Experience helps on way to success
THE experienced Loughor pairing of Nigel Cunnah and Ryan Jenkins won the final Open tournament of the year run by the Llanelli and District Bowls League at Parc Howard, Llanelli.
The inaugural running of the Arthur Cambrey Memorial pairs competition opened on a gloriously sunny Sunday morning, with a maximum entry of 96 bowlers taking part.
The field was split into eight sections, with the round robin format ensuring that each pair played a minimum of five matches.
The eight section winners progressed to the following day's knockout stages.
Two pairs came through Sunday's games undefeated. Cunnah and Jenkins swept all before them in Section A and the Kidwelly pairing of brothers Steffan and Bedwyr Harries, who conquered all opposition in Section E.
After a tight opening game against the Blue Anchor combination of Eric Davies and Ryan Pritchard, an inch-perfect final bowl from Steffan decided the issue by a single shot.
The following day Cunnah and Jenkins continued their progress with a 12-3 win over Section B winners David Pike and John Edwards of Calsonic, while Section C qualifiers Andrew Brown and Marc Williams of Havelock Park comfortably defeated Clouie John and Phil Nicholas of Dafen by 17 shots to 3.
The tightest match of the round saw Steffan and Bedwyr Harries prevail by 11-9 against the accomplished Llangennech pairing of Idris Jones and his namesake Ross, recent winner of the prestigious A J Stacey Open Singles title.
The remaining quarter-final saw the only pair left in the competition from outside Carmarthenshire, Jonathan Williams of Dunvant, and Neil Taylor of Glyncorrwg, winners of the Swansea Festival Pairs title a couple of weeks previously, come out on top against Gorseinon's father and son combination, Alan and Mark Watkins.
As to be expected, this was a close encounter, with only two shots separating the protagonists at the end, and the score 11-9 in favour of Williams and Taylor.
In the semi-finals Williams and Taylor seemed to be feeling the effect of their earlier match and were soundly defeated by the Kidwelly pairing of the brothers Harries 17-3. The other semi also saw an easy win, this time for Cunnah and Jenkins, who had little trouble in disposing of Havelock's Brown and Williams 20-7.
The stage was set for an enthralling final between the two most consistent pairs in the competition, but unfortunately the weather closed in and with six ends played and the scores level, play had to be suspended for 30 minutes.
The Loughor pair handled the conditions better after the restart, got away quickly, and opened up an eight-shot lead.
The young Kidwelly pair fought back gamely and succeeded in reducing the deficit to just four shots at the end, but Cunnah and Jenkins held on to claim the £400 prize money and become the first names on the new trophy donated by Alison Cambrey in memory of her late father, who was a generous and supportive sponsor of bowls in Llanelli for a number of years.