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Double for Stockport bowler in Isle of Man Festival 16 September 2005

    There was an exciting climax to the Isle of Man Department of Tourism’s September Bowls Festival with the two main finals both ending 21-20.

    The £3,000 first prize in the men’s main contest went to Gareth Gwilliam from the Nursery Club in Stockport who defeated Manx bowler Colin Kelly (Marown) by just one shot. It was Kelly’s third final appearance in either the June or September events, having been beaten on the two previous occasions. However, when he led 20-15 it looked like being third time lucky. Unfortunately for Kelly, it wasn’t to be as Gwilliam pulled back to edge home. The Manxman did have the consolation of a £1,000 runners-up cheque.

    Gwilliam’s victory completed a remarkable double for the Stockport man as he also won the main supporting event – the Men’s Tourism Competition. This time it wasn’t such a tight affair as he ran out a 21-14 winner in the final over Chesterfield’s Andrew Spragg.

    In the semi-finals of the Men’s Main Competition Gwilliam beat Daryl Edwards (Pontesbury) 21-18 while Kelly knocked out Martin Gilpin from Netherfield 21-15. At the same stage in the Men’s Tourism Gwilliam deafeated Steve Hirst (Huddersfield) 21-18 with Spragg accounting for John Senior (Thongsbridge) 21-11.

    Joyce Jones from Buersil in Rochdale picked up a £1,000 cheque after winning the Ladies’ Main Competition in another nail-biting final. Her opponent – Julie Green from the Beech Tree Club in Northwich – pulled back from 17-20 to 20-all and extend the match to a final end, but Jones kept her nerve to take the last chalk and the title. Beaten semi-finalists were Viv Ambrose from the Craven Club in Skipton and Cynthia Tonge (Sheffield).

    There was a local win in the Ladies Tourism event when Janet Monk (North Ramsey) claimed the trophy with a 21-12 win over Joan Murgatroyd from Morecambe, Janet having won the main competition in 2004. Losing semi-finalists were Maureen Lyons (Manweb) and Janet Cropper (Buersil).

    Other winners were, men’s doubles: Colin Goulding (Lever Club) and John Marshall (Chesterfield); ladies’ doubles: Dianne Povall (Leigh Arms) and Tracey Ryan (Wrockwardine); men’s consolation: Tommy Fletcher (Dinnington); ladies’ consolation: Tracey Ryan.

    Awards were presented by Martyn Quayle MHK, political member of the Department of Tourism, who congratulated the players on some excellent, and close, bowling. He referred to the fact that entries in the men’s section of the Festival (448) had been the highest for 13 years and expressed the hope that competitors would continue to support the June and September events in increasing numbers.

    Next year the Isle of Man will host Bowls Festivals from 11th to 16th June and 4th to 8th September. Anyone interested in taking part can email for information.

    Mr.Quayle said it was with a degree of sadness that he had to report Festival Director Kieron McPartland from Widnes was stepping down after a 20 years’ involvement. He paid tribute to the work done by him, firstly as co-ordinator at one of the greens and then – for the last four years – as Festival Director.

    Mr.Quayle presented a number of gifts to Kieron, and partner Jean, to mark his association with the two festivals. These included a watercolour of a Manx scene to remind him of the Isle of Man.

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