Helliwell’s run goes on

Actions from the Halifax Men's Merit Bowls at Greenroyd BC, Halifax
Pictured is Richard Helliwell
Actions from the Halifax Men's Merit Bowls at Greenroyd BC, Halifax Pictured is Richard Helliwell

Richard Helliwell, the 2016 Yorkshire Merit champion, claimed his second title of the season when he won the Halifax Association’s Merit at Hipperholme BC last Sunday.

Helliwell beat Tony Beeden by 21-19 in the final of the Quality Stoves-sponsored competition to win the event for a second time.

On a day notable for high quality bowling and tight finishes, 1998 winner Helliwell opened against another former winner, Robert Holmes. I

Helliwell led by 12-8 but was behind by 12-14. The scores were level at 12, 16, 18, 19 and 20 before Helliwell snatched victory with a single.

His second game against Clive Austin was less testing. He established a 9-4 lead and remained ahead to win 21-13.

In the quarter-final Helliwell faced Robert Hitchen, himself a former winner of Yorkshire and Halifax Merits. Helliwell opened with a break of seven but Hitchen recovered to lead 11-9 and 15-11.

A second break of seven gave Helliwell the lead by 18-15 but Hitchen was ahead by 19-18 and 20-19 before Helliwell scraped home with two singles.

Beeden faced defending champion Gareth Coates in his first game and opened with a break of eight. Coates responded with five but Beeden’s second eight break put him ahead by 16-5. Coates drew level at 18 but Beeden held on to win by 21-18.

Beeden led Mark Regan 6-0 and remaining in control to win by 21-13.

He then went 10-5 up against Hove Edge team-mate Danny Radclffe in the quarter-final. Radcliffe’s break of five brought him level and the scores were still tied at 11 and 15 before Beeden closed out the game , winning 21-16.

In their semi-finals, Helliwell and Beeden had to resist late recoveries.

Helliwell trailed Danny Barker 5-0 and 11-8 before taking the lead by 14-11. He reached all-but with his opponent on 13 but Barker kept him waiting before Helliwell could clinch victory by 21-19.

Beeden was 4-7 down to John Hamer but then went ahead with a break of nine. Hamer fought back to 15-18 and, after Beeden had reached all-but, narrowed the gap to a single point at 19-20 before Beeden secured victory by 21-19.

In an absorbing final, Helliwell seized the early advantage to lead by 8-2. Beeden came back with a break of 11, including five consecutive pairs to lead by 13-8.

Helliwell drew level at 13 and 17. Beeden reached 19 with a pair and was lying game at the next end before Helliwell claimed a single and went on to win the next two ends.

Quarter-final scores: D. Barker 21 S, Haynes 17; R. Helliwell 21 R. Hitchen 20; D. Radcliffe 16 T. Beeden 21; D. Holdsworth 19 J. Hamer 21.