Callum Wraight hits the heights with success at seaside
Revenge was sweet for bowls king Callum Wraight as he overcame festival disappointment to claim the prestigious Gambart Baines trophy.
Wraight bounced back from a quarter-final exit to Ken Wale in the East Coast Festival to ease past the Whitby bowler 21-4 in the last eight of the historic tournament at the North Cliff Bowling Club in Scarborough just days later.
He then claimed the crown, pocketing a £400 top prize, by edging past Wakefield’s Paul Mottram 21-18 and beating last year’s winner Ira Jeffers, of Leeds, 21-8 in the final.
Wraight almost opted not to compete in the event, but elected to extend his family holiday an extra three days to make the event – and it proved an inspired decision.
“We had a bit of an indifferent week as a whole but it ended on good terms,” said Wraight, who was playing in the region for a first time. “We were not even going to stay as we had a rough few days but we decided to stay and thankfully we did,” said Wraight.
“I qualified on Saturday morning by beating Pete Harvey, Jack Hill and Andy Gallagher and was able to get a bit of revenge against Ken Wale in the last eight on Monday.
“I was quite pleased to draw him as it gave me the chance for revenge and to get my own back.”
The Shropshire bowler showed impressive form on a new green against a number of local opponents.
While Wraight made it all the way through to a final against Jeffers – watched by a healthy and socially-distant crowd of 150 – and then lifted the silverware, the stunning solid silver trophy, which is 101 years old, has not made its way to Shropshire, however, as it remains pride of place in the local town hall, due to an insurance value of £100,000.
Wraight’s impressive ictory in the competition, held at North Cliff Bowling Club in Scarborough, came on the back of £200 doubles success in the Festival held at Whitby Bowls Club.
Shrewsbury’s Wraight teamed up with Danny Ferris, of Stoke, and the pair came through four rounds to claim the spoils, including seeing off Neil Wright and Bob Wyhatt in the final 21-17.
The Castlefields bowler continued his eye-catching post-lockdown form by landing the £580 top prize at the Tony Whitney Memorial Open in Owley Wood in Northwich. He came through the easier half of the draw and then beat Shropshire Premier League foe Scott Simpson, of Sir John Bayley, 22-11i n the final.
The one-day inaugural competition featured 64 bowlers at the two-green venue and stretched from 9.30am to 8.30pm.
“I didn’t expect to win it,” he added. “It was a long day so required concentration and stamina.
“It was six games and I faced Scott Simpson, one of the top players in the Midlands from Willenhall, in the final. He is playing well and has won an event in Coventry and came through the difficult half of the draw.
“But in the final he did not play well and I played the better game to win 22-11.”
Wraight is this week hoping to qualify for the finals of the Kickheaton Comms Open, which will take place in Huddersfield towards the end of this month for a prize kitty of £600.
He heads to Burton this weekend in the hunt for more silverware in the finals of the Washlands Open, where he will enter at the last 16 stage.