MARK Winnington believes he can take inspiration from his father’s achievement after getting his hands on the Joe Robinson Trophy.

The Hazel Pear member emerged from a strong eight-man field on Thursday, beating Dennis Leather in the final, to match dad Ken’s feat almost two decades ago.

However there is one significant difference between them.

“When I got home I worked out how old he was when he won it,” said Mark.

“He was 81! That proves the longevity bowlers can enjoy.

“We’ve seen it in the space of a week; Andy Hamman, who isn’t yet 30, won the Guardian Cup and here I am at 65 winning this final.”

Winnington has had to wait a while between victories in a Mid-Cheshire Bowling Association singles competition.

He won the Cowley Cup in 1985, a trick he repeated the next year.

There have been plenty of appearances on a finals night since, including the Roberts Bakery Cup last month, that have ended without a trophy accompanying him home.

“That’s why the most recent victory is the best one,” he added.

“In a lot of other sports, an end to your playing days comes earlier, so you run out of chances. Bowls is different.

“That doesn’t stop you wondering if you’ll have that feeling again though.”

He could be forgiven for sensing the same at 13-8 down against Kelsall’s Alan Bannister in the quarter finals at Owley Wood.

However a break of 13 secured a morale-boosting victory without his opponent scoring again.

A close encounter with Phil Scott, of Rudheath, followed in the last four.

Five shots without reply, after the duo could not be separated at 16-across, settled the outcome Winnington’s way.

Leather, representing Comberbach, also refused to fall easily.

Winnington said: “I was 18-16 up, but he had the block and sent good woods on a short mark, which he’d done all afternoon.

“I didn’t think I’d got my second one away that well, but luckily I got in and that felt an important moment.

“I’ve won the Cheshire Senior Merit, and appeared in lots of finals, so you’d think nerves wouldn’t come into it.

“Well, that’s wrong. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to get that last chalk!

“You try to block out how close you are to the finish, but it’s impossible.

“I was thinking how good that first pint would taste. Mind you, had I lost then it would have been like sipping vinegar!”


Mid-Cheshire Bowling Association

Joe Robinson Trophy

Thursday, July 21

Quarter finals: Paul Farrington (Middlewich CC) 17-21 Phil Scott (Rudheath); Tony Malisch (Lostock Graylams) 17-21 Lester Bebbington (Wharton Cons); Brian Southern (Rudheath) 18-21 Dennis Leather (Comberbach); Mark Winnington (Hazel Pear) 21-13 Alan Bannister (Kelsall)

Semi finals: Bebbington 11-21 Leather; Winnington 21-16 Scott

Final: Leather 16-21 Winnington