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Grapes defy odds with dream debut

GRAPES Bowling Club made history by winning the Warrington and North Cheshire Association s major knockout trophy in their first year of membership.

GRAPES Bowling Club made history by winning the Warrington and North Cheshire Association's major knockout trophy in their first year of membership.

But in a sense, they also repeated it! They have followed the example of a team from the same Runcorn pub about 50 years ago, who achieved a similar feat.

Grapes beat the odds to triumph in the Finlayson Cup final for 2001 at Rylands Recreation Club.

They overcame a 30-point handicap, travel problems en route, missed practice and bad weather to topple Pierpoints B by nine chalks.

They took eight of the 12 blocks with Bob Johnston their most convincing winner with a 21-9, while George Gibson, who triumphed 21-17 at number 11, was named man-of-the-match to round off a memorable occasion.

A crowd of about 250 watched the Halton Road club s victory and the accompanying Stan Bann Cup final.

The significance of the result wasn't lost on Grapes stalwart and team member Ray Worthington.

He said: 'In the early 1950s at the formation of the Warrington and North Cheshire Bowls Association, the Grapes were founder members and won a trophy in their first year as we have.

'I think the players would have included Joe and Jim Ainsworth, Frank Banner and Jack Taylor.

'The landlord of the Grapes was a Mr Price, who also played. He came to the Grapes from the Walton Arms and prior to that he had been a publican in Warrington. He later moved onto the Weaver Hotel in Weston Point.

'I don't know at the moment how long that Grapes team stayed in the Warrington League because in the late 50s or early 60s, the same players would have formed the Runcorn Bowls Club and entered the Mid Cheshire League, playing out of Rock Park.'

Grapes current members signed up for the W& NCBA this season after quitting the Widnes League for a new challenge.

They still have high-flying teams in the Run-corn and District Carlsberg-Tetley Association and the Frodsham League.

'We had just about everything against us in the Finlaysonfinal,' added Ray. 'We had only arrived at 1.35pm 25 minutes before the start after being snarled up in queueing traffic.

'Due to our lateness, only half of the team were, under the rules, allowed to have a practice and this was a great disadvantage to our second six players.

'Then, halfway through the first four games, the rain came down with accompanying thunder and lightning.'

But the worst of the weather was saved for the middle four.They played in very heavy rain with a good amount of surface water which, despite the bad weather relenting, was still a problem for the back four.

'To win through in such conditions, on a green we hadn t seen before and with only half the team able to practice, says quite a lot for the teamspirit.'


B (45) 240: J Brown 21, J Lythgoe 11; R Worthington 18, D Warburton 21; B Watson 15, G Brunt 21; B Shaw 21, H Glover 12; R Johnston 21, J Massey 9; J Terretta 21, R Sherratt 19; E Charlesworth 20, B Buckley 21; B Morrison 21, P W illiams 18; G Grounds 21, B Johnson 15; D W illiams 21, S Phillips 10; G Gibson 21, B Mills 17; P Crowe 13, R Lawson 21.

Grapes, favourites for the W&NCBA Division Two title, beat Pierpoints A 11-3 on Monday.

They lie second, three points behind, but will entertain fellow contenders Tetley in the last game.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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