Withers Claims Second Manx Championship

The final stages of the Canada Life International Manx Championship were played at Castletown Bowling Club on Sunday afternoon, with the qualifying rounds having taken place the previous weekend in very wet conditions, which improved as the afternoon went on. Better weather was experienced this week for an afternoon of bowls in front of a good crowd.

Last 16 Results

Ian Watson1021Glynn Hargraves
Tom Kelly2111Paul Quirk
Peter Slinger215Peter Jones
Peter Collister2112Matthew Keggen
Matthew Quirk1321David Bradford
Colin Kelly2111Stevie Kelly
Bob Clark1721Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly
Neil Withers216Stephen Rundle

Losing out at the quarter final stage were Glynn Hargraves (South Ramsey) who led for the entire game, only to lose out 20-21 to Tom Kelly (Marown), with the difference ultimately being Kelly scoring five two’s to his opponents four doubles. Onchan captain Peter Slinger had the measure of Peter Collister (South Ramsey) with a resounding 21-6 win. Current holder going into the day David Bradford was the third South Ramsey man to lose out at the quarter final stage with Colin Kelly (Marown) winning 21-17 as the latter scored five doubles to his opponents two, whilst Neil Withers (Marown) progressed to the final with a hard fought 21-18 win over Peel man Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly.

At the semi-final stage Tom Kelly mastered the corner/crown mark to build a six chalk lead at 20-14 over Slinger, before conceding a double and a single then securing the point he needed to reach his first final. Withers looked to have a game on his hands with Colin Kelly, however he gained his revenge over Kelly for the recent Ballacashtal Cup final defeat with a resounding 21-12 victory.

The final got underway with Withers, starting as favourite having one previous Manx Championship and a Isle of Man Festival title under his belt, he started the stronger as he played the length that had served him well throughout the day to go seven chalks ahead after nine ends with the score at 10-3.

The next two ends went in favour of Kelly, who picked up a two and a single as he headed for a corner, only for Withers to get back in with a double. After the 13th end Withers maintained his seven point lead with the score now 13-6.

The rain arrived for a brief period as Withers shifted up a gear to go within touching distance of the title as he shot into a 19-11 lead. Kelly had to dig deep to drag himself back into the game as he bowled two great bowls to win the end, followed by another good end as he went on to win four successive ends, picking up three doubles along the way to put the score at 18-19.

With all to play for Kelly went back along the edge of the green, with his first bowl a good length Withers stepped in with his first bowl which pulled up quickly to rest 18 inches away from the jack. Kelly’s second bowl looked to be on a good track, somehow it went through the gap between the jack and Withers counting bowl. Withers who was safe in the knowledge that he was counting for one settled himself as he took a deep breath to send his second bowl to make two to claim his second Manx Championship victory with a hard fought 21-18 win. This second win arrives 14 years after his previous win at Marown in 2009.

The presentation was made by competition secretary Matthew Keggen who thanked Castletown Bowling Club for preparing the green, providing the refreshments and measurers. In his speech Withers dedicated the win to his Mother Pat who sadly passed away last year. Withers and Kelly along with play off qualifier Peter Slinger all qualify to represent the Isle of Man on Saturday 29th July at Heaton Park BC in Manchester in the Senior Individual Merit.