JAMES DAVISON capped his “best season of bowling” by winning the Huddersfield Champion of Champions title.
The Thongsbridge county star beat clubmate Mark Farmer 21-12 in the Armitage Leisure Services sponsored showpiece at Rastrick.
It was the perfect way to celebrate being named Yorkshire away team captain for next year and the imminent arrival of his first child, a boy, due to be born any day now.
The 30-year-old Yorkshire Merit winner was in solid form throughout and was delighted to collect the £200 first prize from a field which included two former winners in Wayne Moseley and Craig Gant.
Moseley, in fact, put up a superb defence of his title when bidding to become the first back-to-back winner since Graeme Wilson in 2000 and 2001, but he lost out 21-20 to Farmer in the semi-finals.
Winner Davison – a member of Thongsbridge’s Mirfield League team – was also pushed hard in the semi-finals by Eddie Haigh, who took him to 19.
“It couldn’t have gone much better for me on the day and the set-up at Rastrick is magnificent,” said Davison, a solicitor.
“The surface was really good and the event was superbly organised by Andrew Wadsworth (competition’s secretary), who did a really good job.”
Davison beat Works Handicap winner Roy Walker to 14 in the first round and Wakefield Merit winner Dave Cowsill by the same scoreline to reach the last four.
“I played pretty well in the opening rounds and then came up against Eddie Haigh in the semi-finals, who is a very canny competitor and proved difficult to overcome.
“When it came to the final I knew it would be tough because Mark and I have had a lot of close games over the years.
“This time, though, after a close start, I managed to get in the corners and play some longer stuff on what is a very tricky green, and it paid off well for me and I was able to run out.”
In addition to the Yorkshire Merit, Davison reached the semi-finals of the All England and also the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions at Waterloo.
“It’s been my best season, really, and to be given the Yorkshire away team captaincy at 30 is a massive honour,” said Davison, who lives at Darton near Barnsley.
“To come at a time when we are expecting our first baby, it’s just great, and I’m hoping the good things will keep on happening right through next season.
“I’m really hoping we can go one better and get the County Championship again next year.
“Ourselves, Shropshire, Warwick & Worcester and Greater Manchester are probably the best four teams and it could be any one of those – but we have got as good a chance as any.”
Champion of Champions – Roy Sutton (Vic Sugden Handicap) 17 Dave Cowsill (Wakefield Merit) 21, James Davison (Yorkshire Merit) 21 Roy Walker (Works Handicap) 14, Andy Lumb (Horace Walker) 9 Marcus Hill (Autumn Handicap) 21, Eddie Haigh (Conservative League Merit) 21 Matthew Jacques (Yorkshire Junior Merit) 19, Ian Lewis (Castleford Merit) 12 Mark Farmer (Sigsworth Trophy) 21, Craig Gant (Dearne & Don Merit) 21 Gary Siswick (Colne Valley Merit) 18, Graham Higgins (MIrfield Merit) 18 Jack Chesswas (Huddersfield Junior Merit) 21, Ashley Tattersley (Liberal League Merit) 13 Wayne Moseley (Spring Handicap) 21.
Quarter-finals – Cowsill 14 Davison 21, Hill 6 Haigh 21, Farmer 21 Gant 15, Chesswas 9 Moseley 21.
Semi-finals – Davison 21 Haigh 19, Farmer 21 Moseley 20.
Final – Davison 21 Farmer 12.