News: Announcements

Withers Takes Aston International Title

Noble’s Bowling club hosted the first open competition of the 2020 season, attracting a good entry of 62 men for the inaugural Aston International Cup following the enforced break. The weather was mixed with sun, rain and wind all playing a part throughout the day, with the green not running as well as you would expect this time of year.

A number of pre-tournament favourites lost out in the rounds before the quarter-finals, with the most notable being 2019 Champion of Champions Winner Colin Kelly who lost out to team mate Neil Withers 20-21.

Losing out at the quarter-final stage were David Bradford (South Ramsey), who lost 20-21 to team mate Stefan Kelly, Alec Taylor (Peel) lost out 15-21 to Brian Kelly (Marown), Reg Temporaza (Noble’s) had his run ended by Dave McCabe (Port St Mary) to the same score, whilst Kevin Kelly (Marown) performed well to reach his first quarter final before losing out to his godfather Neil Withers 12-21.

In the semi-finals McCabe battled well before losing out 16-21 to Withers, whilst Brian Kelly pushed Stefan Kelly a bit harder before losing out 18-21.

At the final both players were on their sixth game of the day, which was a lot to ask with this being the first competitive bowls since September last year, especially for Withers who was making his return after breaking his ankle in two places, dislocated and also suffered torn ligaments during a football match for his local club. 

Kelly started strongly with a double, however Withers then took the next five ends along the edge of the green to take a 11-7 lead. Kelly got back in with a double by planting Wither’s bowl out to take a double, which he repeated on the next end to level the score at 11-11. Withers responded by taking the next two ends to go ahead 14-11, only for Kelly to take the next three ends and go ahead 15-14. Withers dug deep returning to a mark favoured throughout the afternoon, alternating between singles and doubles over the next five ends to run out with a convincing 21-15 win to take the title.

At the conclusion of play the presentation was made by competition secretary Alison Keggen, who thanked the sponsors Aston International for their support, everyone who had entered and the club members for assisting throughout the afternoon.

The ladies competition was well supported with an entry of 38, this will be reported separately by the ladies press officer.

2020 Bowls Season

The much anticipated 2020 crown green bowls season is scheduled to commence on Monday 13th July, following the enforced break due to COVID-19. With confidence having increased amongst the population of the Island that we are now COVID free, the time is right to get back to bowls.

Following consultation with the clubs, it was agreed that whilst there would be no league bowls this season, the cup competitions would still go ahead with the finals of all the team events due to be held during the month of September.

The Rayner Shield is the first team event taking place with the unlucky first round losers playing in the Rayner Plate. South Ramsey A are the current holders of the Shield after a thrilling final against Marown A at the Villa, with the men from the north of the island two players light on their normal league squad they will have it all to do to retain the trophy this time round.

As luck would have it last year’s Rayner Plate winners Marown C start their Rayner journey with a home match against Port St Mary A, the very team they disposed of in style in the 2019 final.

The mixed team competition has 14 teams entered this season, is being played in a group format with the winner of each of the four groups qualifying for the semi-finals, which is traditionally played on a neutral green to decide which two teams reach the final. The current holders of the mixed team competition are Port St Mary A who swept aside the challenge of Marown A at Castletown last season.

The club team championship remains at 14 players per side, which can be made up of ladies and men, will be played as a knockout with matches being played home and away to decide which team progresses to the next round. The finals day will take place on a neutral green with the four teams playing down to the winner, following the success of last year’s final won convincingly by Marown at Port St Mary.

The Association is still planning on hosting all of the major competitions, starting with the Junior Championship being held at Douglas Bowling Club on Saturday 8th August, the current holder Shannon McMullan will be keen to retain her title having seen off tough competition last year. The following day the Doubles Championship is due to be hosted by Port St Mary, with the current holders John Kennish & David Bradford having won the competition for all four years since its inception. The following weekend sees Castletown host the Association Cup, giving Colin Kelly the chance to retain the first of his Association competition successes last year. 

Another competition won by Colin Kelly last season was the Manx Championship seeing off Jordan Cain 21-11 in the final, with title number six ultimately qualifying Kelly for the Champion of Champions, which as we all know Kelly made history in becoming the first Manxman to win a major competition in the UK at the prestigious Waterloo Hotel in Blackpool. The Manx Championship is being played on two consecutive Sunday’s in late August at Onchan, incidentally the winner the last time it was hosted at Onchan in 2011 was Colin Kelly who defeated team mate Neil Withers 21-10 in the final for title number five.

