BOWLS: Inaugural Bowl4Fun Under 16s singles tournament

Winner Imogen Jenner with Oliver Fowler, who made the presentations and Darren Wheeler, from Bowl4Fun
Winner Imogen Jenner with Oliver Fowler, who made the presentations and Darren Wheeler, from Bowl4Fun

Two Thornfield bowlers in top four

When the EIBA cancelled their Under 15s Singles competition many felt it left an important hole that allowed the younger players to compete without their more senior 17-25 year old juniors. Darren Wheeler from Bowl4Fun started a tournament to help fill that void. It was ran for the first time at Rugby Thornfield IBC, with the upper age limited of 16 rather than 15.

Oliver and Darren with runner-up Tom Wheeler (centre)

Oliver and Darren with runner-up Tom Wheeler (centre)

The tournament would consist of the 32 entrants being split into eight groups of four, each group would play a round robin format with the winner and runner up in each group progressing to the knock-out stage. Due to a late drop out their were only 31 players so one of Thornfield’s juniors (but over 16) filled in to ensure every player got three games in the round robin stage but the game against the overage player would not affect final standings.

Group A consisted of Paul Warrington, Fynn Kyser, Matthew Insley and Cauly Swift. With two wins and a shot difference of +4 Swift won the group ahead of Insley who also won two but had a shot difference of +3. In Group B were Tom Wheeler, Ben Thomas, Shannon Swift and Cormac Sheehan. Two wins and a draw saw Sheehan finish top ahead of Wheeler who managed two wins. Imogen Jenner, Jack Hart, Rebecca Fey and William Higham competed in Group C. Jenner won the group with three wins, while two wins saw Hart finish second. Group D contained Connor Povey, Hannah Smith, Jake Harriman and Jordan Ward. With three wins first place went to Ward with Smith second on two wins.

The overage player, Ewan Mason, was part of Group E, the other three were Oliver Sloan, Alfie Knight and Jessica Jones. Sloan won both of his games to finish top, Jones in second place with one win. Group F was made up of Brandon Giblett, Oliver Stretton, Charlotte Cross and Tom Wells. Three wins gave Giblett first with Stretton second with two wins. Joshua McCarthy, Daniel Thomas, Thomas Manderson and Ben Law made up Group G. McCarthy won all three to take top spot and two victories secured second for Manderson. The final group, H, had Isaac Jenner, Kieran Chambers, Caitlyn Davis and Benjamin Sands. Jenner took the group, winning all three, and Chambers completed the last 16 with two wins.

The format for the Last 16 stage onwards was six ends with a tie break end if the scores were level. In the top half of the draw Kieran Chambers beat Cauly Swift 9-3, Cormac Sheehan beat Thomas Manderson 7-5, Imogen Jenner beat Oliver Stretton 13-0 and Jordan Ward beat Jessica Jones also 13-0. The bottom half saw Oliver Sloan beat Matthew Insley 7-1, Tom Wheeler beat Brandon Giblett 6-4, Joshua McCarthy beat Jack Hart 8-3 and Isaac Jenner beat Hannah Smith 5-3.

Oliver and Darren with semi-finalist Corman Sheehan (centre)

Oliver and Darren with semi-finalist Corman Sheehan (centre)

In the quarter finals there were two very tight games and two more comfortable victories. Cormac Sheehan booked his semi-final place with a 7-3 win over Kieran Chambers. Tom Wheeler stormed into the semis beating Oliver Sloan 10-0. Jordan Ward nearly forced an extra end but Imogen Jenner held on to win 6-4. Jenner’s brother Isaac did need an extra end to beat Joshua McCarthy after they drew five all. Tom Wheeler kept up his good form, progressing to the final with a 6-1 win over Isaac Jenner. In the other semi-final it looked like Cormac Sheehan could be making it an all Thornfield final but Imogen Jenner found that little bit extra when needed to win 6-5.

So the final would see Imogen Jenner (Swale IBC) take on Tom Wheeler (Rugby Thornfield IBC). Jenner started well, winning the first two ends by two shots but Wheeler scored a treble to bring the halfway score to 4-3. Jenner hit another double and then held on to take a single in the fifth end, giving her a 7-3 advantage with one end left. Getting ready to bowl his final wood Wheeler held two shots but needed to convert that into four to force the tie break, unfortunately he couldn’t pull off the great escape meaning that Imogen Jenner became the first winner of the trophy with a 7-5 victory.

The tournament will return in 2017 but will likely move back a month into March to avoid the period where the indoor and outdoor seasons overlap.

Oliver Fowler and Darren Wheeler with semi-finalist Isaac Jenner (centre)

Oliver Fowler and Darren Wheeler with semi-finalist Isaac Jenner (centre)