This years June bowls festival is a very different one for me as it my first as a non resident of the Island. I have always been filled with anticipation and excitement of the top class bowling an atmosphere the coming week held in store, but to actually be one of the visiting holiday makers has stepped things up to another level. I now understand what all the pro Isle of Man bowls week Facebook statuses from the UK bowling fraternity are all about, I literally can’t wait for it, so when I was asked to write the preview for it I was like a kid in a sweet store and grabbed the opportunity with both hands!
Some things never change however and as always when I run through each section of the draw to pick out the potential winner I am awestruck by the quality of the field and the number of potential victors. This is going to be a great competition.
In my heart I will always want a Manx winner and I think with events out of their control meaning they had to pull out of the County Championships it would be fantastic if we had one this time around. For most of them this year the two bowls festivals are their only real chance to have a seat at the games top table and take on the best of the best.
The first section of the draw is simply littered with players wanting to make their mark and claim the main prize. Visitors Paul Bailey (Meersbrook) and Callum Wraight (Castlefields) will fancy their chances of going a long way and the winner of Lee Johnstone (St Oswalds) and Danny Ferris (Norton BC) could also have a very good week, Jordan Cain (Onchan) and Stuart Garrett (Douglas) are two locals who are more than capable of making a finals day appearance.
It gets even more difficult to predict what will happen in the next section and you can never write off Andy Spragg (Callow BC). The charismatic Steve Freer (Castlefields) would be a very popular winner with both locals and visitors alike as he always brings his unique flair to the party. Mark Hughes (Crossgates) is now regularly making it to the latter stages and there is no reason why he couldn’t do it again. Young Conor Chamberlain could also go well if he finds his form. From a local perspective we also have a players capable of mixing it with the best in the shape of Kevin Quirk (Onchan), Dave ‘Dido’ Kelly (South Ramsey) and Rob Monk (Onchan).
There are former winners and runners up everywhere I look as I scroll down the page and defending champion Kez Smith (Crossgates) will have his work cut out to retain his crown with the likes of Kevin Shaw (Westhaoughton), Carl Armitage (St Oswalds), Chris Barton (Wirral) and Colin Kelly (Marown) all in close proximity. Don’t be surprised to if Stevie Kelly (Peel) turns a few heads and causes a few surprises.
There are chances in the next section and for me it’s wide open. Another former champion Gax Lalley (Crossgates) will fancy his chances of making it to the latter stages however in form Trevor Qualye (Port St Mary), who currently leads the local division one merit, has the potential to do very well indeed.
Wayne Ditchfield (Kirkham) and Dave Jackson (Railway) will both expect to make it to the latter stages however there will be only room for one of them, that is of course if the get past local David Bradford (South Ramsey) who on his day can beat absolutely anyone and everyone.
Jack Dyson (Thongsbridge) will be hoping to add his name to the trophy however with seasoned campaigners such as Martin Gilpin (Kendal Vic), Rich Goddard (Castlefields), Rob Fitzpatrick (Wirral) and Marown’s Neil Withers all on the same page it would be a very good week at the office if he was to leave with the crown.
Ian Nicholson’s (Kendal Vic) name jumps of the next page and hits me between the eyes as the man most likely to be in the final shake up from the next group, however it will be interesting to see how Billy Speed (Castlefields) and young Stefan Kelly (South Ramsey) fare.
Stuart Mort (Kirkham) and Matt Kelly-Wally (Belvedere) will both fancy a long run out over the week however experienced locals Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly (Peel), Phil Kerruish (Onchan) and Manx Championship runner up Pete Slinger (Onchan) will all be wanting their own day in the sun on Friday.
News has filtered through to me that local favourite John Kennish (South Ramsey) is unable to take part in the competition this year due to work commitments which really opens up the next section of the draw. I can’t even begin to work out who will make best use of this and it will definitely pay dividends for someone and Paul Chamberlain (Stretton Anglesey) may just be the man to cash in.
James Wilcox (Crossgates) is probably favourite to make it to finals day out of the final 32 in the competition however locals Matthew Quirk (Onchan) and Matthew Keggen (Marown) are both well placed to stop him.
Well that’s it for now, draw analysed and like me you are probably no clearer to picking a winner than I am. What should shine through, however, is the quality of the field and the week of bowls we have in store for us and as I said at the top I literally can’t wait for it to start.
With no open competitions on Saturday, there was a good entry of 66 at Port St. Mary for the C. Tarleton Hodgson & Son Ltd sponsored Mixed Triples Jubilee Cup on Sunday.
Eventual winners after five tough games were the South Ramsey trio of Kim Hargraves, Glynn Hargraves and Dido Kelly, with a 21-14 victory under the floodlights over last year’s winners Lyn Bolton (South Ramsey), Sid Bolton (South Ramsey) and Trevor Quayle (Port St Mary).
