Congratulations to Sam Tolchard who was presented with the Senior Men’s Bowler of the Year Award at the Bowls England Annual Dinner on the 25 February 2017 – a well deserved accolade. Sam’s sister Sophie received the Senior Lady Bowler of the Year in November — what an honour for Devon and the family to have brother and sister as the male and female Bowls England Bowlers of the Year in the same year. Devon featured highly in the citation presented by Sian Honnor in both the junior and senior nominations extracts from which are as follows:
The strength of the young men players that Devon have is evidenced by the fact that such a large number of the junior international team continue to reach the latter stages of national competitions and feature in the senior international squad.
Nineteen-year-old Harry Goodwin was part of the Kings team that won the men’s top club and club two fours events. He also played in the Devon White Rose trophy team.
Fellow junior international Ryan Whitlock skipped his Shaldon rink to the final of the fours as well as featuring in the winning Middleton Cup team.
Ryan was also part of the Balcombe Trophy team that reached the semi final before losing to winners Leicestershire and the White Rose Trophy team that lost to winners Essex in the semi final. The Junior Male Bowler of the Year was Jamie Walker of Northamptonshire,
For the men’s bowler of the year accolade there was an exceptionally strong field.
The Kings Club in Devon had an unforgettable season, but the men were not to be outdone by the clutch of national titles that the women brought home.
Louis Ridout and Sam Tolchard secured the pairs title, a first win for Devon in this event since 1952.
They had strong wins in the quarter and semi finals and had a 10 shot margin in the final against Mike Ricketts and Dan Holmes, representing Herefordshire.
The Torquay based club also won the men’s club two fours.
Skipped by Sam and Jamie Chestney, they defeated Weybridge by just one shot in a dramatic final.
The talented squad also won the top club event, with Louis Ridout returning a 100 per cent record as they beat teams from Essex, Warwickshire and Wiltshire.
All of these Kings players featured in the Middleton Cup, which Devon retained after beating Kent in the final.
There was more success for Devon in the men’s triples, with Ollie Lucas, Ian Lesley and James Webber from Shaldon winning the title after three close matches that saw them get over the line by two shots in the quarters, after an extra end in the semi and by a one shot margin in the final.
Stuart Evans was runner up in the men’s senior singles, being pipped by former England international Grant Burgess.
Shaldon were also runners up in the men’s fours, courtesy of Ollie Lucas, Stuart Evans, Lee Haywood and Ryan Whitlock.
They lost out to Rob White, Ian Bland, Wayne Stanley and Dominic Graham on an extra end.
I make no apology that Devon has featured so heavily in this citation – the achievements of Devon are incredible.
But one particular player stood out this season, for both his singles and team performances.
Sam Tolchard skipped Louis Ridout to big wins in the men’s pairs quarter final against St Neots and semi final against Gloucestershire to set up that final clash.
Later that day he picked up the two-bowl singles title, with a solid performance that saw him triumph 17-2 in 14 ends.
Sam skipped in the winning men’s club two fours, was the singles representative for champions Kings in the top club and had big wins in the Middleton Cup.
He was also part of the winning men’s senior international team.
All reasons why Sam Tolchard won the Taylor men’s Bowler of the Year.