Bailey is cream of crop
John Bailey (Llanrwst) was the cream of the crop as he picked up his first title in the main event at the Isle of Man Bowls Festival last week, having been successful in the Tourism competition in previous years.
He began his day with a last bowl victory over Neil Rigden (New Longton), before getting the better of former champ Wayne Ditchfield (Kirkham) in the semis.
His opponent, Mark Hughes from Crossgates, began with a 21-16 win against Chris Slater (Colwyn Bay); then cruised to the final by beating another Welsh player, Gwerydd Buckland (Bangor City).
The destination of the Derek Killey memorial trophy was ultimately decided by a great spell in the middle of the game when Bailey notched up five successive two’s to turn a deficit into a seven point advantage.
He led 19-12 at this stage, however Hughes then dug deep to increase his total to 16, but it was not to be for the Crossgates man, who had won the Tourism event back in 2012, as his opponent scored the two required to taste victory with a 21-16 scoreline.
Competing in the quarter-finals of the ladies main tournament were locals Lyn Bolton (South Ramsey) and Caroline Parker (Mooragh Park); Lyn making it through to the semi-finals, whilst Caroline lost out in her opening game.
This final was fought out between Anita Richardson (Hoylake & Melrose) who had beaten Bolton, and Angela Gaut (Wrockwardine Wood) who eliminated her fellow Shropshire opponent, Julie Pearce (Meole Brace) in the last four.
Gaut, who had also been successful in the Tourism competition on previous visits, trailed her opponent in the early stages, before moving ahead 16-15 after 18 ends.
Richardson then put five chalks on the board, compared to just one for Gaut, and was on the brink of her first success leading out at 20-17.
Having been beaten in a pre-festival competition and not wishing to lose out in two finals on the Island, Gaut showed her battling qualities and notched up the four points needed to win the ladies September festival rose bowl.
Lyn Bolton won the Blanche Kaye memorial cup for the furthest Manx player in the ladies contest; whilst her club-mate Alan Moore did likewise in the men’s tournament, collecting the Chris Quayle memorial shield.
A wet Thursday morning saw the conclusion of the men’s and ladies Tourism competitions, with five locals in action – Matthew Keggen (Marown) bowed out first game and John Kennish (South Ramsey) lost in the semi-finals; whilst in the ladies, Margie Tasker (Port St Mary) and Philippa Taylor (Marown), both missed out by just one point; the latter beaten by Elaine Moore (South Ramsey), who fell at the next hurdle.
The men’s final saw two of the sport’s big names go head to head, as Wayne Ditchfield (Kirkham) took on Terry Glover (LCC), both having won major honours off-island as well as previous Isle of Man festivals.
Held on Noble’s number one green, the game was evenly balanced all through; they were level at nine apiece, again at 13, and then at 17 across, before Glover recorded the four points needed for victory.
Close-by on number two green, the Meole Brace club provided three of the last four in the ladies contest, with club-mates Julie Pearce and Alison Cotton battling it out for the championship.
Cotton took control in the early stages and led 18-13, before her adversary fought back to move ahead 20-18, however Pearce couldn’t carry on her good run of points and Cotton clinched the title by the closest of margins and completed a double over her fellow club members.
Rounding up the remaining competitions that took place throughout the week, Kevin Quirk (Onchan) just missed out on a win in the men’s consolation, going down 21-20 to Rob Winnington (Castle) and in the ladies consolation, it was Sue Hill from the Meersbrook club who triumphed over Elizabeth Foster (Orrell Rovers) with the same scoreline.
The visit Isle of Man.com flyer saw Mike Coupe (Hoghton) get the better off Neil Wright (Norton Central). Helen Martin (Mooragh Park) lost to the eventual winner in her semi-final.
Jamie King added to the tally of wins for the Wrockwardine Wood entourage when he was successful in the last chance mixed event with a 21-16 victory over Colin Johnstone (St Bernards).
King then went on to partner Sarah Fox (Woodlands Park) in their mixed doubles success. They beat Joan Jolly (Acregate) and Michael Burrows (Orford Warrington Memorial).
Neil Wright also made it into two finals, having taken part in the men’s doubles, which was one of three pairs competitions completed on Thursday evening; he partnered Ian Nicholson (Kendal Vic) to victory over Michael Davies (Netherton Park) and Stuart Sutton (Fairfield).
There was a local triumph in the open pairs when Neil Withers and Paul Dunn (Marown) defeated Craig Gant (Thongsbridge) and Duncan Reeves (Netherton Cons).
Lynda Cadamy from Port Erin competed in the ladies doubles final with Sandra Beveridge (Lansil), but missed out when beaten by Jacqueline Owen (Whitefield) and Eileen Pye (Acregate).
Thanks go to the Department of Economic Development for their continued support, of what is without doubt one of the premier events on the bowling calendar. Also Manx Telecom who provided a unit to help spread the news around the internet.
A big thank you as always to the many helpers who gave their time at all the venues used throughout the week; and a special mention to David Higgins who is stepping down after 15 years as helpers’ coordinator for the men.