Cross Hills Bowling Club’s Phil Dowgill reached the Yorkshire Merit semi-finals.

He emerged from a very good qualifying round at Broughton Road last Friday night, with two going through to the final at Almondbury Liberal Club, Huddersfield, on Monday.

Dowgill came through the top half of the draw with a 21-12 win over Gargrave skipper Mick Cox and a top-class performance against team-mate Andrew Tate 21-19, followed by another good effort to beat Keighley’s Richard Hargreaves 21-17.

In the bottom half of the draw, Devon’s Peter Clark got the better of Settle’s David Leeming 21-10, then just ousted Karl Lockwood from Oakworth 21-17 before winning 21-12 against Keighley’s Phil Anderson.

At Almondbury Liberal Bowling Club, Clark, runner-up two years ago, was on early against Simon Walder (Spen Victoria), who won 21-19.

Dowgill had a very tough first-round draw against Yorkshire team captain and four-times Merit winner Graham Wilson, but the in-form Dowgill was in charge, winning 21-16.

Another top Yorkshire player Bob Hitchen was next, and again it was Dowgill who went through 21-19.

In the quarter-finals, he had a 21-10 win against Stuart Webster to earn a last-four match against Castleford’s Robert Lloyd.

However, the in-form Lloyd got the better of Dowgill 21-19 before beating Simon Walder 21-14.

The Whitakers Chocolates’ League Handicap qualifying round, held at Sutton and Cross Hills last Sunday, had a big reduction in entries as the league had to switch to a weekend qualifier from a Tuesday night.

Clubs voted at the annual meeting for a change as to how the NatWest Clarkson Cup would be run, which effectively cut down the nights available to hold the Handicap, Merit and Norman Johnston competitions.

The Handicap had a reduction from 57 to 32, but five more did not turn up at Sutton, which meant that players qualified by winning a match.

Eight qualified for the final on Friday, June 14.

They were: Steve Longley and Paul Drinkall (Gargrave), who just beat young Oliver Burnett (Craven) 21-20; Settle are also double handed with David Leeming and Mick Duke, as are Craven via league president Warren Burnett and his son, Warren jnr.

Seniors Arnie Ripley (Broughton Road) and David Jacques (Keighley) make up the field.

Another week has gone and Cononley A have collected another 20 points as they march on in the Skipton & District Walker Foster Division One.

They beat Colne Cricket Club at home 11-1 and Settle 9-3 away, taking their total to 113 points.

Cross Hills A actually pulled a point back, narrowing the gap to 15 points with an 11-1 home win against Devon A and a 10-2 triumph at Steeton A.

Keighley A matched the top two at home with an 11-1 over Oxenhope, but lost 7-5 at Devon A, leaving them five behind Cross Hills A.

Craven A continue to perform well at home, defeating Sutton A 8-4 and having a good 7-5 win at Colne Cricket Club 7-5 leaving them in fourth place, just three points behind Keighley A.

Silsden kept up with the leading pack with two wins – at Colne Legion A 8-4 and at home 9-3 against Brough-ton Road A.

Further defeats for the bottom two leaves Steeton A with just 33 points after three points at Silsden Playing Fields A and two at home to Cross Hills A.

Settle A fared little better with three at Broughton Road A and three at home to Cononley A, leaving them on 45 points.

However, Gargrave A did better with a draw at Lund Park A 6-6 and a win at home 7-5 against Silsden Playing Fields A.

Oakworth moved clear of Keighley B at the top of Andrew Town Division Two thanks to a 12-0 home win over Lund Park B and a very good 6-6 draw at Keighley B to move them onto 107 points, eight clear of the Keighley side.

Keighley B suffered their first defeat of the season, 8-4 at Whinfield A.

Devon B pulled back four points on the second-placed side with a 9-3 home win over Cross Hills B and a 6-6 draw at Silsden Playing Fields B.

Grassington are still in fourth after yet another home win, 9-3 against Silsden Playing Fields B, and five points at Lund Park B.

It is very close behind. Cononley B are one point adrift on 83, while Rolls Royce (81), Broughton Road B (79) and Whinfield A (77) are near at hand.

It looks like any two from three at the bottom as Keighley C (38), Addingham A (40) and Settle B (41) are at least 19 points adrift.

Broughton Road C’s time at the top of Skipton Building Society Division Three came to a end with a 9-1 defeat at Lund Park C, and they dropped to fourth.

Gargrave B also had just one game, but won 9-1 at home to Cross Hills C to move top with 71 points.

Sutton B had two away games but it was no hindrance as they won 7-3 against Steeton C and 8-2 against Whinfield C to move into second place on 69.

Whinfield B made a big move into third with 27 points from three wins – at Gargrave C 10-0 and Silsden Playing Fields C 7-5 and at 10-0 home to Addingham B.

The Inter-District Veterans take on Halifax tomorrow (1.30pm), and another good performance will be needed to keep them in touch with the leaders.

Home game (at Silsden Playing Fields): D Seed, D Jacques, M Duke, D Varley, L Buxton, D Hemsley, A Ripley, B Gore.

Away game (at Greetland BC): T Hargreaves, B Turnbull, B Hardwick, C Taylor, K Brenkley, J Parkin, A Harris, A Pennington.

The NatWest Clarkson Cup gets underway this week with the preliminary round. Whinfield C have given Silsden a bye into round two.