The 2021 Ladies Merit Final was held on Sunday 25th July at Mancot BC as part of the Events Research Programme due to the Covid 19 pandemic situation. This was the last event undertaken as part of the programme for 2021. Despite greatly reduced numbers at all of the Merits this year, those who have entered and come along to support have enjoyed the experience of bowling again and have helped tremendously by their patience and consideration of the rules on hygiene and social distancing.

There were only nine entries for this years’ competition, but this did not lessen the event nor the commitment to a good standard of play exhibited by all those taking part. WCGBA President, Simon Walker hosted the event and welcomed everyone there.

Amanda Nicolas and Roz Edwards got the competition underway with Amanada taking a substantial lead of 14-3. Roz however, was unable to gain any foothold on the game and Amanda finished 21-4.

At this stage, we were into the last eight. Amanda Nicolas now took on Linda Williams. It was Amanda’s turn to struggle to get ahead in the game. Linda played well on some long marks across the green with the jack, on occasion,  perilously close to the edge. Linda won 21-7.

In game two, Linda Kirkham met Belinda Lloyd. This was another game of wide margins with Linda going 16-8 up and one point. She eventually ran out 21-12.

The last two games from this quarter final stage were closer affairs. Ashley Zepeda played Ann Banks in a much more varied start. The lead constantly changed and reached 12 across before Ashley broke away to go 18-15 up and then to win 21-15.

The final game of this round saw two of the youngest players go head to head, Jess Lacey and Kirsty Jones – both played for Wales in the Junior team. Jess led away well and was marginlly ahead at 11-7. Kirsty pulled level to 17 across. Then it was a case of point for point to take them to 20 across. Jess held her nerve to win 21-20.

In the first semi final, Jess met Ashley Zepeda. Ashley’s game was more confident this time and she took an early lead to 13-4. Jess was unable to catch up despite some excellent bowling. Ashley was through to the final with a 21-10 win. In the second semi final It was the ‘Battle of the Lindas’. At the start of their game, Linda Williams and Linda Kirkham were evenly matched with only a point or two seperating them. Linda Williams then stretched her narrow lead to 15-7. Two superb bowls right on the jack brought Linda Kirkham another couple of chalks. Linda Williams then took charge again as the green started to gather pace and she ran out game 21-9.

In the final, it was to be two Flintshire girls, Ashley and Linda Williams. Linda stormed off to a 16-4 lead after only a few ends. She didn’t have things her own way though as the pace had changed and Ashley was able to pull a few more points her way. There was however, no stopping this veteran of the blades ( grass that is ) and Linda was to win the 2021 Ladies Merit 21-8.

Linda and Ashley now qualify for the BCGBA Ladies Merit Final at Heton Park on August 15th.