Dominant Central storm the semi-finals but Fitzgerald falls short of usual standard
PUBLISHED: 20:30 20 July 2018
No stoppingt Whellams and the senior fours
County semi-finals day proved to be a glorious one for Wanstead Central as their teams showed their talent at a sweltering Westcliff on Saturday.
But it proved to be a step too far for Kevin Fitzgerald in the blue riband event – the four-wood singles.
The genial, softly-spoken former policeman had battled his way to the semi-final stage with some great bowls and a slice of luck.
But he confessed he was disappointed with his display in the last four against former clubmate Mark Nullmeyers.
“I am really disappointed with the way I played,” he said.
“Early on he bowled a couple of really good woods, but I wasn’t expecting this. This was a very big game, a semi-final and I think he was expecting me to bowl better and compete.”
Nullmeyers, who had won his two-wood semi-final earlier in the day, started like an express train, opening up a 5-0 lead and keeping up that pressure.
The Romford man led 15-3 at one stage and the game looked up with Fitzgerald seeing some of his best woods taken off the jack.
“You kind of half expect that when you are playing at this level,” he said.
“Playing people like Mark, Ed Morris and Andy Squire you are expecting them to play those shots, so you are thinking, ‘what do I do next’. If they don’t manage it is a real bonus.”
There was no way back for the Wanstead Central man as Nullmeyers booked his place in the final with a 21-5 win.
“I just bowled too many short bowls,” added Fitzgerald. “I don’t think I had a lot of luck, but you have to be right in the game to make your own luck. But I never let my head go down, though I really wasn’t in the game.”
It was Fitzgerald’s second semi-final in five years, having lost 21-19 last time.
“I was pleased with my run, though I had a lot of luck along the way,” he said. “I had a couple of games where I could have lost, so I was thinking maybe it had my name on it this year.
“I am disappointed, but it is not the end of the world.”
Earlier in the day, Fitzgerald was part of the team that won their over-55s fours semi-final
He played number three alongside lead Terry Lichkin, John Cook and skip Paul Whellams and it turned out to be a great day.
Taking on a four from host club Essex County, skip Whellams was quick to reveal the secret of their success.
“It was our lead, 100 per cent,” he said. “Terry has been awesome in the earlier rounds, he has been very consistent and in this game he set things up for us.
“It put pressure on them from the start. There was an end where Terry didn’t get there and we were really struggling so it shows how important he was.”
That consistency proved too much for Essex County as the score went from 11-7 to 16-7 to give Central a commanding lead.
“After eight or 10 ends, we changed the length and their lead couldn’t find it,” said Whellams.
“Kevin just backed us up big time. He was superb, while I did things when I could, but I wasn’t put under a lot of pressure.”
The match was conceded with Central 20-9 up and they will now face Tim Mould’s Connaught team in the final after they beat a four from Mersea Island.