Long overdue golf but boxers still wait

IT’S long overdue and now only days away. CI women’s golf’s answer to the Ryder Cup – crass comparison I know – is staged at L’Ancresse on Tuesday and Wednesday and, while proceedings will be a whole lot quieter than the action at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois, two days later and not submerged in patriotic blindness, the inaugural women’s golf ‘Muratti’ is, make no mistake, a welcome addition to the annual sporting calendar.

IT’S long overdue and now only days away. CI women’s golf’s answer to the Ryder Cup – crass comparison I know – is staged at L’Ancresse on Tuesday and Wednesday and, while proceedings will be a whole lot quieter than the action at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois, two days later and not submerged in patriotic blindness, the inaugural women’s golf ‘Muratti’ is, make no mistake, a welcome addition to the annual sporting calendar.

There is nothing like a bit of inter-island passion to juice up a sporting encounter and, with that very much in mind, it really disappoints that the 2012-13 winter boxing schedules, still do not include anything remotely like an inter-insular.

I have posed the question several times before, but the answers never seem particularly satisfactory, certainly not convincing ones.

Back in the sport’s glory years, either side of the Occupation, thousands would turn up to see Guernsey and Jersey boxers fight for very official CI titles and the prestigious belt that went with it.

Fast forward half-a-century, Guernsey and Jersey boxing does not fall under the same auspices within the Amateur Boxing Association, and, as we are not officially an ‘area’, surely it is not beyond the realms of possibility to stage unofficial CI championships.

The boxers would love it, the punters more so.

There would be nothing more exciting as the always excellent Tom Duff, the pugnacious and 100% committed James Woolnough, the fast improving Stuart Hamon, the hard-punching Matt Jennings and the emerging young bucks such as Tom Maunder and Billy Le Poullain taking on the best of Jersey boxing.

I am not aware of the sport having died a death in the sister isle, but to witness the various Guernsey staged shows, you would have thought it.

MY fingers are crossed, as I’m sure are those of all Green Lions fans, that the imminent medical bulletin on Jason Winch’s damaged knee is a fairly positive one.

In all the hullabaloo and glory of GFC’s past year, the roles of the likes of Winch and, for that matter, Simon Geall on the opposite flank, have been vastly under-played.

The heroes have been: in attack, the goals of Ross Allen and Dom Heaume; the midfield guile of Ryan-Zico Black and Angus Mackay; the leadership of Sam Cochrane; the safe hands of Chris Tardif.

But we always suspected the above would be our stars, the fulcrum of the side.

The big surprises have been the likes of Winch, Geall and Matt Loaring with his endless, selfless running.

Those three men should have shown to all regular Priaulx League performers – and remember there are still a few dozen of them that have not sidled off to the social leagues – that with the right attitude that elevation onto the elite island stage is achievable.

All three are wholly dependable, committed and so much better players for the GFC project.

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GARRY COLLINS, who yesterday announced he is hanging up his bowls and severing all his various bowls administration posts, will prove a hard act to follow.

Perhaps impossible.

But his decision to leave the sport at the tender age of 31 has little to do with the fuss he encountered this summer when he put playing at the British Isles Championships ahead of a States meeting.

‘I have enjoyed my time in the sport, but I have decided to move on,’ he told Inside Track.

‘I am now a politician and have a busy career, as well as a young family.

‘After 13-odd years, I am not standing at the Bowls Guernsey AGM in December and stopping bowling.’

Collins’ story is a remarkable one.

He was barely 18 when he took over the running of Bowls Guernsey, and, in his early years, adopted a fresh approach to administering the sport and stamped his own vision on the local game. In the process he ruffled many feathers.

He was a force for change, giving youth a chance and, vitally, ensuring that the island’s best players were the best prepared they could be as they headed off to national, international and world championships.

It is worth noting that, with Collins at the helm, seven different islanders have laid claim to more than a dozen ‘world’ titles.

Leading the way has been golden girl Alison Merrien, but there was also Adrian Welch, Neal Mollet, Nicky Donaldson, Craig Dorey, Daniel de la Mare and Sophie Rabey.

Not bad, eh?

Outside of Guernsey, he also had a big role to play in bowls administration.

He currently has a position on the British Isles and World Councils, and is secretary of the European Bowls Union.

But all those will go, along with his role as treasurer of the Corbet Field Management.

He won three Sports Commission awards for administration and on the greens achieved many international honours, including four British silver medals, European bronze and silver medals and Island Games gold and silver medals.

‘I’m not too sure what the future holds for Guernsey Bowls, I am just one man,’ he said.

‘Yes, I have been at the front for some time, but it’s now up to the bowlers who wish to complete. Yes I have put a lot of time into the sport, but on the other hand I have got a lot out, too.’

He will certainly leave a void at a time when local bowls is struggling to retain numbers, indoors and out.