Rachel takes Open title for a fifth time

Neil Kirby (Langham Hotel - Sponsor) David Willis (Bexhill - Mens Singles Champion) Mayor Wendy Kirby (Langham Hotel - Sponsor)
Neil Kirby (Langham Hotel - Sponsor) David Willis (Bexhill - Mens Singles Champion) Mayor Wendy Kirby (Langham Hotel - Sponsor)
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Saffron Ladies bowler Rachel Mackriell claimed her fifth title and stole the headlines at the Langham Hotel Eastbourne Open Bowls Tournament.

The Blue Riband events of Mens and Ladies singles were both well contested.

In the Ladies Singles Mackriell took on defending champion and two time National singles champion Amy Truran.

In an enthralling game the scores were level 9-9 after 11 ends. Rachel edged away to lead 16-14 after 21 ends. Amy picked up a single on the 22nd end to close to a one shot deficit but Rachel picked up a 3 and a 2 on the next 2 ends to win 21-15 and pick up the title for the 5th time.

The Mens singles was between Sussex based visitors David Willis and Chris Surman. Scores were level 10-10 at 12 ends and by the 21st end David had edged into a 16-15 lead. Scoring on each of the next 2 ends David lead 20-15 after 23 ends and despite dropping a 2 on the next end picked up the final shot required for victory on the 25th end of the match 21-17.

In the morning, the Mixed Triples final was fought out between local team Pauline (lead) and Shane Packham (two) with Rachel Mackriell as skip, and regular visitors from Leicester Angela (lead) and Nick Cleveley (skip) with Ken Wheeler (two).

The visitors got away to a good start picking up 5 shots in the first 2 ends but the Eastbourne team settled and came back to level 8-8 after 8 ends. A 2 on the 9th end saw the Leicester team regain the lead but it proved a false dawn as the home team won the next 5 ends picking up 11 shots in the process to lead 19-10.

They dropped a shot on the 15th end but the match was conceded after they scored a 3 to lead (and win) 22-11.

Angela Cleveley then returned to the green to skip in the Ladies Pairs final, partnered by the ladies’ tournament representative Annie France Jackson. Their opponents were Beth Clarke and Sheila Simmons.

Angela, who had played well throughout the tournament, again got away to a good start and lead 7-2 at 8 ends. Once again the local team rallied to draw level after 12 ends with the score 8-8. Picking up 4 shots on the 13th end and swapping single shots on the next two, Annie France and Angela lead 13-9 after 15 ends.

Suddenly the local pair picked up a single and then three successive 4s to race away into a 22-13 lead after 19 ends. Despite winning the 20th end, the match was conceded with a final score of 22-14 in favour of Beth and Sheila. Angela had also been due to play in the 3rd / 4th play-off in the Ladies singles competition but decided to concede to Julia Fordham rather than continue playing in the heat. The Mens Pairs was contested between the teams of Don Kent / Brian Henty and the indoor team of Bill Fuller / Roger Cable.

The 12th end saw Bill and Roger pick up a 7 and their opponents conceded with the score 24-12 after 18 ends. In the Mens Triples, the defending champions Bob Jones, John Blackman and Ken Hill took on the team made up of tournament officials, Terry Boniface, Vince Smith and Mike Taylor. After 8 ends scores were level 8-8 and again after 14 ends at 15-15. a 4 on the 16th end eventually proved decisive and Mike’s team ran out winners 20-17.

The prizes were presented by the Mayor (Cllr Janet Coles) and the sponsors Wendy and Neil Kirby (Langham Hotel).

Tournament President thanked the many people who make the tournament such a success, including the Umpires, markers, greenstewards, caterers at all venues, and car park attendants at headquarters.

He gave particular thanks to Ron Putland for his efforts both as head administrator and raffle ticket seller. Flowers were presented to the Mayor and to Ron for his wife. A gift was also presented to Wendy Kirby.

Proceedings closed with a free drink supplied to all who had attended the finals, courtesy of the sponsor who also confirmed their continuing sponsorship for next year. They thanked Mike Taylor for his hard work and stated how pleasing it was too see the Mens and Ladies competitions running together so successfully.

Results: Ladies Singles: Rachel Mackriell (Saffron Ladies) 21 15 Amy Truran (Homefield Park). Ladies 3rd Place: Julia Fordham (Saffron Ladies). Ladies Pairs: Beth Clarke / Sheila Simmons (Saffron Ladies) 22 14 Annie France Jackson (Saffron Ladies) / Angela Cleveley (Fleckny). Mens Singles: David Willis (Bexhill) 21 17 Chris Surman (White Rock). Mens Pairs: Bill Fuller / Roger Cable (E&D IBC) 24 12 Don Kent (Preston) / Brian Henty (Victoria Drive & Eastbourne Ladies). Mens Triples: Terry Boniface (Eastbourne) / Vince Smith (Unattached) / Mike Taylor (Eastbourne) 20 17 Bob Jones/ John Blackman / Ken Hill (Eastbourne). Mixed Triples: Pauline Packham (Saffron Ladies) / Shane Packham (Eastbourne) / Rachel Mackriell (Saffron Ladies).