Big win for Priory as Portsmouth & District Bowls League returns – but in a new-look format

The Portsmouth & District Bowls League has returned for the first time since lockdown was first announced in March 2020.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 12:22 pm
The Priory rink skipped by Martin Eggleton recorded a big win against College Park as the Portsmouth & District Bowls League resumed after an absence of more than a year. Picture: Mick Young

But the format of the leagues has been changed to take into account the present pandemic climate, writes DAVE WILDMAN.

Instead of the usual formats, the leagues have been split into localities to minimise travelling.

So now, clubs will play against other clubs in one of three areas - City of Portsmouth Havant & Waterlooville and Gosport & Fareham.

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Whilst the Combination Leagues managed to play their initial fixtures, the Midweek Triples and league matches were hit hard by the wind and rain last Thursday and Friday.

City Divisions

Due to the number of clubs in Portsmouth, they have been split into two Divisions, A and B.

In Division A, Vospers began with a 12-shot victory at Milton Park. They won on all three rinks and had Terry Smith’s quartet to thank for the size of their win.

Priory romped home at College Park, winning by 39 shots and bagging all the match Points. The size of the victory was down to Martin Eggleton’s quartet, who recorded a thumping 34-shot victory.

In Division B, the powerhouses of Alexandra and Southsea Waverley both recorded big home wins.

Alexandra disposed of Pembroke Gardens by 53 shots, with Don Lilley’s men doing a lot of the damage, whilst Waverley thumped Portsmouth Water by 51 shots with big wins on all three rinks.

Havant & Waterlooville

Only one game survived the conditions on Friday and that was at Leigh Park, where the hosts enjoyed a 31-shot win over Emsworth, with Jamie Ward’s men doing most of the damage.

Gosport & Fareham

There was a tense battle between Fareham and Rowner before the former finally scraped home by just two shots.

Their victory was all down to Charlie Bailey’s quartet, who took control of their game after the 10th end and won the final eight ends to finish with a 16-shot victory. That made the difference of the defeats suffered by Fareham’s other two rinks.

The battle between two clubs having problems with their grass greens saw Gosport beat visitors Bridgemary by 42 shots.

Gosport has to use their artificial surface due to the damage their turf green suffered in the early part of the year. That was probably the reason for the size of their victory, although Barrie Durant’s Bridgemark rink enjoyed a two-shot win.