Singles Competition 2024


Past Winners Shine in Singles Championship

The Championship’s first round comprised four groups of ten bowlers, from which just the top six in each group would go through to the quarter finals. And in those groups were nine previous singles champions who would all qualify for the following week’s quarter finals.

Of those four initial groups, group A was the most exciting and high scoring. Although looking good to qualify before bowling his last leg, Bert Clewlow (Engineers) made sure he would progress by then making a 13 stack to top the group with 42 pins. Glyn Morley (Lodge Farmers) and Mick Stanton (Jumbo Jets), both previous champions, made 38 to join Clewlow. The remaining qualifying places all went to a trio of Lodge Farmers bowlers, Frank Morris also making 38, while 37 pins each was just enough for the Chris Prichard and Richard Long. Spare a thought for Mac Eaton (Nomads) failing to qualify with 36 pins, a score which would have seen him easily qualify had he been in any of the other groups.

Group B had the 2019 champion, Craig Ellis (Engineers) looking in good form to lead the way with 36 pins. Following were the Jumbo Jets pair of Rich Johnston and Len Quartly making 35 and 33 respectively and there was also 33 from Rachel Morris (Lodge Farmers) just one of only two ladies to progress. The 2022 champion, Rob Quartly (Jumbo Jets) edged in with 30 pins with Andy Gill-Smith (Bernie’s Bolts) close behind on 29 pins.

Mark Ganderton (Engineers), and the 2017 winner, always looked good to qualify before making a 14 stack in his last leg to cement his qualification and top group C with 42 pins. Bagging the last spot though by a single pin was Tim Jones (Lodge Farmers) with 30 despite a near calamitous leg four score of only two pins. Jones’ hiccup seemed to spook three times winner Alan Cummings (Nomads) who, bowling immediately after Jones, could then only score one pin. But Cummings had already banked three good leg scores including a 14 stack and with a sound fifth leg score finished with a qualifying 36 pins. He was joined, and more sedately, on 36 pins by Ian Greenway (Engineers), champion in 2016 & 2018. Scores of 32 were then comfortable enough for qualification for Maurice Wroe (Engineers) and the 2007 winner Dave Maule (unattached).

James Marshal (Nomads) had a great first ball nine in his opening leg and went on to make a 15 stack in that leg. Marshal’s qualification was never in doubt and led throughout the game on his way to a group D topping score of 40. Dave Orton (C&G Show), Jim Child (Nomads) and Steve Court (The Borough) made 36, 33 & 31 respectively followed by the second lady qualifier, Angela Guest (C&G Show), and the defending champion Scott Few (The Borough) with 29 pins each.


The final group in the singles completion included three Lodge Farmers bowlers, Glyn Morley, and father & daughter Frank and Rachel Morris, and with Angela Guest (C&G Show) making up the quartet in a tense finale. After leg two, the trio of Farmers’ bowlers had each scored 14 pins with Guest just three pins adrift. There was still little between the leaders after leg three, although Rachel Morris and Morley had a single pin advantage over Frank Morris, with Guest remaining a further three pins behind. Leg four was to prove significant as Rachel Morris opened up a three-pin lead when each of the other finalists faltered. A steady seven pins with her last bowl then saw Rachel Morris finish with 34 pins leaving Frank Morris and Glyn Morley needing stacks of 11 or more if they were to win the singles trophy. But neither looked likely to make that score, with the result that Rachel Morris, who had also bowled well throughout the earlier rounds, was a worthy and first lady winner in the competition’s 18 years history.

In the earlier quarter final games, group A had Glyn Morley progress comfortably with 38 pins. The main excitement in the group though came in a three-way sudden death bowl off for the remaining two semi final spots between Angela Guest, Jim Child (Nomads) & Dave Marriott (Jumbo Jets) after each scored 30. And in the bowl off, seven pins was just enough for Guest & Child.

There were two contrasting last leg scores in QF group B. First Andy Clewlow (Engineers) looking odds on to qualify, failed to register a score and could only watch as others in the group beat his final pin total of 30. Alan Cummings (Nomads) though had no such problem making a last leg stack of 14 to top the group with 45 pins. Joining Cummings in the semi-finals were Frank Morris with 36 and Dave Orton (C&G Show) with 34.

After four legs in QF group C, just three pins separated Rachel Morris, Andy Gill-Smith (Bernie’s Bolts) and Mick Stanton & Rich Johnston (both Jumbo Jets) and the three qualifying spots looked likely to come from this quartet. Morris made certain by making a 14 last leg stack, while Gill-Smith edged ahead of Stanton leaving Johnston favourite for the third spot. But then James Marshal (Nomads), seemingly well out of contention, produced a great 15 stack to nip ahead of Johnston.

QF D was yet another group where, after leg four, just three pins separated four bowlers seeking one of the three semi-final spots. Craig Ellis (Engineers) finally secured top spot with fellow Engineer, Maurice Wroe and Richard Long (Lodge Farmers) just edging out Rob Quartly (Jumbo Jets).

After the completing the SF group A game, three players, Jim Child, Glyn Morley and Frank Morris had tied in top spot with 34 pins each. A sudden death bowl off was then required to decide which two would go through to the final. Bowling first, Child could make only four pins, which Morley scraped past with a five to book his final’s spot, before Morris made certain of his appearance in the final with seven pins.

SF group B was a high scoring game with the two ladies, Guest and Morris bowling well; scoring 42 and 40 pins respectively to reach the final; and leave the four men in the group trailing in their wake. For Marshal and Cummings, there was not to be last leg rescue stacks as each had produced in the quarter finals, while Gill-Smith and Orton were left to rue missed chances.