Callum Hits The Jackpot in PokerStars Invitation
The PokerStars IOM Invitation took place on Friday evening at South Ramsey Bowling Club immediately after the conclusion of the IOM bowls festival.
It was a strong field taking part with every player in the field having played county bowls. The format was 31 up with 5 on the card which is a format that hasn’t been played for a number of years on the Island, but is a popular format across the water.
Robby Fitzpatrick (Merseyside) was the first jack on taking on Billy Speed (Lancashire), with Speed taking control of the game early on without ever going behind in the game. Speed won to a comfortable 31-20 score.
Local player Jordan Cain made his first appearance in the competition, with Cain only one point behind Carl Fielding (Warwick and Worcester) at 20-21. Fielding took control from there to see the game out with a 31-22 victory.
Derbyshire man Conor Chamberlain took on five time Manx Champion Colin Kelly, with Kelly’s knowledge of the green over the years proving enough to take a 31-21 win.
The final game in the top half of the draw had top Merseyside player Matt Gilmore taking on North Lancs & Fylde man Dave Jackson with Gilmore taking the biggest win of the round with a 31-19 victory.
In the bottom half of the draw Jon Palmer (Shropshire) took on James Wilcox (Yorkshire) with Wilcox proving too strong for Palmer taking a 31-23 win.
Nidge Hughes (Merseyside) took on one of the top players on the bowls circuit Callum Wraight (Shropshire) with Hughes hanging on to the tail of Wraight throughout the game and lying two bowls on top of the jack at 27-29, however Wraight had one of his trademark strikes taking off both of Hughes’ bowls with the jack staying on the green to leave himself one. Wraight secured another single on the next end to win 31-27 with Wraight’s striking ability being the difference.
Richie Goddard (Shropshire) and Kevan Shaw (Lancashire) was a good encounter with several tight ends and measures with Shaw getting over the line 31-26.
The last game in the bottom half of the draw had Paul Bailey (South Yorkshire) taking on Merseyside man Phil Lee with the game being close throughout with Lee going 30-27 up before Bailey hit back with two singles and a two to edge it 31-30 to book his place in the quarter finals.
The first game of the quarter finals had Speed up against Fielding with Speed taking an assured 31-23 win to book his spot in the semi finals.
Colin Kelly had his challenge ended by Gilmore who had a comfortable 31-17 win.
In the third quarter final Wilcox took on Wraight with the game living up to expectations. It was close throughout with the score tied at 27 and then 29 with Wraight scoring a double to secure a hard fought 31-29 victory.
In the last quarter final game Bailey was always ahead against Shaw taking a 31-19 win.
In the first semi final Speed took on 2015 winner Gilmore with Speed using all his experience to book his spot in the final with a 31-28 win with Gilmore pushing hard to get through.
In the second semi final Wraight took on Bailey, with both players being big hitters their striking didn’t disappoint with a number of hits throughout the game with Wraight taking a 31-24 win over Bailey.
In the final Wraight was quickest out of the blocks taking a 12-6 lead, then extending this even further to 25-10 on his trademark short marks to the middle of the green. Wraight held off Speed to take a 31-15 win to secure the title and a cheque for £1,200. Speed will no doubt have been cheered up by his cheque for £600, with the losing semi finalists each receiving £250, and the losing quarter finalists taking home £125.
At the conclusion of play the presentation was made by event organiser Glynn Hargraves, who thanked the sponsor PokerStars for their continued support, the players for what made for an entertaining evening of bowls, the spectators for turning up to support, all the club members who had helped in any way to prepare for the competition ahead of the day and on the night. Special thanks were also passed to the South Ramsey Ladies who once again catered for the event.