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Keighley bowler Hargreaves is Skipton Merit maestro
Keighley BC’s Richard Hargreaves clinched the JACS Skipton League Merit crown at Whinfield, defeating Cross Hills star Phillip Dowgill 21-15 in a final that will live long in the memory.
It was Hargreaves’ second triumph in this event, continuing his great success in Skipton competitions, despite some recent uninspiring form.
It was a disappointment for Dowgill after a recent appearance in the Yorkshire Merit semis but he had some compensation after qualifying for the Brighouse Classic finals the night before.
On a smooth but slow surface, the contest between arguably the best two players in the League saw Hargreaves make the best start, only for Dowgill, also a past winner, to draw level and pull ahead on straight marks down the green edge.
Hargreaves regained the initiative to lead 19-15 at the last end where his first wood lay-up forced Dowgill to strike with his second bowl, only to remove his first and hand Hargreaves the winning two points on a plate.
Losing in the semis were Andy Tate, of Cross Hills, and Derek Seed, of Settle, while also in the money were Kevin Burnett, Len Buxton, Dave Smith and Alan Thornber.
There was also disappointment in the whole Cross Hills camp when they conceded the Skipton Division One title to rivals Cononley A after losing their penultimate game to Keighley A, who finished third.
It was Cononley’s fifth title in recent years. Relegated are Steeton A and Colne Legion A.
There was also a dramatic end in Division Two where Keighley B snatched the title over long-time leaders Oakworth in the final match.
Oakworth did manage the runners-up spot by gaining the points needed at Devon B, who finished third but threw the title away with some poor results at the end. Relegated are Keighley C and Addin-gham A. League cup games begin on August 20.
There were also close finishes in the Worth Valley League. Division One leaders Craven came a cropper in the last match to hand the title to Moorside of Halifax.
Steeton A just survived the drop at the expense of Denholme and Cullingworth’s A teams. Bradshaw A are the champions of Division Two and go up with Keighley A.
Silsden PF won the Division Three title ahead of Cross Hills B.
David Scott, of Cross Hills, teamed up with his old sparring partner Graeme Hickey to win the Mirfield Doubles at Broad Oak for the third time.
A close finish is expected in the Hebden League, with all to play for in the top two divisions. Cullingworth A are virtually certain to win the Division Three title.
The Dick Keighley Trophy Final is scheduled for next Wednesday night when the last eight go to post at a venue to be announced.
The Valley Handicap Doubles are at Broughton Road on Sunday.
Draw: 10.30. T Rooney v A Downing, D Gore v N Hall, S McDonald v K Pollard, R Bland v D Hewitt. 11.15. S Wrigley v J O’Neill, T Barnes v S Lloyd, M Haley v C Hasselbank, K Burnett v E Bland. Noon. A Peel v S Titorenko, L Buxton v J Tiler, P Shaw v K Coppen, D Haldenby v S Kitt.
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