MAR. 23, 2023
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For more seasons now than he probably cares to remember, Robin Phillips has been the leading light as a player at Fitz Park Bowling Club, Keswick.
And despite his prolonged absence from the club as a player due to the lockdown restrictions and work commitments, Robin celebrated his return to club – and his 60th birthday – this week with a hard fought draw in the Tuesday afternoon Triples League.
And it was as if he had never been away. His very first wood almost nestled against the jack and he then gave a virtuoso performance that makes him the sort of player who can always conjure something out of nothing. The phrase “it never leaves you” could never have been so apt, writes Keith Richardson.
Robin had no intention of playing on Tuesday and had come along simply to spectate.
But the non-appearance of a couple of players meant that he was press-ganged into action at the last minute.
Robin last bowled a wood in anger on September 20, 2019 when he and fellow players from Fitz Park won the prestigious Eden Valley League Day competition held at Appleby. Robin has been the club champion at Fitz Park no fewer than 17 times in a record-breaking sequence that stretches from 1987 to 2018.
And I would not be in the least surprised if his name was yet again to appear on the notice board anytime soon for he is still, clearly, a formidable opponent.
As freezing rain swept across the ground during the afternoon and reminded Harry Morter of the day he was almost frozen solid at Lazonby, bowlers braved the conditions after being lulled into a false sense of security by day after day and week after week of almost continual sunshine.
But then what could you expect? This was the day that Keswick Cricket Club’s Sri Lankan professional Geeth Kumara – also a member of the bowls club when he is not playing or coaching cricket – came out of quarantine. So it was bound to rain, and it did.
Two teams share top spot in the Tuesday Triples League, both undefeated after two games. Sean Mills, Martin Ousby and Di Massingham lead the way with a better shot difference (plus 21) after they overcame Alan Dalzell, Colin Mason and Christine Weightman by the considerable margin of 21-7.
Also unbeaten after two successive wins are Colin Jackson, Hughie Burton and John Thompson (shot difference of plus 11) who got the better of John Sewell, Christine Mills and a hypothermic Harry Morter 16-6.
There was a convincing win also, 24-7, for Vic Emmerson, Adrian Gill and Kevin Hadley over Keith Price, Colin Glover and Glenda Holme. And finally in the triples Robin Phillips, Derek Massingham and Mark Finlay came back from the ‘dead’ – a 12-7 deficit going into the last of the 15 ends – to square the match after an end defining shot from Phillips was built on by Findlay to rescue what seemed a lost cause.
On the receiving end were Tom Prescott, Lynn Hazell and your bowls correspondent.
Opening games in the Thursday evening triples were played last week when Karen Hind, Phillip Pridmore and skip Dave Brannan actually conceded eight shots on one notorious – for them at least – end and only narrowly failed in a remarkable fight back against Peter Rainey, Phil Barnes and Vic Emmerson. The final score was 16-17.
In other results from the Thursday Triples: Colin Mason, Colin Jackson and Christine Weightman lost 12-20 to John Sewell, Adrian Gill and Alan Hind; David Bragg, Yvonne Davies and Grace Gill were defeated 13-17 by Mike Davies, Kevin Hadley and Lynn Hazell – the eventual victors were losing 12-2 after six ends; league leaders by a shot difference of plus 20, Sue Tremble, Donald Holme and Keith Richardson got the better of Sheila Sunderland, Keith Price and Derek Massingham 26-6.
In Monday’s Aggregate event, Adrian Gill, Jill Preston and Mel Evans lost 8-9 to Velma Bottomley, Cliff Harding and Keith Price; Martin Ousby, Sheila Sunderland and Hughie Burton went down 3-14 to Caroline Harding, Colin Mason and Alan Hind; Christine Weightman, Christine Howarth, and Karen Hind won 12-9 against Colin Glover, Lynn MacCaffery and Mark Findlay.
And finally this week, the flowers on the magnolia tree adjacent to the top corner of the bowls green are now past their best after fighting back courageously against some unseasonal frost, but the Upper Park in general is now looking an absolute picture with various blossoms and foliage providing an amazing display. Not to mention the red and amber of the bowling club playing strips.
And there was a great deal of interest this week by the creation of a sculpture of an owl into the trunk of what was, in a former life, a Blue Atlas Cedar.
All this, of course, has nothing to do with bowls as a sport, except its relevance to the immediate and wonderful environment in which the Fitz Park Bowling Club operates and in which it takes great pride.