Yorkshire Merit returns to Elland

YORKSHIRE’S showcase bowls event, the county merit final, is returning to Elland Cricket and Bowling Club after a three-year absence.

It will not be held on its traditional spring bank holiday date this year but on Monday, June 4 because it is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.

Elland is believed to have fought off competition from Cleckheaton Sports and Almondbury Libs to stage the event, which has been held at Low Moor Harold, Bradford for the last two years and won by young guns Scott Fisher and James Hanson.

Nicky White beat Halifax’s Roy Nicholson in the 2008 final at Elland and Lee Lawton was successful 12 months later at Almondbury Libs in Huddersfield.

Calderdale bowlers have had a great record in the Yorkshire Merit up to the last few years and the switch back to Elland will raise hopes of more local success.

Graeme Wilson, who was brought up in Elland and has won two of his four Yorkshire Merit crowns at the green, will be a leading fancy if he qualifies while the likes of Graham Hickey and Roy and Gareth Nicholson know the venue well.

A strengthening of links between the club and the Yorkshire CGBA is reflected in the award of a second major event to Elland.

The mixed pairs one-day event will take place there on Sunday, July 29 and will be named in memory of Huddersfield’s popular ex-county man Paul Sigsworth who died last year.

It will be the second year in a row that the mixed pairs has been at Elland and Yorkshire also held their annual presentation at the club a fortnight before Christmas.

Halifax’s Keith Hatzer, who partnered Christine Pilling to finish runners-up in the pairs last summer, has been re-elected home team boss of county champions Yorkshire.

Allan Thompson continues in the away role while Siddal’s Hickey and Brighouse Sports player Chris Mordue are again the team captains.

Lower Hopton’s decision to withdraw from the Manchester Super League this summer could be a bonus for the Halifax League, which also stages matches on a Wednesday evening.

While Hickey will continue to play in Super League with Tonge, Mordue is expected to turn out for Halifax League newcomers Brighouse in Division Two and David Scott for Clayton in the top flight. Ian Booth is being linked with champions Elland WMC.

Lower Hopton will, however, be setting out their stall to repeat their 2008 Yorkshire Cup win, having signed Hanson and fellow Leeds player Liam Griffin for the Saturday afternoon competition.