BOWLS: Men’s county finals day

Ivens Cup winners Thornfield
Ivens Cup winners Thornfield

Report by Alan Jackson

Wolvey BC, home of President Graham O’Donohue, provided the venue for as all this seasons county competitions came to a close. The morning session saw Rugby Thornfield (representing the Rugby area) take on Wolvey (representing Coventry) and Bournville (Birmingham area) face Little Compton (South Warwickshire area) in the semi finals of the Ivens Cup. The County Fours and Pairs completed the line up for the early spectators.

In the Ivens Cup Little Compton made the better start but a single, four and double saw Bournville take the lead. Although Little Compton played well Bournville always found an answer, taking the semi 25-14. In the other semi final a rampant Rugby Thornfield blitz Wolvey, reaching the final with a 25-7 victory.

The County Fours saw Martyn Murley, Matt Wells, Calvin Wells and Alan Apsey (Rugby) take on Karl Finch, Scott Ashby, Steve Merrett and Graham Ashby (Avenue Coventry). After six ends Rugby held a slight advantage but opened that up to take a tenth end 10-4 lead. Avenue replied with four singles and a five to take the lead 13-10 with six ends to play. Rugby replied with eight

shots of their own to lead by five with two left. A twentieth end single meant Ashby and co needed five for an outright win or four to force an extra end but they could only manage three giving Apsey and co an 18-17 win.

In a ruthless display of bowling Rugby’s Craig Carter and Tom Millership restricted Howard Wilkins and Matt Lever (Oakfield) to just five singles on their way to claiming the Pairs Championship. 11-1 up after six ends was briefly cut to 14-5 after 12 ends. Three singles, a double and treble gave the Rugby duo a 22-5 win in 17 ends.

The midday session kicked off with another Rugby verses Avenue Coventry encounter, this time in the Two Wood Singles. Paul Jones (Avenue) held a one shot advantage over Stuart Thomas (Rugby) after five ends. Jones then extended that to 12-5 with twelve ends played, Thomas pulled back slightly to trail 8-14 after sixteen ends but two singles for Jones were enough to put the tie beyond his opponent. Final score 16-8 to the Avenue man.

The Unbadged Singles saw two of the County’s Under 25s pitted against each other. Luke Beech (Stoke) took an early 5-1 lead against Avenue Coventry’s Jordan Merrett. Seven shots in three ends saw Merrett take the lead but a brace of doubles put Beech back in control. Merrett hit a single, double, treble and three more singles to lead 17-10 and break Beech’s resistance. A final score of 21-12 was enough to give Jordan Merrett the trophy and County Badge.

The afternoon session saw the Ivens Final and third/fourth play off. Wolvey must have thought they were in for another torrid game, 5-12 down in ten ends. A fourteenth end four helped bring them back into the game. With two ends left to play the scores were all square, Little Compton hit a single to hold an advantage going into the final end but Wolvey finished the game with a treble to secure the third place spot in the Ivens Cup.

After seven ends Rugby Thornfield held a one shot advantage over Bournville in the Ivens final. The sides exchanged blows for several ends before Bournville took a two shot lead with four ends left. Thornfield levelled the next end and then took a shot advantage. Bournville’s dreams of retaining the trophy were shattered when they dropped five shots on the penultimate end,

leaving Rugby Thornfield to claim their prize with a 22-15 victory.

Liam Pearcey joined Pairs winners Tom Millership and Craig Carter (Rugby) in the Triples final against Andy Prickett, Dale Gooderham and Garry Hanson (Norgren). The first third of the game was a very tight affair, the Norgren trio holding a slender 5-4 advantage. The next six ends belonged to Rugby as the hit a treble and five singles to lead 12-5, Hanson and co hit a double but three singles by Carter and co were enough to give them the Triples crown with a 15-7 win.

Dan Jones (Avenue Coventry) raced to a 13-4 lead over Matt Wordingham (Avenue Leamington) in the Under 25s Final. The youngsters kept exchanging shots but Wordingham was running out of time as Jones closed in on the 21 shot target. In a good afternoon for the Jones family Dan took the Under 25s title 21-12 to go with his fathers Two Wood Singles win earlier in the day.

Last but by all means least defending champion Graham Ashby (Avenue Coventry) played Ray White (Royal Leamington Spa) in the Singles Championship. It was White that made the better start, 9-2 up after seven ends had been played. A treble and single put Ashby right back in contention, a further single, double and treble sandwiched between two singles for White helped Ashby take the lead 12-11. Ashby closed out the game with four singles, a treble and double to claim back to back victories and his sixth title.