Bale stars on home green in finals feast

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Spectators enjoyed a feast of absorbing bowls when on Sunday Rugby Bowls Association staged their finals day at the Grange club.

In the Dick Avery singles the host club’s Phil Bale beat Rugby’s Matt Lever 21-18 after leading 5-3 at five ends, 8-6 at ten, 15-11 at 15 and finally finishing with three shots in hand after 26.

Oakfield’s talented brothers Peter and Martin Winn contested the Ralph Robins singles final and it was Peter who came out on top by 21-15. The scores were level at 5-5 at five ends and after Martin had gone 13-12 up after 15 he had the better of the remaining six ends to win by a six-shot margin. .

n The Winn brothers became the new holders of the Coronation Cup pairs when they won an absorbing tussle with a 20-19 extra end victory over Southam’s Aubrey Brown and Kevin Tandy. The Winns trailed 5-1 at five ends but five ends later they were 11-5 ahead after scoring an eighth end five together with one double and three singles. With 15 ends completed Brown and Tandy were on level terms at 14-14 and with 21 ends complete it was still all to play for with a 21 all scoreline.

On a tense extra end it was the Winns who picked up the all important winning single to finish a fine game one shot in front.

n The Tony Dean Memorial Trophy mixed pairs championship final was won by Oakfield’s Kim Tubb and Howard Wilkins with a 20-16 final success against LMRCA’s Wendy Baxter and Peter Storer. Kim and Howard trailed 5-2 and 8-6 at five and ten ends respectively before going in front at 16-11 after 15 and 19-16 after 20 and they then settled the issue with a last end single.. Oakfield’s final tally included three trebles while LMRCA’s scofres were all doubles and singles.

n The Britannia Plate ladies pairs was won by Oakfield’s daugther and mum team of Kim Tubb and Jean Dean, who had to pull out all of the stops in accounting for LMRCA’s Vanessa Brazier and Wendy Baxter by the odd shot at 16-15. There was very little to choose between the two teams and there was never more than a couple of shots separating the scores at any one time - 14 all at 15 ends and 15-15 at 20 - before the Oakfield duo chipped out with a last end single.

n Oakfield’s Howard Wilkins was the man on song at his club’s finals day, winning the championship, handicap and two woods singles and for good measure was also successful in the pairs. In the championship singles the talented Wilkins lined up against former champion Martin Winn and appeared to he heading for a comfortable victory when he led 17-8. It did not quite turn out like that, however, for Winn hit back to reduce his deficit to 20-16, only to lose a single and the game at 21-16.

In the handicap singles Wilkins was made to fight hard for his 21-16 victory over Brian Lever and then had another stiff task in gaining a 21-20 success in a cracking two woods singles final against Martin Winn. And yet another trophy came Wilkins’ way when he skipped Roy Watkins to a 22-19 pairs win against Andy Sturgess and Martin Winn. Sturgess gained some consolation for his pairs defeat when in the President’s Cup singles he beat Tom O’Sullivan 21-12.

Joan Nicholson had to call on her considerable experience in the ladies championship singles in finishing 21-19 ahead of Gemma Jones. Gemma and Joan also met in the final of the two woods singles and it was Gemma who came out on top by 13-10. In a one-sided pairs final Maggie Cooter and Jean Hagues proved much too strong for Joan Lever and Joan Nicholson as they beat them by 31-7. Open mixed pairs winners were Gordon Chamberlain and Brian Lever, who after a great tussle beat Roy Watkins and Martin Winn 20-18.

n LMRCA’s Charlie Wright took his club’s championship singles when in his third final in the event he returned a 21-14 winning card against much improved bowler Peter Storer.

The handicap singles was delicately poised right up to the closing stages before Mick Howkins edged past Tony Fuge to gain a hard-won 21-19 victory. With a 13-1 lead at ten ends in the two woods singles Alex Arbuthnott appeared set for a comfortable win but he was then hard pressed to nick a 15-12 verdict against Charlie Wright.

The Stan Bullock singles, open only to previous non-winners, turned out to be a cracking game between a comparatively new bowler in Chilli Entwistle and in-form Vanessa Brazier The match was only sorted out over the last five ends and it was Chilli who just had the better of them to secure a 21-17 win. There was no such joy for Chilli in his second final for he lost 21-10 in the Ned Manson over-50s singles to Charlie Wright.

n Wendy Baxter is one of her club’s top players but she was made to fight particularly hard in the ladies’ championship singles to claim a 21-19 win against a relatively new bowler in Bev Mitchell. In her second final Wendy was mostly in the driving seat on her way to a 21-10 two-woods singles win against Denise Truman.

n On a more general note the LMRCA has had a tremendous season with notable successes in the Coventry Six league with their men’s team winning promotion to the ‘A’ league as champions and their ladies winning the league’s knockout out cup for the second time and also securing promotion. In addition Mick Hill, Mick Moore and Terry Fuller won the Rugby BA’s two-woods triples for the Len Taylor Trophy, Wendy Baxter and Peter Storer were runners-up in the Tony Dean pairs and Vanessa Brazier and Wendy Baxter were runners-up in the Britannia pair.

n The local bowls fraternity will be saddened to hear of the passing of former GEC/Willans bowler Gwilym Davies just weeks after his 100th birthday. Gwilym was the longest-serving member of his club, he was a more than useful performer on the green, and above all he was the perfect clubman who was always available when his club needed him.

Such was his love of the game that he still played the occasional game at the grand old age of 92. The highlight of his long bowls career came when in 1983 he was a member of the Willans team that won the prestigious all England Nat-West double rink championship, the first Warwickshire team and also the only Rugby team to achieve that honour.

n And now comes the time I have to say goodbye to my readers as due to rapidly declining eyesight I am unable to carry on. This is my last column after 55 years as the Advertiser bowls reporter.

I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time reporting on the local bowls scene but I could not have done it without the help of my many contacts and friends throughout the county who have assisted me in the writing of my columns. And also a big thank you to the Advertiser for allowing me the space.

I feel that with the number of youngsters now taking up the sport the game will go from strength to strength. I sincerely hope so.