It is precisely 40 years this week since South Ramsey’s Paul Collister won the June Bowls Festival in 1983. The 21-year-old was the first local winner since 1935, writes Glynn Hargraves.
He won nine games in the main event which concluded on the Friday afternoon in the days of the final being held on the Villa Marina green, defeating Len Murphy from Manchester 21-16.
‘Collie’ also won eight games in the Tourism event, beating former Rugby League legend Frank Murphy from St Helens in the final at Noble’s Park the previous day.
Having previously been close to reaching a festival final (semi-final in September 1981), Collie revealed that of all his 17 games that week, the hardest was getting through a nervous tough main tournament semi-final.
He was considerably more relaxed come the final as the nerves were all used up following the semi!
As far as we are aware, since the June and September festivals have been running, he is the only man to win both the main and thre tourism tournaments in the same week.
The young Manxman’s success made the national papers (Daily Express and Telegraph), along with the Manchester Evening News and Bowlers World.
As new sponsors had taken over, it was removed as a qualifier for the prestigious Bass Masters but, as a consolation, he was invited to the Greenhall Whitley County Classic which was televised live for five days by ITV.
Even though Collie has achieved major wins and personal goals in many other sports, this remains his finest sporting moment. He is still plying his trade for current men’s league champions and Rayner Shield holders, South Ramsey A.
Interestingly, he was the last person to be allowed to take the trophy home, and it was proudly displayed in the front window of the family abode looking out on the quayside in Ramsey for all to see.