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2020 Open Singles Circuit "OSC" No 1 Pat Briscoe talks candidly about his 2022/3 "OSC" Season

Author Pat Briscoe

A year ago January 2022 Pat was playing at Potters in the World Indoor Bowls Champions and pulled off a shock win as reported by Kent online

A year on Pat writes I am delighted to be able to write a blog about the recent OSC singles event at Bannister Park held last weekend (Jan 15th/16th)

This was my first event of the season. In previous seasons, this would probably have been about my seventh but the last 18 months have not been great and as a result I have had a quiet year on the OSC front.

I also changed my routine as I had previously always gone for a Sunday only draw as getting dog sitters is not always easy The dogs have however come with me on numerous occasions and in some instances would have probably played better but my logic was , I felt, sound.

I have to concede that at 54 and with two dodgy knees a potential 6 games in a day is a big ask. That usually would equate to about 9 hours on the green and if I have to get up at 4am and drive 200 miles (with or without hounds) then I will usually start to feel it after game 3-4. Sometimes you push through but more often than not you wilt.

So, potentially 3 games on the Saturday and drive back whatever. It was 153 miles from Dover and if I was successful, I was guaranteed a quarter final spot and therefore my petrol and entry fee were just about covered along with the luxury of about a midday leave. Sound logic yet again and I also get to play my music loudly in the without the risk of upsetting my neighbours.

I arrived and had not played at for many years.

Check in was by the front door and was very efficient. I was given stickers, told the time and rink and also handed a food menu with times. Very impressed so far. Also loitering was Paul May who I had not seen in a while.

I have played bowls now for 38 years so in that time you can store up many memories and make so many friends. I reminded Paul of a memory of us.

His brother Leo had bought aset of off me years ago on the Julian Haines Bowls Forum and let me in that they were a birthday present for his brother, Paul who then proceeded to "torment" me with an utterly outstanding performance playing with my old bowls bowling them far closer than I ever did and all i could think was "workman" and his "tools"

So onto the bowls. I played OK and happily got though my 3 games so it was a full Arnie - ‘I’ll be back’. Back to Dover I went and back to Bannister I came the following afternoon.

In the quarters, I was pleased to win the first set after drawing a good bowl on the last end and in the second set my opponent needed a four on the last end after I dropped a two on the sixth end. I conceded two after my "oppo" hit the head resulting in his second shot being 2 yards away. After the end was declared I noticed I still had one of my bowls to play but had forgotten all about it such a rookie mistake but hey we are all human. I consoled myself by admitting that I would probably have been 3 yards short anyway.

My journey came to an end in the semi final against Andrew Colebrooke. Andrew deservedly won the first set but I was pleased with the fight I put up in the second set to nick it and head into the dreaded tie break. At one all I held the match but Andrew played a great bowl with his last and trailed the jack and nicked it by a tenth of an inch. I can add this now to many Personal Bowls Hard Luck Stories.

In all seriousness, I was happy with how I played after struggling this season and really enjoyed being back on the green, catching up with old friends and making new ones.

The club ran the tournament incredibly well and what was impressive was the fact that they asked Neil Smith for advice about letting games start when rinks became available which resulted in the timetable being extremely accurate. The club provided markers and seem extremely keen to run an event next year and there was a very friendly feel to the weekend.

Steve and Janet Whitehead were at the helm for the tournament and they have been at the club for 26 years. Clubs need Janet and Steve Whiteheads as it was clear that they wanted the tournament to be a success and through their and others hard work it undoubtedly was.

I was given my £200 semi-final winnings and watched the first set of the final and chatted to Janet and the club President. Covid and the impact of memberships cropped up and it was pleasing to hear that numbers are on the rise again after the familiar post-Covid drop off.

Janet pointed me in the direction of a couple who came down for a roll up. New members, very keen, in their 40’s and they were unaware that the OSC event was on. I could not help but notice that they were utterly transfixed on the final between Andrew and Martin Puckett.

The first set was a tremendous standard and I can only assume that this continued as I saw the result on Tuesday on the EIBA website. Martin ‘The Machine’ picks up his second title of the season in only his third tournament. I am sure the new members, would have thoroughly enjoyed watching both players and that is an aspect that clubs perhaps sometimes overlook.

Andrew on the left and Martin on the right after the final

The OSC is a tremendous tool for all who wish to improve their game.
The club deserves every success moving forward & I am sure I speak for many in saying thank you for a well run event.

I returned home and after doing 600 miles and further damaging my eardrums I reflected that I would definitely be returning to Bannister next year. I also entered Atherley OSC before going to bed.

Here we go again......

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