The Waterloo pilgrimage

It’s September, the nights are drawing in, there’s a chill in the air but there’s also the anticipation that the Waterloo last 64 is on Saturday.

This famous venue has been the home to most prestigious competition in the game for over a century. Its honours board littered with the sport’s greatest names. On Saturday six of them are vying again to become Waterloo champion. For the spectators it’s an annual pilgrimage, for me it’s the thirtieth and for others they can list many more, to say they will be there on the Wednesday for finals day.

This venue is much changed from the glory days of television coverage, when the brewery who owned the venue built a new stand which could seat over nine hundred. It is even much changed from just a few weeks ago as a team of volunteers started repairs and painting.

The future of the venue is not certain and it has been reliant on a team of volunteers to keep it going for some years now. The venue readied for over a week of the best the sport has to offer.

For some this is just another bowling green, for some it is a coliseum to rival anything the Romans had to offer. There are no swords or shields on offer but there are weapons carefully created from resins, honed by lasers, wielded by modern day Gladiators but are no less destructive. Each winner on the honours board has their own story of the battles they had to win the trophy.

Among the questions they can asked are can favourite Greg Smith repeat his success of 2015 or can Wayne Ditchfield record his second success in three years, all I can tell you is that they lead the betting.

David Bowie and Mick Jagger were “Dancing in the street” as they topped the charts in 1985, at the same time Tommy Johnstone claimed his only Waterloo title, is it Tommy’s year again or will it go to Tommy’s son Lee. Could it even be Phil Lee’s year as he tries to go continue his recent record of semi-finalist then losing finalist last year?

The draw and current best odds are also listed. Play will start at 10:00am and the players just have the one game to play, one game each day until finals day on Wednesday. The game’s greatest day of all.

  

Player

Best odds

1

.

Mick Prescott (Chorley)

66

2

.

Tommy Johnstone (Poynton)

14

3

.

Andy Thornton (Barrow)

40

4

.

Scott Fisher (Wakefield)

25

5

.

Ian Booth (Halifax)

33

6

.

Paul Dale (Congleton)

50

7

.

Kevin Kelly Walley (Burton)

100

8

.

Allan Rushton (Rochdale)

66

9

.

Gareth Gwilliam (Hyde)

16

10

.

Zac Walker (Barrow)

100

11

.

David O’Brien (Northwich)

66

12

.

Simon Hargreaves (Preston)

50

13

.

Noel Burrows (Stockport)

33

14

.

Ryan Sandham (Manchester)

50

15

.

Gary Owen (Stoke)

16

16

.

Wayne Ditchfield (Wigan)

6

17

.

Bill McClellan (Burnley)

100

18

.

Bob Whyatt (Cheshire)

40

19

.

Michael Sweeney (Huddersfield)

40

20

.

Matthew Gartside (Billinge)

40

21

.

Nick Hamman (Northwich)

66

22

.

Ian Grady (Skelmersdale)

50

23

.

Nick White (Huddersfield)

33

24

.

Phil Wainwright (Frodsham)

50

25

.

Matt Simpson (Kendal)

100

26

.

Mike Tunstall  (Liverpool)

20

27

.

Carl Armitage (Warrington)

40

28

.

Matty Stewart (Kendal)

28

29

.

Mark Regan (Yorkshire)

33

30

.

Andy Spragg (Chesterfield)

33

31

.

Gareth Coates (Halifax)

25

32

.

Glynn Cookson (Winsford)

20

33

.

Damian Morrison (Warrington)

40

34

.

Jamie Bramley (Stockport)

40

35

.

Tom Brown (Burton)

66

36

.

Phil Lee (Liverpool)

20

37

.

Richard Hoyles (Freckleton)

100

38

.

Kevan Shaw (Westhoughton)

20

39

.

Greg Smith (Birmingham)

5

40

.

Chris Rigby (Harrogate)

100

41

.

Dan Finch (Skelmersdale)

66

42

.

John Kennish (IOM)

20

43

.

Larry Wells (Warrington)

50

44

.

Gary Wike (Leeds)

40

45

.

Jake Dearden (Oldham)

100

46

.

Steve Waugh (Barrow)

100

47

.

Neil Ocego (Runcorn)

33

48

 

Kevin Nicholas (Wrexham)

66

49

 

Tony Meller (Heywood)

50

50

.

Andy Proctor (Stockport)

66

51

.

Lee Brown (Stoke)

28

52

.

Stuart King (Huddersfield)

20

53

.

Brian Smith (Derby)

100

54

.

Danny Sillitoe (Yorkshire)

66

55

.

Ashley Daykin (Huddersfield)

20

56

.

Chris Morrison (Bury)

33

57

.

Ady Hodgson (Blackburn)

66

58

.

Billy Burlinson (Warrington)

66

59

.

Darren Woodend (Barrow)

66

60

.

Paul Bailey (Sheffield)

25

61

.

Matty Worden (Ellesmere Port)

20

62

.

Simon Mills (Burton)

100

63

.

James Hanson (Pudsey)

25

64

.

Lee Johnstone (Warrington)

33

Steve Davies

Throughout his bowling career Steve has always supported the admin side of the game as well as a keen player of the game. As a club secretary, association secretary, county delegate on the BCGBA (National Governing Body) Management Committee, Media Officer for the BCGBA, 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 which became the Bowls Observer channel and, through the LDBA, runs national competitions. Seeing an avenue to report on and promote the game Steve set up the Bowls Observer on-line magazine.