Kincardine O’Neil crowned winners

In the Dee-Don league Kincardine O’Neil duly confirmed the men’s title with an emphatic 6-0 win over Torphins. Even though Banchory also managed their fourth consecutive 6-0 win (against Alford) it was never going to be enough to earn more than second place. The dominance of those two teams was mirrored by their similar shots totals on the night (62 and 61, with Kinker even here staying in front!).

The three other matches conversely showed how tight most matches are in the league. All three finished 4-2, but the shots totals were strikingly similar. Ballater got a home win over Millbank although the visitors actually edged the shots 41-40. There were a couple of interesting stories behind the headline figures. Jim Ellis’s Ballater rink led 14-2 after the tenth end but Millbank then pulled back 9 shots over the last five ends to make things exciting. But the real grandstand finish was by Trevor Armstrong’s rink, 0-12 down after 6 ends and 8-14 down after 13 ends only to score nine shots on the last two ends for another three-shot win.

Upper Donside also picked up four points, but a big 22-8 win for Philip Anderson’s Aboyne rink meant that here too the losers scored more shots (44-40). Meanwhile at Tarland the home team did lose one rink by eleven shots but managed enough on the other rinks to make it 45-42 on the night. We all know that it is rinks, not shots, that determine matters, but the general similarity in these scores is quite interesting.

As was suggested last week the ladies’ league has gone down to the last round of matches. By the time this column appears the outcome will be known – too late, unfortunately, to make this edition. Going into the last match, Drumoak needed to beat (or even draw with) Alford to win the title. A draw would have given an odd symmetry to Alford’s results, as their record before this match showed three wins, three defeats, and 71 shots both for and against.

Last week Alford lost 8-16 at Banchory in one of the only two ladies’ matches. The other match showed an example of what on TV or radio is sometimes called the curse of the commentator. Only last week we drew attention to the way that Aboyne usually managed to restrict their opponents to single figures, with no one managing more than 11. Cue a large (9-19) defeat at Upper Donside! That result also put paid to any hopes of retaining their title.

With the league season now ended thoughts turn to the Deeside Pairs and (singles) Champion of Champions competitions, to be held at Tarland in the first two weeks of August. The Pairs play on evenings through the week to 7 August, with the Singles matches (including the seniors’ Middleton Trophy) following a similar schedule the next week, to finish on 14 August.

In an earlier Round the Greens column we noted how the speed of the green affected the ‘bias’ - the amount a bowls curves along its path. Mike Franklin now adds the following comments.

I suggested in an earlier report that I might add a few words about the bias in bowls, particularly about the shape of the bowls, affects bias. A bowl is not a perfect sphere being flattened at the two sides. At first glance it appears that this ‘flattening’ is the same for both sides. However, a closer look will show that the bias side, i.e. the one with the smaller ring, is slightly more rounded. In this sense a bowl is very slightly egg-shaped. This made me wonder what would happen when an egg is rolled. So, finding a nice flat surface, I rolled an egg. It rolled very smoothly, turning a tight loop with the pointed end on the inside of the loop (see figure). (If you want to try this for yourself, it might be safer to use a boiled egg!!)

So, why does the egg turn? Think firstly of riding a bicycle. When you want to turn a corner, not only do you turn the handlebars but you also lean into the corner. Leaning means your weight is no longer directly over the wheels and this helps to pull the bicycle round. In the second figure I’ve shown an egg with a dotted line across the ‘middle’. The egg wants to roll with the dotted line remaining upright. However, the ‘centre of gravity’ of the egg is more to the pointed end and pulls the egg down on the right. The combined effect is that a rolling egg wants to turn towards the pointed end!

A bowls manufacturer, by controlling the shapes of the two sides, can make bowls that turn either a lot or turn a little. As noted in the earlier article the speed of the green also affects the amount the bowl will turn so serious players often match a type of bowl to a particular surface. Maybe someone should invent a bowl with adjustable bias!