Gill upsets the favourite in the final

GILL Fry of Gloucester Spa, runner-up two years ago, shocked hot favourite Stef Branfield to win the singles championship at the Weston Ladies’ Open Bowls Tournament.

GILL Fry of Gloucester Spa, runner-up two years ago, shocked hot favourite Stef Branfield to win the singles championship at the Weston Ladies’ Open Bowls Tournament.

However, the 21-year-old Branfield, and England junior international, had some consolation in winning the tournament’s first-ever Unified Singles event, which was competed for by 20 men and 20 ladies over two sets of nine ends with a three-end play-off.

The consistent Fry, who had beaten a couple of fancied players on the way to the final, always just about had the edge against Branfield. Trailing 9-8 after 11 ends, she led by 15-9 three ends later, then 19-16. Branfield, not at her best, battled well to be just 19-18 down, but a two finished her off on the 23rd end.

Two years ago, the popular Fry was runner-up to former England indoor international Margaret Dyer (Clevedon Promenade), who this time was one of Branfield’s victims on her way to the final.


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In the Unified Singles final, Clarence’s former club champion David Stott started well and took the first set convincingly. However, Branfield found her game to tie it up at 1-1 and won the three-end play-off 2-0.

Having reached three semi-finals, under tournament rules Branfield had to drop out of one and her mother Jacquie took her place in the pairs semi-final. She and Clevedon clubmate Laura Holden were well beaten by the Bristol Arrow duo Pat Marsh and Jackie Ind, who finished them off with a six on the 19th end, the last played, for victory by 25-12.

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This meant that Marsh had to play two finals on the day, each of potentially 21 ends, having already got through in the mixed pairs with her Arrow clubmate Tony McGregor.

Well though they bowled in the final against Margaret Dyer and Wiltshire Middleton Cup player Nick Grenfell, they were 15-7 down after seven ends and there was no way back as they lost 24-12.

The final event of a windy, chilly day was the pairs final, which saw the well-supported St Andrews duo of Jackie Ware and Meg Favis win the title for the second year running. They beat an understandably tiring Pat Marsh and Jackie Ind 22-15, with the match finishing an end early.

The Gala Fours was won by the Kings Heath (Birmingham) trio of Pat Aston, Sheila Godfrey and Audrey Cox, with the help of local bowler Malcolm Campbell (Victoria), who usually does well in such events.

They beat Clarence husband and wife Mick and Carol Edlin and the St Dunstans players Joyce Lamb and Hilary Panting 20-16. Third place went to husband and wife Ann (Wessex Ladies) and Richard Crawford (Clarence), Clarence club secretary Tony Mannion and Roger Fry (Gloucester Spa), 23-13 winners over Judy (St Andrews) and Barrie (Clarence) Forse, Pat Hawkins (Monmouth) and Joan Butler (Barbourne).

At the presentation of prizes, special mention was made of Paul and Maureen Tubb, tournament registrar and secretary for the last five years, who are retiring. They received gifts in appreciation of their hard work in organising both the men’s and ladies’ tournaments.

Played on the three greens at Clarence Park, Weston, this is one of a few ladies’ open tournaments still surviving and Paul Tubb said afterwards that the committee would be looking at a probable change of timetable and perhaps an evening triples event for next year.

RESULTS

Singles winner Gill Fry (Gloucester Spa), �150 and Gaze Cup; runner-up Stef Branfield (Clevedon) �75 and Salisbury Cup; semi-finalists Kay Gent (Caerglow, Gloucester), Ann White (Bristol Arrow) �30 each.

Unified Singles – winner Stef Branfield �150; runner-up David Stott (Clarence) �75.

Pairs – winners Jackie Ware and Meg Favis (St Andrews, Weston) �75 each and Gray Cup; runners-up Jackie Ind and Pat Marsh (Bristol Arrow) �40 each; semi-finalists Jacquie Branfield/ Laura Holden (Clevedon) and Kay Gent/Pauline Gunn (Caerglow, Gloucester) �40 per pair.

Mixed pairs – winners Margaret Dyer (Clevedon Promenade) and Nick Grenfell (Box, Wilts) �75 each and Alpha Cup; runners-up Tony McGregor and Pat Marsh (Bristol Arrow) �40 each and Ken Blake Cup; semi-finalists Audrey Powell (Wessex)/Malcolm Dare (Torquay) and Kay Gent/David Gent (Caerglow, Gloucester) �40 per pair.

Ron Swain Trophy for North Somerset best non-winner in singles – Margaret Dyer.

Gala Fours – winners Malcolm Campbell (Victoria, Weston), Sheila Godfrey, Pat Aston and Audrey Cox (all Kings Heath, Birmingham) �100; runners-up Mick Edlin (Clarence), Hilary Panting, Joyce Lamb (both St Dunstans, Worcester), Carol Edlin (Clarence Ladies) �60; third place Ann Crawford (Wessex Ladies), Roger Fry (Gloucester Spa), Tony Mannion, Richard Crawford (both Clarence) �40; fourth place Judy Forse (St Andrews, Weston), Pat Hawkins (Monmouth), Joan Butler (Barbourne, Worcester), Barrie Forse (Clarence) �20.

Sunday Triples – winners Gill Meadows, Dave Smith, Brian Burleigh (Dursley, Gloucs) �300; runners-up Kate Gent/David Gent/Pauline Gunn (Caerglow, Gloucester) �150; third Joan Duffy (Wessex Ladies), Barrie Underwood, Brendan Duffy (both Clarence) �75; fourth Roger Tasker, Mary Tasker, Shirley Weadon (Ashcombe Park, Weston) �45.

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