South Yorkshire played Cheshire in the British Crown Green Senior County Championship with the home leg up the steps at Whiteley Woods and the away leg at Knutsford.
The first four jacks at each end suggested that a close finish was the most probable outcome over the 24 games.
In Sheffield Chris Hill won 21-11, Ernie Wearing 21-17and Chris Kelly 21-19, whilst over the Pennines Chris Brown and John Sneddon won to 15 and 20 respectively, but would Joe Thorpe’s 21-19 defeat from 20-9 down prove crucial?
Cheshire edged the middle order with Glynn Cookson showing his class at Whiteley winning the man-of-the-match award courtesy of his 21-9 win. Andy Turner, Joe Westell and Andy Whitaker had home wins to 16, 14 and 13 respectively to provide a home lead of 154-132, whilst Paul Bailey and Kevin Nixon’s 21-19 away wins kept the deficit respectable at 137-157. So there were only a couple of chalks in the tie after eight jacks at each venue.
Young Neil Fletcher posted a great 21-6 score in Knutsford to put South Yorkshire comfortably ahead but ex-Whiteley Woods player Ryan Clark was getting buried on his old home green at 15-3. At this point he got hold of the jack and started dancing after his bowls and wafting them in, which seemed to unsettle his opponent who seemed to lose all sense of length and line, allowing Ryan to coast home with an 18 break without exactly wrapping them.
Surely this gave South Yorkshire an unassailable advantage, especially as Richard Atkin won 21-16 at home and Johnny Hardwick 21-19 away, but bad news filtered through to Whiteley of 21-5 and 21-11 losses in Cheshire for a 224-195 deficit. And back man Richard Jackson was 15-16 down with Cheshire needing one point for a draw and two for the win, but the right man was on the green when it mattered and Jacko won five points in a row to seal a 230-200 home aggregate and an overall 425-424 win which sets up a decider in July against Shropshire who have also beaten Cheshire and Merseyside.