County flag is raised to signal silver position
THREE proud men from Cheltenham Bowls Club, Nick Holliday, Mark Perry and Stuart Hodges, held high the Gloucestershire flag as they became National Triples runners-up at Worthing in the Men's National Championships.
In a brilliant display of bowling throughout the three days they pulled off some breath taking victories to reach the final where unfortunately they meet their match against Berkshire (Andrew Knapper) and went down by 19 shots to 12.
In the first round-up against Cambridgeshire (Richard Catton) they ended up win 17-15.
In round two, they went four shots behind to Cumbria (Ian Williams) before turning in a superb display of bowling that saw seven winning ends out of eight to go 12-7 ahead. Two more three's and a four brought about a 24-11 win.
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In round three, up against Nottinghamshire (Brett Morley), they dropped a five on the very first end and after six ends were 10-3 down.
The recovery came with a single and winning the next four ends they were only 10-9 down.
Back to 12-9 behind two ends later they grabbed a three on the 16th end and although they then dropped a two a last winning draw with the final wood gave them a 16-13 win having looking at going into an extra end.
Into the quarter-finals saw an even seven ends with Kent (Kenneth Weyand).
At 8-7 down they then hit a purple patch and picked up a three and a two in four winning ends before losing the last three ends to win 13-11.
All the drama came in the semi-finals against Norfolk (Mervyn Chapman) when they bagged a five to open up an 8-1 lead.
Well in command at 13-3 ahead they dropped a four and with five ends to go and leading 16-8 their opponents struck back with a six and a two to be just 16-14 down.
By the last end the sides were level at 17-17. The last end ended up with the jack on the side edge of the rink and Norfolk looked to be heading into the final as they were holding two shots with just one wood remaining from Stuart Hodges. The crowd all went very silent and as Hodges delivered the bowl all erupted as the wood came in for shot for an 18-17 win.
The final saw them again slip up in dropping a five to go 10-1 behind but this time they could not pull it around and although they won five ends out of six to get back to only be 12-8 down a dropped three on the 13th end saw a too bigger gap to make up and they suffered a 19-12 defeat.