YOUNG players dominated in the Liberal League Merit final with Mark Atkinson of Crosland Moor Manor taking the title.
He came through the 58th Milnsbridge Liberal Club-sponsored final to beat Michael Martin of Almondbury Lib 21-13 in the showpiece and take home £120 of prize money and The Coronation Cup.
A good crowd watched some excellent matches on Kevin Brown’s immaculately-prepared Milnsbridge green.
And with three homesters on the card and five former Huddersfield juniors also playing, it looked a wide open event.
Atkinson played well all day and did well to outgun young Andrew Heaume of Almondbury Lib 21-19 in the semi-finals, as he was 19-17 down after being well in control at 11-4 earlier in the game.
Martin (Almondbury Lib) got the better of his cousin James in his first game and then defeated last year’s winner Glenn O Sullivan 21-10 to book his place in the semi-finals.
But young Michael had his hands full in the semis, taking on homester Mick Hinchliffe. Martin raced into a 9-0 lead playing a favourite mark over the middle, but Hinchliffe hit back and had a chance at 17-19 down.
But Martin played a great bowl to touch Mick’s bowl out of the head and nestle on the jack to win the end and then went on to win 21-19.
Both semi-finals were a credit to all four bowlers who entertained the crowd with some very close bowling on a green perfect for testing their skills.
Danny Beeby had to forego his place in the final, as he had been selected to play for Yorkshire in the Pudsey BC centenary match.
Mark Sykes of Lindley Lib made a nice gesture, by donating his prize money back to The Huddersfield Junior Bowls Association.
Most money was on Martin in the final, but Atkinson played very well and was always in control.
Martin had a chance to get a grip on the game when 12-15 down and with two woods wrapped around the block he looked like getting back in, but Atkinson played his second bowl with pace, picked up the jack and counted two.
It was a brave bowl which paved the way to success.
Liberal League secretary Geoff Martin presented the prizes to the players and the winner thanked everyone at Milnsbridge Lib for their sponsorship, catering, hospitality and the superb condition of the green. Atkinson also paid tribute to his mentors Brendan O’Prey, the late Fred Baxter, and other teammates at Crosland Moor.
Last 16 – A Heaume (Almondbury Lib) 21 M Sykes (Lindley Lib) 16, A Robinson (Primrose Hill Lib) 21 T Boothroyd (Crosland Moor Manor) 12, T Randerson (Marsden Lib) 21 B Tinker (Milnsbridge Lib) 6, G Illingworth (Lindley Lib) 13 M Atkinson (Crosland Moor Manor), P Hopkinson (Lindley Lib) 8 G O’Sullivan (Crosland Moor Manor) 21, J Martin (Almondbury Lib) 15 M Martin (Almondbury Lib) 21, D Beeby (Milnsbridge Lib) M Hinchliffe (Milnsbridge Lib) w/o, R Saunder (Lindley Lib) 21 F Greenwood (Golcar Lib) 17.
Quarter-finals – Heaume 21 Robinson 7, Randerson 11 Atkinson 21, O’Sullivan 10 Martin 21, Hinchliffe 21 Saunders 15.
Semi-finals – Heaume 19 Atkinson 21, Martin 21 Hinchliffe 19.
Final – Atkinson 21 Martin 13.