A follow-up to the earlier report on Yorkshire's success in winning the BCGBA Men's Senior County Championship yesterday is this article first published on the Facebook page of Crown Green Bowling Competitions earlier today.
This is a really interesting and well-written personal account from Staffordshire County bowler, Michael Ledwidge, of his trip to watch the Warwick & Worcester leg of the Crosfield Cup Final against Yorkshire played yesterday in Birmingham. Since my county bowling career came to it's natural conclusion I have enjoyed travelling and watching county games between different teams and hope other spectators can appreciate the efforts and sheer dedication those on the program have made to reach their goal, in today's case a Crosfield Cup Final.
It is not an easy sport, quite frustrating at times but believe me every player playing at both venues today has earned it. The pinnacle of team bowls and even in Covid times an event to savour. Sometimes wish my dads handwritten maps were still in evidence after today's sat nav encounter into deepest Birmingham. After 3 laps around Queen Elizabeth Hospital, almost in intensive care after one untimely u-turn, we eventually found that elusive Pershore Road and eventually a hostel in the greatest tradition of Birmingham pubs The British Oak. A condensed street resplendent with street art provided today's parking position. Then within microphone distance a short walk up to the home venue.
Whist the engineer in me admired its architectural structure, the high ceilings, window positions, design intent, and the sheer traditional aspect of a proper pub at last there was quite a game of bowls going on around the back. I was there as a neutral but still perhaps with a secret W&W desire as I have played many of their players and know some of them very well.
The first four games were excellent, a typically tenacious McGuinness, two uncompromising Hanson brothers whom I feel any team would like to accommodate, Galvin following up many excellent performances this season with a comfortable win and Ryan Prosser showing why he is so rated with brilliance when needed at critical times. Various weather patterns hovered over the second city skyline but the bowling lived up to its billing going into the middle four.
The young Mordue looking quality throughout to beat Seve to 17. A titanic battle at six whilst between Ross Dunkley and Stuart King saw the All England champion prevail by the finest of margins. Number seven saw one of the great number 12's from my era Steve Darling almost achieve a fantastic comeback against Jack Dyson who played a fantastic bowl to win his game.
Another shower, rainbow and a burst of Autumn sunshine saw a brief break for this spectator perched in the sticky corner. A swift venture into the pub for both architectural appreciation and urinal reasons prevailed before Number 8 Harrell a player not known to me much before a win at Swadlincote in August and he produced some fantastic edge bowling today that saw a very comprehensive win in the end. He enjoyed it and seemed to thrive on the occasion, a great quality to have going forward.
Then as my former Chadsmoor mentors used to say the business end. Greg Smith was made for that most important number 9 position. And the star turn was made to graft by a stubborn Yorkshire opponent for a 21-16 win. Number 10 saw one of the modern greats take on a W&W stalwart in Neil Clarke. I perhaps watched this game closer than some of the others, Clarke had his bowls almost on a thread along the pub edge but Mordue found a way. A wonderful take-out at the most vital time and some fantastic adjustment with his second bowls saw the older Mordue home.
It was getting interesting, a couple of W&W wins away were stirring the crowd. Another quick sojourn into the pub ensued, are those windows Georgian or Edwardian? Two George players made up the rear, Wilson and Clinton. Wilson rose to the crowd's desire, a near faultless second half of medium length leading left his determined opponent on 13.
Yorkshire were almost home however by now and despite Clinton pushing for every shot it was their day as former Shropshire star Booth coolly saw them home. After an early part of the year when it was near impossible to see any bowls played at all this year it was an absolute treat today to see a Crosfield Cup final in all its glory.
Thought the standard today was quite brilliant, in many ends it was the last wood sent that counted, some great shots for the crowd to appreciate. Fantastic entertainment and the journey home through the fastly developing city centre was a lot quicker with an A to Z but didn't really warm to the modern architecture, unfortunately. Winter well everyone.
The full scorecards for the home and away legs of the Final are now online here
The Yorkshire team that played the away leg in Birmingham yesterday