Bradford is ‘Two’ Good in Manx Championship
The final stages of the Canada Life International Manx Championship was played at Ballaugh Bowling Club on Sunday afternoon, with the qualifying rounds having taken place the previous weekend in very wet conditions, which improved as the day went on. Better weather was experienced this week for an afternoon of bowls in front of a good crowd.
|Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly
|Dave ‘Dido’ Kelly
At the quarter final stage Glynn Hargraves (South Ramsey) back to back winner in 2012 and 2013 was ruthlessly disposed of by Peel man Stevie Kelly who performed brilliantly to win 21-6, whilst current holder and seven time champion Colin Kelly (Marown) lost out to 2015 winner David Bradford (South Ramsey) 17-21. Peel veteran Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly ended the challenge of Matthew Keggen (Marown) with the scores tied at 10-10 Kelly went on to win 21-13, whilst Jordan Cain managed to see off 2009 Champion Neil Withers (Marown) 21-16 despite going on the green cold.
At the semi-final stage the matches were expected to be well contested, however it was quite the opposite as Stevie Kelly had his hopes of etching his name on the trophy for the first time extinguished by Bradford, with the latter winning 21-10 to end any hopes of a first father and son Manx Championship final. In the other semi-final Barney Kelly made light work of Cain as he progressed to the final thanks to a 21-6 victory.
The final started with Kelly winning the toss of the coin and with it the opportunity to head for a corner, however he pushed the jack too far, with the jack just trickling off the green. Bradford headed for a mark over the middle of the green and won the first end to punish the mistake of sending the jack off. From there he settled into the game swiftly to storm into a 8-0 lead, before Kelly got in after a loose end from Bradford, who got back in immediately beating a good lead bowl to regain his eight chalk lead at 9-1. Another poor end from Bradford to his own jack gifted Kelly an easy two, who then proceeded to get into the corners to score a further three doubles on the bounce.
With the match now level at 9-9 it was game well and truly on. On the next end Kelly pushed his jack right up to the edge and was counting for two, with Bradford playing a good second bowl which just stayed on the green to count. Kelly hit back to take the next three ends with singles to lead for the first time in the game by two chalks at 12-10. Kelly was back in the corners, however a good first bowl earnt Bradford a point to get back in.
A single followed on the next end to level things up at 12-12. Kelly edged ahead once again to lead 13-12, from there Bradford found a new determination as he shifted up a few gears on a mark over the middle of the green, but in a different direction to which he had started the game on as he won six consecutive ends with three singles and three doubles to run out with a deserved 21-13 victory to seal his second Manx Championship, with his delight clear to see to those spectating, with the victory made even more special with the win arriving on the green that he learnt his trade at as a youngster.
The presentation was made by competition committee officer Steve Moore who thanked Ballaugh Bowling Club for preparing the green, providing the refreshments and measurers. In his speech Bradford thanked the green keeper for preparing an excellent surface, everyone who had helped run the competition and said he was chuffed to win the Championship on the green that he started at over 30 years ago. To make the win even more special his Dad was watching on, along with many of the bowlers who still play at the club to this day who were clearly delighted for him. Both Bradford and Kelly now go onto to represent the Isle of Man on Saturday 30th July at Hawcoat Park BC in Cumbria.