Bowlers take over town
Competitors from all over the country gear up for Weston’s 91st men’s open bowls tournament
TOP bowlers from all over the country will be descending on Weston once again this weekend as the resort’s 91st men’s open bowling tournament gets under way.
Town mayor Councillor David Hitchins will open the competition at Clarence Park on Sunday morning.
Opticians Optika is the main sponsor of the tournament, which starts with 58 teams of three competing in an all-day mixed triples competition. Singles, pairs, mixed pairs, men’s triples and gala fours events will continue for the rest of the week until finals day on June 30.
The tournament attracts competitors from all over the country, including a strong contingent from the West Midlands.
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Worcestershire star Adie Burbridge, who has won the singles twice in the last three years, will be defending his title.
Among the other favourites in the singles will be local Barrie Forse, who joined St Andrews from Clarence at the start of the season. He has also entered the mixed pairs, with his wife Judy, and men’s pairs.
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Another local player, Christine Peart (Wessex Ladies), won the mixed pairs last year in a scratch partnership with Ledbury’s Mike Ricketts.
They are teaming up again but England international Stef Branfield (Clevedon) and the experienced John Horsted (GB Britton) will prove tough opponents for them in the second round.
Pairs champions Steve Gough and Tony Bourne, who are based in Worcestershire, will be attempting to defend their title.
Among the oldest competitors will be Frank Whitmarsh. Aged 87, Frank is a Clarence member but travels over from his Cardiff home regularly to compete. He plays Victoria’s Mike Cooper in the first round of the singles.
The tournament carries �2,200 in prize money and the organisers are hoping the soggy June weather will relent so play can be uninterrupted on the three excellent greens at Clarence Park.
Catering all week will be in the capable hands of members of Clarence Ladies and Wessex Ladies clubs.
* THE closing date for entries to most competitions in the 59th Weston Ladies’ Open Bowling Tournament is coming ever closer - June 27.
The tournament, a Bowls England Five-Star event, will take place from August 19-25 on the three greens at Clarence Park, and will feature unified singles, pairs and mixed pairs events, plus an all-day mixed triples on the opening day of the tournament and a gala fours on the Friday. The all-day triples entry deadline is not until August 11.
Prize money of more than �1,500 will be on offer over the six days. Entry forms can be downloaded from www.westonbowlstournament.org or obtained from the registrar, Weston Open Bowling Tournaments, Clarence Bowling Club, Clarence Park, Walliscote Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 4BN. The registrar can be contacted on 01934 625404.