A bright summer morning welcomed bowlers and spectators to the 2017 West Lancashire Masonic Charity Bowling Tournament at The Tetley’s Club, Long Lane, Warrington. The weather this year was in total contrast to the wet, damp, rainy day of last year’s competition. This year saw an increase of 15% on numbers, from 52 to 60 entrants registered, who had traveled from around the Province, to eagerly take part. Many bowlers were accompanied by spectators several of which were wives or partners.
The event which was hosted by the Warrington Group was superbly organised on the day by tournament secretary Trevor Barber, treasurer Len Hart and assisted by Alan Jones.
The standard of bowling was yet again first class, with many games going to the wire. The mood was highly competitive but very friendly and good natured, with plenty of friendly banter. It was quite apparent that many competitors were meeting up again with several friends from other groups within the Province that they had met in previous years.
Whilst looking at the Cowper Trophy, it is noticeable that on an engraved plate is the name of O Cowper, Provincial Grand Warden and dated 1934. It is also worthy of note that this trophy has raised well over £407,000 for charity.
The temperatures continued to rise to almost, if not higher, than those expected in Mediterranean areas. Meanwhile more than adequate refreshments with hot and cold food and cool drinks were readily available on site.
With two greens being occupied throughout the event, Trevor managed to keep cool in the office and kept everyone on track. The main tournament for the Cowper Trophy produced an excitingly close scoring final between Len Hart (Leigh) and Peter Schofield (Chorley). Len eventually won but both had an exceptional game with nip and tuck at every end. It was said that Len had worked very hard for the title for many years!
The players who were eliminated in the first round of the main competition were automatically entered into a secondary competition, playing for the Cyril McGibbon Trophy. The final was again gripping, with two very equally matched players, Steve Wallingham from North Fylde and Dennis Brewin from Wigan. Again, the game was very closely competed and Steve managed to gain 21 against Dennis’s 20 to win. The spectators and players alike were treated to a most excellent and enjoyable day of bowls.
The chairman of the tournament Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox, extended his gratitude to all those competing in the event. He hoped they had enjoyed it, having travelled long distances and thanked everyone for staying for the presentation. Harry welcomed Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison and his wife Maureen who had again added their support to this popular event.
Chairman of Warrington Group Andy Barton, on behalf of the lodges and chapters in Warrington, presented a cheque for £400 to Harry Cox, in aid of the West Lancashire Provincial Bowling Charity. Harry thanked Andy and the host group for this sum and the generosity of the brethren, their families and friends. He also thanked the Group Bowling Representative of the Warrington Group, David Anderson, the group secretary John McIntyre and all those from the host group who assisted in preparing for and running the event.
At this point Trevor invited the President of the Tournament this year, the senior warden of the Province John Lee and tournament vice president and junior warden Jonathan Heaton to start the presentation of trophies and prizes.
John Lee presented the Cowper Trophy and a Masonic watch to the winner Len Hart of the Leigh Group. Jonathan Heaton presented the Crewdson Trophy and a Masonic watch to the runner-up Peter Schofield of the Chorley group.
The remainder of the prizes were then presented: John presented the third prize of an extra-large bottle of Faustino to Dennis Eccles (Lancaster and District). Jonathan presented the fourth prize of Aberfeldy Malt to Colin Wood, (Liverpool). John presented the fifth prize of a blender to Peter Watson (Preston). Jonathan presented the sixth prize of Famous Grouse to David Thornton (North Fylde). John presented the seventh prize of an umbrella to Bernard Snape (Lancaster and District) and finally Jonathan presented eighth prize of a wall clock to Chris Eyres (Warrington). Chris was also the highest scoring local participant.
Trevor then invited Tony to present the Cyril McGibbon Trophy for the secondary competition. Tony presented the Cyril McGibbon Trophy for the secondary competition and a prize of Old Pulteney Malt to Steve Willingham (North Fylde) and runner-up prize of Bells whisky to Dennis Brewin (Wigan).
He also presented medals donated by Khine Lynn of the South Fylde Group to the winner and runner up of the Cowper Trophy, Len Hart and Peter Schofield.
Following on from the presentations Trevor thanked his main helpers on the day, especially Alan Jones the new assistant secretary and he then handed over to Harry for a final word.
Harry concluded by saying it would be remiss of him not to mention those hard-working brethren: president John Lee, vice president Jonathan Heaton, who also gave prizes, Len Hart, Trevor Barber, Alan Jones and all the bowling representatives across the Province. Without them this event would not be possible. He announced that the host group for next year would be North Fylde and the event is to be held at Fleetwood on Saturday 21 July 2018 and he wished all would have a safe journey and was looking forward to seeing everyone next year.
Tony concluded by thanking everyone for their help and support. He also thanked John Starkey, Warrington Group Publicity Officer for his attendance and work on the long day and wished everyone would have a safe journey home.
Story and pictures by John Starkey.