Well known Sussex Bowls ace Charles Wright claimed the top prize at the final of the 87th Eastbourne Open Bowls Tournament.
The event, sponsored by Wendy and Neil Kirby of the Langham Hotel, took place at Gildredge Park in front of c.140 spectators. A new name was assured to be placed upon the Mens’ Singles trophy when Charles Wright (Spartan) and Joe Cornelius (West Wimbledon) took to the green. It was Charles who set the early pace, leading 10-4 after 10 ends. Joe then rallied and after 19 ends trailed by only a single shot 13-14, but lost the next 2 ends to trail 13-19. Joe then surprised the watching crowd by winning the next 3 ends played, including a maximum 4, taking the scores level at 19 shots apiece match. The final end played (the 25th) saw Charles pick up 2 shots and the title 21-19.
The Ladies’ Singles was contested by Rachel Mackriell (Eastbourne) and Angela Cleveley (Fleckney). Early exchanges went in Rachel’s favour, the score 11-7 after 10 ends but Angela then won 4 ends in a row to lead 14-11. Rachel responded and after 20 ends the scores were level 17-17, but it was Angela who took the last 3 ends to triumph 21-17.
The Mens’ Pairs title was taken by Chris Antiss (Knighton Victoria) and Andy Browning (Gildredge Park), defeating Bill Fuller and Roger Cable (Eastbourne) 24-8. The Ladies’ Pairs saw defending champions Rachel Mackriell and Julia Fordham (Eastbourne) take on Alison Johnson (Knighton Victoria) and Ellen Strevens (Gildredge Park).
Last year’s champions led 15-5 after 10 ends but were pegged back to a 3 shot lead (19-16) after 17 ends. The Eastbourne team lost only one more shot and retained their title 24-17 in what was another close and exciting final. In the Mens’ Triples final, Jono Dalton (Popes Mead), Carl Dyer (Sidley Martlets) and Neil Potter (Horsham) proved too strong on the day for David Brennan (South Derbyshire), Dick Watkinson and Bob Kenney (Knighton Victoria), running out winners 20-7. The Mixed Triples saw Gwen Burke (Cliftonville), Clive Jones (Unattached) and Shane Packham (Eastbourne) defeat Jean Clements, Bob Benstead and Brian Clements (Eastbourne) 21-14.
At the prize giving following the event, the Worshipful the Mayor (Cllr Pat Hearn) presented the trophies and Tournament Sponsors Wendy and Neil Kirby (Langham Hotel) the cash prizes. Madam Mayor was presented with flowers, as was Gildredge Park President Pat Osborne. Tournament President Vince Smith thanked all those who had helped to make this year’s event a success, particularly Ron Putland for his work at Headquarters.
Photo: Charles Wright (Spartan) & Angela Cleveley (Feckney)
Many thanks to Mike Taylor for this report.