Losing out in the semi finals to the eventual winners were homegreeners Chris Price, Wayne Roberts and Ewan Cooil 21-16.
In the other semi final Janet Monk (Mooragh Park), Robert Monk (Onchan) and Jordan Cain (Onchan) were unlucky to lose out 21-18.
The presentation was made by club President Ken Karran, who thanked the sponsors, everyone involved, from the team who prepared the excellent green and surrounds to the club members who ran the competition, not forgetting the ladies who provided the refreshments throughout the day.
Jenny Moore is believed to be the first woman to win a mixed singles bowling tournament in the Isle of Man for a number of years.
The South Ramsey player lit up the first open of the season at Marown Bowling Club last week following extensive work on & around the green by club members over the winter.
Some of this work involved ‘filling in the corner’ and more importantly the introduction of new floodlights, which will no doubt help our competition secretary with arranging fixtures!
An excellent entry of 98 meant that the event was held over 5 evenings with 4 qualifying nights, playing down to 4 each night. Finals night had some familiar faces, with Jenny Moore being the only Lady to qualify for the last 16.
The losing quarter finalists were Matthew Quirk, Adrian Skinner, (Onchan) Steven Waters (South Ramsey) & Mervin Sayle (Douglas)
The first semi final had John Kennish lined up against his niece Jenny Moore, with the latter getting over the line to win 21-20. In the other semi final Dido Kelly played home greener Colin Kelly in another tight game with Kelly taking the victory 21-19.
In the final Jenny was always in control of the game with a comfortable 21-13 win over her club mate,
The final was streamed live on Facebook.
With this victory Jenny has shown that she is more than capable of competing with the men.
Various prizes were handed out at the presentation ranging from biggest break, best 2nd & 3rd division players, to best junior and best lady.
Thanks go to all who helped make a success of the competition.
Bethany Kennish won the first Junior Manx Masters beating Sarah Quirk in the final. The event was well supported with a good entry of 13 juniors. The early stages were played in a round robin format.
There was some excellent bowling from these games that would not have been amiss in the seniors competitions that were taking place later on.
Qualifiers from the round robin stages were Bethany, Sarah, Austin Hart & Glenn Boland.
Bethany & Sarah came through tough semi finals against Glenn & Austin respectively.
In the Ladies event Elaine Moore beat daughter Jenny Moore 21-8. Losing semi finalists were Shelley Kennish & Mary Moffatt. Losing out in the quarter finals were Kath Kinley, Janet Monk, Philippa Taylor & Fiona Kennish.
The Men’s competition had a field of 32. The eventual winner was John Kennish beating South Ramsey team mate David Bradford 21-3. Losing semi finalists were Glynn Hargraves & Kevin Quirk. Losing out in the quarter finals were Chas Grills, Rob Monk, Ewan Cooil & Trevor Quayle.
Full report to follow.
The Paddy Power sponsored Isle of Man senior men’s team faced off against and extremely strong North Lancs & Fylde team on Mad Sunday and won the home leg at Port St Mary, however they lost out overall.
This is becoming a familiar story for the Manx Men as this is their third consecutive home victory, however they are yet to pick up an overall win.
With the team taking part in the competition for only the second year we should be delighted with these performances as the team really is taking on the best that the sport has to offer, however it is testament to how far we have come that this result is still tinged with a bit of disappointed as we had hoped for more.
They are really flying the flag for the Isle of Man proudly and there was nothing but praise from their counterparts from across the water who could only applaud everything about the local effort from the hospitality shown by Port St Mary, the organisation on the day right through to some brilliant performance both home and away.
The Port St Mary green is an absolute testament to the club and thanks go to the green keepers for the preparation of it. It was quite simply frightening! This was by far the fastest green that the Island team has used to date in the Crosfield Cup, and overall the home side handled it well with five out of twelve winners, but taking the leg victory on points.
There were some real positives to take out of the day and first county wins for Matthew Keggen and Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly were definitely amongst them. The former picked up the Gellings man of the match award for an Isle of Man player as a result of his battling 21-17 win over Tommy King.
Colin Kelly, Peter Collister and John Kennish all showed their class and put in superb displays to add to the Islands tally of wins and ensure the points victory.
Visitor Sam Patterson picked up the Endsleigh Man of the Match award for his 21-15 win over David Bradford.
Take nothing away though from those that didn’t win, we place too much emphasis on winning individual games when the code in the Crosfield cup is all about points, and every point scored by every player went towards this win. To put in in its simplest terms if the losing players had all scored one less point we would have lost the match. This was a real team effort.
Away from home was a slightly different story and there were real lessons learned about both the class of the opposition and the importance of a strong home side on a difficult green. This is a learning curve though and every day is a school day and the team will be much stronger after this match.
