North Midlands claimed their first Crossfield Cup since 2005 with a narrowest of victories over Potteries on a cold and blustery Sunday afternoon.
In a remarkable final both sides won twelve games each, with two of the victories away, and had wins of over seventy points at their home venues. In the end it came down to a narrow two points which sent the trophy south to the home of BCGBA President Phil Brown.
I was at the picturesque Dilhorne Recreation Bowling Club where buoyant Potteries home crowd watched their heroes dominate a high class away side. Nick Tideswell led the way as the home team claimed a thirty-one lead after four games but this was eclipsed by the North Midlands home first four who, had two single figures wins, had a thirty-seven point lead. Mark Burdett narrowly taking the honours over Jamie Dunn.
Both away sides claimed their first away win in the middle-four as Adam Jackson won on the tricky Haunchwood and Paul Ward battled his way to a win on Dilhorne for the North Midlands men.
The middle-four at Dilhorne saw Potteries increase their lead to fifty-two points but North Midlands home team had, by this point, put themselves sixty-three points ahead as British Senior Merit champion Darren Plenderleith and Ben Percival displayed their mastery of the Haunchwood green.
This match was just getting better and better. An away win at Haunchwood and a stunning performance by Anthony Lloyd at Dilhorne put the Potteries men in front. The North Midlands men responded to lead by a couple, thanks to a man of the match performance by Stuart Perry, before the momentum swung the way of Potteries men again as Mark Melvin and Richard Clay defeated high quality opposition. This meant Potteries led by three with one game left at Haunchwood.
The teams were gathered around a mobile phone each as the action from the last few ends of the last game was broadcast to all who could listen. Richard Burdett had to play the winning bowls to claim the cup and he responded magnificently. A 21-16 win with a lead toucher last end saw the trophy won by a jubilant North Midlands team and their supporters went wild.
North Midlands 246 v Potteries 167
Jamie Dunn 21 Matt Fellows 09
Steve Pratt 21 Gareth Stanway 14
Willie Beal 21 Kevin Boon 18
Mark Burdett 21 Chris Jenkins 06
Darren Plenderleith 21 Josh Towey 07
Ben Percival 21 Craig Podmore 05
Leigh Burdett 20 Adam Jackson 21
Jin Robertson 21 Lee Dale 14
Matty Allan 16 Joe Williamson 21
Lenny Fulleylove 21 Matt Hill 16
Peter Varney 21 Mark Ferris 20
Richard Burdett 21 Sean Morrey 16
Potteries 245 v North Midlands 168
Lee Brown 21 Paul Lamb 13
Gary Owen 21 Russ Prosser 13
Nick Tideswell 21 Andy Gibbs 12
Steve Parkin 21 Jordie Baddeley 15
Joe Melvin 21 Matt Horton 14
Andrew Owen 21 Tyler Dews 12
Peter Hulse jnr 17 Paul Ward 21
Jon Price 21 Alan Belcher 12
Anthony Lloyd 21 Carl Wilkins 05
Mark Norcup 10 Stuart Perry 21
Mark Melvin 21 Stuart Nash 15
Richard Clay 21 Shane Day 15
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