By Liam Sykes

Ryan Clark lifted the Weston Park Trophy for the first time and here’s what happened with the last 16 on finals day at Brockholes Bowling Club.

Merseysider Matt Gilmore and outright favourite Jack Dyson got down to business quickly and effectively with 21-06 and 21-02 wins over Johnny Orbell and Ben Halliday respectively.

The fantastic standard of bowling continued in what many had identified as their pick of the last 16 games between Ryan Clark and James Wilcox, two of Yorkshire’s most in form players over recent times.

Clark edged this one 21-14 in what turned out to be a real tussle between two of the game’s juggernauts.

Another hotly anticipated match-up in the last 16 between Josh Mordue and Graeme Wilson proved to really have some meat on the bones with Mordue doing enough to get home with a 21-18 win against one of the game’s best ever.

Other results from the last 16 round:

Chris Ellis 13-21 Paul Bailey

Callum Mailer 16-21 Gaz Lally

Dan Edmonds 12-21 Jon Terretta

Darryl Harrap 21-18 Ryan Mitchell

The quarter final round began with what, in reality, ended up in a comfortable victory for Matt Gilmore against the favourite Jack Dyson, by a score of 21-13.

Gilmore never looked threatened by Dyson who will be bitterly disappointed to not have bettered his previous two years as runner-up in the competition. Despite this, there won’t be many people who wouldn’t back Dyson to get his hands on the title next year.

Given his past experience on the Brockholes green and being a former team-mate and friend of Paul Sykes, the man in whose memory the competition is held, Dyson will no doubt be desperate to add this title to his already impressive list of honours.

Ryan Clark receives his trophy from Liam Sykes and son Marco, aged five.

Other quarter-final results:

Ryan Clark 21-19 Paul Bailey

Gaz Lally 21-13 Jon Terretta

Darryl Harrap 10-21 Josh Mordue

Moving into the semi-finals, this is where the standard of bowling really started to intensify.

Matt Gilmore v Ryan Clark was the pick of the semi-finals and was live streamed to thousands watching via Facebook.

Both players had enjoyed success throughout the day over the longer lengths and went toe-to-toe in the corners during this game.

Neither player could find any real consistency and spent the majority of the game exchanging blows to each other’s jack, with both players failing to pick up more than three consecutive points.

In the latter stages of the game, Clark was able to creep ahead and managed to see out the game 21-18, securing his place in the 2024 final and sending Gilmore packing back to Merseyside as a losing semi-finalist, though this being no mean feat given the standard of players he had faced through the day.

Score of the other semi-final:

Gaz Lally 21-13 Josh Mordue

This year’s final was battled out between two first-time finalists, though both players are regulars in the competition and qualify for finals day more often than not.

Despite the competition being held in Huddersfield, Clark would have felt like the local boy given that the competition is played in support of the Weston Park Cancer Charity in Sheffield.

The final began very evenly with both players exchanging the jack with each other and not being able to really take control of the game. Perhaps the pressure of taking home the £800 first prize?

The first to make a move towards taking control was Clark, who soon found himself 15-9 in front as he enjoyed more success in the long, knife-edge corners of Brockholes Bowling Club.

Lally was in danger of letting the game slip away, and found himself 18-10 behind before he managed to get Clark away from his favoured mark and onto some shorter land over the middle of the green.

Despite this, Clark had seemingly done enough damage and the lead was too much for Lally to claw back, with Clark taking the victory 21-14, and claiming the Weston Park Trophy title for the first time.

A deserved winner, and arguably quite fitting, given that the Weston Park Trophy is going home to Sheffield this year, something not achieved prior to this year.

On behalf of the competition organisers and the Sykes family, a huge thank you to all those who attended and supported the competition on both the qualifying days and the finals day.

The competition is run in support of the Weston Park Cancer Charity. They do vital work into research and clinical trials and all funds raised by the competition go in support of that, each and every year.

The competition could not run without the support of competitors and spectators and hopefully the success of the competition will draw in a similar level of support next year.

With further thanks to the sponsors of this year’s competition:

Radcliffe Funeral Service

D Haigh Tarmacadam Specialists

Brockholes Bowling Club

Main images by Huddersfield Hub photographer SEAN DOYLE