A new Waterloo champion was crowned on a thrilling day of action at the South Shore shrine of bowling.
Paul Dale of Congleton beat Warrington’s Lee Johnstone 21-16 in the final to add his name to a historic list of Autumn Waterloo champions.
For much of the year uncertainty had surrounded the event as the financial problems which had seen the Spring Waterloo cancelled also threatened to put paid to an autumn event stretching back to 1907.
But the bowls enthusiasts who flocked to the stadium saw two first-time finalists battle it out after two spellbinding semi-finals – Dale and Johnstone both edged through 21-20 against former champions Glynn Cookson and Greg Smith respectively.
No-one was happier to see finals day proceed so well as five-time champion Gary Ellis, who told The Gazette: “We had a great final and two very close semis.
“It looked like the final would be very close too at 17-16 but Paul pulled clear and was a worth champion.
“The top priority was to get through finals week and we still have the Charlie Tattersall memorial on Friday and the champion of champions on Saturday, but it has gone as well as we could have hoped.
“There is a bigger job to do going forward but the Waterloo is back on the right footing.”
Round two: Andy Thornton (Barrow) 21 Mick Prescott (Chorley) 15, Paul Dale (Congleton) 21 Kevin Wally (Burton) 10, Gareth Gwilliam (Hyde) 21 Simon Hargreaves (Preston) 15, Noel Burrows (Stockport) 21 Wayne Ditchfield (Wigan) 14, Michael Sweeney (Huddersfield) 21 Bob Whyatt (Cheshire) 16, Ian Grady (Skelmersdale) 21 Phil Wainwright (Frodsham 15), Mike Tunstall (Liverpool) 21 Carl Armitage (Warrington) 16, Glynn Cookson (Winsford) 21 Andy Spragg (Chesterfield) 18, Tom Brown (Burton) 21 Jamie Bramley (Stockport) 18, Greg Smith (Birmingham) 21 Kevan Shaw (Westhoughton) 9, Gary Wike (Leeds) 21 John Kennish (Isle of Man) 11, Kevin Nicholas (Wrexham) 21 Steve Waught (Barrow) 19, Stuart King (Huddersfield) 21 Tony Mellor (Heywood 17), Ashley Daykin (Huddersfield) 21 Brian Smit (Derby) 8, Darren Woodend (Barrow) 21 Ady Hodgson (Blackburn) 20, Lee Johnstone (Warrington) 21 Matty Worden (Ellesmere Port) 17
Round three: Dale 21 Thornton 8, Gwilliam 21 Burrows 18, Sweeney 21 Grady 13, Cookson 21 Tunstall 13, Smith 21 Brown 12, Wike 21 Nicholas 15, King 21 Daykin 12, Johnstone 21 Woodend 17
Quarter-finals: Smith 21 Wike 12, Johnstone 21 King 15, Dale 21 Gwilliam 18, Cookson 21 Sweeney 18
The Marton Institute Open 64 champion for 2019 is Simon Coupe.
Coupe, from Preston, defeated Gary Ellis 21-13 in the final between two former Waterloo champions.
Coupe had beaten John Crossley 21-20 in the semi-finals, while Ellis defeated Richard Goddard 21-13.
Quarter-finals: Crossley 21 G Wilson 18, Coupe 21 J Hanson 17, Ellis 21 C Kelly 17, Goddard 21 B Speed 10