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Joe Pritchard of Llanrwst BC Wins Gwyn Morris Senior Merit

Thanks to Jeanette Higham for this report.

The WCGBA 2023 Senior Merit ( Gwyn Morris Trophy ) was held at Rhos-on-Sea Bowling Club on Sunday 25th June. Our host for the day, President Jack Hunt, welcomed everyone at the start including his guests, Deputy WCGBA President Pauline Lindley and Officers of the Association and special guests, Martin Goddard BCGBA President 2023 and Richard Palmer (Chair), Claire Biddle (Development Manager) and Sophie Hancocks (General Manager) of Bowls Wales. The Referees DT Evans, Alan Davies, Arthur Peake and Richard Haywood worked tirelessly throughout the day.

In Round 1, Simon Hughes started really well against Mel Higham and reached 11-4 up after only a few ends. He stretched his lead to 18-8 before taking the game 21-16. There were comfortable first round wins for Jay Salisbury, Adam Penlington, Mike Riley, Ivor Jones and Andrew Hughes.

In Round 2, Simon and Joey Williams had a close game until Joey edged further in to win 21-18. Joe Pritchard beat Graham Hunt 21-14. Adam had a good game with fellow ex-junior, Jay Salisbury to win 21-11. James Todd played exceptionally well to beat Veteran Ivor Jones 21-19. Keiron Roberts beat Andrew Hughes 21-12. Father and son Mike and Jordan Riley had a great game. Dad was the first to reach double digits but Jorden caught up and overtook Mike to win 21-14. Ian M Jones took a strong lead in his second game against Chris Jones to win 21=14.

At the Quarter Final stage, a well played match between Adam Penlington and James Todd, saw Adam win 21-12. Joey Williams had a more challenging game and missed out on a few rubs that didn’t go his way. Joe Pritchard won 21-17. In Keiron and John Short’s game, despite some great ‘jack touchers’ by Keiron, John won 21- 15. Jordan and Ian started off level pegging until Ian got into his stride. There were some really long corners played well by both players but the ever energetic Ian won 21-9.

In the first Semi Final, Joe Pritchard led away strongly and was soon 11-4 up.  Adam couldn’t make headway. Down but not out, Adam took a few more chalks. A brilliant strike kept him in the game before Joe made it 21-16. In the second match, Ian led away from John Short and was the first to reach double figures. Both previous winners of the title. Luck stayed with Ian and he was 12-6 up. At 14-7 down, John took the block and clawed back a few points until there was only one chalk in it. Neither player could afford to put a foot wrong. Eventually, Ian triumphed to reach another final winning 21-16.

In the Final, Ian and Joe were well matched at the early stage. Joe edged away slowly but surely. Elements of Ian’s ‘jack headers’ were there, but Joe was too strong and took the title 21-10.

Joe Prichard, Ian M Jones, Adam Penlington and John Short all qualify to represent Wales at the British Senior Merit next month. Good luck.

Joe Pritchard receives the Gwyn Morris Trophy from WCGBA President Jack Hunt

WCGBA President Jack Hunt welcomes Martin Goddard BCGBA President 2023 and Richard Palmer (Chair), Claire Biddle (Development Manager) and Sophie Hancocks (General Manager) of Bowls Wales.

Thanks to Dave Matthias, the Old Bowls Codger, for these further insights on the day:

