On what began as a dry evening, there was a good crowd there
for the start, with around 250 turning out in the end.
To start proceedings, Noel Burrows had yet another close
match, just edging over the line 31 29 with Lee Turner who despite getting 2
start and accounting for Chris Morrison in an earlier round started as 2/1
outsider on the game. Lee had led almost all the way through the game without
managing to get away from Noel and at 29 all on a longish mark, Lee led a
reasonable bowls less than a yard off. Noel put his lead about 18 inches away
& when Lee failed to improve, coupled up for game. In the meantime, Andy Cairns was exploiting one of his
favourite marks with Chris MacDonald, who did not enjoy the best of fortune
against some good bowling from Andy, who ran out a comfortable 31 17 winner
to move into 7/4 favourite for the event, despite the fact his next opponent
was to be Noel Burrows.
The next two quarters saw some excellent bowling in the
worst of the weather, when for 40 minutes, the heavens opened. Kevan Shaw who
had started the night as bookies favourite seemed to struggle with his grip on
his bowls, whilst Paul Wilson played well to his own jack, in particular
exploiting a mark he has found up the side of the green to open up a few chalks
lead. Kevan however battled on and slowly closed the gap and but for some
deadly striking by Paul, could even have won. Kevan led out at 29 30 and
having made a poor lead, corrected with his second to lie with one good bowl
for 30 across. Paul did not hesitate and knocked it off for game. The last quarter also played in driving rain saw Stuart Mort
exploiting his superior green knowledge with Mike Tunstall, pinching chalks
here and there and despite a late rally from Mike to close to within 3 at 27
30, Stuart played a good bowl for up.
The semis were both reasonably close games, with the game
between Noel & Andy probably just being the pick. Both had little runs with
the jack, but neither could establish superiority until Noel just broke away in
the last street to edge out Andy 31 26. The other game saw Stuart yet again
using his green knowledge, particularly on the up hill marks and whilst Paul
battled right to the line, he could not reproduce his form from the last 8,
with Stuart easing to a 31 23 victory.
So to the final, with two panel regulars duelling for the
first prize of £1000.00.
The green was now dry again and I must just add at this
point, it was in excellent order, with not even the slightest puddle appearing
during the torrential downpour. Noel probably started the better of the two, being just in
front for most of the game, with both players playing some excellent bowls to
keep the crowd interested. The atmosphere was tremendous with plenty of the
spectators being prepared to shout for their money. The players just got on
with the job and neither could break away because they were both playing well.
However, as the game wore on, Noel seem to get better and
playing some really good bowls, managed to break away from Stuart in the early
20s to establish a few chalks lead, 25 19. Stuart was not done yet and
switching the game to an up and down mark, clawed his way back with the some
superb play to level at 25 all. The next end was the crucial one, with Noel
playing a good lead against Stuarts shortish bowl, only for Stuart to play the
perfect bowl, resting both Noels bowl & the jack to finish nearest, no more
that 10 inches past with short bowls in the land. Noel had a good look, thought
about it and struck, taking Stuarts bowl clean out to lead 26 25. From there,
he scored the next couple of ends and although Stuart did get in again, Noel
closed out at the next end for a deserved 31 26 victory.
The prizes where presented by Phylis & Jackie Edwards,
whose son Billy Joe was tragically killed in a road accident at only 17 three