Finishing the clean sweep of the major prizes last year Colin Kelly took home the Manx Masters trophy. South Ramsey will be hosting the Feltons Manx Masters in late September, with the Junior event due to take place in the morning, followed by the Ladies and Men’s events.

Clubs have all been given the opportunity to host an open of their choice, can apply for a second date if they wish to hold a second open competition. It has been great to see that the majority of clubs have still managed to secure sponsorship from local businesses across the Island, thanks must go to the sponsors for their continued support during a difficult time.

A huge thank you must also go to the Association for the hard work over the past few months to get bowlers back on the green, whilst restrictions were in place, also for all the planning that has gone into getting the season underway.

I hope you all have a great season and I look forward to seeing you around the greens!

2020 Restart

Fixtures for the all the competitions being run on our reduced 2020 season have been published on the website.

Other information such as captains are still waiting for club responses and will be updated over the next few days.

Government Approve Phased Return To Bowls

Following the recent press update from the Government advising that crown green bowls can be played again, please note there are certain conditions that must be met before anyone can play.

Your clubs will communicate whether your green will be opening & how they will handle bookings for those wishing to go on the green.

Until your club has met all requirements & have confirmed that they are ready NO bowling can be played at your green.

Please review the COVID-19 Portal on the website for further information.

Refer to the IOM Government Website for the latest updates on the Coronavirus Pandemic impact on the Isle of Man.

Season Start Postponed

On behalf of Men’s, Ladies, Over 60s Associations and Manx Youth Games.

We have taken the difficult decision to postpone all IOMCCGBA leagues and competitions until at least the end of April.

We will review at that point and update players/clubs, taking into consideration Government guidelines and other helpful information at that time. This is certainly not a decision we expected to find ourselves making and certainly not one we want to make lightly.

We have an obligation to look after our members and postponing the season and reviewing on a month by month basis is by far the best way forward. This is a pragmatic approach and gives us the best opportunity to review and hopefully, at some point in the future, get bowls back on.

Open Competitions

Under the bye-laws, all opens must be held with the consent of the IOMCCGBA. At this time the association cannot consent to any club open competitions. This will continue to be reviewed. Should any club run a competition of their own this would not be affiliated or covered by IOMBCCGBA and any liability would be firmly in the hands of the clubs.

Special Note from the Over 60’s Committee

The decision of the Over 60’s Committee is to ‘follow the lead of the IOMCCGBA’ and delay the League until the end of April and then review on a monthly basis. The ultimate decision however as to whether or not the Over 60’s League will play will be based on the Government guidelines for the Over 70’s as a large percentage of its players are 70 and over. The Over 60’s Committee would like to encourage their players to think of the Clubs in these difficult times and still consider paying their Club Subscriptions.

We hope players and clubs understand our decision. I would like to thank people from all of the associations/committees for their prompt response which has enabled us to form this communication for a consistent message across Crown Green Bowls on the Island.

We all hope to see you very soon – keep safe!

Message From Port St Mary

Port St Mary Bowling Club would like to express our sincere gratitude for all the support received at the public meeting on Wednesday.

The club was overwhelmed by the number of people who went out of their way to support us on what was a cold Winter’s night, literally driving from every corner of the island.

Also a big thank you to everyone who has emailed the commissioners in support.

Colin Kelly Wins Top UK Title

Marown favourite Colin Kelly put the icing on the cake of a great season on Saturday winning the Champion of Champions at the Waterloo Hotel in Blackpool to write his name into Manx and UK bowls history.

This season Kelly has won five singles titles, the Manx Championship, Association Cup, Manx Masters, Peel Town Cup and the opening competition of the season the Marown Floodlit, not forgetting winning the individual merit in division one.

Kelly was representing the Isle of Man and qualified for the Champion of Champions courtesy of his Manx Championship win in May when he defeated Onchan man Jordan Cain in the final 21-11. He was in the mix with 15 other County Merit winners, whilst the rest of the field was made up by those who had won some of the games biggest competitions that are played throughout the season or through winning the Junior or Senior BCGBA merit.

At the start of play in a field of 32 players Kelly was priced at 40-1 by the bookies and was by no means the favourite with some of the games biggest names taking part in Callum Wraight, Graeme Wilson, Ryan Prosser and John Bailey to name a few.

