Cleckheaton Sports Club have earned high praise for the way they staged last Saturday’s thrilling All England bowls finals.
More than 1,400 spectators descended on Cleckheaton, basked in the glorious sunshine and were treated to an enthralling day of bowls, with the country’s top 64 bowlers in action.
British Crown Green Bowling chief executive John Crowther praised Cleckheaton’s efforts for the way they hosted the event.
The All England finals are regarded as the pinnacle of the bowling season and clubs from across the country run trips.
Cleckheaton Sports Club had pulled an army of volunteers together and food and beer were available from early Saturday morning when the first spectators began arriving.
Groundsman John Hawksworth had produced two immaculate greens that glistened in the morning sun.
In the last 64 stage, Jack Clarke, Brain Welsby, Pudsey Liam Griffin and Iain Gaunt, who defeated early favourite Tom Palmer, progressed to the second round.
On the bottom green Simon Coupe, Mike Holden, Ed Wallis and Ross Dunkley, who overcame Hanging Heaton’s Dean Scarth, progressed.
Major casualties in the first round were Wayne Ditchfield, losing to Glynn Cookson, Graham Wilson, losing to Paul Busby, and Andy Spragg, losing to Alan Davidson of Shropshire but favourites Greg Smith and Gary Ellis moved safely into the second round.
Few predicted that Liam Howard (Cumbria) would beat Greg Smith to 17 to progress into round three and he was joined by Huddersfield’s Ashley Daykin, Cookson, Coupe and Cheshire’s Steve Morrey.
Clarke and Daykin defeated Griffin and Chris Lambert, Derbyshire’s Nigel Iliff produced a surprise in beating North Midlands Merit winner Darren Plenderlith, while Cookson also progressed to the quarter-finals.
Warwick and Worcester bowlers were well supported and Ant Bracken had attracted a vocal following as he reached the last eight, along with fellow county man Ross Dunkley, who beat second favourite Simon Coupe to 18.
There were also wins for Morrey and Ellis.
As the afternoon progressed, the quarter-finals moved onto the main green.
Daykin beat Clarke to 18, while Nigel Iliff beat Glynn Cookson to 20 in a thriller.
The other quarter finials saw shock defeats for favourite Gary Ellis, losing to Bracken and Steve Morrey beating Warwick and Worcetser’s Ross Dunkley.