What a day! What a final! Ginger Cheng takes Berkeley 2022 Novice Singles Title
The 2022 BLBC Novice Singles Tournament—yes, that’s the 2022 event—finally took place on February 4, 2023 after several postponements in December and January due to the welcome but, for bowlers frustrating, winter bomb cyclones and atmospheric rivers that the Bay Area has been subjected to.
Undaunted by the prospect of further inclement weather during the day, 12 eager Novices took to the damp and heavy green and braved a day of cold, wind, and showers—sometimes intense—to show their mettle. (“Fine bowling weather” it’s called in Scotland.) Given the uncertain conditions, a last minute decision was made by the Tournament Team to abjure the usual singles format of playing till a certain number of points is scored and instead to have games run to 15 ends, in the hope that this would expedite play and allow the tournament to be completed on the day.
By random draw, the field of 12 went through three preliminary rounds with only two players emerging as winners of all three of their games. This resulted in a final matchup of Tom Birt and Ginger Cheng, and what a final they gave us.
End for end, bowl for bowl, they assiduously contested every point, with the lead moving back and forth over the course of the match due to excellent shots by each player. On the 15th end, you just knew it would happen, on a beautiful draw Tom seized two points to tie the score, so a last, tie-breaking end had to be played. With Ginger lying shot, Tom had little option but to try a “yard on” with his last bowl. In it came, edging the jack over four feet to where one of his bowls was closest, but before he could celebrate victory his runner continued, nudging Ginger’s bowl just enough to put it a few inches closer to the jack than Tom’s, giving her the game and the 2022 Novice title by a single point. It was a final to grace any tournament, let alone a Novice one.
Thanks are due to many people, not least Tom himself as a “Novice” Tournament Director in difficult circumstances, to all who helped with hospitality and green setup, and especially the veteran bowlers who volunteered their time as markers and who carried on through the on again/off again downpours.
- Report courtesy of Jim Corr