Canada Life International – 2020 Manx Championship Preview

Onchan Bowling Club are hosting the 2020 Canada Life International sponsored Manx Championship at the Park over the next two weekends it brings the event back to the same green that current holder Colin Kelly won his fifth title in 2011 beating team mate Neil Withers 21-10 in the final. Kelly has yet to hit top form this season, but if there is a competition to hit form in this is the one. With a fantastic entry of 73 it will make for some interesting early round clashes.

Marown have three previous winners with Colin Kelly’s six wins, Neil Withers who himself won his only championship home turf in 2009 and has managed to pick up the first open of the season at Noble’s, whilst Phil Kelly won his title on Noble’s 1 in 1994. Their man in form has to be Paul Dunn, and if there is to be a new name on the trophy you would be hard pressed to back against the Marown captain who has already picked up an open win this season taking home the Ramsey Town Cup last weekend.

Peel have just one previous winner with Andy Kennish, who won the last of his three titles in 1999, whilst newly crowned Over 60’s Manx Champion Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly will have competition from son Stevie to get his name on the trophy for the first time, with Stevie having won the pre-festival Autumn Shield on his home green last year, which was his first singles open title.

Onchan have two previous winners in their ranks with Kevin Quirk having won the title twice, his first in 2005 at Ronairco & 2008 on Noble’s 1, whilst Phil Kerruish won on Castletown in 1986. Both of these players have vast experience and will fancy their chances on home turf. As well as their experienced players Onchan have a couple of younger players who will looking to pick up their first title with Matthew Quirk and last year’s runner up Jordan Cain hoping to go one better.

South Ramsey’s David Bradford will be looking to fire up to win title number two, whilst Glynn Hargraves, who recently won the Douglas Town Cup will be hoping to take the trophy home to add to his two back to back wins on Finch Hill & Castletown in 2012 & 2013. Both players are familiar with the Onchan green having spent over 10 years playing for Onchan up to 2015. Father and Son Dido & Stefan Kelly will also fancy their chances to pick up their first title, whilst Dido has played very little bowls this season, he will not be an easy opponent to get past.

Other players in form include 19-year-old Sam Clague, who picked up his first ever open title last weekend winning the Association Cup on his own green, it will be interesting to see if Clague can kick on from here, whilst Tom Kelly who followed up his Ramsey Town Cup win to take home the Peel Town Cup will be looking to become only the second father & son to have both won the title.

There are eight previous Manx Championship winners in the field, with a further 12 who have won singles titles over the years, who are all capable of winning. As with any Manx Championship there will be shocks along the way, with favourites taking an early bath. A tasty looking encounter in the preliminary round is between Paul Dunn & Phil Kerruish, home greener Matthew Quirk and Neil Withers face off in a repeat of the 2013 June Festival final, which Neil came out on top on last time round, whilst Tom Kelly takes on Wayne Roberts.

Best of luck to all bowlers this weekend, who knows there might just be a new name on the trophy…