NO fewer than six former champions will try to qualify for this year's Cheshire Senior Merit across greens in Northwich and Winsford on Saturday afternoon.

Two of them, Glynn Cookson of Wharton Cons and Castle's Jason Cornes, will meet in an eliminator if they both win first-round matches at Lostock Graylams.

That duo has nine individual county titles between them.

There is an added incentive for players from the Mid-Cheshire Bowling Association to reach finals day next month after Winnington Park Recreation Club was selected as the host venue.

More than two dozen have entered, with 2015 winner Tom Vickers paired with dad Alan at Winsford Cons.

John Gurney (Castle) has also been drawn against his son Jon, who plays for Comberbach - and not for the first time.

The former was a semi-finalist last summer, securing a spot at the British Senior Individual Merit where he reached the last 32.

He was crowned as the county's best in 1988.

Steve Morrey (Castle) and Pete Illidge (Wharton Cons) - who lifted the trophy in 2017 while representing Rudheath - are the others scheduled to play that have won the Cheshire Senior Merit previously.

A total of seven bowlers, four at Lostock and three at Winsford, will progress to the next stage as a reward for winning two games.

Play starts at both venues from 1pm.


Cheshire County Bowling Association

Senior Merit

Qualifying Round

Saturday, May 18

At Winsford Cons (three to qualify)

First Round: Martin Kettle (WhC) v Paul Farrington (MCC); Alan Vickers (WhC) v Tom Vickers (WhC); Chris Koral (OW) v Daniel Nixon (WhC); Jon Gurney (Com) v John Gurney (Castle); Dave O'Brien (Castle) v Conall Redmond (Dav); Dave Johnson (Tar) v Ray Brandreth (LoG).

Eliminator: Kettle or Farrington v Vickers or Vickers; Koral or Nixon v Gurney or Gurney; O'Brien or Redmond v Johnson or Brandreth.

At Lostock Graylams (four to qualify)

First Round: Glynn Cookson (WhC) v Paul Mackie (Castle); Jason Cornes (Castle) v Steve Curbishley (Castle); Joe Tomkinson (OW) v Phil Davies (Com); Steve Morrey (Castle) v Steve Baskerville (Castle); Matty Hamman (Castle) v Mike Yearsley (Castle); Mark Cookson (WhC) v Nick Hamman (Castle); Ryan Walton (WhC) v Andy Hamman (Castle); Pete Illidge (WhC) v Steve Moores (Castle).

Eliminator: Cookson or Mackie v Cornes or Curbishley; Tomkinson or Davies v Morrey or Baskerville; Hamman or Yearsley v Cookson or Hamman; Walton or Hamman v Illidge or Moores.