BURSCOUGH & LATHOM MENS BOWLING LEAGUE

Review of the 2018 season

For once, we had a great summer for the majority of the season which resulted in matches being played on fast greens but this took it's toll on our greens which were baked under the scorching sun leading to near drought conditions followed by near monsoon rainfall throughout August resulting in the majority being in poor condition towards the end of the season with several having to be closed early for emergency maintenance.

In the history of the league, this was the most closely fought & exciting 1st Division title race ever, with the winners not being known until after the last round of matches as three teams still had a chance of taking the title on the final day, Banks St Stephens, Bretherton & Burscough RBL A but Bretherton secured the points they needed to take this title for the first time, under the captaincy of Dave Hughes, with just 7 points to spare over runners-up, Burscough RBL A, & 9 points over third-placed Banks St Stephens. At the another end of the division, Crossens A & Mawdesley A finished in the relegation positions. The 1st Division Player of the Year award was won by Darren Evans (Burscough RBL A) for the first time by being unbeaten throughout the season, winning all of his 14 games.

The 2nd Division was also closely contested throughout the season, with Croston Subscription becoming champions, under the captaincy of Barrington Riding, taking the title for the 3rd time after being relegated last season & had just 4 points to spare over newly promoted, Hesketh Arms Vultures who had 14 points in hand over third placed Zetland A. At the another end of the division, Holmeswood B & Hoole Village Hall A finished in the relegation positions. The 2nd Division Player of the Year award was won by Gordon Butler (Croston Subscription) for the first time, by winning 12 of his 13 games.

The 3rd Division was dominated by Mere Brow, under the captaincy of Matty Greenwood, who won 13 of their 14 games throughout the season & had 30 points to spare over runners-up, Longton VM B, who had just 6 points to spare over third placed team, Burscough RBL B. The 3rd Division Player of the Year award was won by John Greenwood (Mere Brow) for the first time by winning all of his 14 games after his son, Matty, had won this title last year.

The 2nd Division Cup was dominated by Hesketh Arms Vultures who were unbeaten throughout the competition & achieved an unique double as they won the 3rd Division Cup last year. Whilst Tarleton finished has runners-up for the 1st time in their history.

The 3rd Division Cup was dominated by Longton VM B who were unbeaten throughout the competition. Whilst Zetland B finished has runners-up for the 1st time in their history.

Steve McCall (Bretherton) was the worthy winner of this year's League Presidentís day with wins of 21-08 & 21-05 in the earlier rounds, using his superior green knowledge to great effect being a homester in other leagues. In the semi-finals, he easily accounted for Colin Moore (London Hotel) 21-9. Whilst in the other semi-final, Brian Coleman (Fleetwood Hesketh) had a comfortable win over last year's winner, Neil Rigden (Bretherton) 21-13 using his favoutite ridge mark across the green. The final was therefore between two homesters who had been the two best players on the day, though , Steve took the early advantage scoring 7 chalks on his favourite 3/4 swinging marks before Brian troubled the scorer. However, Steve continued to dominate the match & led 17-5 after 16 ends before Brian had a brief comeback scoring 6 chalks in 4 ends on his favourite mark but this was short lived as Steve closed the game out 21-11 as soon as he got back the block to take the title for the first time.The disapponting entry of only 24 competitors, were treated to an excellent event hosted by the League President, Mr. Keith Robinson & Croston Subscription Bowling Club & they were rewarded with a thoroughly enjoyable day, which included a superb tea prepared by Chris Thompson & club members. Play throughout the day was of the highest standard on the superb green. After the final, Mr. Keith Robinson, presented the prizes to the winners & thanked his club members for running another excellent event & all the competitors who had taken part. He finished by saying that he had fully enjoyed his day.

On a cloudy & cold evening, this season's KO Team Trophy final played on the superb Longton VM No.1 green, was the most one sided final ever, between Banks St Stephens, who had finished 3rd in the 1st Division, & Zetland B , who had finished 3rd in the 3rd Division. Banks dominated the match & never allowed Zetland to produce the form that they had shown in the earlier rounds to reach the final. After the first three games off the green, Banks had already taken a lead of 8.5 chalks as well as clawing back Zetland's 40.5 chalk handicap with wins of 21-4, from Dave Pritchard who gave a Man of the Match display, & two wins of 21-5. At the halfway stage, they had increased their lead to 16.5 chalks. In the second half of the game, Zetland fared slightly better with all four players reaching double figures but were not allowed to mount a comeback by Banks who won all four games to take this coveted title in convicing style. The League Chairman, David Taylor, congratulated both teams on reaching the final as well as thanking Longton VM BC for the use of their excellent facilities. He then asked the League President, Keith Robinson, to present the trophy to Ken Miley, Banks's captain, in the presence of both teams & spectators.

