Last year’s Merit was won by Stuart Rutter for the second time. A report of that day is below:
Stuart Rutter fought back to win his second Seaton Sports Individual Merit and regain the John Coxill Trophy in the 25th version of the event. 31 entries, the same as in 2016, took part on the Donnington Wood New Green, with two of those being players who had played in the first ever finals day of this competition, Ian Gaut and Dale Downes, also taking part, as well as one of the key men in getting the league up and running, Andy Stevens. Stuart played Ayden Smith in the final, a former Donnington Wood player who now plays at Bowring, and had to fightback from 9-4, 14-9 down and 18-15 down to win. Ayden played so well on a round peg all game and started on there, and then switched onto his length up to the crown and back. Stuart tried to get him into the corners but Ayden held firm before Stuart ran out from 18-15 up. In the Semi Finals and Stuart showed his mettle against fellow Wrockwardine Wood team mate Stuart Clee after he trailed 12-7 on a falling mark before going 15-12 up in the corners and maintaining his advantage to win 16. Ayden Smith led virtually all the way in his Semi after going 5-0 up on his mark, and despite his opponent from Sir John Bayley, John Potter, leading at 9-8, he restricted John to single scoring ends from then on as he won 15.
The quarter finals apart from one were one sided affairs. Stuart Rutter beat Scott Harries 8, Stuart Clee ran a 13 break on Kiah Roberts to lead 16-7 and win 9, while Ayden Smith had a break of 10 on his round peg to lead Ludlow Castle’s Simon Lane 12-3, and win 7. The close game was between John Potter and Darren Wellings, with Darren fighting back from 13-6 down to lead 16-15 before John scored two 2s and saw it out 17.
2nd Round Results:
- Scott Harries was comfortable in the corners leading 14-6 and won 10 against Glyn Wellings.
- Stuart Rutter had a very close game with Josh Bradburn, leading 9-6 then trailing 12-9, before then playing a great bowl at 20-18 up after Josh had threatened to see it out from 20-15 down.
- Kiah Roberts had an eight break to lead 16-8 and saw it out 11 against Pete Grimston.
- Stuart Clee was always a few up on Ash Wellings after leading 5-0 and 14-7, before winning 11.
- John Potter found himself 9-1 down in the corners against Dave Lloyd, before he fought back to lead 16-15 and ran out from 19-18 down.
- Darren Wellings, from 9 across, went 15-9 up and maintained this to win 12 against Rob Fuller.
- Ayden Smith had a close game with Connor Whitehall and trailed 18-15, before hitting back to win 19.
- Simon Lane led 13-7 early against Mark Picknell, before Mark got back to just 17-16 down, then Simon ran out.
1st Round Results:
- Glyn Wellings had a series of scoring ends against Nick Mullinder to build his advantage up and win 10.
- Pete Grimston, from 9-8 up, went 17-8 up and won 10 playing Andy Stevens.
- Kiah Roberts was 12-9 down against Dale Downes, before going 16-12 up with a run of three 2s, and then ran out from 17-16 up.
- Josh Bradburn fought back from 7-1 down against team mate Ash Gregory, before leading 11-9 and 16-13. But Ash then hit back to lead 20-18 before Josh ran out.
- Stuart Rutter had a very tough game against Kieran Buckley, trailing 12-8 after 19 ends in a close match. The two started to flow after as Kieran led 17-14 and then 20-17 before Stuart ran out.
- Stuart Clee led 6-2 and 11-6 before Scott Simpson got back in and went corners to lead 16-15. However Stuart then ran out.
- Ash Wellings had a very close game with team mate Dave Burton before leading 19-14. Dave then got back to 19 across before Ash scored two.
- Dave Lloyd went 11-1 up, before Craig Wilson staged a mini comeback down an edge to get back to 8-12, but Dave then virtually ran out 9.
- John Potter went 14-7 up on Ian Gaut, and despite Ian getting back to 14-12, John scored three 2s to move 20-13 up and finish the game off 14.
- Rob Fuller was 11-10 down after scoring no 2s, before a break of 10 down an edge allowed him to beat Mark Thomas 14.
- Darren Wellings led Aaron King 15-7 before Aaron got back to lead 17-16, but Darren then finished it winning 19.
- Ayden Smith led Chris Stretch 12-6, and then 20-9 before winning 11.
- Connor Whitehall ran a break of 13 on former homester Chris Worthington, before Chris staged a mini comeback from 19-6 down to get back to 14.
- Simon Lane scored seven 2s to lead 19-7 against Keith Wall, and won 10.
- Mark Picknell trailed Spencer Clarke 8-2 and 11-5, before Mark got back to 11 across, and then ran out over the middle from 14-11 down.
The full results are here.
The league would like to thank all players for taking part today, considering it could have been much more had other events not been rearranged for today, it was a really good entry. Thank you to all those who marked and help measure throughout the day. Thank you to Donnington Wood who showed once again they can be a great host, and look forward to returning there on Sunday 19th August in the 25th Anniversary Competition. And thanks to sponsors Seaton Sports for sponsoring the event today. I would urge clubs who need new shirts or other similar produce to get in contact with them as the league will benefit also!
Stuart Rutter with the John Coxill Trophy, alongside Competitions Secretary Rob Burroughs.
Stuart Rutter shows off the John Coxill Trophy.
The two finalists with Rob Burroughs centre, Stuart Rutter on the left and Ayden Smith on the right.
Rob Burroughs with the trophy and the four semi finalists. From left: Stuart Clee, Stuart Rutter, Ayden Smith and John Potter.