Danny Smith gets England call… Southsea Waverley began title defence with emphatic success
Southsea Waverley bowler Danny Smith has been selected for the Bowls England junior international trials at Leamington Spa.
He will be in action on May 27 and will have the support of the Portsmouth & District League committee and bowlers who wish him all the best for event, writes Dave Wildman.
The new outdoor bowls season kicked off with a bit of a challenge for everyone. It began with league clubs having to contend with difficult conditions due to Storm Hannah.
In division one Portsmouth Water, making a return to the top table after a nine-year absence, found they were hit with a hurricane in the form of defending champions Southsea Waverley.
The title winners from the previous summer powered to a brutal 74-shot victory. The size of Waverley’s win was down to massive victories on the rinks of Mark Hammond and John Biggs which both reached 40 shots.
Cowplain, the other promoted team, couldn’t make home advantage count as they fell to a home defeat by Fareham, which was led by the 16-shot win on Charlie Bailey’s rink.
At least Peter Little had the satisfaction of winning his first game as a league skipper with a 12-shot win. The overall margin was 18 shots for Fareham.
It was a bad night for the carpet clubs, as Waterlooville fell to a 38-shot home defeat at the hands of Priory, who had Nigel Mundy’s rink to thank for the size of their victory as he stormed to a win by 30.
Leigh Park started their season well with a 29-shot home win over Vospers. In a game where defence was thrown to the winds, there were big wins on all four rinks, with the Park boys getting three of them.
The final match in the division was completely the opposite of all the others as Alexandra battled to a one-shot victory at Lee-on-the-Solent. Paul Lawrence’s rink was the only winning rink for Alex and his six-shot win was the difference.
In Portsmouth & District League division two Bedhampton were demolished by 93 shots at Denmead.
At least, Keith Read’s rink kept the losing margin down to single digits.
Meanwhile, Rowner, the other relegated club, started their campaign for a swift return with a 44-shot home win over Naismith.
Barry Stafford’s rink led the way for Rowner with their 24-shot win, while Mick Penny’s rink prevented the whitewash for Naismith with their two-shot win.
The promoted division three clubs had mixed fortunes. College Park had an excellent eight-shot away win at Crofton. Their victory was down to win by John Newton’s rink as the winning margins on the other College rink was cancelled out by the single Crofton winning rink, with the fourth being tied.
Meanwhile, Bridgemary fell to a 22-shot away defeat at the hands of Milton Park, whose victory was thanks to the 21-shot win on Mick Brown’s rink.
In the remaining match in the division, Star battled through to a two-shot win at Gosport, thanks to the wins on the rinks of Robbie Dennison and Alan New which just outweighed the 16-shot win gained on Ken Stanbury’s rink for Gosport.
In division three, relegated Purbook Heath began their campaign to return to division two with a 13-shot away win at Gas Social.
With both clubs winning on two rinks, it was the 23-shot win on Paul Knight’s rink that turned the match Purbrook’s way.
Pembroke Gardens got their season off to an excellent start with a 25-shot home win against Cosham Park. Pembroke won on three rinks, led by the 15-shot victory by Dave Brookes’ quartet.
The other match in the division was a nail-biter, with Emsworth, last season’s wooden spoonist’s, just getting the better of Phoenix by one shot at Phoenix’s home turf, with the result of the match dependent on the last end of the game. Going into it, Emsworth were leading by five shots, having won two of the rinks that had ended.
On the remaining rink, Scott Compton’s Phoenix quartet had been making a charge over the previous five ends to give Phoenix hope, but they just failed to get the five required to tie the match.