Stowmarket’s Katherine Rednall backed up her recent world title success by winning the inaugural Risbygate Bowls Masters at the weekend.
The much-awaited competition was played out last Sunday to a packed house of enthusiastic bowlers.
All of the top names previously agreed attended and the knockout competition started at 10am sharp, with some world-class bowling taking place throughout the day.
Liam Botten, one of Risbygate’s qualifiers, was drawn with ex-world champion Mervyn King and won the contest to progress through to the quarter-finals.
Mark Royal, Risbygate’s England international, played Martin Heitzman in a keenly-fought contest, which finished with Royal taking the match to move into the last eight of the tournament.
The second session started with Wayne Willgress brushing aside Billy Jackson and Dan Brown knocking out Greg Harlow, this year’s men’s World Championship runner-up, which was the second time Harlow had lost at Risbygate in recent months.
Martin Rumball, the second Risbygate qualifier, drew former world champion Les Gillett, who recently won the World Indoor Pairs and was a semi-finalist in the World Singles.
Gillett showed some class to ease out Rumball, while newly-crowned Ladies’ World Champion Rednall dispatched Martin Spencer, and Matthew Orrey overtook Rebecca Field.
In the quarter-finals, Botten lost out to Willgress, who was now showing consistent form, and Royal saw off Graham Smith to also reach the semi-finals.
The other two quarter-finals saw Brown go down to Orrey, and Rednall wear down Gillett.
The semi-final line-up produced even more excitement, with the home crowd willing on Royal, but Willgress held strong and made it through to the final.
On the other rink, Orrey came up against a determined ladies’ champion and had to settle for second best, which set up a final between Willgress and Rednall.
After a hard fought game, Rednall proved why she is the Ladies’ World Champion, running out the winner with a final score of 9-6, 7-5.
The tournament was well supported by local businesses, specifically Armstrongs Funeral Services, G.L. Cars, CMC Properties, Pitkin & Ruddock, Pro-Flat, Towergate Insurance and True Vehicle Sales.
The inaugural staging of the tournament drew plenty of positive feedback from the players, who were so impressed with the playing surface and general arrangements, including hospitality, that they would be happy to return next year, at which time the club would look to make improvements and offer even greater prizes within this clash of Masters.
With a host of sporting activities available, the indoor bowls hall is a superb example of the facilities offered at the Risbygate Sports Club, which is most certainly a hidden gem within the heart of Bury St Edmunds.
Risbygate Bowls Masters results: Round 1: L Botten bt M King 6-5, 6-7, 2-1; W Willgress bt B Jackson 3-5, 5-3, 2-0; M Royal bt M Heitzman 9-2, 11-1; G Smith bt E Falkner 7-2, 2-7, 2-0; D Brown bt G Harlow 2-7, 6-1, 2-1; M Orrey by R Field 5-4, 9-6; K Rednall bt M Spencer 6-5, 6-5; L Gillett bt M Rumball 6-5, 9-1.
Quarter-finals: W Willgress bt L Botten 3-8, 11-4, 2-0; M Royal bt G Smith 9-6, 2-7, 2-0; M Orrey bt D Brown 9-1, 8-0; K Rednall bt L Gillett 4-9, 5-4, 2-0.
Semi-finals: W Willgress by M Royal 3-4, 8-3, 2-1; K Rednall bt M Orrey 9-4, 6-5.
Final: K Rednall bt W Willgress 9-6, 7-5.