British Isles bowls: A chance for glory

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With Waymouth, a former Island rugby player, playing lead, and teenager Jamie MacDonald moving up to occupy the mid-rink role as Thomas Greechan’s right-hand man, the Jersey trio swept to a brilliant 24-7 win over Conor Gilmore, Gary Kelly and Ronnie Milliken, from Ballymena in Northern Ireland.

Although they dropped an inauspicious double on the first end, Greechan’s men replied with a single, then hit their young opponents for six on the third end, following up with brace of trebles that left the Irish reeling at 13-2 after only five ends.

‘All three Channel Islanders played well,’ said Irish team manager Roy McCune.

“”But it was that six that did for our lads – and the match was as good as over after five ends.’ The Irish champions fought back bravely, closing to 15-7 after 10 ends, but Jersey broke loose again with a four on the 11th, a three on the 12th and a double on the 13th to lead, 24-7, and the shell-shocked Irish threw in the towel with a possible five ends still left to play.

Greechan explained: ‘It was unfortunate that John (Lowery) had to drop out because of work commitments, and it was obviously different having a new lead, and with Jamie playing in the middle, but it all worked out well for us.’ In today’s final, Jersey face a Lincoln trio skipped by world-ranked Billy Jackson, who scraped through by a single shot against a West Lothian team skipped by Commonwealth Games gold medallist George Sneddon.

Lowery and Greechan reached the final of the pairs last year, but were denied the top honours by Lady Luck just when they seemed to have the title in the bag.

More good news for the Channel Islands emerged from the AGM of the British Isles Bowls Council, where it was decided to continue with the British Lions versus Channel Islands fixture, recently played for the first time in Grainville.

Next winter, the BIIBC intend to bring a four-rink team to the Hougue du Pommier stadium in Guernsey, where the format is likely to be the same as last time – ie, the British Lions will play a team from Guernsey one day, and a team from Jersey the next.

Apparently there was a feeling in some quarters that the fixture should be with a combined team from the Channel Islands, as the association recognised by the BIIBC is the CIIBA.

Jersey’s triples led 7-3 after two hours play of their final against England today.

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