Review of the 2021 season

Despite the late start to the season due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we were still able to complete the full divisional league fixtures though we were not able to organise the end of season competitions due to the uncertainity earlier in the year of what restrictions would be in place in September & October. For the majority of the season, we were blessed with good weather but several games had to be called off due to flooded greens on a couple of match nights.

This was one of the closest 1st Division title races in many a year with Banks St Stephens, under the captaincy of Ken Miley, pipping Bretherton A by a single point to retain their title & claim this championship for the 4th time in their history. Though the championship was only decided when Bretherton A failed to win at Burscough RBL & could only win half the matches in their re-arranged match. However, a pivitol moment in the outcome of the championship had to be when Bretherton A looked like they were going to beat their nearest rivals at home 7-1 when both their last two players were leading comfortably but both Banks St Stephens' players made remarkable comebacks to win both games for the result to end 5-3. At the another end of the division, Fleetwood Hesketh & Crossens finished in the relegation positions. The 1st Division Player of the Year award was won by Ian Grady (Banks St Stephens) for the first time by winning 14 of his 15 games.

The 2nd Division championship was comfortably won by Mawdelsey, under the captaincy of Nigel Mellor, by 23 points taking the title for the 1st time after being relegated last season (2019). Whilst, Zetland B had just 7 points to spare over Croston Black Horse to claim the runners-up spot for the second time in their history. The 2nd Division Player of the Year award was won by Jeremy Rowe (Mawdesley) for the first time, by winning 12 of his 15 games & having a better average than his team-mate, David Taylor.

From a 32 strong field & after 8 hours of high-quality competitive bowling, Brian Coleman (Fleetwood Hesketh) was crowned the worthy winner of the 2021 League President's day. Unfortunately, the final was a one-sided affair played in heavy rain as Brian completely dominated the game to win 21-4 against Steve McManus (Hesketh Arms). In the early stages of the final, Brian led 9-0 before Steve scored as he was unable to capture his earlier form & take any opportunties left my Brian in the opening ends. Brian then took back the block in the next end & reeled off a 5 break in the next 3 ends before Steve rallied scoring 3 chalks in the next 3 ends. But Brian, after being the losing finalist the last time the event took place in 2018, was in no mood to let the game slip & he ran out the worthy winner scoring the 5 chalks he needed in the last 5 ends using his favourite 25 metre diagonal mark. However, in the all Fleetwood Hesketh semi-final, Brian had to make a dramatic comeback as he seemed down & out as he trailed his team mate Andy Draper 9-17 before he used his favourite mark to make a 10 break to lead 20-18 though 2 ends later Andy lay game with two excellent woods before Brian rested on Andy's nearest bowl to cut the count down to 1 & leave the score at 20 across. At the next end, Andy lengthen the mark to about 40 yards but his lead was several yards short which Brian only just beat but Andy's second wood was no better than his first leaving Brian with the victory. In the other all Hesketh Arms semi-final, Steve had a comfortable victory over Mark Wilde 21-14. The event hosted by the League President, Mr. Chris Harding & Hesketh Arms Private Bowling Club was enjoyed by everyone present, which included a superb tea. Play throughout the day was of the highest standard on the superb green which was a credit to the greenskeeper.

After the final, Mr. Chris Harding, presented the prizes to the winners & thanked his club & league members in helping run another excellent event & all the competitors who had taken part. He finished by saying that he had fully enjoyed his day.

All officials & players are now looking forward to the start of another rewarding & exciting season at the beginning of April 2022 when it is hoped we will be able to run a full season of competitions. 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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