Thanks to Jeanette Higham for this report:
Welsh Junior Merit 2023
The individual championship for Welsh Junior players was held on Sunday 23rd July at Coedpoeth BC. Hosted by Deputy President, Pauline Lindley, who welcomed everyone at the start, it is one of the high spots of the Crown Green calendar. Her guests included the President, Jack Hunt and members of the EGB and Officers of the WCGBA.
Referees on duty all day included Arthur Peake, Peter Hughes and Peter Kempster.
There were 11 entries with a large proportion of Junior County players.
In the first round several of the end results were similar. 21-7 to Hayden Williams over Ffion Gell, 21-9 for Ben Venebles over Daniel Roberts and 21-11 for Sam Bennett over Arwel Jones. Only Cerys Parry had a closer game with Jake Parker Jones which she won 21-17. Kian Thomas also had a well matched game with Connor Edwards. Kian won 21-16.
In round two, Hayden stormed away strongly and left his opponent shaking his head. Hayden won a convincing 21-8. Cerys met her match in Sam Bennett who played strongly and accurately to win his second game 21-10. One of Wales’s ‘veteran’ Juniors, Jess Lacey left no doubt as to her skill as she defeated CJ Hallett 21-8. Kian Thomas started well against Lois Jones and was soon in an 11-2 lead. With some really brilliant bowling, Lois took back point after point and was only two chalks down at 11-9. Kian then dug in and went on to win 21-11.
In the first semi final, Hayden played Sam. A decisive start by Sam led to a 17-12 lead. It was all Hayden could do to secure another couple of points before Sam won out 21-15.
Kian and Jess’s semi final was fun to watch. They know one another well and seemed to enjoy the contest. However, Kian was like a man on a mission and led away to 11-1. Jess managed to get some points in reply but trailed Kian all the way. He won 21-14.
The final was set for Sam Bennett – his first taste of a Merit final and Kian – who lost in the 2021 final. They were very evenly matched in the early part of the game with only a few chalks separating the two. It could have gone either way until Kian – his mission goal in sight – stretched away to take the title 21-12.
Kian and Sam now go forward to represent Wales at the British Junior Merit final in August and Jess Lacey, as the girl who progressed the furthest in the competition, now qualifies for the British Junior Ladies Championship in early September.
More great bowls to come.