Glorious campaign for dynamic Ellis
Date published: 30 December 2016
GARY Ellis has been reflecting on one of the most successful seasons in his crown green bowling career.
Ellis, who represents Nimble Nook in the Chadderton League and Tonge in the Manchester Premier League, has a bowling CV the huge majority of players can only dream of.
And the 2016 campaign saw him win 16 major open competitions - a tally he bettered only in 2012 with 17.
The highlight was his victory in the Champion of Champions' tournament held at the Waterloo Hotel, Blackpool, in October.
But there were many other glory days, not least victories in the Talbot Trophy at the Raikes Hotel, Blackpool, major wins at Hillcrest BC and Cleckheaton in Yorkshire, a couple of big local successes in the Hopwood and Royle Classics, and the latest in a long line of Greater Manchester Merit triumphs.
Ever-modest Ellis said: "It was quite a wet summer, which slowed down the greens, and that suits me more than when the greens are flying!
"It always helps when you start the season well and I managed to win a couple of competitions early on which settled me down and gave me confidence.
"I didn't do quite so well against the top players such as Graeme (Wilson), Greg (Smith), Simon (Coupe) and Callum (Wraight), though.
"In fact, I won only four of the 15 games I played against them, which is nowhere near as good as my record in 2012.
"Having said that, you can't complain when you win one of the top tournaments, such as the Champion of Champions, and so many other competitions in the same season so, of course, I would have taken that at the start of the summer."
At the age of 43, Ellis shows no signs of any deterioration in his game, and a fitness regime which includes regular visits to the gym is certainly a big help in that respect.
"I've been going to the gym since I was a youngish lad carrying a bit of puppy fat, but I do enjoy it and I'm sure it helps.
"I've been in two finals days on the same day on several occasions and have played seven games a day and still felt able to play another one if it were needed.
"That said, I have felt shattered the following day!"
Whichever major tournaments Ellis sets his sights on in 2017, the pretenders to his title as the game's number one player know only too well he will remain the man to beat.
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