There’s an old saying that the ’cream always rises to the top’. And that was never truer than at Tenby Bowling Club’s popular annual open tournament last week.

When Friday dawned, the mouth-watering semi-final line-up included no fewer than four past champions - two of them double winners - who between them had an amazing 23 Tenby tournament titles under their belts.

And by the end of an enthralling finals day on the Sutton Street green, reigning supreme in the event, which always attracts some of the country’s top bowlers, were none other than a past?Welsh indoor captain and the current Welsh outdoor captain. It surely doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

Back on his throne as Gold Cup winner was David Kingdon, who has become something of an open weekend legend during the past 20 years, the Kidwelly player claiming the coveted trophy for a record seventh time.

He first struck gold in 1997 and again the following year, with further successes coming in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2104. For good measure, he also bagged the Silver Bowl in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017, but is still waiting to achieve the rare feat of an open week gold and silver double.

Only three players have managed to do that in the long history of the event and one of those is former Tenby player, Lee Williamson, now of the Cheltenham club, who provided Kingdon’s opposition in what looked an attractive semi-final clash.

And the two certainly didn’t disappoint, slugging it out in a real nail-biter before the Kidwelly man edged the thriller by the narrowest of margins, 21 shots to 20.

The other semi-final featured young Dion Peregrine, of Ammanford Park, who enjoyed a superb tournament, having ended Kingdon’s double hopes earlier in the week with a surprise victory in the opening rounds of the Silver Bowl, before he himself bowed out of that in the quarter-finals to Tenby’s Paul Diment.

His opponent on this occasion was another Cheltenham player, Matt Cuthbert, who in the end proved just too strong for the talented teenager, running out 21-15 victor.

But the man from across the Severn Bridge just had no answer to the silky skills of Kingdon in what turned out to be a rather one-sided final which lasted just 13 ends.

Kingdon was fast out of the traps, starting with a maximum count of four on the very first end and repeating this on the third, as he opened up a 15-0 lead, before the shellshocked Cuthbert finally got on the board with a single on the seventh end.

A minor rally saw the Cheltenham man add three more singles over the next six ends, but that was as good as it got as Kingdon added six more himself in the same period to close out a comfortable victory by 21 shots to four.

The final of the Silver Bowl proved a much closer affair as the host club’s John Roberts, fresh from captaining Wales to success in the recent Home International series, took on Mark Driscoll, of Kidwelly.

Last year’s Gold Cup winner, Roberts had disposed of Tenby rival Paul Diment (double winner in 2007) in the semi-finals, while Driscoll ended the double of dreams of Lee Williamson, who had another excellent (and probably exhausting) week, reaching both semi-finals, but disappointingly failing to to make it to either final.

Both were closely fought contests, though, with Roberts winning through 21-15 and Driscoll eventually getting the better of his man, 21-18.

And it was a similar story in the final, which was another tight affair, with the Kidwelly man holding sway early on as he established a useful 5-0 lead after just three ends.

Cool as ever, though, Roberts then steadied the ship and got his own nose in front, 7-6, by the seventh end.

The lead changed hands several times after that, with Driscoll ekeing out a 15-11 advantage after 16 ends.

But that was to be his last score on the board, as Roberts again rallied, scoring 10 shots without reply over the next six ends to clinch the trophy, which he last won in 2008.

While all this was going on, being played alongside was the final of the Five Arches Bowl, a competition for players exiting the main competitions in the early rounds.

There was also Tenby interest in this as it featured the host club’s Ashley Hooper up against Marcus Smith, of Presteigne.

Smith had a great start, picking up a count of four on the very first end, but Hooper hit back and by the eighth end had edged ahead 8-5.

Two more counts of four against on the ninth and 11th ends stopped him in his tracks, though, and although he continued to battle on bravely, it was Smith who finished the stronger, eventually running out winner, 21-13.

Again expertly organised by Tenby club president, Lynn Rafferty, the finals brought the curtain down on another successful and memorable open week, with the winners not only being presented with the magnificent trophies, but an increase in prize money.

