ADI Faulkner could be forgiven for thinking that he’d timed perfectly a recovery that looked likely to secure for him a place in the final.

Castle’s captain trailed from the start of a semi-finals encounter with Simon Jones and his chance appeared to have gone when he fell 14-18 adrift.

However he won three of the next four ends, and then had the jack in hand at 19-across.

There was little wrong with his lead either, something his supporters acknowledged from the side of the green at Winsford Conservative Club.

And yet Jones, by the merest of margins, beat it with his first wood.

“Surely that can’t have won it?” asked Faulkner, not hiding his disbelief, after a referee confirmed his worst fears.

It had a destabilising effect, and his next wood was further away.

His opponent from Tarporley, as if to add insult to wounded pride, then delivered a brilliant bowl to pinch the two chalks that he needed to reach the Guardian Cup final for the first time.

“It really could have gone either way,” he said afterwards.

Such a close finish will have felt unlikely when he led 6-1 and 9-4.

Faulkner rallied to 13-across, only for Jones to take three of the next four ends to open up that four-chalk advantage.

Curbishley was involved in an arm wrestle initially with Paul Farrington, and led 6-4 before a break of five established daylight between them on the scoreboard.

The Middlewich bowler narrowed a gap to 11-7 after taking the next three ends and remained in contention at 13-8.

A run of seven from there saw his opponent take control of the contest.

There was defiance from the underdog, who delayed a seemingly inevitable outcome by claiming another three chalks.

It refocused Curbishley, who paused to ask a referee which wood was closest at 20-8.

Before he heard the official’s reply, he’d sent his second bowl.

“That’s won anyway,” he smiled as it followed a perfect road to the jack in the corner.


Mid-Cheshire Bowling Association

Guardian Cup

Sunday, July 14


Steve Curbishley (Castle)21

Paul Farrington (Middlewich CC) 11


Adi Faulkner (Castle) 19

Simon Jones (Tarporley) 21