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Francis Penlington wins WCGBA Veterans Merit

Thanks to Jeanette Higham for this report

The 2024 Welsh Vet’s Merit was held at Rhos on Sea Bowling Club on Wednesday 12th June. As this is the Immediate Past President’s day, our host was Jack Hunt. Members of the WCGBA Management were on hand to run the competition, as usual, and they were helped by Referees DT Evans, Alan Davies and Arthur Peake.

A was a field of sixteen experienced players, each qualifying from one of the four areas of Crown Green in North Wales. Several of those taking part had won the trophy in the past, including Barry Harris, Graham Bennett and John Bonatti.

In the initial round, most of the games were pretty even throughout play. Gareth Hughes and Gareth M Williams, however stormed away in their games going 13-5 and 16-3 up respectively. Gwerydd Buckland had a hard time against Barry Harris and lost to 21-7. Shaun Williams also found it tough against John Bonatti. John loves the corners, and although Shaun did not shy away from reaching them, John was too strong and romped away 21-4.

By the Quarter finals, the games were much more even and there was no more than a point or two between the players in each of the matches. John Bonatti’s game with Barry Harris was among the best of the day. Both players executed some great bowls over the long distances and soon they were 20 across. John just clinched a point on the last end to win 21-20.

At the Semi final, the pairs were playing even tighter games. One point separating each pair at times and the leads swapping around. Garth M Williams and Graham Bennett were 20 across before Graham just pipped his opponent 21-20. Francis Penlington and Barry Harris also gave us a great match to watch. This was another 21-20 finish for Francis.

The Final was no let down in the standard of play. Francis and Graham used the whole green to test and try each other’s skills. Out of the 23 ends played, only 4 gave the players a score of two. It was neck and neck until 16-11 to Francis. He gradually began to establish a lead, and despite some excellent bowling by Graham, Francis won the title and trophy 21-15.

Wales now has four qualifiers to go to the British Vet’s Merit in July. They are Graham Bennett, Francis Penlington, Gareth M Williams and Barry Harris.

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