Humble Houghton claims Waterloo win

Tim Houghton is presented with his trophy by Steve Jelly, the regional manager for Co-op Funeralcare
Tim Houghton is presented with his trophy by Steve Jelly, the regional manager for Co-op Funeralcare

Garstang’s Tim Houghton was the toast of Lancashire after winning the coveted Waterloo crown green title, exceeding his wildest expectations.

In a dramatic decider, the 47-year-old beat John Bailey, of Llanwrst, a previous winner by 21-19.

In the process, Houghton, who plays for Brownedge in the Preston League, became the first bowler from the Fylde Coast to win the Waterloo since Steve Ellis, of Kirkham, back in 1984.

The man who has the nickname ‘Steady’ needed that quality in a nerve-wracking final.

He had led 15-8 against the left-handed Bailey before his rival staged a big comeback.

Then when counting for game at 20-15, a successful strike by Bailey knocked the jack off the green making it a dead-end and leaving Houghton waiting for his dream victory.

He said of his triumph: “These things happen to other people not me!

“I had never got beyond the last 32 in the Waterloo before this year, but I knew I could play the green well, but I have fallen short before, for whatever reason.

“This is the pinnacle of my bowling career.

“It is a dream to win this; I honestly thought it was something I would never do.

“But it shows that if it is your day and you concentrate, you can do it.

“It is certainly the best day in bowls I have ever had.”

Houghton, who also plays for Brownedge in the Preston League, works for a parcel-forwarding firm in Garstang

Houghton was introduced to the crowd by the tv announcer as ‘Steady’ Tim Houghton and the new champion explained: “That was my nickname at the place where I used to work. They called me that because I was the steadiest person they had ever seen apparently!

“So I thought I might as well use that at the Waterloo.”

“This year’s Waterloo was a cracker, with the biggest crowd for two decades watching the action unfold at the South Shore stadium

Co-op Funeralcare Waterloo men’s quarter-finals: Terry Glover (Liverpool) 21 Graeme Wilson (Dudley) 20; Tim Houghton (Garstang) 21 James Grimston (Kirkham) 14; John Bailey (Wales) 21 Steve Ellis (Stockport) 16; Glynn Cookson (Winsford) 21 Callum Wraight (Shropshire) 20.

Semi-final: Houghton 21, Glover 16; Bailey 21, Cookson 19. Final: Houghton 21 Bailey 19

The 2016 ladies’ Waterloo title went to Linda Williams (North Wales) for the second year in a row.

She retained her title thanks to a 21-19 victory over Kaye Coulthard (Dudley) in a closely-fought decider.