Glover Emulates His Father to Win First IOM Festival
One of the biggest events on the bowls calendar – The Isle of Man September Bowls Festival took place last week, with the competition one of the longest running, having first taken place in 1921.
In the Men’s event it was Stephen Glover (Liverpool CC) who picked up his first Festival win, 31 years after his father Terry won the same competition in 1991, when Stephen was just four months old, history repeated itself with Stephen recently becoming a father himself as he got his hands on the famous trophy and took home the winners cheque for £3,000. Glover more than deserved his victory as he had to overcome the challenge of another regular visitor, a two-time September winner from 2017 and 2019 John Bailey (Castlefields), whilst also beating another former winner in Graeme Wilson on finals day, Glover also got past June 2008 winner Colin Kelly (Marown) in the Last 16 to reach finals day.
The final started with Glover performing brilliantly to storm into a 14-5 lead playing his customary short length, albeit on a different mark to previous rounds, with Bailey not doing much if anything wrong. Bailey, looking to pick up his third September title and being the competitor that he is, responded well winning six of the next seven ends on a longer length to close the deficit to just three chalks at 12-15 after 13 ends, helped by Bailey playing a great last bowl when lying two down on the 12th end.
Glover got back in at just the right time with a single, thanks to a good last bowl just as Bailey was starting to find his stride. Two brilliant quick-fire doubles on the edge that Glover had enjoyed success on in previous rounds put him within touching distance of victory at 20-12. A good lead on the last end was beaten by Bailey, with Glover then beating the bowl to count one for game. Bailey played a reaching bowl, but failed to connect with anything as Glover picked up a fully deserved 21-12 victory as he expressed his joy with a gentle fist pump. Bailey took home a cheque for £1,000 as consolation for his efforts throughout the week.
Glover reached the final courtesy of a fairly comfortable 21-15 win over four-time winner Graeme Wilson (AEU), with Bailey having to battle for his 21-18 victory over Bob Clark (South Ramsey) after leading 16-8 the local man fought back well before losing out. Clark was the local player who had progressed the furthest and received the Chris Quayle Memorial trophy for the furthest Manx Man, as he reached his first finals day and will undoubtedly have gained vital experience from it.
The quarter finals were all fairly straightforward for the winners with Glover ending the hopes of Gareth Coates (Akroydon Victoria) with a 21-16 win, with the score at 16-15 in favour of Coates a four end winning streak saw Glover run out. Wilson made light work of Dan Edmonds (Levens) with a 21-10 win after the latter had disposed of the 2021 winner Callum Wraight (Castlefields) 21-8 in the Last 16.
In the other half of the draw Clark performed well to beat Nathan Brown (Lloyd Hotel) 21-15, after trailing 9-14 Clark went on to win seven of the next eight ends to progress to the semi-final. Bailey was up against a surprise package in Alex Yates (Noble’s) who took up the game just six years ago, who more than deserved his spot in the quarter finals, coming through some tricky games to make finals day. Yates had to give one chalk away on the handicap playing on his home green, managed to hang in the game really well trailing by just one chalk after 12 ends with the score at 11-12, however the experience of Bailey came through in the end, as he went on to win 21-12. Yates can consider the week a success with his good run not going unnoticed as he picked up £300 for his efforts.
The Men’s Tourism was played down to the winner on Thursday morning on Noble’s 1, and it was Callum Wraight (Castlefields) who performed well to see off his Stepdad Richie Goddard (Castlefields) to take the Tourism title with a comfortable 21-9 victory, with the result never really in doubt.
Both semi-finals were well contested with Wraight edging home 21-18 against Ben Phillips (Lloyd Hotel). Goddard booked his place in the final with a hard fought 21-19 win over Daniel Petcher (Littleover).
In the quarter finals Wraight progressed with a 21-11 win over Craig Richardson (Castlefields), Phillips (Lloyd Hotel) reached the semi-final with a 21-14 victory over Alan Gilpin (Netherfield), whilst Petcher ended the challenge of Ian Liley (Lune Road) 21-10. The closest game of the quarter finals was between Bob Clark (South Ramsey) and Goddard with the latter taking the win 21-19 to progress to the semi-final.
The Men’s consolation was won by Neil Rigden (Bretherton) who beat Matthew Clegg (West Shore) 21-14 in the final, with Ridgen winning 21-12 against Thomas Dennison (Levens) in the semi-final, whilst Clegg won 21-13 against Martin Gaut (Wrockwardine Wood).
The Ladies consolation was won by Christine Lawton (Garswood Hall) defeating Lisa Downham (Bowling Green Lancaster) in the final. Lawton reached the final courtesy of a 21-14 win over Violet Dennison (Levens), whilst Downham won 21-17 against Eileen Pye (Canberra Club).
The Visit.Com Flyer title went to Martin Gilpin (Netherfield) who had an emphatic 9-1 win over Harry Chapman (Baddesley Colliery), whilst the Last Chance Mixed Final was won by Martin’s son Alan Gilpin (Netherfield) who beat Ken Wale (Whitby) 21-15 in the final.
In the doubles competitions the Open doubles was won by Callum Wraight and John Bailey (Both Castlefields) with a resounding 11-0 win over Paul Kissock (Netherfield) and Barry Simm (Lune Road). Wraight and Bailey reached the final with a 11-0 win over Amanda and Kevin Nicholas (Gresford Colliery), whilst Kissock and Simm ended the challenge of South Ramsey pair Jenny Moore and James Teare 11-5.
The Men’s doubles were won by Marown pair Colin Kelly and Peter Jones who performed well to see off John Colebourne and Ian Johnson (Both Chesterfield Cylinders) 11-2 in the final. Kelly and Jones reached the final with a hard fought 11-9 win over Paul Kissock and Matty Stewart (Both Netherfield), while Colebourne and Johnson also won to the same score against James Higgins (Sheffield) and Ian Nicholson (Netherfield).
The Ladies doubles were won by Sue Gawne (Onchan) and Sue Emmerson (Whitby) defeating Debbie Leece (Marown) and Veronica Lyon (Unison) 11-10 in a close final. Gawne and Emmerson reached the final with an 11-6 victory over Caroline Whitehead (Port Erin) and Janet Hargreaves (Netherfield), whilst Leece and Lyon won 11-3 against Elaine Hawkins (Port St Mary) and Diane Harrison (Lune Road).
Winning the Mixed pairs were Eileen Pye (Canberra Club) and Michael Coupe (Wirral) thanks to a 9-3 win over Catherine Wilson (AEU) and Stevie Cain (Marown) in the final. Pye and Coupe reached the final with a 9-3 win over Kath Watkinson (Mere Brew) and Andy White (Two Gates), whilst Wilson and Cain won 9-0 against Nicola Gilmore-Coupe and Matthew Gilmore (Both Wirral) to reach the final.
The Triples returned this year with the competition played on three greens over six ends on Wednesday morning down to the winner from each green. Winners at the Villa were Paul Bailey (Meersbrook), James Higgins (Sheffield) and Matt Whitaker (Sheffield), with the Marown trio of Colin Kelly, Neil Withers and Juan Killip winning on Noble’s 1 green, while Brian Rathbone (Fairfield), Matt Sands (Lloyd Hotel) and Nathan Brown (Lloyd Hotel) were the winners on Noble’s 2 green.