Bryant holds a master class

BOWLS: For many spectators at Worthing, the highlight of the fortnight's feast has been the opportunity to view the return of the master to the green. As crowds have gathered they have once again admired the strokes of genius and cooed with admiration as reminders of the golden glory days are rekindled.

BOWLS

For many spectators at Worthing, the highlight of the fortnight's feast has been the opportunity to view the return of the master to the green.

As crowds have gathered they have once again admired the strokes of genius and cooed with admiration as reminders of the golden glory days are rekindled.

David Bryant, winner of three world singles championships, six national singles medals, five Commonwealth Games golds and 11 Somerset singles championships has revisited his second home, the headquarters of English bowls.

The spectators have not been disappointed as – making his 49th campaign in national championships – the legend who still carries such an aura, progressed to the third round.

With the dignity and sportsmanship that have been the trademarks of the master, David was to shock one of the current stars of national bowling, Nicky Brett, a former national and British champion and international star in his own right.

Most Read

The result, though, was alarmingly decisive – a victory for the sport's greatest ambassador, who made his first trip to the nationals in 1953, by 20 shots to six.

Yesterday, the spectators surrounded the green once more as Mike Langley and David probed for a place in the quarter-final of this year's national pairs.

Yet sentimental hearts sank as Warwickshire duo Martin Timms and Trevor Francis edged out their hero in an encounter that predictably left the crowd on the edge of their seats until the last Bryant bowl had been delivered.

The trademark driving stance was set and those in deckchairs sat patiently awaiting the Australian style backswing that has demolished hopes of so many challengers.

On this occasion the firing shot was more moderate in velocity and did not detect its target. The resultant handshake may have marked the end of this year's campaign, but surely not the end of the run of national

championships.

Look out bowlers everywhere. David wants to collect his 50th championship year medal and the chances are he will!

The last 16 stage was certainly not without upsets as Alan Mayne and David Holt were surprisingly beaten by Darren and Mark Griffiths of the Isle of Wight.

Our victors from the Acton Bridge Bowls Club made a good start, leading 10-2 after six ends and must have felt in control.

But a dramatic change of form and fortune saw the Griffiths set about the favourites, scoring 13 shots without reply over the next five ends.

The second half was dominated by the Cowes Medina pair, eventually returning a 23-18 card.

If one gold medallist had fallen another was to follow as Simon Skelton, one of the heroes of the Commonwealth fours, was squeezed out of the competition on an extra end.

Alan Theobald and England international Chris Palmer were the winners of this nailbiting thriller in yet another Worthing extra-end finish.

Norfolk's Tim Stone and Philip Barr, of Freethorpe, failed to reach the quarter-final as they bowed out 22-15 to Roger Godley and Vincent O'Neill of Middlesbrough.

There was better fortune, however, for Bedfordshire bowlers Mark Nicholson and Glyn Milbourne who defeated the Italian/Scottish combination of Rinaldo Capaldi and Graham Scott from the Murrayfield Bowling Club in Essex.

The afternoon fixtures saw Durham's Alan Theobald and Chris Palmer gaining a 20 shots to three advantage over the Bedfordshire duo, before going on to win 26-8 in an early declaration.

Grant Burgess, who won the EBA Singles in 1998 and the Triples in 1987, and Mike Stones found their ten shot lead slipping away as Warwickshire's Carl Finch and Mike Caldwell made them fight over the final stages, but successfully defended a five shot cushion on the last end.

Warwickshire's other representatives, Martin Timms and Trevor Francis, were in particularly good form as they prevailed against Yorkshire's Roger Godley and Vincent O'Neill.

The Yoplait EBA championships continue today with the singles, in which there are high hopes of a successful run from county champion Kelvyn Earthroll of the Ipswich Bowling Club and Geoff Ramsbottom of Beccles.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter