Home Win Has Kelly in ‘Seventh’ Heaven

Marown Bowling Club hosted this year’s Canada Life International sponsored Manx Championship with the competition once again played over two weekends. The competition attracted 91 entries – the highest entry seen the 1980’s, with the qualifying day held last Sunday whittling the field down to 32 for finals day. At the start of the day there were five previous winners in the field, however four of them fell before the quarter finals to leave the six time champion Colin Kelly as clear favourite on his home green. There was an excellent crowd who came to support their club mates, which added to the great atmosphere.

Last 16 Results

Phil Kerruish 20-21 Dean Kinley
Stevie Kelly 17-21 Bob Clark
Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly 21-9 Gary Smith
Matthew Quirk 21-12 Robert Monk

Neil Withers 13-21 Colin Kelly
Stevie Rundle 12-21 Trevor Quayle
Jordan Cain 21-17 Peter Collister
Walter McCarthy 21-19 Jamie Clague

In the quarter finals Dean Kinley (Castletown), who had put out last year’s champion Paul Dunn 21-7 in his first game of the day had his challenge ended by teammate Bob Clark losing 16-21, whilst Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly (Peel) recovered from a poor start only to lose out 18-21 to Onchan’s Matthew Quirk. Home favourite Colin Kelly had to battle hard to beat Port St Mary’s Trevor Quayle 21-17, whilst Marown C Team player Walter McCarthy performed brilliantly to claim a nerve-wracking 21-20 victory over Jordan Cain (Onchan), playing a brilliant last bowl to progress to the semi-final.

The semi-finals had Kelly up against McCarthy, with Kelly wasting no time in booking his place in the final, thanks to a 21-6 win over his club mate. In the other semi Clark just about kept his nose in front for most of the game against Quirk, leading 15-10, then 18-11 and 19-13 only for Quirk to take a double, a single and another double to close the deficit to just one chalk at 18-19. Clark then made sure of his place in the final with a double on the last end to take a deserved 21-18 win in a good quality contest.

The final started with Kelly the hot favourite on his own green, however Clark had been the favourite from those never to have won the Manx Championship previously to get their name on the trophy, has a good record in head to heads against Kelly and is unflappable under pressure. Both players preferred to play a fair distance, with Kelly leading 9-6 after 12 ends with two doubles from Clark thanks to Kelly uncharacteristically putting both bowls in the ditch in the same corner on two separate occasions. From there the final was thrilling to watch, with Clark having to pull out some great bowls on a number of occasions to stay in touch with Kelly.

One of the defining moments of the game came on the 26th end with Kelly jumping in on Clark’s lead to play a good first bowl with the score 16-15 to the former. With his second bowl Clark ran into the back of Kelly’s bowl and Clark probably felt confident he would only be one down, however Kelly had other ideas, sending his bowl on the other peg to flick off his own bowl then trail the jack to make a brilliant two and increase his lead to 18-15. Kelly then picked up a single on the next end thanks to a great second bowl to play Clark out, only to then have a good lead beaten by another fantastic bowl from Clark to stay in the game at 16-19 to keep the pressure firmly on. On the following end Clark played his lead eight inches to the side of the jack, only for Kelly to play him out once again to lead 20-16. On the final end Kelly played a good lead, with Clark’s bowl just clipping Kelly’s bowl and running through. With his final bowl Clark changed his peg to play a reaching bowl, cruelly missing everything to give Kelly a 21-16 victory in a thrilling final for the spectators. The standard of bowling over distance was of an excellent standard from both players, this final will be remembered for a long time.

The presentation was made by competition committee officer Steve Moore, who introduced Daniel Pownall from the sponsors Canada Life International to present the prizes. Thanks were given to Marown for hosting the event, the greenkeepers for preparing the green, the ladies for the refreshments provided, and all the club members who assisted with the measuring & stewarding throughout. In his speech Kelly was understandably emotional upon claiming his first Manx Championship win on his own green, seventh title overall and this was the fourth different decade that he has won the Manx Championship, with this one being watched by his wife Margaret, children Tom and Kevin and parents Juan and Isabel, it was clear to see how much it meant to him. Both finalists are now eligible to play in the Senior Merit Trophy at Heaton Park BC in Manchester on Saturday 24th July.