An Isle of Man team took part in the BCGBA Senior Supplementary County Championship on a good playing surface at Bellingham Bowling Club in Wigan on Sunday.
Drawn in group one, as expected the opposition was tough with Cheshire, South Yorkshire and Wales awaiting.
In the first round of matches the eight-strong team were up against Cheshire and the Manxmen won 5-3 on games, with Peter Jones, Paul Dunn, David Bradford, Bob Clark and Glynn Hargraves all winning.
The three games lost were all to high scores (17, 19 and 19) as they scored highly to win by 25 chalks (160-135) and make a positive start to pick up two points for the win.
In their second-round match South Yorkshire were the opposition and the team managed to win three individual games, with the victors being Dunn, Jordan Cain and Clark.
Losing out in close games were Bradford who lost 17-21 to Ross Meese and Neil Withers who was beaten 17-21 by Tom Boyd as they lost this one by a margin of 13 chalks (137-150) - only two chalks a man to show the very fine margins between victory and defeat.
In their final match they faced Wales with all still to play for, winning four individual games from Jones, Cain, Bradford and Matthew Quirk.
The team ultimately won the all-important chalks as they won by nine chalks (150-141) to pick up two points for the victory, helped by high scores from Withers (20), Hargraves (18) and Clark (17).
Cheshire ended up topping the group, reaching the final against Warwick and Worcestershire, who prevailed in group two ahead of Merseyside, North Midlands and Potteries.
In the final Warwick and Worcestershire edged out Cheshire as they won by only four chalks (146-142), with the winners hanging on to a 22-chalk lead at the halfway stage to take the title home.
The Isle of Man team - who were managed by Phil Kerruish and assisted by Juan Kermode - finished in a very respectable second on four points in the group to surpass last year’s performance in this competition.
They also finished +21 on aggregate chalks to show they can compete with other counties.
Cheshire progressed largely thanks to a huge 50-chalk win over Wales in their second round match, before they went on to beat South Yorkshire by seven chalks to also finish on four points and progress to the final with a better aggregate (+32) than the Isle of Man.
To put this into perspective, the Isle of Man have only 13 bowling greens available in the island with a limited pool of bowlers to choose from.
While other counties have hundreds of greens to play on and thousands of bowlers to pick from, it could well be argued that the Isle of Man are punching above their weight.
A great team effort overall, with all players winning at least one game, no defeats to single figures and generally high scores even in defeat helping contribute to the overall result.
It says a lot that the team were disappointed not to reach the final, to show the expectation has increased within the squad.