Colin claims singles trophy at Clarence

Open singles winner.

Open singles winner. - Credit: Archant

Victoria Bowls Club member Colin Gazzard won the Weston Men’s Open Bowls Tournament, beating the favourite in the final.

VICTORIA’S Colin Gazzard celebrated his 50th year as a bowler with a brilliant triumph in the singles at the Weston Men’s Open Bowls Tournament, sponsored by Optika.

In a terrific final, the 68-year-old was a surprise winner against favourite Gareth Burbridge (36), beating him 21-18 with a perfect last wood that earned him two shots.

Gazzard, champion in 1996 and runner-up once, led 11-4 after eight ends, but his opponent, who had not picked up a wood between last year’s tournament and this one, fought back doggedly to 14-14. Some of the play was breathtakingly good.

With the ever-energetic Gazzard leading 19-18 going into the 24th end, each took it in turns to knock the other off shot with some precision play before Gazzard, holding one, delivered the last wood of the end perfectly to dislodge Burbridge’s second bowl and win the Dauncey’s Hotel Trophy.

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It was the second time in recent years that Burbridge had been runner-up. Previously, he had lost in the final to his dad Adie, the seven-times singles champion, whom he had beaten 22-18 in the morning semi-final, another game of the highest quality. The final was Gareth’s third match of the day and that took its toll.

Consolation for him was that he and Gloucester City’s Doug Lewis won the men’s pairs for the second time in three years. Their opponents were father-and-son duo Robert and Paul Poynter. Robert, who has been coming to the tournament for 48 years, is a member of Abergavenny, but Clevedon resident Paul does not belong to a club and, like Gareth Burbridge, had not played since last year’s tournament.

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His accurate leading and his father’s shrewd skipping earned them a 9-5 lead after nine ends, but their opponents, the tournament favourites, gradually found their form. A four on end 12 put them 16-9 ahead, after which they never looked back, winning by 18 shots with an end to spare.

The final of the men’s triples, sponsored by Cedarwood Property Services, featured six players with local connections and was won, with two ends to spare, by Grant Aldridge (St Andrews), Trevor Pritchard (Clarence) and Keith James. The last-named, although he lives in Western Australia and plays for the Brunswick club there, is a former Clarence club champion. He comes over for the tournament regularly, but this is the first time he has competed in some years.

The 19-year-old Aldridge’s spectacular skipping meant that there was rarely a dull moment as his team won 18-5 against the Victoria trio Malcolm Campbell, Dave Fairhurst and Derek Hurst.

In the mixed pairs final,Victoria husband-and-wife team Mike and Sue Cooper once again finished runners-up. This time, they lost to Doug Lewis (Gloucester City) and the Coopers’ clubmate Sue Harrison, who came in as a replacement for Becky McMillan (St Andrews) at the semi-final stage.

She played her full part and Lewis did the rest, despite some fine play by the Coopers, who lost by nine shots.

The final of the Gala Fours was contested by two teams from the clubs based at tournament venue Clarence Park. Clarence club captain Brendan Duffy skipped his wife Joan, Trevor Ward and Trevor’s wife Ann to an eight-shot victory against Pam Fowler, John Atkins, Dick Jackman and Maurice Phillips.

Youth held sway in the Sunday Triples, with the £300 first prize going to the Ledbury trio Ben Harwood, who was 26 the next day, and brothers Dan (19) and Tom (14) Holmes. They beat locals Don Towie, Bob Rossiter (both Clarence) and Tiffany Ellis (Victoria) 8-7 in the final.

Finals’ results: Singles – C Gazzard (Victoria) 21, D Burbridge (unattached) 18.

Men’s Pairs – D Lewis (Gloucester City)/D Burbridge (unattached) 30, R Poynter (Abergavenny)/P Poynter (unattached) 12.

Mixed Pairs – D Lewis (Gloucester City)/S Harrison (Victoria) 26, M & S Cooper (Victoria) 17.

Men’s Triples – K James (Brunswick, W Australia)/T Pritchard (Clarence)/G Aldridge (St Andrews, Weston) 18, M Campbell, D Fairhurst, D Hurst (Victoria) 5.

Gala Fours – T Ward (Clarence)/A Ward/J Duffy (Wessex Ladies)/B Duffy (Clarence) 22, P Fowler (Clarence Ladies)/J Atkins/D Jackman/M Phillips (Clarence) 14.

Sunday Triples – Winners B Harwood, T Holmes, D Holmes (Ledbury); runners-up D Towie, B Rossiter (Clarence), T Ellis (Victoria).

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