The Ladies Individual Merit was played on Saturday 19th May – competing with the Royal Wedding and FA Cup Final among other things. This year it was held at Cunliffe Bowling Club. The event was hosted by President Brenda Jones who also welcomed each competitor and started off each match. Referees on the day were Jim Clarke, Tom Lockyer and Peter Hughes.
There was a much smaller entry than previous years, but those taking part gave spectators quite a feast of talent.
The outstanding quality of the bowling throughout the day was commented on by several spectators and this comes as no surprise when you look at the field.
The entry of seventeen included last years winner, Gay Cooper and other previous winner of the title.
In the first round, Ashley Zepeda played Linda Williams, Gay Cooper met Sarah Penlington, Kelsey Morgan Rowlands faced Emily Gowan and Sarah Nicholas played Carole Jones. At the mid stage of each game the scores were close. However, at the close of the first four matches, Linda Williams won 21-13, Sarah Nicholas won 21-14, Kelsey beat Emily 21-13 and Sarah Penlington had the closest game ending with a 21-18 win over Gay.
At the Quarter Final stage, young Aileen Coleman ( Oakenholt BC) had a tough game against Jane Bowler. She was the first to edge into double figures 10-9, but Jane’s experience saw her take the lead to 13-11. Not giving up easily, Aileen pulled level at 15 across. Both players took points from each other end for end. Eventually Jane triumphed 21-19. Sarah Nicolas played well along the edges to beat Sarah Penlington for a place in the Semi Final. Linda Williams and Jenny Hadwin were the other successes to go forward.
On a green that had been getting faster by the minute, Linda Williams met Sarah Nicholas in the first semi final and Jane Bowler played Jenny Hadwin. Linda and Sarah’s scores were close to start with, then Linda got into her stride and stretched her lead to 18-12. Linda eventually secured her place in the final with a 21-17 win. In the second semi final, Jane struck out to take a 13-7 lead before Jenny took a few points back. Jane ran out to win 21- 11.
Both Jane Bowler and Linda Williams have won this competition before, so it was going to be a great final. Linda won the toss and worked up a strong lead of 9-2. She wasn’t prepared to let go and held the lead all the way winning the title and the shield with a 21-11 win. Linda will represent Wales at the British Ladies Merit, the Ladies Champion of Champions and the Welsh Champion of Champions later in the year.