John braves the elements to win Wigan bowls tournament

Geoffrey (left) presents the trophy to winner John Cooper

Geoffrey (left) presents the trophy to winner John Cooper

1976 saw the hottest summer average temperature in the UK since records began and the country suffered a severe drought. It was one of the driest, sunniest and warmest summers of the 20th century.

However, just days after the Government appointed Denis Howell as ‘Minister for Drought’, in the last week of August, severe thunderstorms brought rain to some places for the first time in weeks.

In 2017, we haven’t had such hot temperatures and certainly not drought conditions but, as sure as eggs are eggs, when the Bowling Group Secretary Len Hart, decided on a date for the group finals it was a sure thing that rain would fall. And so it did.

Rain, that drizzle, that ‘fine’ rain according to Peter Kay’s gran that really wets you! Combine this with a chill wind cutting across the green at St Matthew’s Bowling Club, Highfield, and you have some idea of the conditions facing the contestants. Not to be deterred by such conditions, the intrepid bowlers persevered and a fine contest ensued, with an excellent display of bowling appreciated by all present.

Pictured top left: Geoffrey (left) congratulates Len Hart. Pictured top right: Semi-finalist Keith Woodhall (right) receives his prize from Geoffrey. Pictured bottom left: finalist Trevor Jones (right) receives his prize from Geoffrey. Pictured bottom right: Runner-up Bill Wilding (right) receives his trophy from Geoffrey.

Pictured top left: Geoffrey (left) congratulates Len Hart. Pictured top right: Semi-finalist Keith Woodhall (right) receives his prize from Geoffrey. Pictured bottom left: finalist Trevor Jones (right) receives his prize from Geoffrey. Pictured bottom right: Runner-up Bill Wilding (right) receives his trophy from Geoffrey.

After a hard-fought contest, the final was contested by two left-handed bowlers, with John Cooper taking the spoils over Bill Wilding in a very close and well-contested final. Trevor Jones and Keith Woodall were the losing semi-finalists. In presenting the trophies, the Wigan Group Chairman Geoffrey Porter thanked everyone who had taken part and congratulated the winners. He particularly thanked Len Hart for his organisation of the event and for his hard work throughout the season.

Though the weather was dull and wet, with a chill in the air, the atmosphere amongst the competitors throughout the afternoon was anything but. There was a warm, friendly, (though very competitive), and enjoyable feeling to the afternoon and all left for home having given their best, looking forward to next year for a chance of getting their hands on the trophy. For 2017 belonged to John Cooper!

Anyone with an interest in bowling, or fancy their chances against the rest, can feel free to turn up and take part in the competition next summer, whatever that may bring.

Some of the competitors at the tournament.

Some of the competitors at the tournament.