Classic marks 10th anniversary as Brighouse develop at a pace

Tony Riley with his Brighouse Sports BC first team teammates in front of the scoreboard
Tony Riley with his Brighouse Sports BC first team teammates in front of the scoreboard

THE Brighouse Sports Club’s bowling section are celebrating 10 years this month for their annual Classic, sponsored for the second year by Limegrove Leisure.

The West Yorkshire-based public house and hotel group, run by Brighouse Sport BC A team bowler Danny Fountain and his father Shaun’s second wife Debbie, took over from Bradford chartered accountants Naylors Wintersgill who had backed it for seven years, with the first year having no backer.

In all those years one man, Tony Riley, very well known on the crown green bowls circuit, has meticulously run the competition which attracts bowlers from the west Midlands to south west Cumbria and from all across west and south Yorkshire.

Tony, who also bowls at Bradford club Clayton, says the competition is that well known now that the 128 entries are all in some six weeks or less following finals night in September.

“They appreciate how well it is run and is established in the top 10 opens in the country,” enthused Tony.

“I would also like to thank the measuring and marking team and those who work the scoreboard to ensure it all ticks over nicely.

“This season we kick off this Friday night, July 24, at 6.30pm and run for eight Fridays across August and into September before the finals night on Saturday, September 19.

“Our attendances for the Friday qualifiers see anything from 75-100 in attendance and then on finals night, 200-250 attend.

“I have got to add that another draw card or two is the superb condition the greens are kept in and the top class floodlights, not to mention a prize pot of £5,300 with £1,000 for the winner and having the rest of the prize money spread so that the third game losers in the qualifiers go home with £75, which is a good incentive when they have paid their £25 to enter. The runner-up in the final takes home £600 and the losing semi-finalists £350.00 each.”

Winner for the past two seasons has been Audenshaw-based Graeme Wilson who also bowls with the Mirfield district club Lower Hopton BC .

As Tony adds both he and Gary Ellis are at the moment the top two in open competition and then the Limegrove Leisure Classic also attracts the likes of fellow ‘big guns’ Simon Coupe and Tommy Johnstone.

Limegrove Leisure have seven public houses and two hotels with top class dining in their portfolio across west Yorkshire and the King Edward Hotel near Coral Island in Blackpool .

Shaun and Debbie now live in Barwick-in-Elmet, east of Leeds , and that is the village that sees them have the very popular Gascoigne Arms, with superb menus, and the Keighley hostelry, the Three Horse Shoes in Fell Lane also boasts a fine choice of food.

For Danny Fountain with his four days of bowling in the season from April to September it is full on 24/7 with work.

The Brighouse Sports Club bowling section proudly turns out 17 teams with two men’s teams on a Saturday in the Bradford Parks League, two on a Tuesday in the Mirfield League, a team in the Halifax men’s league on a Wednesday, plus three on the same night in the Spen Valley League.

There is also mixed, ladies and veterans bowling, and on a Monday night three mixed teams appear in the Elland League, two on a Monday afternoon in the Brighouse Vets League, two teams on a Thursday afternoon in the Halifax Vets League, a Ladies vets team turn out on Wednesday afternoon and one on a Thursday evening in the Brighouse Ladies Evening League.

Long-serving member and social club committee member Peter Owen says that it 
all makes for a very vibrant club.

“We have also welcomed in several members of the Blakes Albion Club after their superb little bowling haven was legally taken off them in the dispute with then owners Blakes Club,” said Peter.

Draw for Week 1 of the Brighouse Sports BC Classic: Scott Woodward (Sheffield) v Rob O’Shea (Chester), Nick White (Sheffield) v Gareth Coates (Halifax), Jack Holland (Hyde) v Wayne Ditchfield (Eccleston), Jon Wilcox (Leeds) v Dean Ferris (Manchester), Harry Seehra (Lower Hopton) v David Mallinson (Sheffield), Tommy Johnstone (Poynton) v Richard Jackson (Sheffield), Gareth Nicholson (Halifax) v David Hallam (Sheffield), Mark Bramall (Huddersfield) v Jack Hargreaves (Hyde).