Below is a review by our League Treasurer Lynn Pritchatt about the 2019 Les/Mel Evans MBE Invitation Classic. We thank her for providing this comprehensive report.
LES/MEL EVANS MBE INVITATION CLASSIC
The 2019 Les/Mel Evans MBE Invitation Classic was played under clear blue skies and lovely sunshine, which certainly makes a pleasant change from previous years that has seen us shovel snow off the green in order to get the competition played. I do think there were two gentle giants ‘upstairs’ who sent us a beautiful day.
The top half of the draw was glittered with bowling talent. Chris Ward, Darren Plenderleith, Andrew Spragg, Anthony Bracken, Chris Brown, Tommy Johnstone and the in-form Callum Wraight to name a few. It was the reigning champion and 3 time winner Callum Wraight who was to progress through the top half of the draw to secure a place in the final in a bid to bag himself a 4th title. Callum’s first round tie was against Jonathon Sneddon, a first timer to the difficult Chadsmoor Progressive Bowling Green and it was an unfortunate draw for Jonathon. Callum’s green knowledge earned him a 21-4 win. I am sure Callum, on paper, would have expected to face his South Yorkshire pal Chris Brown in the second round. It was not to be as Chris was put out in his first round by Staffordshire’s Ben Dixon 19-21. Ben is a talented young player with potential to improve further. Ben gave a good account of himself narrowly losing to Callum 16-21 in the second round. Callum’s quarter final match was against Staffordshire player Darryl Handley. Darryl came in as a late substitute and what a performance did he give. With a 21-10 victory over the legendary Tommy Johnstone and a 21-2 victory over Staffordshire’s Scott Simpson, Darryl went into his quarter final match full of confidence. Callum’s green knowledge and experience once again shone as strongly as the sunshine and earned himself a semi final place with a 21-4 win. Callum’s semi final clash was with North Midlands star and 2015 runner-up Darren Plenderleith. Callum secured his place in his fifth final appearance in the tournament with a 21-13 victory. I am sure the prospect of a fourth title and moving a step closer to the great Brian Duncan’s record of 5 victories was not too far from Callum’s mind.
The bottom half of the draw was equally sprinkled with talent. We had two current reigning Waterloo Champions in Kevan Shaw and Jon Palmer, 3 time winner Greg Smith and a former Talbot Trophy and Champion of Champions winner in Michael Beer. It was another Shropshire man who battled his way through the bottom half to secure a place in the final. Wayne Rogers has been knocking on the door at Chadsmoor, narrowly losing out to Callum Wraight in the semi final last year having put out reigning champion Greg Smith in the quarters. If Wayne had his eyes on going one step further this year he certainly was about to do it the hard way. Wayne’s first round match was against 3 time champion Greg Smith. A tough battle followed with Wayne just edging a 21-20 victory. Wayne’s second round opponent was Staffordshire’s Mark Picknall. Wayne again narrowly squeezed over the finish line with a 21-17 victory. Wayne’s quarter final opponent was Warrington’s Damien Morrison, a previous visitor to the Chadsmoor green but by his own admission had never really got to grips with the green. Damien had got to grips with the green this year and had been impressive in his first two matches. A nail-biter followed with Wayne clawing his way back from a 13-20 deficit to claim his second 21-20 victory of the day. Wayne’s semi final opponent was fellow Shropshireman Michael Beer. Both players were playing the green superbly and the match was close all the way. Wayne narrowly claimed victory over Michael with a, yes you guessed it, 21-20 win. So the stage was set for an all Shropshire final with reigning champion and 3 time winner Callum Wraight facing fellow Shropshire county colleague Wayne Rogers.
Wayne was first out of the starting blocks in the final and certainly had the start he wanted. Wayne raced into a 13-4 lead and extended this to 16-6 with some good bowling on his part and, by his own admission, Callum was found scratching his head wondering why his tremendous form since the start of the season had suddenly left him for this one game. We should have known that three 21-20 wins often means a players name is on the trophy and yesterday was Wayne Rogers day securing a 21-12 victory to claim the 2019 Les/Mel Evans MBE Invitation Classic title.
The presentation was made by 2019 BCGBA President Graham Jackson.
Once again I would like to extend my sincere thanks to our sponsors – Hillside Developments, Verite, Osprey Water Management, Mel Evans MBE and Lynn Pritchatt. Their support of the competition is very much appreciated. Thanks to Dennis Dunn, Chadsmoor’s Greenkeeper for his hard work in getting the playing surface as good as possible for the day. Many thanks to Tony Partridge and Evelyn Hastings for their hard work all day in refeering. At this level the players look after themselves but Evelyn and Tony worked hard all day and helped the play run smoothly. I would also like to extend thanks to markers and measurers who gave up their Bank Holiday to come along to Chadsmoor to help. It is very much appreciated. I would also like to give heartfelt thanks to three ladies who worked hard to keep us all well fed and watered. Tracey Baker, Julie Montague and my lovely Mom worked like trojans all day providing all refreshments.
My aim all along was to provide a friendly and welcoming environment for players and spectators alike and for everyone to enjoy a day of top class bowling and equally top class hospitality. In honour of two giants of Chadsmoor, Staffordshire and Crown Green Bowls, who I am honoured and proud to know and love, I hope I have achieved my aim and made them proud.
The Les/Mel Evans MBE Invitation Classic will return next year on Easter Monday 13th April 2020 at Chadsmoor Progressive Bowling Club.
Finally, thank you to players and spectators who have taken the time to message me offering their thanks for a fabulous day yesterday. I do what I do for the love of our sport, for the love of Chadsmoor and for the love, respect and admiration I have for the two gentleman this event is played in honour of. The lovely words of appreciation mean more to me than anyone will ever know.
I hope we did you proud Mel and Les. Forever in my heart.
Tom Pritchard 9 Chris Ward 21
Darren Plenderleith 21 Nick Wyer 10
Gary Owen 21 Andrew Spragg 16
Gordon Hawkins 21 Anthony Bracken 14
Chris Brown 19 Ben Dixon 21
Callum Wraight 21 Jonathon Sneddon 04
Scott Simpson 21 David May 15
Tommy Johnstone 10 Darryl Handley 21
Kevan Shaw 13 Jon Palmer 21
Damien Morrison 21 Ross Meese 15
Colin Beaman 18 Mark Picknall 21
Wayne Rogers 21 Greg Smith 20
Cody Everitt 08 Daniel Petcher 21
Larry Wells 16 Daniel Jones 21
Peter Farmer 21 Stuart Rutter 14
Nathan Dawes 18 Michael Beer 21
Darren Plenderleith 21 Chris Ward 5
Gordon Hawkins 21 Gary Owen 17
Callum Wraight 21 Ben Dixon 16
Darryl Handley 21 Scott Simpson 02
Jon Palmer 20 Damien Morrison 21
Wayne Rogers 21 Mark Picknall 17
Daniel Jones 21 Daniel Petcher 12
Michael Beer 21 Peter Farmer 17
Darren Plenderleith 21 Gordon Hawkins 07
Callum Wraight 21 Darryl Handley 04
Wayne Rogers 21 Damien Morrison 20
Michael Beer 21 Daniel Jones 05
Darren Plenderleith 13 Callum Wraight 21
Wayne Rogers 21 Michael Beer 20
Callum Wraight 12 Wayne Rogers 21
2019 Les/Mel Evans MBE Invitation Classic Champion – Wayne Rogers