BOWLS: Honours for Rugby Bowling Club and Thornfield in men’s county finals

Three-times Junior Singles champion Craig Carter (Rugby) receives the trophy from county president Don Darby
Three-times Junior Singles champion Craig Carter (Rugby) receives the trophy from county president Don Darby

Carter wins Junior Singles for third time, while Thornfield team lift Ivens Cup

After two months of hot dry weather it was probably certain that rain would descend on Nuneaton BC for County Finals Day. It is a credit to both the players and the green that the finals produced some thrilling encounters, writes Alan Jackson.

Ivens Cup champions Thornfield, with county president Don Darby, (from left) Ian Gibbs, Colin Hall, John Kilsby, Tony Bromfield (reserve) and Fred Bastock

Ivens Cup champions Thornfield, with county president Don Darby, (from left) Ian Gibbs, Colin Hall, John Kilsby, Tony Bromfield (reserve) and Fred Bastock

Mention the County Singles and one name springs to mind, Graham Ashby now at Nuneaton. Rugby’s Nigel Hewitson stood between him and his eighth singles title.

Ashby made the early running, moving to 4-1 before Hewitson took a four and single to move ahead. Ashby equalised and moved ahead again, Hewitson levelled the scores.

That pattern continued until the scores reached 16 all, then Ashby took a couple of singles to leave himself just one shot short of number eight, a shot he took the next end to win 21-16.

While Graham Ashby was busy securing his singles title his son Scott Ashby (Nuneaton) was looking to secure his first Junior Singles title. His opponent was Craig Carter (Rugby) who was looking for his third title.

Ashby quickly moved to a 13-2 lead before Carter closed the gap with a couple of threes. Ashby rebuilt the lead to seven, Carter took a trio of doubles to cut the deficit to one and then took a four to lead 19-16.

Ashby scored a single and treble to go to 20-19, Carter took the next with a double to win the Junior Singles for the third time.

Craig Carter was also in action in the Junior Pairs with his partner Jordan Merrett (Avenue Coventry), their opponents were defending champions Mark and Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington).

A second end five gave Merrett and Carter an early advantage but the Smiths were 11-5 up after six ends. After eleven ends the lead was five shots, Merrett and Carter levelled the scores with four ends left, both sides added two in the next three ends to set up a winner takes all final end.

The Smiths emerged victorious, retaining the trophy with a 17-16 win.

The Two Wood Singles featured Adam Shuttleworth (Whitnash) and Martin Hammond (Three Spires). Shuttleworth’s was four up after sixteen ends, Hammond took the next four ends to leave the score all square with one end left. Shuttleworth then took that end to win the title 13-12.

Allen Onion, Rob Robinson, Richard Brittan and Mark Ireland (Erdington Court) and Dave Green, Will Pratt, Will Brundle and Phil Green (Norgren) contested the County Fours.

On the penultimate end Norgren levelled this close match, another final heading to a final end shoot out. The Norgren four then scored a double to win 17-15.

Ewan Mason, Jordan Ward and Darren Ward (Rugby) found themselves 9-0 down against Jordan Merrett, Steve Merrett and Colin Jacox (Avenue Coventry) in the County Triples.

The Rugby trio took a four but then dropped a six, after nine ends Avenue held a nine shot advantage. After fourteen ends the lead was still nine, Rugby cut it to seven but couldn’t stop Avenue winning 22-15.

Father and son combination Dave and Phil Green (Norgren) played Allen Onion and Mark Ireland (Erdington Court) for the County Pairs title, and it was Erdington Court who won 25-15.

Bill Claridge (Royal Leamington Spa) won the Unbadged Singles 21-10 against David Payne (Stratford).

In the Senior Fours Andy Prickett, Colin Cleary, Tony Finch and Simon Davies (Welford) won 21-18 against Phil Birch, Steve Taylor, Keith Wooding and Colin Jacox (Avenue Coventry) during a hefty downpour. Both scorecards were saturated, with one virtually disintegrated, making them impossible to read!

The four area representatives for the Ivens Cup were: Erdington Court (Birmingham), Highway (Coventry), Thornfield B (Rugby) and Bidford (South Warwickshire).

In the semi finals Bidford were drawn against Erdington Court and Thornfield would play Highway.

Erdington Court made the better start, 10-4 up after nine ends. Bidford fought back and cut the deficit down to one, then took a seventeenth end six to turn the game on its head. A treble and double helped them take the game 21-12.

In the other semi final Thornfield reached the tenth end with a ten shot lead. Highway managed to reduce that to two but Thornfield finished strong to win 24-14.

The third and fourth place play-off saw Erdington Court win 24-14 over Highway.

After successful semi-finals Bidford and Thornfield faced off to see who would be this years Ivens Cup winner.

A cagey start gave Thornfield a one shot advantage after seven ends. Thornfield extended their lead to six but Bidford wiped that out in one end and went on to open up a three shot lead of their own. With two ends left the scores were all square.

Thornfield took the penultimate end with a single, Bidford came close to forcing an extra end but Thornfield held firm taking the game 21-19. Thornfield were represented by Colin Hall, John Kilsby, Ian Gibbs, Fred Bastock with Tony Bromfield reserve if needed.