Resolven Bowls Club rounded off their season in magnificent fashion by winning the inaugural ‘Barry Bowl’ tournament in the season ending finals day held at Barry Athletic BC on Sunday 17th September.
2017 has been a landmark season for the club with a fresh impetus added with the addition of some key players following the unfortunate demise of TRW Cam Gears Bowls Club in 2016.
The inaugural ‘Barry Bowl’ tournament was entered by 40 clubs in April, all with hopes of landing the cash prize of £1000. The competition provided a fresh new format with just 8 players required in a two rink match. With the draw for each round being performed live on Facebook, it proved popular with players from across Wales.
Starting the competition as rank outsiders, the Resolven bowlers were keen to face some different teams rubbing shoulders with some of the top clubs in the country.
In getting to finals day, Resolven recorded some convincing victories in the opening rounds, overcoming Pontrhydyfen, St Fagans and Kidwelly Town with some excellent performances.
Resolven -v- Pontrhydyfen
Resolven -v- Kidwelly Town
Finals day saw them line up alongside Ferndale, Machen and favourites RTB Ebbw Vale in front of a big crowd of travelling supporters from the 4 clubs. With the semi-final draw being conducted live on Facebook in the Barry Athletic pavilion, the green and golds (Resolven) were somewhat relieved to avoid RTB Ebbw Vale by drawing Machen.
The semi-final proved edgy with both teams not at their best in the opening few ends. Lionel Stock’s rink unlucky to be 7-0 down early on. However by the half way point, parity was ensured between the two teams, with Andrew Hopkins rink cancelling out the deficit on the other rink.
The game changed in the space of around 15 minutes, with both rinks picking up successive counts to surge Resolven into a big lead. By now, both rinks were playing with far greater confidence, having got rid of any early match nerves. The margin of victory was an excellent 17 shots with Shaun ‘Ned’ Kelly, Simon Williams, Stephen Allen & Andrew Hopkins winning 25-14 and Gareth Evans, Steven Gall, Simon Ace and Lionel Stock coming through in the end to win 23-17
With the result secured, attentions turned to the other semi-final, Ferndale against favourites RTB Ebbw Vale.
It was the Rhondda valley side, Ferndale who came through to play Resolven in the afternoons eagerly anticipated final.
Resolven was ‘breaking new ground’ in it’s first major national final as a club after many false dawns in the Welsh Cup Competition, the Carruthers Shield. This match followed a similar pattern to the mornings semi-final.
With Ferndale having exerted significant efforts in their tight semi-final, they found an inspired Resolven a step too far. The middle third of the game where the real damage was done with Resolven racing into a 19 shot lead across the two rinks at one point.
The travelling supporters sensed a special evening to follow, celebrating a first national title as a club. And so it proved, the deficit being too much to overhaul for Ferndale in the closing stages, the margin of victory for Resolven was 16 shots.
When Captain Andrew Hopkins accepted the Winners Bowl he added “….at the start of the season we saw this competition as a great addition to the Welsh Bowls calendar, and in truth we were happy to make up the numbers. The manner of the performances in each round has been incredible and to think that our margin of victory in the first round – 10 shots against local rivals Pontrhydyfen was our closest game, really is remarkable. I want to pay tribute to our players who have been wonderful this year and our supporters. The support we receive from the community is fantastic”
Jubilant celebrations followed on the green with Captain Andrew Hopkins popping the prosecco and duly showering the players.
Andrew went on to thank the supporters, umpire, other teams, the venue and the organiser of the competition, Chris Wright (shown on the right) from the Barry Athletic club on a wonderful new tournament that has captured the imagination of many.
The RBC club pocketed a cash prize of £1000, but most importantly the title of the inaugural winners of the tournament.
Pictured from Lt to Rt the successful Resolven bowlers:
Shaun ‘Ned’ Kelly. Steven Gall, Simon Williams, Ieuan Ace (Reserve), Andrew Hopkins (Capt.), Nigel James (Reserve), Gareth Evans, Stephen Allen, Lionel Stock, Simon Ace.
http://resolvendistrictnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/logo-1-300x41.png00Ed3http://resolvendistrictnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/logo-1-300x41.pngEd32017-11-14 20:36:592017-11-14 20:40:06Kudos in ‘Barrybados’ for Resolven bowlers