News: Men’s General

Browne Craine & Co Mens Doubles Championship

Thirty pairs made the pilgrimage to Nobles Park on Saturday in search of the first ever Brown Craine Manx Mens Doubles Championship victory, and it was John Kennish and David Bradford who managed to secure the first title.

This is a fantastic new competition putting the spotlight on the doubles format of the game and it obviously captured the imagination of the local players with some of the finest pairings I have ever seen put together.

Kennish & Bradford, who looked the most formidable pairing on paper, proved that sometimes things do go to form as they were ruthless all day. In the final they just had too much for the colourful Bob Clark & Jordan Cain with the former winning 21-13.

The eventual victors stamped their authority on proceedings in the Semi Finals as they took on Colin Kelly & Neil Withers it what potentially looked like a classic encounter. Kennish & Bradford were just too good and ran out comfortable 21-5 winners. Clark & Cain dispatched South Ramsey’s Glynn Hargraves & James Teare 21-12 at the same stage.

Fallers at the quarterfinal stage were Barney Kelly & Stevie Kelly, Mike Hargraves & Ian Kissack, Tim Williams & Ray Maddrell and Stuart Garrett & Ian Moore.

Thanks go to Neil Withers and the Isle of Man association for organising and running the competition but more importantly to Brown Craine who shared in our vision for a premier doubles competition and gave us the support to allow it to happen.

Isle of Man vs Derbyshire

The Paddy Power sponsored Isle of Man Senior Men’s county team took the greens for the final time this year and fell just short of finding their first illusive overall victory.

They took on a very strong Derbyshire team both at Castletown and away in Burton on Trent and despite losing out in both legs can draw many positives from another brilliant display at the highest level.

It was an emotional day all round for both counties as they spent the match was dedicated to the memory of both our own Lillian Slinger and Derbyshires Darren Smith, two of the finest exponents our sport at seen.

It had almost become the norm for the Manxmen to win their home leg, having done so on the last three occasions, and the performance of the visitors to stop them was a stark reminder of just how hard bowls is at the top table.

Gellings home man of the match Phil Kerruish was the only local winner in the first four and he was simply magnificent as he beat Belvedere’s ‘Matt Kelly-Walley 21-13. Paul Stretton (Belvedere) won the Endsleigh Insurance player of the leg award for his 21-12 win against Peter Collister.

There was more success in the next four blocks as the Isle of Man added two more victories with Port St Mary’s Ewan Cooil winning 21-12 against Chris Adams (Burbage) and John Kennish fighting his way back with a brilliant performance to win 21-19 over John Dewey (Belvedere).

David Bradford added his name to the winners list playing extremely well to beat Paul Hawker (Whaley Brodge) 21-15. That was in for the locals on home soil as they went down 8 games to 4 and by 30 points.

Across he water something quite remarkable was happening as the men in red in yellow put in their finest away team performance to date and at one point and unprecedented away leg victory looked on the cards, however they lost out by just four points overall.

Barney Kelly led from the front with a totally assured Captains performance to put the Isle of Man 1-0 up as he beat Dave May 21-17. Neil Withers lost out by the narrowest of margins in the next game going down 21-20 before Jordan Cain righted the ship with another inspired away county performance beating Conor Chamberlain 21-18.

The Island didn’t have to wait too long for their next win as Rob Monk was in truly sensational form to win 21-9 against Neil Worthington and pick up the Endsleigh Insurance Man of the match awards for his efforts. I can’t put into words how well he played and I am sure he made his grandma Lillian proud with his breathtaking performance.

Matthew Quirk and Peter Slinger both came close, scoring 20 and 19 respectively, before Paul Skelly picked up his first county win and the Isle of Man award for man of the match after a spirited performance to fend off the battling Mick Grattan 21-19.

Phil ‘Rambo’ Kelly is fast becoming the patriarch of the Isle of Man team and he put in another stunning display last man on to beat arguably Derbyshires best player Paul Chamerlain 21-15. To put this into perspective Chamberlain has won his other two home matches this year 21-4 and 21-6. Five wins, two 20’s and a 19 is not just competing away from home it is showing that we really can mix it with the best. I am sure it will not be too long before our stars align both at home and away to bring us the overall match victory we so desperately want to see. A massive thank you to sponsors Paddy Power, Castletown for hosting the match and anyone else who helped in any way.


In contrast to the recent sunshine Castletown Bowling Club hosted the 50th Anniversary of the Veros Digital Sponsored Ballacashtal Cup in wind and rain on Sunday.

104 bowlers made the pilgrimage to the old capital for this biggest one day competition on the Island. It Was South Ramsey’s John Kennish went one step further that the previous day lifting the trophy thanks to a superb 21-7 final win over the Wirral’s Peter Jones.

Kennish eliminated Port St Mary’s Paul Skelly in the semi final 21-11 whilst Jones had to fight all the way to see of the challenge of Marown’s Neil Wilthers 21-20.

Losing out at the quarter final stage were Ian Johnson, Mark Bramhall, Dave Halstead & Michael Hewitson.

Thanks go to Casteltown Bowling Club for putting on and running a superb competition despite very testing conditions for organisers and competitors alike and also to Veros Digital for their sponsorship.

Jim Kernan

Visitor Wayne Ditchfield won the Jim Kernan trophy on a very tricky South Ramsey green beating John Kennish 21-19 in a highly entertaining final.

Ditchfield settled superbly from his first bowl of the day and had to be at the top of his game to beat pre-tournament favourite Kennish on his own patch.

Wayne had to overcome the challenge of another local in the semi-finals as he dispatched David Bradford 21-14. At the same stage Kennish beat his common adversary Colin Kelly by the same score.

Fallers at the quarter finals were Stevie Kelly, Tony Hary, Mark Bramhall & John ‘Doctor’ Watson.

Thanks go to South Ramsey and to George Brew in both his capacity as green keeper for turning out an immaculate playing surface but also as sponsor. Thanks George.

June Festival Preview

It’s always hard to predict what will happen in the Men’s main festival competition, as unlike the programme the games won’t be played on paper.

There is always someone who tears up the form book and puts in a barnstorming performance to set the cat amongst the pigeons!

This year is no different and with the usual host of top visiting names it is almost impossible to call. Nicholson, Gilpin, Ditchfield, Wraight, Bailey & Gilmore they are all now familiar names on the Island and will be hoping this is their year.

There are some new names this time too and some unfamiliar faces who will be hoping to make their first visit to the Island a fruitful one.

There should be a strong local showing as well, although John Kennish will need to play the tournament of his life to win as he is giving the field a five point start after winning back to back festivals in September 2014 and June 2015. Colin Kelly will hope to do well as will David Bradford, Glynn Hargraves and in form Matthew Keggen to name just a few.

This always backfires on me but my predictions to qualify from their sections and make the last eight on finals day is below:

Jack Dyson v James Palmer, Ian Nicholson v John Bailey, James Wilcox v Matt Gilmore, Callum Wraight v Colin Kelly

R H Green Fours

Saturday saw the welcome return of the above competition, kindly sponsored by Newsbeat, and a quality field of 16 pairs took to the green in what turned out to be better than expected weather conditions.

A number of Island players were entered and made quick work of their first round matches, particularly the pairings of Dave Bradford and Glynn Hargraves, and Bob Clark and Jordan Cain who both won 21-5. In the other first round matches, last minute entrants Peter Hughes and Peter Partington were unlucky to lose 20-21 to Ian Kissack and Mike Hargraves; similarly Grahem Moore and Les Warburton lost 21-19 to Neil Withers and Paul Dunn who struggled to get over the line as they took 4 ends to get the final point.

In the quarter finals, Dave Bradford and Glynn Hargraves took on Neil Withers and Paul Dunn in what was expected to be a close match. In the early stages this was the case but from the sixth end it was Withers and Dunn who found their length and with the help of 2 and 3 point ends they quickly raced to a 21-10 victory. Arthur Halsall and Tony Epifani came good against Kevin Mort and John Lightfoot with a 21-15 win and a similar scoreline took Bob Clark and Jordan Cain past Ian Kissack and Mike Hargraves. The last quarter final match between Derek Allen and Dave McCabe, and James Teare and Alan Moore was much closer with the scores level at 16 each after 14 ends but it was Teare and Moore who made the better finish to win 21-18.

The semi finals saw Arthur Halsall and Tony Epifani on home ground get off to a good start but they couldn’t match the 2 and 3 pointers thrown at them by Neil Withers and Paul Dunn who eventually romped home 21-9. The second semi final was similar as James Teare and Alan Moore won the first four ends to lead 11-5 against Bob Clark and Jordan Cain but once again it was the 2 and 3 point ends that helped Clark and Cain win 21-17.

On the basis of their earlier performances the final was eagerly awaited but it took Neil Withers and Paul Dunn 6 ends to get off the mark and with Bob Clark and Jordan Cain playing some exquisite bowls and scoring a 3 and a couple of 4’s the match was all over in 10 ends with Cain and Jordan running out worthy winners by 21 points to 8.

The prize presentation was made by Peter Partington, Chairman of Finch Hill Bowling Club and Ken Kinrade, Competition Secretary with the losing semi finalists receiving £20 Newsbeat vouchers, the losing finalists £50 Newsbeat vouchers and the winners £100 Newsbeat vouchers and the R H Green Cup.