Two real highlights though were the performances of Jordan Cain and Trevor Quayle. Cain picked up the overall Endsleigh Man of the Match award for his superb 21-16 win over North Lancs Captain Dave Watters, whilst Quayle was magnificent winning the Gellings award for his 21-13 win over the incomparable Mike Leach.
There were other good performances too and despite falling short of the overall win the Manx Men can be very proud of what they are achieving in this competition.
If they take heart from anything it should be Cumbria’s victory this weekend over reigning champions Warwick and Worcester. Not long ago Cumbria were considered an easy match and questionably the weakest team in the competition and yesterday they beat unquestionably the strongest county in the sport. Our day will come.
A good entry of 30 pairs arrived at Port St Mary for the annual bank holiday mixed doubles competition once again kindly sponsored by Isle Of Man Farmers Ltd. At the conclusion of a warm sunny days play it was the husband and wife team of John and Fiona Kennish (South Ramsey) who were successful over another husband and wife pairing of Glynn and Kim Hargraves (South Ramsey/Nobles) 21-13. The fallers at the semi final stage were Neil Withers and Hannah Drewett (Marown/Castletown) along with last years winners Robert and Janet Monk (North Ramsey) who both lost to 15 in their respective games.
Ladies president Linda Dawson was on hand to thank everyone who had helped in the running of the competition especially the ladies section who had once again put on a good spread and also to Ray Watterson for preparing a fast and tricky green and also to those who had stayed around till the end to support, then Linda introduced Michael Atherton from I.O.M Farmers to present the prizes.
There was a bumper entry of 37 pairs for the Haldane Fisher Mixed Doubles competition at the Villa Marina on Saturday.
The Douglas club host two mixed doubles competitions each season and it was fitting that the winners of each squared off in the final with defending champions Lyn Bolton & Trevor Quayle taking on Janet & Robert Monk.
Their was some excellent play in the final however it was the Monks that settled quickest and never took their foot off the gas as they took the win 21-13. They really do play the Villa green exceptionally well and this weekend was no different.
Port Erin pair Voirrey Curphy & Seamus Whelan did exceptionally well to make it to the semi finals, however the eventual victors proved too strong for them. The talented pairing of Paula Firth & Jordan Cain were eliminated at the same stage by the defending champions.
Fallers at the quarter final stage were Chris Price & Dido Kelly, Jenny Moore & James Teare, Claire Cooper & Lee Dawson and Alison Keggen & Michael Collister.
Thanks go to Douglas Bowling club for a well run competition and superb playing surface and to Haldane Fisher for their continued support of the club.
A total of 16 teams turned up at Port St Mary for the Jubilee Cup mixed threesomes competition once again kindly sponsored by C.Tarleton Hodgson. At the conclusion of play the team that had mastered the tricky conditions best were that of local man Trevor Quayle and his partners the Ramsey pairing of Lyn and Sid Bolton who came out on top of a close final against the team of Alan Moore, Elaine Moore and Stefan Kelly 21-18.
Losing out at the semi final were the North Ramsey team of Janet Monk, Rob Monk and Steve Parker and the South Ramsey team of Jenny Moore, James Teare and Shelley Kennish.
Club Vice-President Rob Cooil Presented the prizes after thanking the sponsors, the greenkeeper and the ladies section of the club for all the hard work without which the competitions wouldn’t be able to go ahead.
Visitor Darrell Wilbur will have been delighted with his victory in the Steam Packet sponsored Thurwell Competition at Nobles, as his 21-19 final victory over Janet Monk saw him sail away with a voucher for a car and 2 passengers.
In a close match Wilbur just had enough to get over the line against a spirited Monk. In the semi finals Wilbur eliminated Joyce Ogden 21-17 whilst Monk put out Stefan Kelly 21-11 at the same stage.
Fallers at the quarter final stage were Glynn Hargraves, Derek Allen, Margaret Tasker and Bod Boland.
Thanks go to NoblesPark for running the competition and the Steam Packet for their much appreciated sponsorship.
Neil Withers & Hannah Drewitt won the final event of the Festival Weekend with victory in the Wilfred Quayle Mixed Doubles at Castletown Bowling Club on Sunday.
They didn’t have things their own way though and tasted victory by the narrowest of margins as they beat Trevor Quayle & Lyn Bolton 21-20 in a fantastic final.
In the semi finals our victors beat Alan Moore & Hilary Kermode 21-10 whilst our runners up knocked out Derek Lewney & Heike Perry 21-12.
Fallers at the quarter finals stage were Jenny Moore & James Tears, Joy Stephens & Dave Quayle, Joyce Ogden & Mike Hargraves and Chris Price & Dido Kelly.
Thanks must go to Castletown for a tremendously well presented playing surface and the smooth running of the competition.