Morton and Popple sing in the rain at Whittlesey

Parkway pair Tristan Morton and Catherine Popple both splashed their way to a hat-trick of titles at the Huntingdonshire Bowls county finals at Whittlesey Manor (July 28).

Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 8:00 am
Women's fours finalists, from left Angie Morton, Sophie Morton, Merisha McKernan and Chloe Brett. Photo: David Lowndes.

Persistent rain failed to deter the players who showed great determination and fortitude to complete the near nine-hour programme on a green that withstood the battering, enabling the players to parade their talents without too much detriment to the quality of their performance.

With the finalists in all but two of the events – Shotbowl Champion of Champions and the Stuart & Co Shield - being guaranteed their places in the Bowls England National Championships in Leamington this month by winning their semi-finals, it was, therefore, not essential for matches to go the full distance.

Consequently, most of the finals were reduced in length, especially as a number of the competitors were involved in two or more events on the day.

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Nick Brett in action at the Hunts County FInals at Whittlesey Manor. Photo: David Lowndes.

In fact, Morton was on the green no fewer than five times as he also figured for his club in the Stuart & Co Shield at the end of the day.

He won both the singles finals at the expense of England colleague Nick Brett (Warboys), 17-12 in the two-bowl and 11-10 in the four-bowl, and skipped his brother Ean and Mike Robertson to the triples title, 20-12 against Sawtry youngsters Matt and Sam Nickerson and Toby Furzeland.

The one that got away was the pairs with his brother as they were beaten on the last end – 18-17 – by Warboys duo Simon Leader and Joe Randall.

Catherine Popple opened her campaign by guiding Parkway colleagues Rebeccca Moorbey, Chloe Brett and Jean Baker to a comfortable 22-10 win over clubmates Sophie and Angie Morton, Merisha McKernan and Julie Masters in the fours.

Hunts county finalists at Manor Bowls Club, Whittlesey. Photo: David Lowndes.

Sarah Newson then joined Baker and Popple to win the triples, 10-5 against another Parkway trio in Emma Thurston, Val Newson and Pat Reynolds, and then Popple took the four-bowl singles honours, 21-19 against Buckden’s Juliet May.

Her only defeat on the day came with Sarah Newson in the pairs, a last end 8-6 reverse at the hands of Thurston and Reynolds, who duly avenged their defeat in the triples.

Nick Brett didn’t go home empty handed as the former World Indoor Champion skipped a Warboys rink of Simon Leader, Lewis Baker and Ed Elmore to a narrow 11-10 win in the fours against Whittlesey Manor’s Steve Roden, Graham Agger, Martin Welsford and Peter Brown.

Elmore doubled up by winning the men’s junior singles, 15-7 against Papworth’s Harry Ward, while Chloe Brett had mixed fortunes in her two singles, losing 21-4 to Rebecca Moorbey in the junior singles, but beating Sophie Purell (St Ives) 15-8 in the two-bowl singles.

The Shotbowl Champion of Champions, a mixed singles event, went the way of Richard Wilson (Hemingford), a 21-4 winner against Jorja Jackson (Holywell-cum-Needingworth).

The Stuart & Co Shield, a men’s double rink event, produced a fittingly dramatic conclusion to the day’s events.

Host club Whittlesey Manor pipped Parkway on an extra end to collect the £200 first prize, a just reward for hosting well on a difficult day.