Sunday 20th May saw the 2024 Welsh Ladies Individual Merit competition at Brymbo BC. In attendance was our President, Pauline Lindley and other members of the WCGBA management, all there to support the first merit of the season. Referees included DT Evans, Arthur Peake and Peter Hughes. This year we had an excellent number of entries, 25 in all.

In the prelim round, Bev Taylor won her game with Linda Kirkham 21-14. The 2023 winner, Linda Williams played Caroline David – who she played in the final last year. Linda won to 21-12. Ashley Zepeda had a good game with Ann Banks to win 21-11. The other winning players from this round included Jess Lacey, Sian Maddock, Olwen Edwards and Marie Hallet.

In Round Two, Linda Williams started strongly against Bev Taylor, who found it hard to get a toe-hold on the game. In the end Linda stormed away to a 21-6 victory. Ashley’s game with Jess and Marie’s game with Kerry Hughes both began with little to choose between the players. Eventually, Ashley went on to win 21-16 and Marie, a convincing 21-7. Also in this round Jenny Hadwin, Claire Over, Tracey Over and Corinne Betteridge also qualified for a place in the Quarter Finals.

The weather had been reasonably kind for the early stages of the competition, but, as so often happens, the rains came. Nothing could stop Linda ‘ the Machine’ Williams and she was well up on opponent Ashley, leading 18 – 5 at one stage. She went on to win 21-6. Claire Over played well to beat Corinne 21-13 and sister Tracey Over won her game with Jenny 21-16. Marie and Olwen’s match was one of mixed fortunes for both players. Solid work by Olwen kept her a few points ahead with an 18 – 14 lead. A truly inspired Marie played some excellent woods to pull off a win of 21-19.

In the Semi Finals, Linda’s devastating form showed no lessening and she led the match with Marie 17 – 6 quite early on. Despite some further valiant attempts by Marie to break through, Linda went on to win 21-12.   The Over sisters started off pretty much even, before Claire pulled away to go 16-9 up. She stayed ahead all the way and won 21-11. In the Final, Linda was down a few points at the start. It wasn’t going to stay that way for long. Linda continues to show the great player she is, both professional and encouraging to others. Setting the standard she won the 2024 Ladies Merit once more 21-11.

Wales will have five qualifiers for the British Ladies Merit Final in Barrow later in the season. Those players are, Linda Williams, Tracey and Claire Over, Marie Hallet and Ashley Zepeda.