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Ian Briggs wins 2022 Rose Bowl

Veterans League

The Rose Bowl is the premier individual prize in the Veterans League calendar and has produced some wonderful days in the past. This year was no different as the supporters witnessed some very high-quality bowling with Longwood bowler Ian Briggs providing much of that to run out a deserved winner.

Tradionally the weather is very hot for the competition climax none more so than the last time the competition was held in 2019 with Mick Cox beating Tony Butterfield in an epic final at Almondbury BC. This year the weather didn't seem to realise it was Rose Bowl Finals Day until late morning when the rain finally cleared and the temperature began to rise but nowhere near the hot level of days gone by.

The Brockholes green could stand the watering as could most local greens after a long hot spell has finally moved on after creating havoc with the Veterans League fixture programme and a first-ever full two-days bowling postponed due to the threat of temperatures passing the 100F mark. All the eight quarter-finalists assembled in good time even with the disruption of road works and diversions on route. With two Lockwood Con bowlers in contention the club brought along a hearty bunch of club supporters to offer their guile and guidance to two-times Rose Bowl Champion Eddie Haigh and teammate Peter Kain.

The eight Finals Day bowlers being shown the trophy by Paul Rangeley

the competition sponsor alongside match referee Ray Tunnacliffe

With referee Ray Tunnacliffe resplendent as always in full uniform calling bowlers to order and tossing his 1960's half-crown into the air to determine the first pairs running order as Roger Stopford (Rastrick) and Andy Carter (Marsh United) took to the green and set the proceedings off. With eight Division 1 bowlers in contention, six of them playing off scratch, being Inter-District bowlers, standards were always likely to be high on an early pushing green and so it proved. In the opening tie Andy took the early initiative and held it throughout and was never headed as he clocked up a 21-11 victory.

The second quarter-final saw a Meltham v Lockwood Con clash with Inter-District teammates Barry Gibson and Peter Kain going head-to-head. Barry won the first two ends but then Peter took over to build up a 16-5 lead before getting over the line with a 21-8 scoreline to the delight of the travelling support.

Things didn't work out the same for his Lockwood Con teammate, Eddie Haigh, and the only bowler in the field that had previously won this event (2009 and 2016). Playing against Cowcliffe team captain Alan Brown who had a 3-handicap start and he used that to get a flying start and a 7-3 early lead. Eddie kept pegging away at that lead and eventually took over at the 23rd end to lead for the first time at 14-13 and kept the advantage as they swapped points up to 16-15. Alan then took over to claim 2-points at each of the final three ends to run out the 21-16 winner and place in the semi-finals.

Ian Briggs began his run to the title with a 21-12 win over Lindley BC member Stephen Haigh who had a 3-point handicap start but that had disappeared by the sixth end after Ian had won them all to establish an 8-3 lead. He continued in that vein to build up a 19-8 lead before Stephen won three ends before bowing to the inevitable as Ian ran out a 21-12 victor.

The two semi-finals were much closer scoring contests with Andy Carter and Peter Kain starting matters off. Andy continued with his short mark game to good effect as he built up a 9-4 lead by the 12th end. Left-hander Peter is a very resilient competitor and he fought back to take over in fine style and take a 17-14 lead which was looking pretty decisive at that stage. With a grand display of tight bowling Andy then won the next three ends for five points and a 19-17 lead before they traded single-point wins over the final four ends to see Andy a 21-19 winner in the longest match of Finals Day (32 ends).

Alan Brown was missing his Cowcliffe team's rearranged league fixture at Elland C&BC to contest this event and he was looking good for a place in the final after winning three ends on the trot to go 18-17 ahead of Ian Briggs in the second semi-final. However these were to be the last points he scored as Ian took over to claim the second place in the final by edging the next three ends and a 21-18 win.

The final was a match of very contrasting styles with Andy relying on his short game over the crown which had proven so decisive in his games up to the final whilst Ian had used a long corner-to corner tactic to good effect. It was clear that which bowler could impose their approach on their opponent would become the 2022 Rose Bowler winner. With both bowers off scratch Ian took an early lead by taking the three ends before Andy intervened to win 3 of the next 4 and bring the scores back to 3-5.

Then Ian took over with his long game producing some wonderfully tight bowling with Andy responding to the challenge in fine style but always chasing down a tight lead. A compelling six-end winning spell to Ian enabled him to build his lead to 14-3 all gained from long diagonal marks. Andy briefly threatened to disrupt that intent throwing down the challenge by using his short marks over the crown to mid-green posts but Ian was having none of this and stepped in each time to win the block back and rebuild his lead once again. Eventually sealing the title at the 21st end with a 21-7 scoreline which included seven 2's.

Veterans League President, Alan Hirst, made the presentations to all the eight Finals Day participants but only after thanking the Brockholes team for their smooth catering, measuring and bar duties and sharing with all how much he had enjoyed the day's bowling. He was, quite rightly, very complimentary about the winner's bowling whilst noting that he would like to see Ian bringing that standard of bowling to the League's Inter-District team only to be told, but he couldn't really fathom out why, that Ian already bowled for the West Riding Inter-District team.

Alan also commented upon the contribution that Andy had made to the final and to Finals Day in general. He singled him out for special mention as a 21-7 score in the final no way reflected on the loser as the winner bowled exceptionally well but was pushed at every end to that level to stay ahead and eventually take the title.

Thanking Paul Rangeley for his continuing sponsorship of the Rose Bowl, Alan continued to inform all that it was 37 years to the week since Paul's father, Bernard, had won this same trophy in 1985.

There remained only time for match referee, Ray Tunnacliffe, to claim his full breakfast raffle prize before the gathering broke up to face the road works and diversions to return home after experiencing an excellent afternoon of great bowling played in the right spirit with the right result. Maybe next year the sun will shine once again but even if it does we will not witness better bowling than we did this day





PHOTOGRAPHS (Click on any image to enlarge)

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