Tributes have been flowing in for Ashley Daykin following his win in the All-England.
The 50-year-old Netherton Con and Yorkshire county stalwart took the British Crown Green Senior Merit title with a 21-20 success against Warwick and Worcester’s Ant Bracken at a packed Cleckheaton Sports last Saturday.
His close friend Steven Hirst – the two will be playing together in the Centenary DV Mellor Mirfield Pairs on August 10 – was Huddersfield’s last winner of the big title back in 1996, while Chris Squires took it in 1989.
Like them, Daykin’s win has been a long time in the making, as his proud father John explained.
“He started bowling with me at Meltham when he was eight,” said John.
“I remember one night we were bowling in the Colne Valley League against Skelmanthorpe and, unfortunately, one of our men didn’t turn up for the match because he fell ill.
“One of the Skelmanthorpe players was a bit put out that he wasn’t going to get a game and, as I was Meltham captain, I told him my son would step in and play him.
“He couldn’t do it officially because you had to be 14, but Ashley ended up winning the sweep because he was our best winner on the night!”
John has followed Ashley’s career ever since – he has all the scorecards from Cleckheaton to put in the ninth of his scrapbooks – and was with wife Sue and daughter-in-law Lisa at the greenside when he landed the £1,500 All-England prize.
“It was absolutely brilliant, we were all crying,” he added. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience, really, and he’s having a great summer.
“He won the Summer Handicap, he took the Nursery over a Stockport and did well at the Fleetwood Festival in the build-up to Saturday, and now he’s looking forward to the Marsh United £1400 final this coming Saturday and to playing alongside Steven (Hirst) in the Mirfield Pairs at Lower Hopton on August 10.
“Then, of course, he’s back in the Champion of Champions at Blackpool, so it’s fantastic.”
Huddersfield Bowling Association president Stephen Tattersall said every bowler in the town was delighted for Daykin, who runs his own joinery business and is a twice former winner of the Huddersfield Champion of Champions in addition to four-times Huddersfield Merit champion.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go to the final, but it was a terrific win for Ashley and for Huddersfield bowling.
“I would like to pass on my own personal congratulations and also those of every bowler in the district, because I know they will all be delighted for him.
“He has been a fantastic ambassador for crown green bowling throughout his career and he’s still the best bowler in Huddersfield by far.”
Dougie Mellor, the past president of Yorkshire, Huddersfield and Mirfield associations who was also the first ever president of the Huddersfield Junior Association, said it was a wonderful achievement.
“He did everybody proud and I’m doubly proud because he started out at Meltham,” said Dougie.
“Ashley definitely deserved it and it’s not only superb that he was able to win it in Yorkshire, but also that he’ll be going on to the Champion of Champions in Blackpool.
“There was a big crowd, it was a huge competition and I’m not surprised that Ashley and his family were so emotional about it when he won.
“I must also congratulate everyone at Cleckheaton Sports, because they must have been planning for weeks and it all went off great – everyone pulled together to make sure the whole thing ran smoothly and they deserve great credit for that.”