The Saturday of Waterloo week is where hopes are raised and dreams are dashed. Yesterday we saw the reigning champion bow out and modern days legends continue the dream of winning the 2016 championship.
The Co-op Funeralcare Waterloo saw Brian Duncan and Len Higginbottom, two of the all-time legends of the game, cast their eyes on the sixty-four who returned to chase their dreams.
At the start of the day we had Noel Burrows and Graeme Wilson, both safe in their positions in the bowls Hall of Fame, make it through to play in each other again on Monday. Noel had to battle it through and won by the narrowest of margins. Graeme won in about twenty minutes, seriously it was twenty minutes, my breakfast lasted longer than that. It was clear to see why Graeme is second favourite with Skybet.
I’m pleased to say my team-mate Darren Allsopp showed his class and will also return on Monday. Also to return on Monday are Terry Glover and Mike Tunstall, two of Liverpool’s finest. Along with third favourite Simon Coupe.
Monday will be a tense day with added pressure of the TV cameras beaming the games from Tuesday and Wednesday across the world.
When the draw was made, which was streamed live by Globegig Media, the eyes of the bowling world were drawn to the group of games which were drawn last. Lee Heaton, Greg Smith and Gary Ellis already have their names etched on the honours board and they were all on the green together. Lee and Gary faced trick games against Paul Leah and Mark Martindate respectively.
The game of the day was reigning Waterloo Champion, Greg Smith playing current BCGBA Flowfit Champion of Champions winner Callum Wraight. This was a game that electrified the crowd and had everything. Both players have a default tactic of playing short marks and blasting off the opponents bowl if its too close.
Callum stuck to this plan but Greg, giving Callum a two point start, played a longer three quarter corner mark. Callum was always in front and the number of points each player lost to deadly accurate striking was easily into double figures. Although Greg battled for everything he had relinquish his crown as Callum claimed the victory.
It’s worth noting that Lee Heaton and Callum Wraight had set standards for themselves that it is not always easy to live up to. Both have suffered from trying to live up to those standards but both are currently enjoying further success today. Lee claimed the title at Rastrick in Yorkshire and Callum claimed the Midland Masters title.
I suppose you can say that their mojo returned in quite a big way. Are they enjoying the ride along a mojo wave or whether the efforts of today will count against them in the next round we will soon find out.
The same can be said for all returning players as the Co-op Funeralcare Waterloo champion will have to maintain the form over four days. The winner has to ride along the crest of a wave for each of the four days with Tuesday and Wednesday also broadcast around the world. Sorry for all the wave references but I’m watching Point Break as I type.
Whatever happens bowling history will be written on Wednesday. Will we have a six time winner or someone claiming their first title? Your guess is as good as mine. Lets enjoy the show!
The results from Saturday and draw for Monday are below.
Gavin Dunkley (Birmingham) 20 v Noel Burrows (Cheshire) 21, Graeme Wilson (Audenshaw) 21 v Kevin Handley (Staffs) 8, Liam Griffin (Leeds) 19 v Paul Dudley (Radcliffe) 21, Craig Rammell (Accrington) 15 v Stuart Mort (Wigan) 21, Ryan Clark (Birmingham) 21 v Lee Schofield (Barnsley) 12, Paul Wilson (Lytham) 16 v Terry Glover (Liverpool) 21, Dan Petcher (Derby) 11 v Darren Allsopp (Wigan) 21, Darren Edmondson (Poulton) 18 v Simon Coupe (Preston) 21, Ryan Walters (Wirral) 13 v Tommy King (Blackpool) 21, Tommy Johnstone (Poynton) 21 v Tom Palmer (Birmingham) 20, Steve Baskerville (Altrincham) 19 v Ross Meese (Malby) 21. Tim Houghton (Garstang) 21 v Ant Bracken (Birmingham) 18, James Grimston (Kirkham) 21 v Matthew Kenyon (Chorley) 12, Chris Bly (Bury) 20 v Steve Harrison (Carleton) 21, Matt Gillies (Manchester) 21 v Gary Wike (Leeds) 18, Jamie Bramley (Stockport) 21 v Gary Owen (Stoke) 20. Sam Millward (Telford) 16 v Jason Jones (Wales) 21, John Brown (Warrington) 18 v Dave Baskerville (Altrincham) 21, Steve Ellis (Stockport) 21 v Carl Armitage (Warrington) 19, Craig Gant (Huddersfield) 20 v Mark Allman (Leeds) 21. Danny Ferris (Stoke) 20 v Mark Hughes (Leeds) 21, Michael Coupe (Preston) 21 v Jordan Dowbekin (Leigh) 14, Chris Barlow (Stockport) 11 v John Bailey (Wales) 21, Mike Tunstall (Liverpool) 21 v Mike Yearsley (Northwich) 14, Glen McGaffertey (Hove Edge) 21 v Chris Marshman (Staffs) 18, Graham Rogers (Wrexham) 19 v Stuart Goodwin (Warrington) 21, Glynn Cookson (Winsford) 21 v Jason Groom (Staffs) 15, Mike Leach (Preston) 21 v Gary Downs (Radcliffe) 12, Billy Griffiths (Wigan) 10 v Lee Dale (Congleton) 21, Paul Leah (Ashton under Lyne) 15 v Lee Heaton (Chorley) 21, Callum Wraight (Shropshire) 21 v Greg Smith (Birmingham) (+3) 15, Mark Martindale (Morecambe) 20 v Gary Ellis (Whitefield) (+4) 21
The draw for Monday is:
Noel Burrows (Cheshire) v Graeme Wilson (Audenshaw)
Paul Dudley (Radcliffe) v Stuart Mort (Wigan)
Ryan Clark (Birmingham) v Terry Glover (Liverpool)
Darren Allsopp (Wigan) v Simon Coupe (Preston)
Tommy King (Blackpool) v Tommy Johnstone (Poynton)
Ross Meese (Malby) v Tim Houghton (Garstang)
James Grimston (Kirkham) v Steve Harrison (Carleton)
Matt Gillies (Manchester) v Jamie Bramley (Stockport)
Jason Jones (Wales) v Dave Baskerville (Altrincham)
Steve Ellis (Stockport) v Mark Allman (Leeds)
Mark Hughes (Leeds) v Michael Coupe (Preston)
John Bailey (Wales) v Mike Tunstall (Liverpool)
Glen McGaffertey (Hove Edge) v Stuart Goodwin (Warrington)
Glynn Cookson (Winsford) v Mike Leach (Preston)
Lee Dale (Congleton) v Lee Heaton (Chorley)
Callum Wraight (Shropshire) v Gary Ellis (Whitefield) (+4)