the
win lost tally but when it matters in tight games that is when you can
see it. I am a very happy and proud Captain so happy i was even sorry
Wiggy wasn't part of it , well okay i am not that happy but yeah i am
well chuffed.

The ballad of Michael Lynch

Lunchy is a special breed. A Villa fan everyone likes, a considerate
van driver and the slimmest person ever to eat and survive the copious
amounts of breakfast sarnies he chomps through. He is also a living, breathing
rarity as one of the only people to have double chuckled the
Chuckles on the Tavern.

Mick bowled really well to beat your hero and gorgeous younger chuckle. I
expect my fans to picket Lunchy's house and shower him with their tears
and keep him awake at night with their high pitched wailing. Lunchy's
best efforts were in vain as Gangsta Pete G led his homies to a
comfortable victory.

Wednesday Woes

Oh Wednesday's, so much to answer for. Another bollocking for the
Wednesday side this time at the hands of our nearest and dearest at
The Greville. Knowing we were turning up The Breville picked a strong side and despite some good
performances we could only pick up two wins. Nee bowled well and he
put a cherry on top Beating Andy but it was Kiff, finding lifetime
form on the eve of his holiday and conquering Steve Wallace that took the plaudits.I feel a bit
like Ned Stark - a win is coming, or winter is coming i have no clue
which will be first.

Cup time for the Thursday teams and it was an impressive evening for
both sides. The B team managed to put away the villagers from Wooten
Wawen before they could muster their pitchforks and attack. Meanwhile
the A side had the tricky task of taking on Marston green. If you
haven't played Marston Green I would avoid it. It's Bowls Jim but not
as we know it. It's too small for the 4 ends they play on it and in
fact most of my night was spent sending blocks back and giving
people dirty looks for careering into peoples ends while
measuring. The surface is struggling and the new conk, the 19th i think,
hasn't taken at all. That being said it is a green where any score
is possible and i wouldn't blame anyone for any score they get.
Thankfully all cares were eased as Cat was amazing winning 6 and
setting us up for a 1 shot away victory. The home side had to face the
cream of the Marston crop and must have played well to run out very
comfortable winners at home.

Beer Watch - it is just like spring watch without Bill Oddie, the
attractive lady and it has beer. Old Hooky made an appearance and the
Olton have finally given up any pretense that the pricing on the pumps
is correct. If it says its 3.20 just assume its 3.50 its much safer it
was nice though.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Home, home on the Tavern where the sheep and the goats used to Graze

Tuesday social at the Ale rooms in Knowle went pretty well. Good beer
amazing gin and stopping in at tesco on the way home for 4 pints of
semi skimmed. It may not be rock and roll but it proves we are a
classy lot at the Olton. It wasn't Tesco's own milk it was Cravendale
all the way.

Wednesday was cold wet and thoroughly unpleasant evening. The green
however was surprisingly quick and fun to play. This didn't help our
cause though as we slumped to another defeat but we did double our
winners from last week and again most of the games could have gone
either way with decent performances from most of the team.

Tavern Beer watch - we didn't go in Wednesday so don't know what was on.

The Thursday night delights won at home with 7 winners against the
Maggies. News of the delights of the delights must have spread as
there were four spectators pitch side and two up on the balcony
impressive performances from Scott and Kiff led the way and Jaymo
produced a second biblical resurrection in a week. Congratulations
this week also go to the B team for an impressive away win.

Tavern Beer watch

The American Etta ale was pretty good but all the mild had gone and
the vast array of pale ales was doing nothing to stir the excitement

After last weeks wonderful effort and team ethic this week we got
discord and disturbance. As follow ups go it was like speed 2 or
Exorcist 2 the heretic. For some reason there was tension in the air
from the off - it could have been because we were heavy favourites and we
are used to being underdogs? It could have been the oppressive
overcast nature of the day or it could be that half the team are as
mad as a box of frogs or their performance is akin to Forrest Gumps chocs.

The first four went reasonably well, finishing 18 up although this is
about 10 shy of where ee could well have been after 4. The middle four
continued the trend of playing well but some spirited comebacks from
hall green meant we were only 31 up when we were looking for 50. Then
inexplicably the wheels didn't just come loose they exploded from the
car like it was in a Michael Bay film. First Young killer, seemingly
before his first bowl was sent, decided this would be a bad day and no
amount of cajoling or calming seemed to work. He bowled like he was
using his wrong arm and then acted like he was Wurzle Gummidge with his
arsehole head on. Chris has grown a lot and the measure of this is
that this was a remarkable event, in years gone by this was a weekly
occurrence and we look forward to welcoming our human Chris back into
the fold next week.

Wiggy must have been watching and decided that Killer's implosion
shouldn't be allowed to upstage him. He had wound himself up into a
frenzy in the roll up and started off in fine fashion. As the sugar
rush started to fade however cracks were starting to show and when he
sent his second wood of to only count 1 when Dave had sent both of his
off everything went south for the day and Wiggy crumbled like castles
made of sand falling into the sea to leave us 11 up.

At this stage Scotty was 10 across with Martin Fowles and Jaymo was 12
across with Martin Sylvester and momentum was going Hall Greens
way. Whenever Jaymo and Scott have been together at 11 and 12, however, if
we have been in a hole or in with a sniff they have both always
delivered. Jaymo made it home against Martin and Scott in game of the
day just fell short against the other, (better-Ed) Martin.

It proves once again no value should ever be put on averages. Jaymo and
Scotty have both struggled this year for results but both play at the
business end of a game where wins and losses are irrelevant - the job is
about getting enough to win the game and they have constantly
delivered under pressure. A win then, but not the score we were hoping for.
With key members out next week and against a very good side any result
for us would be a bonus. The most important thing next weekend is the
effort, the temperament and the team ethic. The result either way is not
the end of the world or the dawning a brave new world.

The juniors won away and considering they only won a handful of games
last year and are still under strength that is no mean feet no matter
the opposition.

Tavern Beer watch - for those interested the beer line up was the same as Thursday, here
is hoping that a stout shows up sometime soon.