Margaret is the new ladies’ champion

Victoria Bowls Club member Margaret Hillman won the 59th Weston Ladies’ Open Bowls tournament.

LOCAL player Margaret Hillman was the surprise winner of the singles title in the 59th Weston Ladies’ Open Bowls tournament, which was again sponsored by local opticians Optika.

The member of the Victoria club, Weston, entered the singles only as an afterthought and had expected to lose in the first round. However, she kept on winning to reach the final, in which she faced Clevedon’s Somerset County Johns Trophy player Sue Bird.

In an exciting final, it was nip-and-tuck, with Bird, just behind for much of the game, edging ahead 16-14. But then Hillman moved up a gear, earning a total of eight shots without reply in three ends to win by six.

Another player to finish the tournament amazed at her success was Sarah Lowman, of Winscombe. She was brought in to partner ex-England indoor international Margaret Dyer when the latter’s original partner had to withdraw.

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Like Margaret Hillman, Lowman had expected to lose in every round, but she had the right partner in the veteran Dyer. Running up and down the rink like a teenager, the ebullient Dyer was in brilliant form in the final against the St Andrews pair of Ann Campbell and Jackie Ware.

Ware was attempting to win the pairs for the third year running, having been partnered by Meg Favis previously. A large and enthusiastic crowd became engrossed in a high-quality match, with Campbell often matching Dyer at skip.

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When Dyer and Lowman were leading 15-12 on the 18th of the 21 ends, Dyer played a brilliant shot to take out Campbell’s shot wood and make three of it for her side. She and Lowman won eventually by five shots.

Former Clarence club champion Barrie Forse, now at St Andrews, was a deserved winner of the unified singles final, against Warwick lady bowler Pat Bax. He took the first of the nine-end sets comfortably and, despite Bax drawing the second with a three on the last end, Forse was the winner.

The much-anticipated mixed pairs final between two married couples from Gloucester turned out to be one-sided, with Caerglow’s Pauline and Roy Gunn proving too good for 2011 singles champion Gill Fry and her husband Roger.

Fifteen-year-old Wessex Ladies’ player Jennifer McMillan gave an outstanding exhibition of leading as her team won the final of the gala fours. Her skip Mike Clay was also in great form, one time drawing shot down the swinging hand when his team were six down.

This was the last tournament in its present format. Next year’s will comprise all one-day events in an effort to stop the decline in the number of entries.

Finals day results - singles final: Sue Bird (Clevedon) 16, Margaret Hillman (Victoria, Weston) 22.

Unified singles final: Barrie Forse (St Andrews, Weston) 3, Pat Bax (Warwick) 2. Set scores: 10-3, 8-8.

Pairs final: Margaret Dyer (Clevedon Promenade)/Sarah Lowman (Winscombe) 19, Jackie Ware/Ann Campbell (St Andrews, Weston) 14.

Mixed pairs final: Pauline and Roy Gunn (Caerglow, Gloucester) 24, Gill and Roger Fry (Gloucester Spa) 6.

Gala fours first-place play-off: Jennifer McMillan (Wessex Ladies, Weston), Pat Phillips (Clarence Ladies, Weston), Andy McMillan (St Andrews, Weston), Mike Clay (Clarence, Weston) 21, Malcolm Campbell (Victoria, Weston), Mike, Kay and Joan Butler (Barbourne, Worcester) 16.

Third/fourth place play-off: Pam Fowler, Marlene Woods (Clarence Ladies, Weston), Joan Duffy (Wessex Ladies, Weston), Veronica Jones (Clarence Ladies, Weston) 11, Jill Kemsley (Churchdown, Gloucester), Jo Palmer, Sandra Curtis, Matt Curtis (all Gloucester City) 22.

PRIZE-WINNERS at the 2012 Weston Ladies’ Open Bowls tournament - singles winner: Margaret Hillman (Victoria, Weston), �250 and the Gaze Cup; runner-up Sue Bird (Clevedon), �125 and the Salisbury Cup; semi-finalists Mary Hawkins (Wessex Ladies, Weston) and Gill Fry (Gloucester Spa), �50 each.

Unified singles: Barrie Forse (St Andrews, Weston), �150; runner-up Pat Bax (Warwick), �75. North Somerset lady best non-winner: Sue Bird (Clevedon), wins the Ron Swain Trophy.

Pairs: Margaret Dyer (Clevedon Promenade)/Sarah Lowman (Winscombe), �100 each and the Gray Cup; Jackie Ware/Ann Campbell (St Andrews, Weston), �50 each; semi-finalists Maureen Edwards (Thornfield/Barbara Mumford (Welford, Warwicks) and Joan Davis/Mary Davis (Wessex Ladies, Weston).

Mixed pairs: Pauline and Roy Gunn (Caerglow, Gloucester), �100 each and the Alpha Cup; Gill and Roger Fry (Gloucester Spa), �50 each and the Ken Blake Cup; semi-finalists: Audrey Cox (Kings’s Heath, Birmingham/Tony Mannion (Clarence, Weston) and Pat and Clive Hawkins (Monmouth), �20 each.

Gala fours (sponsored by local clubs Clarence men, Clarence and Wessex Ladies): Andy McMillan (St Andrews, Weston), Jennifer McMillan (Wessex Ladies, Weston), Pat Phillips (Clarence Ladies, Weston)/Marie McMillan (Wessex Ladies, Weston), Mike Clay (Clarence, Weston), �100; Malcolm Campbell (Victoria, Weston), Mike, Joan and Kay Butler (all Barbourne, Worcester), �60; 3rd: Jill Kemsley (Churchdown, Gloucester), Jo Palmer, Sandra Curtis, Matt Curtis (all Gloucester City), �40; 4th: Veronica Jones, Marlene Woods/Shirley Searle, Pam Fowler (all Clarence, Weston), Joan Duffy (Wessex Ladies, Weston).

Sunday triples: Pauline Gunn, Dave and Kay Gent (all Caerglow, Gloucester) �300; Neil, Mike and Joan Butler (Barbourne, Worcester), �150; 3rd: Len Tompkins, Ron Wilks and Barbara Clarke (Gloucester City), �75; 4th: Judy Forse (St Andrews, Weston), Clive and Pat Hawkins (Monmouth), �45.

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