Gary and Wayne’s masterclass at RMI

Horwich RMI in the rain

Horwich RMI comp 3Youth guns triumph in the rain

Gary Siswick and Wayne Ditchfield became the fifth and sixth qualifiers at the Horwich RMI singles, kindly sponsored by J Maher Ltd. In challenging conditions the two youngsters won their halves, of a tough draw, to qualify for the finals night on 4th June.

After torrential rain for most of the day there were concerns about how this big green would play. I’m pleased to say the greens man has produced a very good surface this season and the green has drained well. The weather would have a further say on that though.

Numbers 1 – 8

First game on the green was Gary Siswick from Huddersfield, who played WestHoughton’s George Chadwick. In fact they were on the green for about five minutes before the weather gods decided we hadn’t had enough rain. Gary had too much for George on the day but he had a wait for his second round game as St Helen’s Mark Holden had a marathon game before he beat Rivington’s Ian Hart.

Dave Higginbottom, residing in Leigh but playing in Westhoughton was too good in the conditions for Kirkham’s Dave Halstead. Lee Heaton, once of this parish as they say but now playing for Croston, had too much green knowledge for Blackburn’s Lee Longland.

Dave Higginbottom playing Gary Siswick
Dave Higginbottom playing Gary Siswick

The second round saw Gary Siswick, after watching some of the F.A. Cup Final, give Mark Holden little chance. All eyes were on the Lee Heaton and Dave Higginbottom game as they have played most of their lives on the greens around Horwich. It was Dave went into a decisive nine to three lead and Lee could never close the gap. Those wise heads around the green thought Dave would have too much knowledge of the green for Gary in the qualifying game. It was anything but though as Gary had seen the marks that Dave wanted to play and didn’t let Dave anywhere near them. Gary had played well in his previous games but stepped up a level in this game. Dave for all his quality and experience just couldn’t live with Gary and the result was never in doubt.

Numbers 9 – 16

The bottom half of the draw went on when the green was more than a little damp and the dark skies overhead were lit by a low sun producing vivid rainbows over this east Lancashire green. Radcliffe’s Gary Downs had a close game with Mick Grimshaw from Rivington. Blackburn’s Harry Hargreaves had too much for Huddersfield’s Neil Slattery. Barry Simm had too much for Preston’s Michael Coupe and in the last game of the first round Eccleston’s Wayne Ditchfield had Westhoughton’s Paul Harris fighting for every point.

The second round saw a fine battle between Harry Hargreaves and Gary Downs. Gary swept, or splashed, into a five nil lead before Harry changed with things and had a ten break. Gary then dominated the next few ends before they were level again at twelves. Harry had the momentum at the right time to win and he did not have to wait for his opponent. It was Wayne who did the waiting as he gave Barry Simm little chance. Wayne had settled for a round peg mark of less than thirty yards and was absolutely stunning on it.

Wayne Ditchfield playing Harry Hargreaves
Wayne Ditchfield playing Harry Hargreaves

The qualifying game was much the same. Harry wins the toss and leads out and the next time he gets to throw the jack he has one point to Wayne’s twelve.Try as he might Harry couldn’t do anything to disturb Wayne’s rhythm. Wayne was awesome on his mark in front of the club and he left some very talented bowlers scratching their heads and wondering what to do.


First Round
G. Chadwick 11 G. Siswick 21
I. Hart 19 M. Holden 21
D. Halstead 05 D. Higginbottom 21
L. Heaton 21 L. Longland 12
G. Downs 21 M. Grimshaw 19
H. Hargreaves 21 N. Slattery 09
B. Simm 21 M. Coupe 07
W. Ditchfield 21 P. Harris 10

Second Round
G. Siswick 21 M. Holden 14
D. Higginbottom 21 L. Heaton 16
G. Downs 17 H. Hargreaves 21
B. Simm 07 W. Ditchfield 21

Qualifying game

G Siswick 21 D Higginbottom 07
H. Hargreaves 08 W. Ditchfield 21

The last qualifying session of the competition is next Saturday (28th May) and the two qualifiers will the six top bowlers who are already through to the finals night. The draw is below:

Finals night line up s0 far (June 4th)
1, D Allsop
3, M Ogliev
4, N Bithell
6, A. Cairns
7, G. Siswick
8, W. Ditchfield

About Steve Davies 171 Articles
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.