TIXALL'S Matthew Gilmore is clearly enjoying his return to the Sunday Bowls Flyers in Birkenhead Park – he yet again came through a strong field to win for the second successive week.

In an excellent final played in ideal conditions, he just got the better of your correspondent, West Kirby's Bill Atkinson, a player who has been struggling to find any sort of form since the Christmas break.

In his quarter-final match Gilmore had been too good on the day for his club mate at Tixalls, Ian Hazlehurst.

But he then had a real battle in the semi-finals against another player who has recently been struggling for consistency, Paul Roberts over from North Wales.

Gilmore won 21-18 but the game could have gone either way.

Atkinson only reached the final after battling through a series of close games: In the quarter-final he came up against his nemesis from the Christmas finals tournament, Port Sunlight Village and Work's Peter McBride.

On that occasion McBride won from 07-20 down but this time Atkinson managed to hold on for a 21-20 win and he then went on to play John Hignett Snr from Liverpool in a semi-final game that was very tight until the last few ends.

There was never more than two or three points between the two players in the final and Atkinson actually led at 20-18 but a poor lead allowed Gilmore back into the game and he took full advantage of this mistake to clinch the narrowest of victories.


Quarter-finals: W Atkinson 21, P McBride 20; J Hignett Snr 21, R Lewis 13; M Gilmore 21, I Hazlehurst 09; P Roberts 21, C Portis 18. Semi-finals: Atkinson 21, Hignett 17; Gilmore 21, Roberts 18.

Final: Gilmore 21, Atkinson 20.