In the first round Colin was drawn against Lancashire merit winner Damian Morrison and managed to build up a comfortable lead early on playing a fairly long straight peg around the crown. Kelly led 13-3 and managed to maintain his lead after Morrison started to work his way back into the game before Kelly finished the game off to win 21-13.

In the second round Kelly faced the Greater Manchester Merit winner Jack Hargreaves, who had disposed of Craig Gant, a player well known on the Island. Kelly went for a longer length mark in this game, with Hargreaves preferring to play the edges and short round pegs and playing them really well. Kelly led well on the longer marks in difficult conditions. Kelly battled well to take a hard earned 21-17 victory.

In the quarter finals Kelly was up against South Yorkshire merit winner James Higgins with Kelly trailing 6-13, Higgins was leading well over 35 yards playing sweeping round pegs across the crown. Once again this forced Kelly to go for a longer length and in doing so not giving his opponent much room with Higgins generally short or pushing too far through as the heavy rain started in the latter stages. Higgins had previously put out the 2018 winner John Bailey with a convincing win, however Kelly claimed a 21-19 win to progress.

With Kelly having reached the semi-finals he had now matched the best performance by a Manxman achieved by John Kennish in 2015. This time he was up against the Shropshire Merit winner Spencer Clarke, who was in truth the best player on the green up until this point having taken three good scalps to reach the semi-finals including a 21-6 win over 2019 BCGBA Senior merit winner Ryan Prosser. With conditions worsening the green started to puddle and ‘cobbing’ was required to be able to reach, which is an art in itself in being able to control your bowls. Kelly took full advantage of the conditions to take a 21-11 win with the result more comfortable than expected.

Having reached the final Kelly was not letting a once in a lifetime opportunity pass him by and was simply brilliant. Kelly was up against Scott Simpson (Wrockwardine Wood winner) who had earlier in the day disposed of one of the games greatest ever players in Graeme Wilson, therefore Kelly knew he what he was up against and recognised that Simpson had no trouble reaching the longer marks, the game plan changed to shorter marks over the crown which he executed brilliantly to take a 8-3 lead, building on this further still to lead 16-7. Kelly then conceded his only double of the game before responding with two quick fire doubles to lead 20-9 with his ability to make two making a big difference having scored seven doubles throughout the game. Simpson then scored a single, only to throw the jack off when heading into the corner. Kelly set the mark and made his first bowl count forcing Simpson to reach with his second bowl, however he missed resulting in Kelly taking a superb 21-10 victory to claim a first ever win for a Manxman in the games biggest competition.

This is a popular win amongst the bowling community with Colin putting the time in for a number of years now to give something back to the game having become involved in the Manx Youth Games as a coach in 2013, whilst also coaching Juniors on a weekly basis at his club. In addition to this Colin also helps with the maintenance of the Marown bowling green and you couldn’t meet a nicer guy, who has now fulfilled a lifelong dream of winning a top UK competition. All that is left to say is what a bowler, what a season, what a man!

Ladies Raise £700 for Local Charity

The Isle of Man Ladies Crown Green Bowling Association ran a Tombola over the summer season, raising funds to help assist with travel and accommodation for IOM Ladies players attending qualifying competitions in England.  

The Association agreed to donate one third of the amount raised towards Huntington’s Disease (IOM), a support group and charity that was started in 2017 by Helen Martin, a crown green bowler who has been bowling for 38 years on the Island. This charity is very close to her heart, as her husband has Huntington’s, he also used to play crown green bowls. 

All the clubs on the Island were given Tombola tickets to sell plus more were sold during the IOM September Bowls Festival. The amount raised was a massive £2,037.95, with £700 being donated to HDAIOM. 

The Ladies Association would like to thank all those who sold tickets, along with the companies, individuals and clubs who donated raffle prizes and to everyone who bought tickets to support them. Helen Martin, Chairman of Huntington’s Disease (IOM) stated “Thank you to the Ladies Association for choosing our Charity, this amount will help us to meet our objectives of raising awareness, continue to provide a support group for patients, carers and professionals resident on the Island, along with providing financial assistance to patients and carers to enable them to attend seminars, workshops and other educational events organised by the HDA UK and finally to promote research into finding a cure”.

