THE long trip from Shropshire proved worth it for Callum Wraight as he claimed this year's BIG Smash crown with a 19-5 victory over Matt Gillies in the final at Dalton CC.

Wraight and Gillies were among the 128 bowlers from around the country who descended on the greens at Dalton and Askam over the bank holiday weekend.

The Shrewsbury man – ranked at the top of the game in the country – was one of the 64 players drawn to play the first three rounds at the cricket club, and he progressed smoothly through his opening two games before needing an end-off to defeat Mark Burdett in round three.

The pair were level at 16-16 and in the decider, Wraight bowled two feet over, while Burdett could only leave his bowl three feet short, meaning Wraight progressed to the last 16.

He defeated South Cumbrian Kieran Clark, who had knocked out one of the favourites, Darren Plenderleith, 19-14 in round three.

An 18-14 win over Jimmy Derby in the quarter-finals set up a clash with Walney bowler Zach Walker in the semi-finals, who clawed his way back from 13-4 down after 13 ends to trail just 14-11 going into end 19. However, Wraight bowled well to increase his advantage to 16-11 and progress to the decider.

His opponent there was Gillies, who began on the green at Askam and opened with the highest score of the round during a 27-6 win over A Sanderson.

He then progressed to the last 16 at Dalton courtesy of 21-15 and 19-8 wins in rounds two and three respectively.

An 18-9 triumph over A Gilpin saw Gillies through to the quarter-finals, where he defeated Phil Lee 18-5 and then overcame David Gwillam in a match which went to the final end, Gillies edging it 17-14 thanks to some superb bowling with his last wood.

In the final, Gillies took an early lead, winning the opening two ends to go 2-0 up. Wraight responded down the third end with a great single, though Gillies took control again on the next end to restore his two-point lead.

The first Power End, where points counted double, saw Wraight draw level and the following were contested with some great bowling by both of the players, but it was Wraight who came out with a 7-4 lead heading into the second Power End.

This proved to be a massive game-changer, with Wraight taking down a maximum of four point and increasing his lead to a commanding 11-4.

Gillies was not done yet though and won end 11 to claw a point back. However, Wraight found an extra gear and scored doubles on the next three ends to go17-5 ahead.

End 15, the third Power End, arrived and Gillies needed to score to keep alive his slim title hopes. Wraight sneaked in with his second wood a yard short of the block, only for Gillies' wood to stop two inches short and see his opponent crowned BIG Smash champion.

The organisers thanked sponsors Ross Estate Agency, Andy Rigg Carpets, The Old Vicarage, Brathay Lodge, Progression Solicitors, Chequers Hotel & Steakhouse, MGL Group, Paul Rawlinson at Barrow Golf Club, Driving Sales, Harry Barker Properties, Job Vacancies Direct, Huddle Hub, RFM Accountants, Sports Betting Syndicate, L&D Decorating, Strategic Placements, Charnleys Home & Garden, Stan and Kate Jones, Virginia House, Cumbria Training Centre, Market Street House, The Bridge Inn, Joe Murphy Flooring, Auto Diesel Technics, The Black Dog, Blake Henderson, CJS Decorating and Drakes Pride.

Thanks also went to greenkeepers Stan Jones and Norman Milburn, those who volunteered as markers and measures, the kitchen staff, and Crown Green Live for streaming the event live online.

Next year's BIG Smash has already been confirmed for Sunday, May 26.


Last 32 (Dalton CC): C Leishman 7 J Brown 17, C Johnson 6 P Kissock 20, S Kelly 20 A Thornton 13, M Alexander 4 J Derby 17, D Wardle 19 B Speed 12, S Waugh 5 P Jones 19, J Hynes 10 J Duffin 15, C Bly 17 G Gwillam 19, D Plenderleith 16 M Gilmore 10, J Galvin 18 C Willan 7, C Wraight 21 P Curwen 5, M Burdett 21 M Kneen 6, M Stewart 10 S Turnbull 18, N Wright 11 D Gwillam 17, A Ferris 6 M Richardson 21, K Clark 18 J Greenhalgh 10. Last 32 (Askam): M Clegg 17 D Proctor 17 (Proctor winning the end-off), D Bissell 10 R Moxham 17, A Gilpin 19 A Edwards 9, A Howie 15 B Simm 13, G Jones 18 C Fielding 5, J Reilly 14 M Curwen 18, Z Walker 14 D Miller 13, D Ferris 18 K Knowles 10, L Evans 16 K MacPake 10, B Lowden 17 T Whitehouse 19, J Gloag 15 M Gillies 21, L Brown 17 P Lee 21, D Naylor 19 D Kelly 8, B Thornton 14 I France 16, S Bailey 21 P Brown 4, T MacPake 19 M Hodson 6.

Last 16 (Dalton): D Plenderleith 14 K Clark 19, P Kissock 20 J Galvin 3, J Duffin 8 v J Brown 18, D Gwillam 17 M Richardson 6, D Wardle 14 P Jones 12, S Kelly 15 S Turnbull 14, M Burdett 16 C Wraight 16 (Wraight winning the end-off), J Derby 19 v G Gwillam 10. Last 16 (Askam): A Gilpin 20 S Bailey 18, D Naylor 16 M Curwen 16 (Curwen winning the end-off), I France 7 P Lee 17, T MacPake 6 R Moxham 18, L Evans 8 M Gillies 19, Z Walker 18 T Whitehouse 5, D Proctor 20 G Jones 9, D Ferris 25 A Howie 3. Last 16: J Brown 13 D Gwillam 17, C Wraight 20 K Clark 11, J Derby 18 S Kelly 9, D Wardle 18 P Kissock 9, A Gilpin 9 M Gillies 18, R Moxham 17 M Curwen 13, P Lee 19 D Ferris 14, Z Walker 19 D Proctor 5.

Quarter-finals: C Wraight 18 J Derby 14, P Lee v 5 M Gillies 18, Z Walker 15 R Moxham 15 (Walker winning the end-off), D Gwillam 17 D Wardle 12.

Semi-finals: Z Walker 11 C Wraight 16, M Gillies 17 D Gwillam 14.

Final: C Wraight 19 M Gillies 5.