Report covering the Finals Days 2021 (Reporter Ian Gibb: many thanks, Ian.)

CLIFF TOPS AT ARGYLL AGAIN
But Ladies provide the drama

Cliff Van Wyk had to dig into some of his South African international skills to see off the brave attempt by Phill Snell in the men’s four-wood singles final, the climax of another highly successful Argyll championship weekend.
Both men had won this title twice before but it was a three timer for Cliff by 21-18, after Phil had dragged the contest back to 18 all.
Yet the real drama came from the ladies with Kaye Hodge somehow coming back from 17-3 down to prevail in the Ladies Non-Prize Winners, and Chris Gibb partnered by Margaret Wareing suffering a Hot Shot before recovering to win the Ladies’ Pairs.
And Pauline Fisher didn’t get her nose in front in the Ladies’ Singles Final until the 25th and last end against defending champion Betty Earl for her fourth triumph in the event.
Cliff Van Wyk recovered from a three-shot first end deficit to build what seemed a decisive 18-12 lead. This included a full-house four when Phill looked all at sea.
But he pulled himself together with six shots in three ends, only to drop a three as Cliff clinched victory.

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No-one would have bet  a brass farthing on Kaye Hodge’s chances as she trailed 17-3 to Keiko Roberts in the Ladies’ Non-Prize Winners Final.
Keiko can be a match for anyone at her best but as so often happens in bowls, she suddenly lost her mastery, winning only two more shots as Kaye stormed to a 21-19 victory.
Kaye said: ‘Even at 17-3 down I told myself to keep going and it worked.’ Poor Keiko has been in finals before and it is hoped that, like Kaye, she keeps going next year.
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Betty Earl started the defence of her four-wood Ladies Singles Final like a champion against old adversary Pauline Fisher and led 7-0 after just three ends.
It was 15-10 and 18-14 for Betty before Pauline made her big move, winning eight shots in the next five ends for a 21-18 final count.
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The John Memory Final, the competition in remembrance of our well loved Leicester bowler, could not have been tighter, coming down to a one-end shoot-out between Dave Cleave and Chris Hawkins after they took one set apiece.
Dave looked like he’d got it, winning the toss to bowl first and producing a toucher within a couple of feet. But Chris came up with the perfect, last bowl reply and a toucher that was even closer. Well done, Chris.
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Dave Cleave is a master of the two-wood, yardstick game and so it proved in the Argyll Final, despite a gutsy effort from much improved Trevor Phillips.
Trevor has achieved a number of excellent, surprise results this summer and he came back from 8-4 down to level at 8-8.
But then Dave, who had demolished most of his previous opponents in this section, ran clear to post the 16-8 victory by the 19th end.
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Keith Shovell received a generous six shots in the Men’s Singles Handicap final against Bob Buck and looked set for his first singles title as he led 14-6 after eight ends.
But it was all Bob in the second half with 16 shots and only two reverses in 11 ends as he came through 21-16.
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Pauline Fisher is a formidable adversary in the two-wood, yardstick event and Kaye Hodge had little answer, taking only two of the first 11 ends.
The 17-4 final score reflected Pauline’s dominance but Kaye wasn’t to know how different things would turn out on the following day.
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Chris Gibb and Margaret Wareing must have feared the worst when they dropped the infamous Hot Shot (eight shots) on only the third end of the Ladies Drawn Pairs to Betty Earl and Ellen Greaves.
However, they replied with five shots and then Chris took the jack away from dropping a six on the 10th end. Chris and Margaret got stronger while poor Betty suffered from having had an arduous morning Singles final and a hand injury.
It left Chris and Margaret to finish 18-15 in front.
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Keith Holbrook entered the Men’s Veteran Singles for the first time and left David Radford out of luck, winning

21-11. Evertonian Keith is one the club’s leading singles players and led 9-3 after nine ends.
Dave has been in three NPW finals and kept plugging away but it’s a case of waiting until next year for him.
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There could be few more popular winners than old pals Mark Howard and Peter Giles. They were the winners of the Nominated Pairs 27-20 against Dave Charles and Pauline Fisher.
Mark and Peter used to follow England’s football team around the world but this must have been just as satisfying.
However, there was little in it until they pulled away with a four on the last end.
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Keith and Mairead Holbrook successfully defended their Married Couples title, 25-9 against John and Keiko Roberts.
The Holbrooks are tough opponents on the greens and have proved worthy champions.
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One of the tightest finals proved to be the Men’s Non-Prize Winners as Stuart Greaves came through to edge out Dave Williams in a quality contest, 21-18.
Dave led 18-12 at one stage but Stuart staged a nine shots in five ends barrage to take it.
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Charlie Graham looked to be out of luck when his Drawn Triples team trailed 17-11, despite an early five count in their favour.
But Phill Snell and his team of Pete Giles and Margaret Wareing were undone as Charlie, accompanied by Betty Earl and Trevor Phillips, snatched a three and a five in the last three ends to win 25-18.
It was never as comfortable as the score suggests but Charlie was certainly a jubilant skip, taking the jack away on a crucial end.
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Bob Buck and John Crowe were already in command of the Men’s Drawn Pairs.

when they grabbed a five and a two midway to lead Dave Charles and Nick Monk 22-6 after 13 of the 18 ends contest.
Nick, whose brilliance took his team to the final, and Dave soldiered on with a two and three but it was all over    23-12 by the 17th end.
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Betty Earl produced some outstanding bowls in the Marskell Pairs along with Dave Smith to keep them in it and lead 14-13 after 16 ends.
But then Phill Snell, accompanied by Christine Gibb, pulled out all the stops with a 10-shot haul over the last five ends to win 23-14.
The crucial end was the 18th as Betty and Dave held three, only for Phil to nip in for shot and lie 17-14.
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Thanks and congratulations go out to President Pete Fisher and Pauline (Competition Secretaries) plus valued Club friend Gary Lucas for their expert umpiring duties over the weekend of Friday, September 10 to Sunday, September 12.
And a big thank you to all who attended the event, lining the outside of the green from far corner to clubhouse.


                                                                            Report by Ian Gibb