IAN France was crowned winner of this year’s Sharples Lettings Grand Masters Trophy after overcoming Barry Lowden 21-13 in the final.

The competition at Hawcoat Park brought the top bowlers in the area this year together to battle it out for the prize, being open to the winners of Grand Masters qualifying competitions, the £500 handicap, Lawson Trophy, and merit or play-off winners in the Furness, Ulverston, Walney, Ladies or Senior Citizens leagues.

The early rounds saw eventual winner France in imperious form, first seeing off the host club’s David Hird 21-16 after being pegged back to 12-11 at one point and then accounting for defending champion Simon Perry 21-9.

It was a similar story in the quarter-finals as France beat Chris Johnson 21-10, but he found Big Smash winner Roy Moxham a much tougher test in the semis.

France found himself trailing 15-9, 17-12, 18-15 and 19-17 before levelling at 19 across, then Moxham claimed a single to be within a point of victory.

However, it was two singles for France which saw him book his place in the final, where Lowden would provide the opposition.

Lowden defeated Cumbria merit winner Danny Rogers 21-16 first up and then beat Jon Richardson 21-11, followed by a 21-6 triumph over Paul Hewitson to reach the final.

The final saw Lowden take an early 4-0 lead, but by the 14th end France was 11-8 up. A single to Lowden made it 9-11, when France accumalated nine unanswered points to lead 20-9.

Lowden then responded with two doubles before France found the title-winning point.

Sponsor John Sharples presented the prizes, and thanked Hawcoat Park for preparing a superb green, along with Joe Wardman and Greg Windsor for their help running the competition and the Hawcoat Park ladies for providing the refreshments.


Preliminary Round: Billy Harding 21 Caroline Bushell 13, Simon Perry 21 Alan Haines 13, David Hird 16 Ian France 21, Ethan Lowden 21 Ryan Smith 20, Mike Askew 14 Chris Johnson 21, Gareth Jones 21 Wendy Holmes 9, Fraser Rigg 21 Dave Harwood 11, Katy Wright 17 Paul Hewitson 21.

Round One: Harding 18 Roy Moxham 21, Dave Kent 9 Bob Parkinson 21, Perry 9 France 21, Ethan Lowden 18 Johnson 21, Jones 21 Rigg 11, Hewitson 21 Glenis McDonald 12, Jon Richardson 21 Billy Thornton 17, Barry Lowden 21 Danny Rogers 16.

Quarter-finals: Moxham 21 Parkinson 17, France 21 Johnson 10, Jones 15 Hewitson 21, Richardson 11 Lowden 21.

Semi-finals: Moxham 20 France 21, Hewitson 6 Lowden 21.

Final: France 21 Lowden 13.