The 2021 Senior Merit Final was held at Argoed Bowling Club in Flintshire. In front of a much reduced crowd of spectators, sixteen qualifiers – from across North Wales met to the 2021 winner.

Bowls, like many outdoor sports, has been adversely affected by the Covid 19 restrictions for the past year and there was an air of delight and anticipation from those lucky enough to have booked a place around the green.

The event this year was held as part of the ongoing event research programme which looks at large scale events in sport and elsewhere and how they can be managed in a Covid safe way. Argoed BC stepped up to the mark admirably with hand and equipment sanitisation facilities in place, track and trace check in at the entrance, and socially distanced –

WCGBA President, Simon Walker, welcomed everyone and got each of the games underway. Our referees, DT Evans, Tom Lockyer and Peter Hughes where on hand to see fair play.

First off the mat were Rob Pierce and Mark Lamb. Rob romped away at the start and at one time was 17 – 4 up. Mark then found his pace and began to inch his way back. Rob ran out game at 21-11.

Next came James Williams and John Short. This was much closer throughout and ended 21-19 to John. Games three and four gave us 21-12 to Chris Charlton over Colin Jones and Neil Simpson 21-15 over Scott Parry. Keith Bailey and Dave (Dicky) Jones had a close one. Dave winning 21-20 in the end. Son Nick Jones had an equally close game at number six and eventually won 21-18 over Paul Roberts.

Tony Kirkham found it tough against 2019 Welsh Vet’s Merit winner, Gary Roberts and lost 21-9. The final first round game saw Gareth W Hughes triumph over John Bonatti 21-18.

In the quarterfinals, there was only one close result where John Short beat Rob Pierce 21-18. Chris Charlton won his game 21-11 against Neil Simpson.  Jones

John Short and Chris Charlton played end for end at the start of their semi-final match. John Short eventually winning 21-14. Nick Jones and Garth W Hughes produced the game of the day with some very high standard play. It was a close one at the end with Garth pipping Nick 21-19.

The final was now set between John Short and Gareth W Hughes. There was some brilliant bowling by both players, but in the end Garth could not sustain the form he had in his semi-final and John ran out 21-12 to become the 2021 Senior Merit Winner. Both John and Garth now qualify for the British Senior Merit Final in July. We wish them well. Prize money was presented by President, Simon Walker.