Thanks to Jeanette Higham for this report
The ultimate event in the Welsh Crown Green calendar was played Sunday 2nd October at Johnstown BC. This event is a unique opportunity to bring together those winners of major tournaments held in Wales for the prestigious title of Champion of Champions. Among the contenders were the Men’s Welsh Merit, Ladies Welsh Merit and Welsh Vet’s winners together with the holders of a host of open competitions drawing players from across the UK.
The day was hosted by President, Simon Walker with members of the WCGBA management on hand to run the competition. The hard working Referees included DT Evans, Alan Davies, Peter Hughes and Ashley Zepeda.
The tournament started off with Welsh Vet’s winner, Kerry Jones against Gwerydd Buckland. Kerry led out strongly and was 11-0 up in no time. He didn’t have it all his own way though, as Gwerydd clawed back a few points. Kerry eventually won 21-11. The second game was between Aileen Coleman( Welsh Ladies Merit) and Paul Hallett. There was no stopping Paul, and despite some excellent replies from Aileen, Paul won the match 21-14. Game three, and Chris Slater was another strong starter against Daniel Jones. Daniel fought back hard and at 20-8 up, Chris’s run stalled. Daniel did well to pull 20-18 down, but Chris bowled that elusive point to close 21-18. John Short and Ivor Jones’s game was another one of a good start and partial come back. Ivor won 21-10.
In the second four, Jason Jones had drawn Callum Wraight, one of the top bowlers in the UK and no stranger to Wales and its players. Callum was 7-1 up quite quickly and despite Jason gaining a few points back, at no time was he allowed to take the lead. Callum won 21-11.
Nicola Boulton and Berwyn’s game was much closer than some at the start. Each playing well over a fair length of the green. Nicola soon stretched ahead to go 16-9 up. Berwyn worked hard to edge ever closer to 19-14, but Nicola eventually triumphed 21-17. Ian Jones (Men’s Welsh Merit) and Gareth Coates’ game saw the Yorkshireman head off strongly. Ian had a lot of ill luck, but played some excellent woods. Gareth won 21-15. The last game from the first round was Mike Pritchard and Dion Williams. These two were well matched and there was no real sprint for the finish. Dion won 21-15.
In the first game of the last eight, Kerry met Paul Hallett. Kerry started strongly again and was the first to reach double figures. He stayed on course to win 21-8. Ivor Jones and Chris Slater came next. They were pretty level to begin with before Chris forged ahead to win 21-15. Nicola Boulton came up against Callum in her second round match. She was not fazed by his reputation and took an early lead. Callum is better known for the accuracy with which he plays a fairly short mark and his devastating striking ability. Nicola matched him on the shorter marks and stretched him out with some outstanding woods. Callum found his work cut out. Nicola won comfortably 21-12. Gareth Coates and Dion’s game was the last one. A steady match before Gareth went ahead to win 21-14.
In the first Semi-final, Kerry was away before Chris Slater knew it. Despite some inspired replies from Chris to pull back to 19-9, there was no stopping Kerry Jones and he won 21-13. Nicola and Gareth’s Semi-final was truly thrilling. They were very well matched and the outcome was anyone’s guess. At times there were only two chalks separating them. Gareth won one of the closest games of the day 21-19.
In the final Kerry Jones now faced Gareth Coates. On previous form, which looked as though Kerry would sweep all before him, he surprised everyone by being well down at the start. He was soon 13-3 down. Gareth then stalled for a few ends which allowed Kerry to go 14-10 down. In spite of all his efforts, Kerry was unable to regain his earlier form and Gareth Coates won 21-16. This is only the second time the trophy has left Wales, but we had a worthy winner.
Thank to Chris Walker for the full scoresheet