100 Not Out for Kennish

John Kennish picked up an unprecedented 8th Canada Life International Manx Championship in style at South Ramsey at the weekend to once again etch his name further into the annals of Island bowls history.  

Kennish ended the drought for his 8th title eight years on from his last win with a 21-12 final victory on his home green over Marown’s five times champion Colin Kelly. This win signifies another momentous milestone for Kennish as it also flags his 100th men’s singles open title as he becomes the first local ever to notch up an historic century.

The final was a cagey affair in the opening exchanges with Kelly edging into a 6-5 lead. Kennish then took control, but, Kelly dug in to find himself trailing by a solitary chalk at 10-9.  This is when Kennish went into an overdrive and with 7 unanswered points saw himself cruise into an unassailable 17-9 lead. Kelly, himself a great champion, dug deep but didn’t have enough to match the imperious Kennish on this occasion and the Ramsey man saw out a brilliant 21-12 win over his arch adversary.

The sight of arguably the Islands top two bowlers for the past decade in the final was like seeing the normal order of things restored after Kennish had failed to make it to the main event since his victory over Paul Dunn at Port Erin in 2006. There is no doubt that this must have played on his mind and he will definitely feel like he has exorcised some demons with this win, and who knows maybe 10 titles is not beyond the realms of possibility for the greatest of all Manx Champions.  

Kennish had to be at his best all day and started of with an extremely high quality opener as he saw off the challenge of Bob Clark (Castletown) 21-16 to book his place in the quarter finals. He was simply on fire in his next game against David Bradford (Onchan) and was too hot to handle as he picked up a magnificent 21-7 victory to set up a semi final showdown with Paul Skelly (Port St Mary). Despite giving it his all this was never going to be Skelly’s day and Kennish secured his final berth with a hard fought 21-13 win.

Kelly was equally as devastating on his run to the final and a 21-4 win over fellow Marown Bowler Ian Kissack in his first game on finals day set him on his way in fine style. He backed this up with a solid 21-12 win over former champion Phil Kerruish (Onchan) in the quarter finals before seeing off the challenge of Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly (Douglas) at the semi final stage.

The weekend however belongs to John Kennish who despite always looking like an unstoppable force on his home green had to live up to the billing and put in the hard work to pick up a well deserved title. He is without doubt the greatest local player of his generation to step onto a bowling green and if he continues in this fine vein of form who knows what is possible in both his on and off Island exploits.