Co-op Funeralcare Waterloo Handicap

The famous Waterloo Hotel in Blackpool is the home of the Waterloo Handicap, the most famous bowls competition in the world. the-cooperative-funeralcareThe competition is sponsored once again by Co-op Funeral Care and everyone in the bowling world is grateful to them. Co-op Funeral Care have a proud history of supporting bowls events and joined the crown green world last year.

On Saturday, sixty-four of the best bowlers in the country return for the start of finals week. On Wednesday the winner will be crowned live on ITV 4 as the sport returns to terrestrial television. The growth in the televising of the sport, both on television and the internet, has seen established betting firms run books on this competition.

This famous green, near to Blackpool’s South Shore, has seen it’s fair share of bowling legends. Two of them are tied at the top of the betting for this year’s event. Gary Ellis and Graeme Wilson have been the two best players of their generation and both are priced at 11/2 to win the competition. It will be Gary’s sixth and a record and Graeme’s first and will complete the set of major bowling championships.

Gary has to give his opponents a point start and last year’s champion, Greg Smith, has to give a two points start and is next in the betting at 6/1 with Preston’s Simon Coupe next at 13/2. These four players are clear of the other sixty in the betting but this event is famous for it’s surprises. Who will win has been debated ever since the draw was made after the last qualifying session in August. All the games are the first to 21 points with all players, apart from the fore-mentioned Gary Ellis and Greg Smith, getting a 5 point start.

This website will be providing coverage of the event (technical issues permitting) with live text updates and stories available from tomorrow.

The odds quoted are from SKYBET but there are plenty of other bookmakers involved this year. As well as Billy Forber, JP Doyle and Pheonix Sports, who will all be at the green side, there are the famous on-line bookmakers lining up to take part in this event. Odds are available at William Hill with betting exchanges also providing odds.

The draw for the last sixty-four is below.

1 Gavin Dunkley (Birmingham)
2 Noel Burrows (Cheshire)
3 Graeme Wilson (Audenshaw)
4 Kevin Handley (Staffs)
5 Liam Griffin (Leeds)
6 Paul Dudley (Radcliffe)
7 Craig Rammell (Accrington)
8 Stuart Mort (Wigan)
9 Ryan Clark (Birmingham)
10 Lee Schofield (Barnsley)
11 Paul Wilson (Lytham)
12 Terry Glover (Liverpool)
13 Dan Petcher (Derby)
14 Darren Allsopp (Wigan)
15 Darren Edmondson (Poulton)
16 Simon Coupe (Preston)
17 Ryan Walters (Wirral)
18 Tommy King (Blackpool)
19 Tommy Johnstone (Poynton)
20 Tom Palmer (Birmingham)
21 Steve Baskerville (Altrincham)
22 Ross Meese (Malby)
23 Tim Houghton (Garstang)
24 Ant Bracken (Birmingham)
25 James Grimston (Kirkham)
26 Matthew Kenyon (Chorley)
27 Chris Bly (Bury)
28 Steve Harrison (Carleton)
29 Matt Gillies (Manchester)
30 Gary Wike (Leeds)
31 Jamie Bramley (Stockport)
32 Gary Owen (Stoke)
33 Sam Millward (Telford)
34 Jason Jones (Wales)
35 John Brown (Warrington)
36 Dave Baskerville (Altrincham)
37 Steve Ellis (Stockport)
38 Carl Armitage (Warrington)
39 Craig Gant (Huddersfield)
40 Mark Allman (Leeds)
41 Danny Ferris (Stoke)
42 Mark Hughes (Leeds)
43 Michael Coupe (Preston)
44 Jordan Dowbekin (Leigh)
45 Chris Barlow (Stockport)
46 John Bailey (Wales)
47 Mike Tunstall (Liverpool)
48 Mike Yearsley (Northwich)
49 Glen McGaffertey (Hove Edge)
50 Chris Marshman (Staffs)
51 Graham Rogers (Wrexham)
52 Stuart Goodwin (Warrington)
53 Glynn Cookson (Winsford)
54 Jason Groom (Staffs)
55 Mike Leach (Preston)
56 Gary Downs (Radcliffe)
57 Billy Griffiths (Wigan)
58 Lee Dale (Congleton)
59 Paul Leah (Ashton under Lyne)
60 Lee Heaton (Chorley)
61 Callum Wraight (Shropshire)
62 Greg Smith (Birmingham) (+3)
63 Mark Martindale (Morecambe)
64 Gary Ellis (Whitefield) (+4)

Steve Davies

Throughout his bowling career Steve has always supported the admin side of the game. As a club secretary, association secretary, county delegate on the BCGBA (National Governing Body) Management Committee, Merseyside champion in 2002 and Merseyside County President (2014-15) Steve has always been keen to promote the game especially through the broadcast of the game on TV or Internet. Steve set up the LIVE BOWLS YouTube channel and, through the LDBA, runs national competitions. Seeing an avenue to report and promote the game Steve set up the Bowls Observer on-line magazine after consulting with respected figures in the game and journalism.