Bella'S Shield

David v Michael

David played Michael in a Bella’s shield match. With a wood to eighteen inches Michael took shot in the first and at one foot another shot in the third end. In between he had set the jack at thirty-four yards and taken three shots as David was short – then I remembered our new rules and jacks to be a maximum of thirty yards unless both parties agree in advance. David was having problems with long woods and would not have agreed, so we scrubbed the long jack end. 2-0 to Michael, two valid ends played.

The rest of the match was almost exclusively at twenty-eight yards, but the first end, at twenty-six yards went David’s way, woods at fifteen inches and two feet bringing him level at 2-2. Michael to one foot in the fourth gave him the lead again at 3-2. He pushed the next jack an extra yard, left two woods close and now he led 5-2. Then it was David’s turn, woods at fifteen and six inches giving him the next two ends for 4-5, and two more shots in the penultimate end put David into the lead for the first time at 6-5. In the final end their first wood each would have needed a measure, but David’s second pushed his potential shot wood away. Michael’s second sat a foot from the jack, he was holding two and David’s last was too strong, so still two to Michael and the overall win. At this stage, had he more experience of matchplay, he should have asked the state of play, but he bowled his last wood – at some speed. It knocked his shot wood out, but stopped in his place – ‘one in, one out’ in bowls terminology. He had retained the two shots and victory at 7-6 in a very good match.

Hans v Terry M

Another Bella’s shield match. This was actually played first on the day, and not till it was over did I recall the new rules with a thirty yard jack. In ideal conditions I am sure that both Hans and Terry would waive that limit, but actually we are still not playing in ideal conditions. Better, much better, than last week but the grass is still on the long side. After playing Marden, Biddenden, Sturdee and Birchington Terry has had a taste of what a good green should provide – there really is no substitute for a dedicated green keeper who works on the green, and cuts it, daily.

Terry bowled a good line throughout. The problem was adjusting for length, and the greater effort required on our green rather than the fine adjustment when the grass is short. In the first end at twenty-five yards he was short with his first two woods, but Hans promoted him so that Terry sat alongside the jack for shot. Hans then picked up the jack and ran it through eighteen inches to take shot himself and lead 1-0. In the second on a twenty-eight yard jack Terry pushed the jack another two feet, but sideways to Hans’ wood. Terry then ran into his own short wood and Hans got his own length pretty accurately to take three and lead 4-0.

The next end was thirty-three yards, I should have sent the jack back. It was one shot to Hans, but like Michael and David’s match, let’s ignore the long jack end. So the new fourth end, at twenty-six yards, saw Terry knock out Hans’ shot wood to take shot himself, now on the scoreboard at 1-4. Terry set the next jack at twenty-five yards but was too strong with all his woods so allowed Hans to pick up three for 7-1. Hans set a thirty-two yard jack. Again I should have sent it back, but Terry got the distance pretty well in this end. He was right on line but just short, then he was perfectly on line but promoted Hans. Hans put one wood into the count off his own back and would have taken two – but we will ignore this end as well. The next end saw a thirty- four yard jack, and it was a measure for shot between the two. We did not settle the winner of the end, as we believed at the time that Terry needed all three to stay in the match.

So a bit of a mess, but Terry’s reaction when I set this out was that Hans was the better man on the day and he had enjoyed the game. 7-1 to Hans on legitimate ends, 10-1 with two long jacks included and one inconclusive end never measured. Shoot me if I do this again. Decent experience for Terry of matchplay - his first singles encounter -but between the grass and my ineptitude it could have been better.

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