The WCGBA 2023 Senior Merit ( Gwyn Morris Trophy ) was held at Rhos-on-Sea Bowling Club on Sunday 25th June. Our host for the day, President Jack Hunt, welcomed everyone at the start including his guests, Deputy WCGBA President Pauline Lindley and Officers of the Association and special guests, Martin Goddard BCGBA President 2023 and Richard Palmer (Chair), Claire Biddle (Development Manager) and Sophie Hancocks (General Manager) of Bowls Wales. The Referees DT Evans, Alan Davies, Arthur Peake and Richard Haywood worked tirelessly throughout the day.

In Round 1, Simon Hughes started really well against Mel Higham and reached 11-4 up after only a few ends. He stretched his lead to 18-8 before taking the game 21-16. There were comfortable first round wins for Jay Salisbury, Adam Penlington, Mike Riley, Ivor Jones and Andrew Hughes.

In Round 2, Simon and Joey Williams had a close game until Joey edged further in to win 21-18. Joe Pritchard beat Graham Hunt 21-14. Adam had a good game with fellow ex-junior, Jay Salisbury to win 21-11. James Todd played exceptionally well to beat Veteran Ivor Jones 21-19. Keiron Roberts beat Andrew Hughes 21-12. Father and son Mike and Jordan Riley had a great game. Dad was the first to reach double digits but Jorden caught up and overtook Mike to win 21-14. Ian M Jones took a strong lead in his second game against Chris Jones to win 21=14.

At the Quarter Final stage, a well played match between Adam Penlington and James Todd, saw Adam win 21-12. Joey Williams had a more challenging game and missed out on a few rubs that didn’t go his way. Joe Pritchard won 21-17. In Keiron and John Short’s game, despite some great ‘jack touchers’ by Keiron, John won 21- 15. Jorden and Ian started off level pegging until Ian got into his stride. There were some really long corners played well by both players but the ever energetic Ian won 21-9.

In the first Semi Final, Joe Pritchard led away strongly and was soon 11-4 up.  Adam couldn’t make headway. Down but not out, Adam took a few more chalks. A brilliant strike kept him in the game before Joe made it 21-16. In the second match, Ian led away from John Short and was the first to reach double figures. Both previous winners of the title. Luck stayed with Ian and he was 12-6 up. At 14-7 down, John took the block and clawed back a few points until there was only one chalk in it. Neither player could afford to put a foot wrong. Eventually, Ian triumphs to reach another final winning 21-16.

In the Final, Ian and Joe were well matched at the early stage. Joe edged away slowly but surely. Elements of Ian’s ‘jack headers’ were there, but Joe was too strong and took the title 21-10.

Joe Prichard, Ian M Jones, Adam Penlington and John Short all qualify to represent Wales at the British Senior Merit next month. Good luck.