Former champions find it tough in 86th Eastbourne Open Bowls Tournament

The 86th Eastbourne Open Bowls Tournament. Neil Kirby (Sponsor - Langham Hotel)  Mayor (Cllr Janet Coles)  and President of Gildredge Park BC - David Rhodes

The 86th Eastbourne Open Bowls Tournament. Neil Kirby (Sponsor - Langham Hotel) Mayor (Cllr Janet Coles) and President of Gildredge Park BC - David Rhodes

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In overcast condition which later produced rain, the 86th running of the Eastbourne Open Bowls Tournament, sponsored by Langham Hotel, commenced on Sunday.

The event, which started in 1924 and is played on greens around the town, attracts around 50% of its entry from outside of the area, a regular contingent making the trip down from Leicester. The Worshipful The Mayor of Eastbourne (Cllr Janet Coles) welcomed the participants and commenced proceedings, undertaking a one end match against the tournament sponsor for the last 7 years, Neil Kirby (Langham Hotel). In the early rounds of the Mens Singles, former champions found the going very hard. Last year’s winner, David Willis (Bexhill), fell at the first hurdle to Colin Taylor (Eastbourne) 21-15. The 2012 champion, Peter Jackson (Eastbourne) also went out in the first round to Andy Browning (Gildredge Park) 21-16. Champion in 2009, Barrie Fordham (Eastbourne) survived the first round but went out in the second to Danny Dargan (Sidley Martlets) 21-12 and 2006 champion Francois Celada (Eastbourne) was another first round casualty, going out to Adrian Wainwright (Uckfield) 21-20. This leaves the only recent times champion surviving after the first day to be David Richardson (Popes Mead), who won the title in 2005, 2010 and 2013, and who seems in fine form, winning to single figures in both of the first two rounds.

The 86th Eastbourne Open Bowls Tournament.

The 86th Eastbourne Open Bowls Tournament.

In the Ladies Pairs, reigning champions Beth Clarke and Sheila Simmons (Eastbourne) have progressed to the semi-finals where they will meet Joan Jones (Lilleshall) and Rene Jones (Durrants Park).

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The 86th Eastbourne Open Bowls Tournament.

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