On a bitterly cold & breezy night, Chris & Mark Thompson played exceptionally well all evening & were the deserved winners of this season's League pairs competition. In the last 8, there were 3 quick games when Steve McCall & Neil Rigden won 21-5 in 12 ends, Chris Porter & Fergal Wright won 21-6 in 13 ends as well as Gary Burgess & Keith Sproston winning 21-8. Whilst Chris & Mark had a tough game which they edged 21-17 but took 3/4 quarters of an hour longer than the other games. This proved to be a disadvantage to Chris & Fergal in their semi-final, as Chris & Mark raced to a 16-2 lead in 10 ends using their favourite mid-range mark from the bowling hut up the hill & back again which they played superbly until Chris & Fergal closed the gap to 15-16 with a exceptionally 6 end comeback before Chris & Mark dug deep to score 5 chalks to their opponents 3 to take the game 21-18. The other semi-final, was a close nip & tuck affair until Gary & Keith took control in the latter stages scoring 7 chalks in the last 5 ends to run out winners. The final was also an extremely tight affair with nothing between the pairs, until Chris played his last bowl on the 20th end which was going off the green, to leave Gary & Keith a count of 3, until it clipped the block resulting in it losing its momentum which enabled it to just stay on the green to count. This proved to be a turning point in the game, which Chris & Mark took full advantage of by winning the last 3 ends scoring 6 chalks to run out victors & to take this coveted pairs title for the second time. David Taylor (Chairman) thanked Fleetwood Hesketh for letting us use their excellent facilities including their superb green which was a credit to their greensman. He then asked Keith Robinson (President/Secretary) to congratulate the winners, runners-up & all the final night pairings before presenting the trophy & prizemoney. He then went on to thank all the competitors for their excellent play & sportsmanship throughout the event.

On a miserable, wet & cold night on a heavy but playable Longton VM No.2 green which was in reasonable condition considering the time of year. The last 8 of the Steve Rimmer Memorial Singles competition, with players representing all 3 divisions of the league, took place in front of a good number of spectators considering the foul weather. Matty Greenwood (Mere Brow), who was both the youngest competitior as well as being the only 3rd division player ever to win this title, played brillantly all night to deservedly take this title for the first time. In the quarter & semi-finals, he easily accounted for Duncan Crabtree 21-10 & Andy Draper 21-14 playing his favourite ridge mark from the bowling hut on one side of the green to the other. Whilst two-time winner & competition favourite, Roy Webster (Banks St Stephens) had easily beaten Tim Slinger 21-15 & Mark Wilde 21-3 in his first two matches on finals night playing his favourite corner-to-corner mark from the bowling hut to the far corner. In the final, which was a fitting finale to the season & tribute to Steve Rimmer, Matty took an early advantage of 12-5 playing the opposite corner-to-corner mark that Roy had been playing. However, Roy fought back on his corner-to-corner mark to take the score to 11-12 down after 16 ends & then levelled at 14 across before Matty regained the advantage by winning the next 3 ends on his favourite ridge mark to take the score to 18-14. However, Roy fought back taking singles at the next four ends to level the scores once again at 18 across but than a couple of loose ends from Roy allowed Matty to score a couple of singles to lead 20-18 but than Roy pounced on a loose end from Matty & scored a double to tie the game at 20 across. On the final end, Roy then set a corner-to-corner length on his favourite mark but uncharacteristically played two couple of yard short bowls which allowed Matty to score the one he needed with his last bowl to secure victory & take the coveted title. During the presentation, David Taylor (Chairman) thanked Ady Hoyle (Longton VM) & his club members for running & hosting the final night, to all league members & clubs who had run & hosted the qualifying rounds, to all players & spectators for supporting this competition. He then asked Keith Robinson (President/Secretary) to present the trophy & prizemoney to all successful competitors. On a miserable, wet & cold night on a heavy but playable Longton VM No.2 green which was in reasonable condition considering the time of year. The last 8 of the Steve Rimmer Memorial Singles competition, with players representing all 3 divisions of the league, took place in front of a good number of spectators considering the foul weather. Matty Greenwood (Mere Brow), who was both the youngest competitior as well as being the only 3rd division player ever to win this title, played brillantly all night to deservedly take this title for the first time. In the quarter & semi-finals, he easily accounted for Duncan Crabtree 21-10 & Andy Draper 21-14 playing his favourite ridge mark from the bowling hut on one side of the green to the other. Whilst two-time winner & competition favourite, Roy Webster (Banks St Stephens) had easily beaten Tim Slinger 21-15 & Mark Wilde 21-3 in his first two matches on finals night playing his favourite corner-to-corner mark from the bowling hut to the far corner. In the final, which was a fitting finale to the season & tribute to Steve Rimmer, Matty took an early advantage of 12-5 playing the opposite corner-to-corner mark that Roy had been playing. However, Roy fought back on his corner-to-corner mark to take the score to 11-12 down after 16 ends & then levelled at 14 across before Matty regained the advantage by winning the next 3 ends on his favourite ridge mark to take the score to 18-14. However, Roy fought back taking singles at the next four ends to level the scores once again at 18 across but than a couple of loose ends from Roy allowed Matty to score a couple of singles to lead 20-18 but than Roy pounced on a loose end from Matty & scored a double to tie the game at 20 across. On the final end, Roy then set a corner-to-corner length on his favourite mark but uncharacteristically played two couple of yard short bowls which allowed Matty to score the one he needed with his last bowl to secure victory & take the coveted title. During the presentation, David Taylor (Chairman) thanked Ady Hoyle (Longton VM) & his club members for running & hosting the final night, to all league members & clubs who had run & hosted the qualifying rounds, to all players & spectators for supporting this competition. He then asked Keith Robinson (President/Secretary) to present the trophy & prizemoney to all successful competitors.

All officials & players are now looking forward to the start of another rewarding & exciting season at the beginning of April 2019. If you are interested in joining this Friday Night league, there are currently vacancies for players &/or teams of 8 players for clubs based in the West Lancashire & Southport Areas. For further information, please e-mail me, Keith Robinson (Secretary), at secretary@burscoughleague.org.uk with your details.

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