JIMMY Harrop’s overriding feeling was one of relief.

Not only a deep breath for having finally won one of the Mid-Cheshire Bowling Association’s premier singles competitions, but for having not thrown the opportunity away.

The 36-year-old engineer was 10-2, 15-8 and 20-11 in front against Dave Watters in Friday’s Roberts Bakery Cup final at Crosstown Bowling Club in Knutsford.

But the Wharton Cons man lost control and his Castle rival got back to within a single chalk in a dramatic and nervy finale.

Harrop felt his performance throughout the night, which saw him end the hopes of clubmate Alan Vickers 21-11 and two-times past winner Jason Cornes 21-14, merited him the ‘lucky’ break that edged him home 21-19.

“Like in the two earlier games, I had a great start to the final and after that I definitely believed I could win,” said Harrop.

“When I sent the jack out at 20-11, I didn’t send it far enough to reach the mark I was playing.

“Then I had a bad lead bowl and Dave got in.

“My second bowl was nowhere so Dave it made it 20-13.

“Then he got me in three-quarter corners, back and to, and I had no idea at all.

“I kept saying to myself I only want one to win, so I was quite laid back about the situation.

“Then before I knew it he was right behind me at 20-19.

“I was just lucky to get out really because on the last end I went in off Dave’s first bowl.

“He sent his second too far and all my teammates on the side said ‘that’s it, you’ve won it’, and it was like a sigh of relief.

“To be honest, I had gone, I had no idea.

“I got a bit of luck at the last end which I think I’d deserved with the way I’d played all night.

“After being so far in front I didn’t want to chuck it away and I’d have been absolutely gutted if I hadn’t won.

“Thankfully I just found one bowl right at the end and, boy, it was such a relief.

“And I was emotional I’d won something.

“I’ve won many things with Wharton Cons – the Brunner Cup and league titles - but I just wanted to break my duck in winning an individual competition in mid Cheshire and it means a lot.”

When his six-year-old son Finley, who has already taken up the sport himself, ran on to the green and jumped into dad’s arms the realisation that he had won started to sink in just a little bit.

“It went so quick because I went to get Dave a drink and as I was coming out they were doing the presentation,” he said.

“I didn’t have time to sit back and take it all in until the next day.”

And he was able to reflect on a dominant night, having trailed only momentarily in three games.

“Over the years Alan [Vickers] has been one of my bogey players but I just played well, I got a length straight away, and finished that one off 21-11.

“It gave me a lot of confidence. Again I got off to a good start against Jason in the semi-finals and I beat some good bowls of his which kept me ahead.”

Sitting out 2017 proved to be a good call for Harrop in turning his form around.

“I just wanted a break from the game after playing too much,” he said.

“I’ve come back fresh and it’s done me a world of good.”

After winning his first individual competition, 29 years after starting out in the sport, the next challenge is to win another.

And the chance to back up his success will come quickly.

“I’ve got the Guardian Cup final night later this month, so fingers crossed,” said Harrop, who also plays for Castle in the Nortley Evening League on a Wednesday night.

“People are saying ‘now go and win the other one, you’re good enough, you’ve proved that.’

“I’ve got a lot more belief than I had at the start of the season so I’m going to try.

"That would be great to win them both, it’s not happened many times before.

“I’m not going to get cocky though because there’s another seven great players capable of winning the Guardian Cup.

“The final’s at Davenham, a green I play really well. I won my last 16 game to qualify for the final night 21-4.

“I’m just going to approach it like I did the Roberts Bakery Cup, believe in my game because I know I’m playing well enough.”


Mid-Cheshire Bowling Association

Roberts Bakery Cup

Friday, June 29

Quarter-finals (bowlers' handicap in brackets)

Jimmy Harrop (WhC) (2) 21-11 Alan Vickers (WhC) (2)

Jason Cornes (Castle) (2) 21-16 David Johnson (Tar) (4)

Dan Moores (Com) (2) 21-20 Nick Hamman (Castle) (3)

Dave Watters (Castle) (2) 21-13 Matt Hamman (Castle) (2)


Jimmy Harrop (WhC) (2) 21-14 Jason Cornes (Castle) (2)

Dave Watters (Castle) (2) 21-16 Dan Moores (Com) (2)


Jimmy Harrop (WhC) 21-19 Dave Watters (Castle) (2)