Bradford & Kennish Win Final Open of Season

Marown Bowling Club held the Juan Kelly Cup with the competition now in its third year it still proved popular with 44 teams taking part. Once again there were some interesting pairings making use of the handicap system played over two qualifying nights, with four pairs qualifying from each night for the quarter finals.

The format was any combination doubles, played over 15 ends with ends 5, 10 and 15 played as ‘power’ ends with the points scored counting double. The pairs were given a handicap based on their rankings in the Men’s and Ladies game. If scores were tied after 15 ends a one bowl shootout would take place to decide the winner.

On Monday evening 20 pairs played their qualifying night, whilst Tuesday evening had 24 pairs taking part. The finals night was held on Wednesday evening, with a re-draw taking place to determine who the pairings would play on the night.

The eventual winners were the South Ramsey pairing of John Kennish and David Bradford who were playing off a scratch handicap seeing off the current holders Bernie Durcan and Steve Durcan (Port Erin), who were playing off a handicap of +5. The final started with the Durcan’s taking four of the first five ends to take an 11-1 lead, before the top pairing hit back with some good lead bowls from Kennish, backed up by Bradford to take a three, then a double -thanks to vital hit from Bradford, which was swiftly followed up by another three. The Durcan’s took a single before Kennish and Bradford scored a two on the power end after a great strike from Bradford, which doubled up to four, to then score another four to turn the game on its head 17-12. The Port Erin pairing got back in with a three to bring the deficit down to just two chalks at 15-17, however the South Ramsey duo managed to take the last three ends to secure a 22-15 victory to complete a great comeback.

Losing out in the semi-finals were Marown captain Paul Dunn and his Dad Phil Dunn (+5) with the latter playing in his first competition and performing brilliantly, they tied (19-19) with the Durcan’s resulting in a one bowl shootout between Paul and Steve with the latter holding his nerve to beat an 18 inch bowl to claim a spot in the final. Also losing out in the semi-final were Frank Watson (Onchan) and Andy Kennish (Peel), who were well beaten 9-20 by the eventual winners.

Losing quarter finalists were Debbie Leece and Clare Cooper (Noble’s) who were the furthest ladies, Peel pair Gordon Corrin and Dougie Allan, Onchan duo Steve Parker and Kevin Quirk along with Jordan Drewett (Castletown) and Tom Kelly (Peel).

At the conclusion of play the presentation was made by Phil Kelly, who thanked Juan Kelly for once again sponsoring the competition, the Ladies for the refreshments, the players for entering, and all those who stayed to support.

Payback for Port St Mary

The final of the Ellan Vannin Fuels mixed team competition took place at Castletown on Wednesday evening with the Crosby outfit starting the match as favourites, however the draw would be crucial to both teams. The Castletown green was in superb condition and a good crowd came along to support on the night.

From the first five games on the green Neil Withers was first off for Marown with a big 21-6 win over Dave McCabe, despite losing two doubles early on McCabe could only take two more singles. Second game off on the night was Dan McCabe who recorded a 21-5 win over Mary Alderson to cancel the damage from the first game off. Next off were Paul Dunn & Paul Skelly with Dunn performing well to win 21-16. Fourth game off was Colin Kelly who claimed a 21-5 victory over Trish Bull. The last game off in the first half of the match was Chris Price who ensured Port St Mary were only trailing by four chalks (69-73) to keep themselves in the match.

During the second half the momentum swung in favour of Port St Mary, with Wayne Roberts winning 21-11 against Rosie Winckle, this result was swiftly followed by Trevor Quayle putting in a good performance against Paul Kelly to win 21-10 to put the chalks at 111-94 in favour of Port St Mary. By this point the match had got away from Marown with Jayne Kneen 20-8 up on Lil Smith and Margaret Tasker trailing 10-17 on Matthew Keggen there was no way back for the Crosby team. Smith fought back well against Kneen before losing out 16-21, whilst Tasker turned the game around brilliantly to take a single and five consecutive doubles on a short length to run out with a 21-17 victory to cap a fine team performance in sealing their fourth Mixed title by 26 chalks (153-127) winning 6-3 on games and gaining revenge for their 2017 defeat to the same opponents.

The presentation was made by Association Press Officer Glynn Hargraves who thanked Castletown for the use of the green, providing measurers and refreshments, along with Juan Kermode. Winning captain Margaret Tasker thanked her team and everyone who had turned up to support.