The Senior Men’s Merit final was held on Sunday 26th June 2022 at Nercwys Bowling Club.
Our host for the day was President Simon Walker. WCGBA Management members were there in force to support the day along with a good crowd of spectators, happy to be back to an almost full calendar of events. Sandra West, Dusia Price, Dave Mathias, Jack Hunt ( our Deputy President) John Percy (WCGBA Patron) Peter Higham (Past President of Wales and the BCGBA) and Clive Morris – son of the late Gwyn Morris. The event was organised by Dave Walker and our Referees were Ashley Zepeda ( who was to referee her first major final ), Peter Hughes, Derek Evans, and DT Evans.
In the first four there were some games with few surprises. Kevin Nicholas at number one, and twice winner of the title, won his game 21-15. Ivor Jones , another former title holder, won his game comfortably to 21-10. Ian M Jones beat Chris Slater (another former winner) 21-15, and the closest game was Ryan Short and Brian Salisbury with Brian’s win 21-20.
In the second four, two more former winners were in action with Berwyn Williams winning 21-9 against John Jones and Keiron Roberts pipping Michael Hughes 21-20. There were good first round wins also for Martin Jones and Dan Jones.
More former title holders appeared in the third set of four, Mike Riley winning 21-13 against Andy Jones and Leighton Roberts a 21-10 win over Danny Prosser. Michael Pritchard and Robin Bennett also won their games to go through.
From the final four, Colin Jones, Roger Wilson and Elfyn Jones won their games well, whilst Barry Harris had a nail biting game with Gareth Hughes and lost 21-20.
In round two, Ivor Jones played very steadily against Kevin Nicholas and won his game 21-9. Ian M Jones started his game strongly against Brian Salisbury where he was 12-2 up at one stage. Ian won 21-14. Berwyn Williams and Dan Jones had a much close encounter with Dan winning out 21-15. Keiron beat Martin Jones 21-19 and Mike Riley also beat his opponent, Michael Pritchard 21-19. Robin Bennett won his game with Leighton Roberts 21-14 and Colin had a good win over Roger Wilson 21-13. The longest game was Elfyn Jones and Gareth Hughes with plenty of ‘jack headers’ from both players and single points scored much of the time with Garth winning 21-15 in the end.
In the quarter finals, Ian M Jones and Ivor Jones were evenly matched at the start with both players having to concentrate on the job in hand. Ian won 21-12. Keiron Roberts played well to beat Dan Jones 21-12. One of the best games of the quarter final round was that between Robin Bennett and Mike Riley. Luck was with Robin and at 19 across, a perfect kiss from his opponent’s wood led Robin to his 21-19 win. Colin Jones and Gareth Hughes had a close game with Gareth winning 21-15.
In the first Semi final, Ian M Jones and Keiron Roberts had a terrific game, points flying back and too for both players. If one nudged ahead, the other caught up. At 17 across it could have gone either way. Ian kept his head and won to 21-20. In his Semi final, Robin had a solid game with Gareth Hughes. A few unlucky touches meant Robin had to dig in. He won his game 21-15.
The stage was set for a great final, and it proved to be just that. Ian and Robin play for the same club and both are former Welsh junior squad players. Neither player was prepared to give ground and it became one of the best finals for some time. At 19-15 up, Ian was not about to let the prize slip from his grasp and played some stunning bowls to win 21-15.
Ian M Jones, Robin Bennett, Keiron Roberts and Gareth Hughes will represent Wales at the British Merit Final at Barrow-in-Furness on 30th July.
Ian has a very happy household this weekend. His partner Aileen Coleman won the Welsh Ladies Merit in May this year – I wonder whose trophy takes pride of place on the shelf !
Further Report below with thanks to Mr David Matthias: