Gaut Wins Pre-Festival Ballacashtal Cup

The ever-popular pre-festival Ballacashtal Cup was held on Sunday attracting an entry of 84 bowler, which was an increase on the 2023 entry, made up of local and visiting bowlers. The Castletown green was in good condition, the competition was once again sponsored by ABS Solutions.

At the quarter final stages it was the end of the road for three locals as Marown’s Tom Kelly lost out 20-21 to John Clarke (Wrockwardine Wood), with Glynn Hargraves (South Ramsey) defeated 14-21 to Peter Jones (Marown).

The third local to dip out in the quarter finals was Kelly’s Dad Colin, as he also lost out 20-21 to Jamie King (Wrockwardine Wood) after leading 20-15 only for King to hit some vital strikes to keep him in the game, with the last game being won by Martin Gaut (Wrockwardine Wood) with a hard fought 21-18 win over Paul Bradley (Fairfield).

At the semi-final stage Jones kept his opponent Clarke to six singles as the Marown man won 21-12, scoring five doubles and five singles on the way to booking his place in the final.

The other semi-final was an all Wrockwardine Wood affair with King and Gaut battling it out for a place in the final, with King having won this competition two years ago. It was Gaut who got off to the better start taking a 14-7 lead, swiftly extended to 17-8. King hit back with two doubles and a single in between conceding a single to close the deficit to five chalks (13-18). It looked all over barring a miracle on the next end with Gaut scoring two to lead 20-13, however King had other ideas as three consecutive doubles playing along the edge on the road side of the green put the score at 19-20. On the next end King was counting two for game, with a play through by Gaut saving one. With the score now 20-20 on the deciding end, King played back along the edge however he didn’t send his jack far enough, being just under the 19 metres required after a measure it allowed Gaut to set the mark. With King lying game once again Gaut held his nerve to seal the win with a good last bowl to take his place in the final.

The final was a good watch for the spectators with neither player being able to get away from the other as they drew level on 11 occasions throughout the final, rather bizarrely each time the players card markers checked the score, it was level to prove how close this final was with there never being a run of two winning ends for either player or a gap of more than two points all game. It was Jones who made the first move to go within touching distance of the title in his third final in this competition as he scored a single to lead 20-18. Gaut responded with a two to level the game up at 20-20, he headed into the corner to play a good lead bowl, with Jones just failing to beat it as he clipped the wrong side of the bowl. Gaut then doubled up to apply the pressure, leaving Jones no option other to strike, which didn’t make the right connection for Gaut to pick up the famous old trophy for the first time, whilst Jones lost out for the third time in the final of this competition.

The presentation was made by Castletown Club Chairman Phil Taubman who thanked the sponsors ABS Solutions for their continued support of the competition, the ladies for the refreshments and Kath Kinley for running the competition. Upon accepting the trophy Martin commented that it was great for both players to have support around the green.