Fleetwood is the mecca for bowlers from all parts of the North and Midlands this week.
More than 300 bowlers alone entered the singles competition, with some of the best-known names in the sport vying for honours in front of an enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd.
The bowler coming into the tournament with the best current form is Kendal’s Martin Gilpin, a past winner of the Fleetwood event
He showed he was in prime fettle entering the Fleetwood Bowls Festival by winning the Gardeners Arms £1,800 open bowling competition at Thornton over the weekend.
He overwhelmed Graham Wilson, from Manchester, in the final, winning 21-6.
It was Gilpin’s second victory in the Thornton competition.
In the semi- finals Gilpin beat ex-Waterloo champion Lee Heaton 21-14 and Wilson defeated Geoff Little 21-12.
Once again, among Gilpin’s rivals at Fleetwood is Wilson, himself a past Festival champion.
The Fleetwood event also attracted entries from elite bowlers such as past winners Gary Ellis and Michael Leach.
If the £1,000 first prize on offer is not enough, there is the extra incentive of a place in the BT Sport-televised Champion Of Champions tournament at the Waterloo stadium in Blackpool in September.
The ladies’ singles has also attracted an elite line-up..
The main bowling is taking place at the re-developed Marine Gardens in the town, but some qualifying rounds are being held at Fleetwood Bowling Club.
Action should really start to hot up by Thursday morning when the last 32 stage is reached.
There is also a chance for juniors to show their prowess on the greens during the week with a special tournament for them.
Finals day takes place on Friday when a total of £7,000 in prize money will be handed out