Purbrook bowler Mark Berry claims stunning area finals place – and is joined by Leigh Park’s Jamie Ward

Jamie Ward and relative newcomer Mark Berry won through to the area finals of the Four Wood Singles held at Fareham Bowls Club.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 8:53 am
Jamie Ward is through to the area finals of the Four Wood Singles. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

In the first game, Ward (Leigh Park) took on Milton Park’s Bryan Cheery, who was making his first appearance at an area final, writes DAVE WILDMAN.

Both players struggled to get to grips with the rink, but Ward moved into a 9-2 lead after seven ends - eventually winning 21-10 after 22 ends.

The second game, between Priory’s Roly Bloy and Purbrook Heath’s Mark Berry, provided the story of the east county competitions so far.

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Berry only took up bowls at Purbrook in 2019 and this was the first time he had entered any external competition.

His route to the area final had seen him beat three Hampshire Middleton Cup players, and only one of them was on his home green – a feat in itself.

In his final, he quickly found the Fareham green to his liking, so much so that he ran out an easy 21-3 winner after 10 ends!

The Senior Fours - for bowlers aged 55 and over and played over 15 ends - runs slightly differently to the other Championship competitions.

This is because Hampshire can only send one representative to the national finals, so the county quarter final is run in each area.

This year’s finalists saw the Lee-on-the-Solent team of John Pullinger, Jeff Passmore, Martin Ellis and Graham Hillier take on the Fareham team of Brian Shakespeare, Dave Holland, Allan Leppard and Cyril Friend.

In the area finals, LotS had beaten Steve Feilder’s Alex team 13-7, whilst Fareham had defeated Simon Batcheler’s Gosport side 17-4.

In the quarter-final, played in blistering 30 degree heat, Fareham raced into an 8-0 lead after the first three ends.

LotS then found their range, so that after 10 ends the scores were tied at 9-9.

The next two ends saw LotS pick up five shots, but the real turning point was the 14th end, where LotS skip Graham Hillier had the last wood and was four down in the head.

He kept his nerve to produce a shot bowl with a magnificent wood, meaning LotS went into the final end five up.

With the final bowl of the game, Cyril Friend, Fareham’s skip, trailed the jack back into the welcoming arms of his team-mates’ bowls ... but his bowl just ran on too far, so they only scored a four to lose by just one shot.

Portsmouth & District League City Divisions

The top two in Division A both suffered defeats.

Leaders Priory fell to a 15-shot home loss to Milton Park, who won on all three rinks led by Andy McKain’s men.

Meanwhile, Vospers suffered a four-shot away defeat at Naismith. Despite Terry Smith’s Vospers rink winning by 12 shots, Kelvin Chandler’s Naismith rink won by 10shots - meaning the six-shot win by Howard Davis’ rink saw Naismith over the line. However, Vospers did close the gap on Priory to two points.

There was a titanic battle between the bottom two, Gas Social and College Park, at Northern Parade.

With each club winning a rink with the third being tied, the three-shot victory by Alan Taw’s College rink was just enough to overcome the two-shot loss to Paul Reuter’s Gas rink.

In Division B, the Star v Waverley match was postponed owing to Waverley playing Alexandra in a National 2Rink competition.

However, Alex didn’t call off their home match against Cosham Park, despite having to field a weakened side.

Cosham subsequently won their first game of the season by two shots. Cosham won on two rinks but were indebted to the two fives picked up on two of the last three ends by Brian Charman’s rink to get them over the line.

Cosham weren’t the only club celebrating as Pembroke Gardens also recorded their first win of the season in another tight tussle at Old Portsmouth. Pembroke finally won by one shot thanks to the 21-shot victory by David Brookes’ rink, as they lost the other two rinks!

Havant & Waterlooville

Leaders Leigh Park extended their lead with a 32-shot, all rink home win over Denmead, led by the 17-shot success on Ben Cope’s rink.

Meanwhile, the two carpet clubs met at Waterlooville and the result was settled by the last wood on each of the rinks.

Ville’s John Faithful couldn’t manage to draw a third shot to win his game, leaving it tied, whilst Bryan Franklin’s Cowplain rink picked up a two to win by one shot.

Richard Allen’s rink had to pick up a five to win the match for Waterlooville, but could only manage a two - meaning Cowplain won by two shots and pocketed 11 points.

Emsworth lost at home to Hayling Island by 13 shots with Hayling winning on two rinks.

Gosport & Fareham

Rowner extended their lead at the top with a three-shot win on Gosport’s carpet.

They won on two rinks, with the five-shot victory by Gosport’s Simon Batcheler rink not quite enough – but it did prevent the whitewash.

Second-placed Lee-on-the-Solent suffered a 27-shot home defeat by Fareham, which was all due to the efforts of Charlie Bailey’s rink who triumphed by 29 shots.