CHESHIRE have became the first team in more than a decade to retain the British Veterans’ County Championship title

They emerged unbeaten after three matches at Fenton, but only made certain of bringing back the silverware following a slender victory against Yorkshire.

Graham Donnelly, a member at Wharton Cons, was the pick of three winners against their old foes.

“He was brilliant throughout, but beating his opponent to single figures made the difference,” said Cheshire captain Mark Winnington.

“It’s a cliché in bowls to say every chalk counts, but every now and again you get a reminder of why.”

Cheshire entered that decider on the back of victories against Warwick & Worcester (148-145) and North Lancs & Fylde (149-124).

That meant Yorkshire, who had brushed aside North Lancs before losing by six chalks to Warwick, had to beat them.

Chris Koral (Frodsham Red Lion) and Gerald Merry (Delamere) were the defending champions’ other victors, helping them to win by three shots on aggregate.

Winnington added: “It’s not often a county wins this competition in successive seasons, so we can be proud of doing that.

“Yorkshire will be sick of the sight of us, because we beat them in the same way last time too – with three winners to their five.”

Cheshire have won the veterans’ county championship a record eight times, making them the most successful side in the event’s short history.

Winnington, who plays for Hazel Pear in the Mid-Cheshire Bowling Association was joined at Stoke on Trent by Haydn Carless (Delamere) and Phil Scott (Rudheath) as well as Donnelly, Koral and Merry.

Sale Excelsior’s Noel Burrows and Chris Morrison, and Mal Sims (Poynton) completed a squad managed by Wharton Cons’ Peter Kelly.


British Veterans' County Championship

Fenton Private Bowling Club

Finals, first round: Cheshire 148-145 Warwick & Worcester; North Lancs & Fylde 128-160 Yorkshire

Second round: North Lancs & Fylde 124-149 Cheshire; Yorkshire 152-158 Warwick & Worcester

Third round: Yorkshire 145-147 Cheshire