JACK Hargreaves is the first winner of the Railway Classic after steaming to glory in Pleasington.

Some of the best bowlers from across the North West went head-to-head at the Blackburn venue and it was Stockport’s Hargreaves who got his hands on the £500 first place prize money - and the unique winning trophy made entirely out of match sticks.

Hargreaves overcame Nelson’s Dean Butler in the final - one of two East Lancashire players he beat on his way to the title - sealing a 21-9 victory in front of a big crowd at the Pleasington pub.

The calibre of bowling on show was underlined with five of the eight first round matches on finals day decided by three or less points.

But Hargreaves was not one of them as he remained on track for glory from the moment he defeated Andy Thornton 21-13 in the last 16.

Hargreaves then beat Blackburn bowler Mark Green from Witton Bowling Club by the same scoreline in the quarter finals and conceded just one more point in the semi finals as he beat Adrian Hodgson 21-14.

Butler was up against home favourite Ian Armstrong in his last 16 match in what proved to be a fascinating encounter with the Nelson man beating the Railway bowler 21-19.

In the quarter finals, he defeated Simon Brown 21-16 before proving to be too good in the last four match with Ben Gloag as he eased to a 21-7 victory.

Colin Crawford from Witton BC was involved in two thrilling encounters, beating Stuart Mort 21-20 in the last 16 before losing by the same scoreline to Adrian Hodgson in the quarter finals - which turned out to be two of the matches of the day.

It was Hodgson’s second East Lancashire scalp of the competition as he beat Railway’s Alan Livesey 21-18 in the first round.

All games were refereed by BGCBA Referee Nigel Fryer MBE.

The prizes were presented by club president and ex-Mayor of Blackburn, Alan Cottam and the trophy - made by the late Alan Hargreaves and restored by Pete Norris - was presented by bowling legend, Brian Duncan.

The event raised £146 for Derian House Children’s Hospice.

Organiser Reg Horman said: “A massive thanks to all the Railway Bowling Club volunteers, to Peter J Graham, Craig Ramell, the bowlers and all supporters.”