Wednesday, 22 January 2014

World Indoor Championships - Day Four

Wednesday 22nd January

Last night’s game proceeded smoothly with Jonathan Ross winning the match and moving into the Quarter-finals to play Mervyn King. It was a quiet night and I retired to my room to watch TV and have an early night.

This morning we had the first of the Ladies World Matchplay semi-finals between local girl Rebecca Field and Julie Forrest from Scotland. As expected it was a fabulous standard of bowls. Rebecca played some incredible conversion shots to power her way through to the final.

"Lammo" in action today
As officials we have to have a good working relationship with the production team and camera crew, There are 10 cameras around the rink; 2 behind each end of the set looking down the rink, 2 sitting high above each end of the rink, 2 at the side of the rink, 2 boom cameras or “Jimmy Jobs” and finally 2 ditch cams. We have to understand the shots that the director requires and the angles that are used. The last thing the viewers want to see are our bums blocking the view of the bowl coming into the head. We have a good laugh with the crew and over the years we have got to know some of the camera operators well. One such Jimmy Jib operator and ace cameraman is Neil “Lammo” Lammond. He is a fantastic guy and a great laugh and we do get up to some fun antics off rink and also on rink. As the off rink umpire we are working right next to these guys and we do have some fun, it’s always a surprise when we walk between ends to discover what mischief they have been up to with our umpire kit. Lammo is very skilled Jib operator and can produce some stunning shots. I was lucky enough to have a go with one of the Jibs last year and it was incredibly difficult. It gave me a fascinating insight into how much skill is required to keep the camera on the subject as well as in focus and move the enormous boom around without knocking anything over. The only downside to working alongside these guys is that they eat our sweets when we are not looking!

This afternoon’s match was between the reigning Singles Champion, Stewart Anderson and Robert Weale. Stewart completely dominated the match and progressed through to the Quarter finals to face the winner of tonight’s game between Greg Harlow and Darren Burnett

My afternoon shot clock game was the second Ladies Matchplay semi final between Alison Merrien from Guernsey and local star Katherine Rednall. There is only one word to describe Katherine’s performance – WOW!! This talented 18 year old Suffolk girl has nerves of steel, she has bags of confidence and I think Rebecca will need to play her top game if she is to lift the trophy. This will be a fabulous final and we can anticipate a packed arena of local support for a Suffolk v Norfolk final.

The final game tonight is the afore mentioned 2nd round match between Greg and Darren. I will be umpiring this one. We often get asked by the spectators in the arena and in the Q&A sessions how we work out the Jack lengths that we announce when the jack has come to rest. Sometimes, I like to play around and tell them that the jack has an internal GPS device and we have a little SatNav which tells us the distance as the jack rolls down the rink. Of course that is a load of old tosh. It’s nowhere near as technical as that. We know that a full length with the mat on the “T” and the jack on the other “T” is 29½ metres. The rinks is marked with spots 1 metre apart and so we simply look at the position of the mat and where the jack finishes and deduct that from 29½.

So we are looking forward to a great day tomorrow with the Ladies Matchplay Final. I will be marking the first match of the day at 10am between the old statesmen of the sport, Andy Thomson and John Price and then we have the final at 1pm.

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