Maureen stars at the ladies' tournament

PUBLISHED: 09:22 06 September 2013 | UPDATED: 09:22 06 September 2013

Mixed pairs.

Mixed pairs.

Archant

Maureen Edwards from the Thornfield club in Rugby won the 60th Weston Ladies Open Bowls tournament singles title.

THE Diamond Jubilee Weston Ladies’ Open Bowls tournament was blessed with lovely weather and some outstanding performances.

The 60th event, sponsored by local opticians Optika, broke new ground, with the competitions played to a finish every day, rather than throughout the week.

Each competition was played in two groups, with three games for all players before group winners and runners-up qualified for the play-offs.

Three players stood out during the week: Maureen Edwards, Sue Bird and Adrian Burbridge. Edwards, from the Thornfield club in Rugby, won the ladies’ singles and, with local bowler Andy McMillan, the mixed pairs. She also took third place in the ladies’ triples and fourth in the mixed fours. Her singles success came 16 years after her only previous victory in that competition.

Clevedon’s Sue Bird, the singles runner-up in 2012, was third this time. But, partnered by clubmates Lyn Palmer and Pauline Hussey, she took the ladies’ triples title, then she and Palmer repeated that success in the mixed fours.

Their team-mates in that win were husband and wife Dave and Kay Gent, from the Caerglow club, Gloucester. Bird also won the Ron Swain Trophy for the best North Somerset non-winner in the singles.

Adrian Burbridge, six times winner of the singles in the men’s tournament, has been playing more golf than bowls recently.

He got the rust out of his system by partnering Wessex Ladies’ Audrey Powell in the mixed pairs, then gave a brilliant display in the unified singles, which is for both sexes, to beat Clevedon Prom’s former England indoor international Margaret Dyer, his final opponent.

Octagenarian Dyer, skipping up and down the rink like a teenager, was in contention in most events, but she and Nick Grenfell had to settle for runners-up spot in the mixed pairs, which they won in 2011.

Then she, Carol Grenfell, wife of Nick, and Bridgwater’s Jill Price took second place in the new ladies’ triples event.

Topping and tailing the tournament were the ever-popular Sunday mixed triples and the mixed fours on the Saturday.

Winners of the triples, for the second year running, were the Caerglow team of Dave and Kay Gent and Pauline Gunn, who beat locals Marie McMillan and Adrian Gardiner and Pat Bax (Rugby) in the final.

There was the prospect of a rare home victory in the mixed fours, with Clarence’s Don Towie, David Stott, the tournament registrar, his wife Elaine and her Wessex Ladies’ clubmate Joy Palmer reaching the final with a 100 per cent record from their group matches.

However, they dropped seven shots in two ends against Bird, Palmer and the gents, a deficit from which they were unable to recover.

Clarence Ladies also provided a finalist, Margaret Noddings, who partnered Redland Green’s Elaine Lewis in the ladies’ pairs. Their opponents were Cardiff bowlers Sue Beacham and Jen Judd, the latter a former winner of the same event in 1998 when she was 17. In the closest final of the week, the Welsh pair were one-shot winners.

For the first time, the tournament staged a junior mixed pairs event, sponsored by Optika. Twelve youngsters from across Somerset, one aged just nine, took part and some of their play was top-class.

The Ashcombe duo Frazer and Danielle won the under-15 event, while Jack and Shannon (Yeovil) were winners in the older age-group.

At the end of the tournament, committee chairman Paul Tubb thanked everyone involved, including all the competitors. He said that the general reaction to the new format had been favourable but that it might be tweaked slightly for next year.

In addition to Optika, the tournament is sponsored also by Chris Young Bowls, Barclays Wealth, Worle Glass & Joinery and the three home clubs, Clarence, Clarence Ladies and Wessex Ladies.

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