After an absolutely tremendous days’ bowling at the Botanic Gardens in Southport, the Ormskirk West Lancs Junior team were crowned champions of the Federation of Crown Green bowls.
This is an amazing achievement given that a team from this area were only entered into the competition in 2010 for the first time, finishing bottom in that year.
It was not just that they were crowned champions, but it was also the way in which they achieved it.
With only Captain Cameron Wright being too old to play in the team next year, this team should go on to achieve again next year.
At the start of the day the West Lancs team were 14.5 points behind their closest rivals, Leeds, who were playing at a different venue.
Leeds could achieve a maximum of 15 points and Ormskirk a maximum of 30, and given the strength of the Leeds team it was clear that most games would have to be won to have any chance of taking the title.
The opponents for the day were Middleton, who were in their first season in the competition, and Furness, with each team being played in an 8 man and 4 man match.
The Ormskirk team started off like a house on fire against Middleton with Fergal Wright (Botanic), Matthew Gill (Windmill) and Luke Sinnott (Formby) getting good wins, but Kyle Dawes (Botanic) just came unstuck losing 21-20.
The next four players all kept their heads well though with Emma Denning (Windmill), Luke Dawes (Botanic), Matty Greenwood (Botanic) and Cameron Wright (Formby) all winning, although Luke’s game (21-19) was a bit close for comfort.
In the second game a young Furness team containing at least a couple of county players were well and truly put to the sword.
Captain Cameron Wright had the most impressive win beating Josh Smith 21-6, but Matthew Gill only just got across the finishing line, beating Charlie O’Hare 21-19.
Only one point dropped in the 8 man games then, but the big question was could they keep the results coming in the hot Southport sunshine.
The answer was that they could. In the 4 man against Middleton Fergal, Matthew Gill, Emma and Kyle all won their matches, although once again one of the matches was really close, Fergal just scrapped home 21-19. In the second 4 man all the players had convincing wins - Cameron 21-8, Luke Dawes 21-10, Luke Sinnott 21-6 and Matty Greenwood 21-9.
Man of the match was Luke Sinnott.
Thus only one game had ben lost and one point dropped.
The results still hadn’t come through from the Leeds matches so the Ormskirk West Juniors were left sweating to hear if they had won the title.
In the end it turned out the team had taken it by just 1.5 points - if they had just lost two more individual matches today, or indeed lost just one when they had played Leeds earlier in the season, then the title would have gone elsewhere.
The Youth team were also playing on the other green at the Botanic and they were testing out a number of new players - Jack Clivery (Formby) and Natasha Hauley making their debut, and Jack Denning and Owen Dickinson playing only their second match in the Federation.
Only Alistair Adams (Scarisbrick) managed a win in the first game against Furness and was only joined by Liam Gregson (Windmill) and Danny Harding (Scarisbrick) in the next game against Heavy Woollen from Dewsbury.
The team perked up in the first 4 man and salvaged some pride by having two winners and narrowly taking the aggregate.
In the final match no-one managed a win but all matches were close, with Jack Clivery and Ryan Bunting getting 19, Jack Denning 16 and Natasha Hauley just missing out losing 20-21.
The final table saw the Youth team finishing second bottom, but they had been trying several new players and will improve.
Overall a great days bowling with brilliant hospitality from the Botanic Gardens Bowling Club.