CONDITIONS may have been poor but the quality of bowling certainly was not when White Hart held their 2018 crown green club championships on Saturday.
There was a decent turnout and rain was still falling at the semi-final stage when Kirk Wright defeated Graham Arnott 21-15 and Tim Hollingshead came from behind to win a thriller against Ian Humphreys 21-20.
Hollingshead began the final well, constantly attempting to impose his long game on Wright who was preferring a shorter version. With Hollingshead a few shots ahead, Wright twice had lead bowls on the jack but on both occasions long tapes were called and the marks were found to be marginally short of the required 19 metres.
Hollingshead capitalised on this and went on to hold match bowl at 20-15 but Wright prolonged the game to take the jack and then took two shots from the next end to be 20-18 down.
An average lead bowl then let in Hollingshead who went closer with his lead and, when Wright failed to improve with his second effort, the title deservedly went to Hollingshead with a 21-18 victory.
In the Heart of England Merit Finals, Ray Richards and Wright both led their quarter-final ties but Wright was finally beaten 21-16 by last year’s winner Barry Maskell Jnr (Tanworth-In-Arden), while Richards was beaten 21-15 by another Tanworth player, Peter Mole.
Hart bowler Matt Higgins defeated Ivan Smout (Kings Heath) in his quarter-final before accounting for Mole in the semi. Willie Jeynes (Tanworth) was his opponent in the final and the match was in the balance until Jeynes forged ahead at 15-10 and seemed in control, but Higgins staged a fine comeback, finally taking the title 21-17.
In Heart of England Over 60s League Division One, White Hart A easily won their final home match of the season 122-87 against Hockley Heath A, having five winners from the six ties – Stephen Turner 21-9, Wright 21-20, Ken Brown 21-17, Arnott 21-14 and captain Mike Estell 21-6.
Hart stay in a more than respectable fourth place with 189 points. Leaders Moseley CC A are currently six points ahead of College AG A and the two teams will meet in the final week of the season to decide the title.
White Hart B face a difficult home tie with local rivals Alcester A today (Friday) after losing the away leg 126-74 and the outcome will decide whether Hart retain their Division Two status.
The Redditch club failed to find a winner at Alcester, although Roger Broome only went down by a single shot against home regular Ken Craddock. White Hart are now only one place and six points clear of relegation and they must win their final match to ensure they escape the drop to Division Three, although the team immediately below them – Woodlands Park – face an equally tough home tie with third-placed Kings Norton Ex-Service.