Young bowlers compete for 10th Youth Cup

Cup winner Tom Eccles, left, and Plate winner Joe Jukes
Cup winner Tom Eccles, left, and Plate winner Joe Jukes

FIFTEEN young bowlers took part in a closely fought competition as Old Town Bowling Club staged its 10th annual Youth Cup, sponsored by Hebden Bridge Equestrian Centre.

The competition, played under floodlights drew young bowlers, male and female, aged from 12 to 16 from clubs as far apart as Ripponden and Heywood.

The event sees first round losers go into a plate competition guaranteeing bowlers at least a second round appearance.

A large following of appreciative supporters provided plenty of vocal encouragement and this brought out some stunning performances from the young bowlers.

With total prize money exceeding £100 and two trophies to be won there was no shortage of competitive spirit.

The qualifying round saw strong performances from Ripponden’s Jonas Webster and Bullough Moor’s Brad Tweedale and team-mate 13-year-old Jade Berresford, who all limited their opponents to single figures, Jade running up a break of 13 points, the highest of the evening.

In the second round of the plate the youngest competitor, 12-year-old Ronan Brown from Halifax was unable to hold back Heptonstall’s Joe Jukes and in the cup competition Heptonstall’s Kieran Bannister suffered a surprising exit at the hands of Jade Berresford.

Bullough Moor’s Tom Eccles (in the cup) and Liam Mercer (in the plate) were making steady progress to gain a place in their respective finals.

The plate final between Jukes and Mercer was an epic struggle lasting almost an hour with never more than a couple of points separating them.

Joe, last year’s losing plate finalist held his nerve and after 28 gruelling ends finally took the game 21-19.

The final of the cup between last year’s winner Tom Eccles and Jonas Webster seesawed between the two.

With a strong start, Tom established a 7-2 lead but Jonas then took the jack and over the next 10 ends pulled back the deficit to just two points, the game standing at 11-13.

A loose lead by Jonas allowed Tom to regain the jack and return to his favoured 35-yard pegging mark over the crown putting together a five point run to lead 18-11.

Jonas fought back to regain the jack and he lengthened the mark only to see Tom’s accurate second wood win the end.

Jonas regained the jack but Tom’s increasing confidence won the day and he ran out a deserving 21-13 winner.

Both competitors were applauded off the green after a gripping final conducted in the best sporting tradition.

Club chairperson Marie Dobby thanked the sponsors and all who had contributed to making the evening a success.

Karen Clitheroe from Hebden Bridge Equestrian Centre presented the trophies and prizes to the successful bowlers.