CRAIG GANT is Huddersfield bowling’s Champion of Champions.
He won the title at Bradley and Colnebridge WMC with a fine 21-16 success against defending champion and three-times winner Paul Sigsworth in the final.
It was the culmination of an excellent exhibition from Gant, winner of the Summer Handicap earlier in the season which was his debut ‘major’ success.
Now he’s won the biggest prize of the lot – and the £200 prize – he’s delighted and hoping it will provide the springboard to further success.
“It was a massive thrill to win and it’s probably the most consistently well I’ve played in any competition I can remember,” said Gant, a Garforth-based firefighter who lives in Meltham and who is celebrating his 25th birthday today.
“The green was a lot quicker than any other time I’ve played on it and I seemed to go really well in every game.
“I think that win in the Summer Handicap took a lot of pressure off me and maybe I was able to just go out and play my game.
“Just getting to the Champion of Champions is hard enough and there were a lot of people in the field who have won some big stuff in the past, so I don’t think there was much pressure on me in terms of thinking I could win it.
“I just played really well on the day and, obviously, I was chuffed to bits to win the title.”
Now, Gant – who was 16 across with his Netherton Con teammate Sigsworth before running out for the win – is looking forward to playing in some Griffin events this winter, although he can’t start until later this month because of work commitments.
In the Champion of Champions, the quality field produced some tremendous bowling throughout on a fast-running green and Gant was a 12/1 shot at the outset.
He attracted little interest at first with his no-fuss approach, but it was clear from the first round that Gant was doing the business.
In the final he repeatedly beat great bowls from Sigsworth and then applied the pressure with his leading.
It was nip and tuck all the way with Gant just stringing a few ends together when it mattered.
Competition secretary Andrew Wadsworth said Bradley & Colne were deserving of the highest praise for their superb staging of the event. Those sentiments were echoed by Gant, who thanked his opponents and the organisers from the Huddersfield Bowling Association Executive – Wadsworth, Steve Tattersall and Gerald Sykes.
Ian Armitage, of sponsors Armitage Leisure Services, presented the prizes, Sigsworth collecting £100 as runner-up and the losing semi-finalists £50 apiece.
First round – G Hickey (winner of Marsh 1400) 16 L Griffin (Mirfield Merit) 21, J Brown (Hudds Junior Merit) 19 G O’Sullivan (Lib Merit) 21, P Sigsworth (Con Merit) 21 J Webster (Hudds Merit) 16, M Wood (Vic Sugden) 19 J Peacock (Yorks Junior Merit) 21, A Daykin (Yorks Handicap) 20 L Lawton (Yorks Merit) 21, D Beeby (Jack Burgin) 21 S Hirst (Spring Handicap) 10, R Crowther (Works Handicap) 14 M Martin (Dearne & Don Merit) 12, A Wike (Autumn Handicap) 6 C Gant (Summer Handicap) 21.
Second round – Griffin 18 O’Sullivan 21, Sigsworth 21 Peacock 12, Lawton 21 Beeby 8, Crowther 14 Gant 21.
Semi-finals – O’Sullivan 11 Sigsworth 21, Lawton 13 Gant 21.
Final – Sigsworth 16 Gant 21.