King Kennish imperious once again with his ninth Manx title

John Kennish, Isle of Man Bowls champion (Photo: Arnie Withers)

John Kennish, Isle of Man Bowls champion (Photo: Arnie Withers)

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John Kennish won his ninth Canada Life International Manx Bowls Championship in fine style at Noble’s number two green on Sunday.

The Ramsey man produced a devastating display to defeat five-time champion Colin Kelly 21-2 in the final.

It is hard to come up with new superlatives to describe Kennish, who has been the island’s number one player for what seems like an age.

He has a trophy cabinet that contains more silverware than you could find in Wilkins Jewellers.

John is quite simply imperious. His authoritative, commanding displays, particularly in this year’s semi-final and final, are unprecedented on our shores. When he is at his best it seems almost impossible for anyone to match him, although he doesn’t win all of the time - others have their day.

Take nothing away from Colin Kelly, he’s a great multiple champion in his own right and, in my opinion, without question the second best player we have produced.

But like any supreme champion, Kennish seems to have more good days than anyone else and Sunday was another one of those.

He was in control of the final from the off and with the rubs of the green also going in his favour there was little Kelly could do as his opponent seemed to eclipse the jack with every lead he sent, forcing him to play running bowls that either found the gap or, when he did hit, didn’t fall his way.

In the semi-finals Kennish put in a superb display to see off defending champion David Bradford 21-8, while Kelly was also dominant seeing off the challenge of the in-form Matthew Keggen by the same score.

The quarter-finals saw Kelly forced to battle all of the way before getting the better of ex-home greener Jordan Cain 21-18 after an epic tussle.

Kennish was again on his game, seeing off North Ramsey’s Steve Parker 21-7, although despite the scoreline it was a magnificent performance and achievement for Parker to make it this far after only taking up the game a few years ago.

Bradford ended the challenge of Port St Mary’s Paul Skelly 21-13 to book his semi-final berth, while Keggen beat Onchan team-mate Phil Kerruish 21-12 at the same stage.

Thanks go to North Ramsey Bowling Club and Noble’s Park Bowling Club for hosting the competition, Matthew Keggen and the competition committee for running the event and Canada Life for their continued support and sponsorship.

The weekend was a fantastic showcase of the island’s top bowling talent with 58 players turning up to make their bid for glory hoping that it would be their name etched into the history books, but there was an all-too-familiar end to the story with Kennish being crowned king once again.

MARK KNEEN

Finals day results (last 16): Steve Parker 21, Mark Kneen 16; John Kennish 21, John Gelling 9; Paul Skelly 21, Dave ‘Barney’ Kelly 12; David Bradford 21, Glynn Hargraves 14; Alan Moore 5, Colin Kelly 21; Steve Moore 15, Jordan Cain 21; Matthew Keggen 21, Ian Kissack 19; Phil Kerruish 21, Neil Withers 14. Quarter finals: S. Parker 7, J. Kennish 21; P. Skelly 13, D. Bradford 21; C. Kelly 21, J. Cain 18; M. Keggen 21, P. Kerruish 12. Semi-finals: Kennish 21, Bradford 8; Kelly 21, Keggen 8. Final: Kennish 21, Kelly 2.

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