One of the top prizes in the north-west, the Wigan Subscription Classic, was claimed by 34 year old Darren Plenderleith from Tamworth. The North Midlands county star was in imperious form and swept aside all of his opponents is stunning style.
You will do well to find anyone who can remember the centenary celebrations of this famous and friendly club close to Wigan city centre. It’s in an area which is steeped in the game of crown green bowls and over the years has seen many players support the professional part of the game.
You will do well to find a club who are more knowledgeable about the game and they are appreciative of the effort and skills of the players this competition attracts. They have also attracted generous sponsors headed by DGL Windows, SF Consulting, Wigan Honda, Grayway, Cheese Cabin and the Wigan Beer Company.
The green is often one the best around though, like many, it has suffered from the scorching summer last year. That said the work done to prepare for the competition is a credit to the club.
The finals night attracted a healthy crowd who were fed and watered as they enjoyed the bowls on offer.
In the semi-final Darren beat Steve Davies from Liverpool in a game that looked like it could have been a procession for much of it.
Darren started by playing a short mark into the drain that runs through the green. It looked a shockingly quick mark even when going what is known as up hill. Darren using his left-handed delivery to gain an advantage and Steve was often optimistic on the land he was putting his bowls on.
Darren was quickly into a 15-3 lead and it is to Steve’s credit that he dragged himself back into the game. Using a longer mark and trying to use Darren’s hand against him Steve slowly, glacially slowly but surely got into double figures and beyond.
Steve even led out at 20-26 using a three quarter corner mark towards the entrance but committed the cardinal sin of chucking the jack off. This allowed Darren to give Steve little chance in what was left of the game and Darren claimed a 31-24 win.
The other semi-final was a classic as 41 year old Danny Barwise played 29 year old Michael Beer. There was nothing in this game for just about all the game. Danny if anything started slightly better and was playing a pegging mark from the scorers hut towards the edge of the green with the large and impressive tree. It took a while for Michael to used to this mark and when he did both players were more than adept at playing just about everywhere else on the green.
It was only a small break Michael achieved to go 28-20 up that proved to be too much for Danny. In the end it was a 31-23 win for the Shrewsbury man.
The final was highly anticipated as both players had shown to be at the top of their game.
It was however an exhibition from Darren headed straight for a part of the green I don’t think Michael had played before.
Starting with their back to the club Darren headed for the tree edge, which also happened to be the part of the green still to get back to its very best. Those that know about the game will often tell you of the perils of a left-hander taking you on an edge.
Darren proved it on that edge playing it as a falling-mark. The perils of getting underneath and falling off the edge of earth, playing for the bowl to sink, trying to count past the jack, to be honest you could write an article on that edge alone.
In the end it was Darren, one of the most dominant front-runners in the game, who swept imperiously to a 31-14 win and a more than worthy win.
What a night…. want to thank everyone involved at Wigan Subscription for such a well ran competition from start to finish, it was flawless, one of the best comps on the circuit and to win it means a lot to me
Darren Plenderleith – 2019 Wigan Subscription Classic Champion