The Old Bowls Codger was at the very impressive Rhos on Sea Bowling Club today, to support the current Welsh CGBA President Jack Hunt and the Gwynedd CGBA based bowlers, playing in the competition.
The 32 man field included eight former Champions, including the 2022 Champion, Ian M Jones, from the Cuncliffe Bowling Club, in Wrexham. Ian, of course, hoping to retain the Cup, a feat only achieved twice in the Competitions History, since its inauguration in 1926 – by the late Gwyn Morris x (1971 – 1972) and by the late Eric Ashton x ( 1956 – 1957 – 1958).
The weather for the 10.30am start, was set fair, with a forecast of showers in the afternoon.
President Jack Hunt, welcomed everyone, especially British CGBA President Martin Goddard (Greater Manchester).
So with the four match day Referee’s in place (D T Evans – Arthur Peake – Allan Davies and Richard Hayward), Competition Secretary Dave Walker, called the first match to the green – Simon Hughes (Brymbo) v Mel Higham (Colwyn Bay Legion).
Sadly for the Gwynedd CGBA, three local bowlers to myself, Adam Harris – Barry Harris and 2019 Champion Geraint Booth, all went out in the First Round.
Other notable casualties in the First Round, were I.O.M. Bowling Festival Semi Finalist, from last week, G P Hughes, who lost to 2012 Welsh Junior Champion, Adam Penlington and one of Wales’ Top 10 Bowlers, Robin Bennett, who lost to former British and Welsh Merit Champion, Mike Riley.
The Second Round (last 16), also saw a couple surprise results, with 19 year old James Todd, beating another former Champion, Ivor Jones and Son Jordan beating his Dad, Mike Riley.
The Quarter Finals Results saw:
Joe Pritchard beating Joey Williams – 21/17
Adam Penlington beating James Todd – 21/12
John Short beating Keiron Roberts 21/15
Ian Jones beating Jordan Riley – 21/9
And with Ian Jones bowling superbly, he was Odds On with the Greenside Bookmaker to retain his title.
The Semi Finals Results saw:
Joe Pritchard beating Adam Penlington 21/16
But not before Adam came back from the depths of defeat, to get to 16/20, before Joe closed out the game.
Ian Jones beating John Short 21/16
Ian, again, it must be said, bowling superbly against a very resilient and talented bowler, in John Short.
The Final, for the Ian Jones, supporters was slightly disappointing, as Ian couldn’t find the superb form he had displayed throughout the day and also, it appeared, was affected by unnecessary barracking by “some” of the crowd around the green.
Although Ian, fell at the last hurdle, so to speak, in his attempt to emulate Gwyn Morris and Eric Ashton, in doing “the double”, it was still a fantastic performance by him throughout the day, not only with his bowling prowess, but also in the way he entertained the crowd. Commiserations Ian, a great effort all round.
But, it must be said, that Joe was “coolness personified” throughout the final and truly deserved to cross the finishing line with a very impressive 21/10 win.
So huge congratulations to Joe Pritchard on becoming the 2023 Gwyn Morris Welsh Men’s Merit Champion. But more especially congratulations to the Pritchard Bowling Family, who have, like the Bailey and Parry Families, have been synonymous with the success of the Llanrwst Bowling Club, for more years than I can remember.
It was therefore fitting that Dad John, Brother Michael, Father in Law Alan (Jones), partner Paige and their daughter Poli, were there to share in the greatest day of Joe’s bowling life, so far.
Joe, unfortunately cannot represent Wales in next month’s British Mens Merit in Manchester, as Joe and Paige, have another more important event to attend, yes their Marriage.
At the Presentation Ceremony, President Jack Hunt, extended his thanks to:
British President Martin Goddard for attending the event.
Welsh Patron – John Percy – ex Welsh and British President Peter Higham – and the Welsh Management Officials, in particular (Pauline Lindley, Trevor Clarke, Sandra and Ron West, Duscia Price and Judy Hughes) who had supported him, throughout the day.
Dave Walker and Simon Walker for the hard work they had done throughout the day, to ensure the event was a great success.
He thanked the son of the late Gwyn Morris, Clive for attending and supporting him.
The Rhos on Sea Bowling Club and their hard working members, who had worked tirelessly throughout the day, providing refreshments for all the Players, Officials ,Guests and supporters alike.
The Green Keeper (Bobby Newall), who had worked hard to provided a superb surface to play on.
The Four Match Day Referee’s (as previously mentioned)
And finally to all the supporters who had attended, to give the event the brilliant atmosphere it deserved.
He wished Ian Jones, John Short, Adam Penlington and the Welsh CGBA, nominated replacement for Joe Pritchard, all the very best of luck at next months British Merit Finals Day.
He then presented the Gwyn Morris Welsh Men’s Merit Cup for 2023 to Joe Pritchard of the Llanrwst Bowling Club.
Joe now joining four other members of the Llanrwst Bowling Club as Welsh Champions
Junior Champion – John Bailey – 1996
Junior Champion – Michael Pritchard – 2006
Men’s Champion John Bailey – 2003 – 2007 – 2014 – 2018.
Men’s Champion – Mark Parry – 2004
Men’s Champion – Anthony Bailey – 2010.
And now of course
Joe Pritchard – 2023
Well done Joe on behalf of the Gwynedd CGBA.

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