September Festival Preview
The Isle of Man September Bowling Festival takes place next week with a host of top names from across the game hoping to be the lucky winner who gets their name on the trophy and the winners cheque for £3,000. Entries are up on previous year’s with the highest September Men’s entry since 2009 and there is a good quality field entered.
On the first page of the draw 2010 winner Wayne Ditchfield (Kirkham) is rumoured to be a doubt to make it over for the week, whilst Joseph Cranston (Crossgates) will be hoping for a good run, this page carrying further names with festival history behind them. Neil Withers (Marown) won his title in June 2013, with the man he beat in the final Matthew Quirk (Onchan) a possible third round face off this time round. Two-time winner Martin Gilpin (Kendal Vic) could face former finalist Callum Wraight (Castlefields) should both players win two games for what could be an intriguing encounter half way through the week.
Page two also has three former winners with 2016 June winner Kez Smith (Crossgates), 2012 September winner Dave Phillips (Lloyd Hotel) and local David Bradford (South Ramsey) with his win as far back as 2002, whilst former finalist Craig Grant (Thongsbridge) also features and will be hoping to go one step further to take his first festival win.
Over to page three where another June 2000 winner Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly (Peel Sunset) has a tricky first round fixture against regular visitor Andy Mailer (Meersbrook BC), whilst John Bailey (Castlefields) will be keen to pick up his second September title having won his first title in 2017.
On the next page it is 29 years since Kevan Shaw (Red Lion) picked up his only title, could come up against Stuart Mort (Kirkham) in round three, with a potential clash at the same stage between Steve Freer (Cradley Sports) and Jon Guess (Fairfield BC) should both players win their first two games.
On page five Onchan man Jordan Cain has suffered a blow having fractured a bone on his elbow after recently coming off his bike to put an early end to his season. This opens up a path for Mark Hughes (Crossgates) who lost out to John Bailey in 2017, however Port St Mary man Trevor Quayle will be confident of a good run himself.
Page six sees 1991 winner Phil Kerruish (Onchan) back from his travels in time to take part, whilst Matthew Kelly-Walley (Stretton Anglesey) will be hoping for a good week as will Marown captain Paul Dunn who could go far and will not fear anyone if he carries on his good form.
On page seven 2003 winner Matt Gilmore (Wallasey) is another former winner, whilst the experienced Billy Speed (Alexander Park) will be hoping to go far with a potential last 16 clash this could be a great game to watch for the spectators.
On the next page this has a potential second game clash between two former winners Gaz Lally (Crossgates) who has one festival win to his name from 2015, whilst local John Kennish is the current title holder and has five festival wins to his name. Not to be discounted is Paul Skelly (Port St Mary) another man capable of beating anyone on his day.
On the final page this is heavily littered with previous winners and finalists with 2014 runner up Dave ‘Dido’ Kelly (South Ramsey) potentially facing three-time winner Ian Nicholson (Kendal Vic), whilst regular visitor David Jackson (Knutsford) is another man looking for his second title. Paul Bailey (Meersbrook BC) is rumoured to missing out, whilst Colin Kelly (Marown) has one title to his name from 2008 and will be keen to fly under the radar.
With six greens in use and several different competitions throughout the week there is plenty of bowls for everyone it should make for a great week of bowls.
Have a great week!