In all, a total of £3,130 was up for grabs during the tournament, with the winner of the blue riband Gold Cup receiving £1,500 and the Silver winner pocketing £750.

Thanks as ever go to Molson Coors for their continued and generous sponsorship of the event, the grass cuttters for tending the green, Liz and her team of ladies in the kitchen, who kept everyone fed and watered during the week, Sophie in the bar for her help in quenching thirsts, the markers for all their efforts and last, but not least, the players themselves for once again making the tournament the great spectacle it is. Roll on next year!

Gold Cup


Matthew Partridge 10 Paul Diment 21; Ryan Edwards 9 David Kingdon 21; Lee Williamson 21 Nicky Jones 11; John Roberts 21 Chris Price 4.

Dion Peregrine 21 Mark Driscoll 20; Katie Thomas 21 Steve Williams 20; David Weale 18 Matt Cuthbert; Phil Carpenter 20 Ashley Williams 21.


Katie Thomas 13 Dion Peregrine 21; Ashley Williams 16 Matt Cuthbert 21; Paul Diment 18 David Kingdon 21; John Roberts 16 Lee Williamson 21.


Semi-finals: David Kingdon 21 Lee Williamson 20; Dion Peregrine 15 Matt Cuthbert 21.

Final: David Kingdon 21 Matt Cuthbert 4

Silver Bowl


Alan Thomas 13 Josh Jones 21; David Kingdon 17 Dion Peregrine 21; Iestyn Williams 21 Scott Williams 11; Matt Cuthbert 14 John Roberts 21; Paul Mason 21 Wayne Webster 19; Jeremy Watkins 21 Tony Duckfield 12.

Lee Williamson 21 Sid Butler 16; Paul Diment 21 Huw Nicholas 4; James Criddle 18 Matthew Partridge 21; Cameron White 21 Chris Jones (llan) 18; Steve Williams 21 Mike Duckfield 9; Jordan Driscoll 21 David Weale 16.

Henry Watkins 10 Phillip Carpenter 21; Chris Price 21 Jon Ackland 14; Mark Driscoll 21 John Culley 6; Ryan Edwards 12 Ashley Williams 21.


Dion Peregrine 21 Jeremy Watkins 18; Josh Jones 21 Iestyn Williams 20; Paul Mason 16 John Roberts 21; Matthew Partridge 16 Paul Diment 21.

Phil Carpenter 13 Chris Price 21; Lee Williamson 21 Cameron White 14; Jordan Driscoll 17 Steve Williams 21; Mark Driscoll 21 Ashley Williams 19.


Josh Jones 17 John Roberts 21; Dion Peregrine 5 Paul Diment 21; Lee Williamson 21 Steve Williams 6; Chris Price 20 Mark Driscoll 21.


Semi-finals: Lee Williamson 18 Mark Driscoll 21; John Roberts 21 Paul Diment 15.

Final: Mark Driscoll 15 John Roberts 21.

Five Arches Bowl


Phil Lewis 21 Mike Duckfield 2; Paul Marks 20 Wayne Webster 21; Marcus Smith 21 Henry Watkins 9; Alan Thomas 13 Eilyr Lloyd 21; Finley Williamson 20 Tom Pearson 21; Ronan Breen 11 Tony Duckfield 21; Keith Peregrine 1 Jack Breen 21.


Ashley Hooper 21 Scott Williams 11; Viv John 12 Bryan Kingdon 21; Wayne Webster 8 Phil Lewis 21; Eilyr Lloyd 13 Marcus Smith 21; Tony Duckfield bt Tom Pearson; Joe Price 14 Jack Breen 21; Shaun Peregrine 13 Archie Phillips 21; Chris Jones 21 Keith Michael 13; Ashley Hooper 21 Bryan Kingdon 12; Archie Phillips 21 Chris Jones 14; Phil Lewis 12 Marcus Smith 21; Tony Duckfield 4 Jack Breen 21.


Semi-finals: Archie Phillips 18 Ashley Hooper 21; Marcus Smith 21 Jack Breen 10.

Final: Marcus Smith 21 Ashley Hooper 13