Special thanks go to our generous sponsors Newsbeat, to Merve Sayle for preparation of the green and to Lyn Kinrade and Hazel Hughes who kept everyone fed and watered throughout the afternoon and to all those who helped make this a very successful competition.

Canada Life International Manx Championship

John Kennish won his ninth Canada Life International Manx Championship in style with a devastating final display to defeat five times Champion Colin Kelly 21-2 at Nobles number 2 green on Sunday.

I am running out of superlatives to describe Kennish who has been the Islands number one player for what seems like an age, and has a trophy cabinet that contains more silverware than you would find in Wilkins Jewellers, and the best I can come up with is imperious.

He is quite simply imperious. His authoritative, commanding displays particularly in the semi-final and final are unprecedented on our shores and quite simply when he is at his best it seems almost impossible for anyone to match him.

Kennish doesn’t win all the time, others have their day and take nothing away from Kelly who himself is a great multiple champion and is in my opinion without question the second best player we have ever produced however like any supreme champion Kennish just seems to have more days than anyone else and Sunday 22nd May 2016 was another one of those days.

In the final he was in control from the off and with the rubs of the green also going in favour of Kennish there was little Kelly could do as his opponent seemed to eclipse the jack with every lead he sent, forcing him to play running bowls which either found the gap or when he did hit didn’t fall his way.

In the Semi Finals Kennish put in a superb display to see off defending champion David Bradford 21-8 whilst Kelly was also dominant seeing off the challenge of the inform Matthew Keggen by the same score.

In the quarter finals Kelly was made to battle all the way just getting the better of ex home greener Jordan Cain 21-18 after an epic tussle. Kennish was again on his game seeing off North Ramsey’s Steve Parker 21-7, however despite the score line it was a magnificent performance and achievement for Parker to make it this far after only taking up the game a few years ago. Bradford ended the challenge of Port St Mary’s Paul Skelly 21-13 to book his semi-final berth whilst Matthew Keggen beat Onchan teammate Phil Kerruish 21-12 at the same stage.

Thanks go to North Ramsey Bowling Club and Noble Park Bowling Club for hosting the competition, Matthew Keggen and the competition committee for running the competition and Canada life for their continued support and sponsorship.

Looking back at it the weekend was a fantastic showcase of the Islands top bowling talent with 58 players turning up to make their bid for glory hoping that it will be their name etched into the history books, however there was an all too familiar end to the story with Kennish being crowned King once again!

Click here to view the draw and full results from the competition

Henry Kissack Trophy

A superb entry of 54 men made the trip to Marown on Saturday to compete for the Henry Kissack Trophy.

It was a sublime mix of the cream of the Islands crop and some of the games newer players as the club implemented a challenging handicap system ranging from 3-10 points.

South Ramsey’s John Kennish ran out winner on the day after an extremely entertaining final which saw him get the better of home green Dean Kipling 21-19.

Kennish booked his place in the final with a 21-11 win over Port Errin’s Bernard Thakrah whilst Kipling had his work cut out beating inform Matthew Keggen 21-20.

Fallers at the quarter final stage were Juan Killip, Neil Withers, Glynn Hargraves and Colin Kelly.

Praise goes to Marown for an excellently run competition with an innovative handicapping system.

RNLI Trophy

Neil Withers was the victor of Nobles on Saturday after he lifted the RNLI Trophy after a superb final win over John Kennish on the green where he won the June Festival.

It was an even affair in the early stages before Kennish moved into a 10-6 lead. This is when Withers really found his form winning eight of the next nine ends to move 17-11 ahead. Kennish dug deep but it wasn’t to be with the Crosby man having enough in the tank to get home 21-14.

Kennish had to be at his best in the Semi-Final as he edged past Kevin Quirk 21-19 whilst Withers ended the challenge of elder statesman Mike Hargraves 21-13.

Fallers at the quarter final stage were Jordan Cain, Ian Kissack, David Bradford and Bernard Thackrah.

Heywood Gelling Trophy

Neil Withers got one over on his fellow victor from the day before as he and partner Lyn Bolton won the Marown mixed doubles with a 21-7 final victory over Jordan Cain and Paula Firth.
Withers & Bolton were on fire from the off and were going to be difficult for anyone to beat, although they were pushed close by John & Fiona Kennish in the semi-finals with the former winning 21-17. Cain and Firth were also embroiled in a battle for their final birth however after progressed with relative comfort in the end with a 21-13 win over James Teare & Jenny Moore.
Fallers at the Quarter final stage were Rona Argallon & Grahem Moore, Margaret Tasker & Ken Karran, Joyce Ogden & Mike Hargraves and Mavis Franks & Derek Allan.
A brave 31 pairs endured the weather which for most of the competition was wet and windy although everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and a tremendously well run competition.