Yorkshire County bowler Stuart King edges out Spen Victoria’s Andy Gallagher in Winter Sweep final
Yorkshire County player Stuart King made a winning debut in the Spen Victoria Winter Sweep, sponsored by Re New Windows, of Cleckheaton.
In his first appearance in the event he triumphed in a thrilling final against Spen bowler Andy Gallagher.
Stuart was favourite on paper, but playing on his own green Andy certainly was not going to be easy pickings for the county bowler.
Stuart went 9-3 up, then 14-7, but Andy never gave up and after 21 ends the score was level at 14 across. The lead swapped hands for a few ends, but at 19-19 after 29 ends it was Andy who led two good bowls to lie game. Stuart chose to strike, probably hoping to save just one chalk, but incredibly he hit the right bowl and somehow finished with the pair he needed.
Last week’s winner Jack Hargreaves was unable to attend to defend his title due to other commitments. Also, crowd favourite and top bowler Callum Wraight was involved in a team competition in the Midlands. But even before play started you could still struggle to pick the winner from the top field of entries.
The first round threw up some close games, but in the main the expected players progressed to round two when Yorkshire county man Kez Smith beat Huddersfield’s Derek Hewitt 21-14.
Last week’s runner-up Mark Armitage lost 21-17 to the in- form Neil Slattery, from Huddersfield, who was following up his first round victory over county player Liam Griffin..
Spen’s Gallagher just beat Lancashire county’s Chris Bly 21-20 while Yorkshire Ladies player Suzy Ladbrooke followed her good win over Dave Poole in round one with a 21-16 success against Spen’s Pete Ellis.
Gareth Coates as usual was going through games in his usual manner, a comfortable 21-4 win to proceed. Another pre-tournament favourite Chris Mordue progressed with a 21-10 win over Leeds’ Warren Wilson.
Yorkshire’s King beat previous winner Mally Fowler 21-15 while another Yorkshire county player, Gary Wike, easily beat Dave Norris, of Leeds, 21-4.
At the quarter finals stage it was still difficult to pick out the winner.
Kez was always in control against Neil, winning 21-12, but Andy was pushed close by Suzy before winning 21-18. The players were level at 8-8 after 10 ends, but Andy went 19-11 up and seemed in control. However, Suzy had other ideas, scoring the next seven points. However, at the next end Andy got the pair he needed to get home
Three-times winner Gareth played the prolific Chris, who has won everything in the game. But from what looked on paper like being a ‘ding dong’ Gareth played near as usual and Chris struggled, resulting in a one-sided 21-7 win.
The last quarter-final saw Stuart and Gary, Yorkshire county and Lower Hopton teammates up against each other with Stuart winning 21-10.
In the first of the semi-finals Kez went 5-1 up, but Andy dug in and after 18 ends it was 10-9.
Kez continued to lead but after 24 ends Andy had pulled back to 14 across. Kez again went in front, up 17-14, but after 31 ends it was Andy leading for the first time in the game at 19-17.
Kez managed a couple more points before losing 21-19.
Currently two of the best bowlers about, Gareth and Stuart's semi lived up to its expectations. After 11 ends it was 8-8. Neither player could shake off their opponent, both playing really well and striking accurately when needed.
At 16 ends it was 12-12, at 21 ends 16-16 and at 25 ends 19-19. On the 26th end it was Stuart who found the two points to get over the line.
There is a full 44 entries for this week’s Sweep. Hot food and drinks are available all day from 9.15am, bar open from 11am.