The go-ahead Bristol indoor bowls club made a good job of hosting the British Isles under-18 International Series, which was won by Scotland last weekend.
It was a bit worrying that there was only one player from the West Country on display – and he was from Ledbury in Herefordshire! Tom Holmes, who is actually a member of the MidGlos club in Brockworth, helped England achieve the runners-up spot.
No-one from Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset or Cornwall, and, even more surprising, not one representative from England’s strongest bowling county, Devon.
In his role as England’s team manager, Dave Attwood, who was born in Taunton, and played bowls at Bridgwater as a teenager, was pleased with the way his young charges played, but was disappointed that they could not knock the Scots off their pedestal.
“We did strike gold in the singles and triples,” Attwood said. “Ajay Morphett, from Egerton Park, showed character and played exceptionally well to win the singles, and teamed up well with Riverain’s Devon Cooper and Swale’s Sam Walker to win the triples.”
He added: “But Scotland provided both teams for the fours final, and Wales beat Ireland in the pairs final, so we can have no complaints – at the end of the day, the Scots probably deserved to win the overall team title.”
Attwood will also remember the weekend for the problems caused by Hurricane Ophelia, which delayed his return to his home in Dublin, where he is the racing and operations manager at the iconic Leopardstown Racecourse.
“We have the Killavullan Stakes coming up on Sunday (today),” he explained during the week. “There was a mountain of work to be done, and I was hoping to get home quickly, but my flights were cancelled, and I didn’t get back to Dublin until Wednesday!”
BRITISH ISLES UNDER-18 INTERNATIONAL SERIES: Fours: Gold medal play-off: Michael Stevenson, Bradley Buchan, Rebecca Houston, Stephen Lowrie (Scotland) bt Megan Kivlin, Callum Musik, Robert Hunter, Craig Mackintosh (Scotland), 10-4, 5-2; Bronze medal play-off: Dion Peregrine, Chad Bowling, Jordan Driscoll, Ryan Davies (Wales) bt Robyn Hall, Andrew Conly, Ffion Jones, Liam Ellis (British Lions), 7-5, 2-8, 1-0; Fifth place play-off: Imogen Jenner, Devon Cooper, Aaron Johnson, Sam Walker (England) bt Rebecca Moorbey, Chloe Brett, Tom Holmes, Liam Harris (England), 8-4, 5-3; Seventh place play-off: Lauren Gowen, Iestyn Williams, Ethan Humphreys, Eric Hughes (Wales) bt Katherine Houston, Jayden Kyle, Jonny Hedley, Adam McKeown (Ireland), 10-0, 10-2.
Triples: Gold medal play-off: Cooper, Morphett, Walker (England) bt Stevenson, Buchan, Lowrie (Scotland), 5-5, 13-4; Bronze medal play-off: Kivlin, Mackintosh, MacNab (Scotland) bt Peregrine, Bowls, Davies (Wales), 7-7, 11-7; Fifth place play-off: Gowen, Williams, Hughes (Wales) bt Moorbey, Creaser, Holmes (England), 5-4, 13-1; Seventh place play-off: Hall, Conly, F Jones (British Lions) bt Houston, Coyle, Hedley (Ireland) 16-2, 5-5.
Pairs: Gold medal play-off: S Jones & Driscoll (Wales) bt Millar & McKeown (Ireland), 16-2, 15-2; Bronze medal play-off: Musik & Hunter (Scotland) bt Jenner & Johnson (England), 10-5, 9-9; Fifth place play-off: Brett & Harris (England) bt Houston & Robertson (Scotland), 9-4, 10-6; Seventh place play-off: Breen & Humphreys (Wales) bt Roddie & Iles (British Lions) 7-7, 7-5.
Singles: Gold medal play-off: Morphett (England) bt Robertson (Scotland), 6-5, 6-6; Bronze medal play-off: Creaser (England) bt Breen (Wales), 8-8, 7-5; Fifth place play-off: MacNab (Scotland) bt Roddie (British Lions) 11-8, 15-4; Seventh place play-off: S Jones (Wales) bt Millar (Ireland), 9-6, 14-4.
Final team standings: 1, Scotland, 26.5 points; 2, England, 22.5; 3, Wales, 18; 4, Ireland, 11; 5, British Lions, 11.