Mr B is feeling really pleased with himself. He has reached the final of our Short Mat Bowls Club’s Singles Championships. If he can beat Edna on 28th January, he will go through to play in the “Champion
of Champions.” A round of applause is called for, please!
Mr B is the most competitive of animals but he always likes to play down his prowess. One
of the Darling Daughters was a bit like this when it came to exams. She would make sure everyone knew beforehand that (i) she was sure she hadn’t revised enough; (ii) she had in all probability decided to study completely the wrong subject; and (iii)
she was absolutely certain to fail. She never did, of course. In fact she always emerged with flying colours. Like father, like daughter.
had to persuade Mr B to put his name down for the bowls competition in the first place because he said he didn’t think he was “good enough”. Well, let’s face it, if I was putting my name on the list – me, who has only played
the game for a couple of months, who still occasionally forgets and calls the woods “balls”, who has to slavishly follow the advice contained in Ron Collingridge’s excellent little booklet “Short Mat Bowling” – then the
least he could do was to join me in the competition.
“I just hope I don’t make a fool of myself,” he muttered, as he made his way to play his
first match. He won 11-0. His next match was against “a really, really good bowler, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to play her, I won’t stand a chance, she’s so consistent...” He won easily. And so to the semi-final (against
the man who beat me in the first round) and a bowler who “doesn’t like to lose, I’ll have my work cut out for me, can’t see me pulling this one off...” He pulled it off in style.
And so he is in the final and will have to play Edna who is no mean bowler and proved it by beating the best player in the club in the other semi-final. Edna will not be a pushover. But then, nor will Mr B...
Whatever happens in the singles final, my next task is to persuade him that we should enter for the Pairs Championships at the beginning of February. He is “thinking
about it.” Mr B doesn’t really like playing any game with me as his partner. When we were younger, we used to go to progressive Whist Drives which Mr B professed to enjoy in particular because he only ever had to play the first game with
me. (In case you have never enjoyed the excitement of a Whist Drive, I must explain that the winners always move on to different tables and the losers stay on the same table but play with a different partner.)
You would have thought, wouldn’t you, that having lived with each other for so long, and having known each other even longer, we would make excellent partners, able to read each other’s minds in a way no other
partner could hope to. Mr B says my mind is like a closed book to him. One, moreover, with an incomprehensible cover design and unintelligible title.
He particularly dislikes playing Nomination
Whist with me as his partner because he says nobody in their right mind would ever call the cards the way I do. Our most enjoyable games of Nomination Whist have been those played with the Son And Only and his
wife. This is because the lovely Jude and I play the game exactly the same way – with gleeful abandon and complete lack of regard to the laws of probability. We like it that way. Our men folk sit, father and son united, gawping at our temerity
and shaking their heads in silent – and painful - despair.
So you can see he is not going to want to play in the Pairs Short Mat Bowls Championship with
me. But then nor is anybody else, for that matter, and it will be ever so boring if I have to sit out the whole evening watching other people play. And though I did, it is true, lose my own singles match, I didn’t disgrace myself. I think
it’s the least he can do, to show a little bit of husbandly support. Though if he wins the Singles Final, he’ll be able to pick and choose his partner for the Pairs. They’ll be queuing up to play with him.
I’d better make sure I’m first in the queue...