MAURICE PHILLOTT was bowled over by Portsmouth Youth Bowling Club’s (PYBC) winning return to tournament action.
The coach and president watched on with pride as his team skittled an impressive five-trophy haul at the prestigious South of England Junior Open in Dunstable, Kent last month.
It was an achievement made all the more remarkable by the fact the majority of the Gunwharf Quays-based outfit were making their competitive bow in the UK’s second-largest junior tournament.
Dan Harding got the ball rolling for PYBC, claiming double gold-medal glory in the bantams boys (up to 10 years old) singles event and all-around discipline – comprising a combined score from the singles, doubles and team event.
Further success followed in the junior boys category (under-12) where George Boxall secured bronze in the singles and doubles, with Henry Chirinos-Divers joining him on the podium in the latter event. And completing a famous five for Portsmouth were graduate girls (under-18) pairing Leanne Spivey and Lily Bartlett, who secured first place in the doubles.
Phillott said: ‘I was very proud of the team, they all did exceptionally well.
‘We have got a lot of new players – and there were only one or two of them who had experience of playing in a tournament before, so it was an excellent performance.
‘We haven’t done the tournament for the last couple of years as we wanted to get the bowlers up to the stage to compete at tournament level.
‘They certainly all stepped up to the mark.’
Phillott was quick to put the scale of the club’s achievement into perspective.
He added: ‘It’s the second-largest junior tournament in the country behind the national championships and takes in over half the country from a bowling centre point of view.
‘I couldn’t be more proud of them.’