SCRATCH skittles team Julie’s Barmy Army travelled from Barry to Somerset to play in a major tournament, recruiting their final two team members on the bus travelling to the venue and promptly came away with top honours and the trophy.

The Cinderella story began when Julie Hawkins put together a last minute team of skittlers, including her nephews and nieces for a major Shoot Out tournament at Weston Super Mare. Undaunted by the fact that they were still two players short because of pregnancies amongst the ranks, the girls recruited Stephen Dite and Terry Power who were both on the coach travelling to the tournament.

With her team finally complete, Julie set her sights on the trophy, hotly contested by 32 teams who’d travelled from all over Wales, Devon, Somerset, Gloucester and Worcester Her team duly mounted the podium after beating nearest rivals Legion Wanderers of Cardiff in a tense all-Wales final by just three pins. Team member Leanne Cosslett added to the silverware by scoring the highest women’s tally in the tournament featuring a fantastic 61 in the finals including a 16 spare.

Teak captain Julie, who’s a Shoot Out Veteran, said she played her first Shoot Out tournament 19 years ago. Her team won back then and as she put it, ‘better late than never, it’s taken me 19 years to do it again.’

Their journey to victory this time involved two wins and a draw in their group before progressing to the finals against Legion Wanderers from Cardiff in an all-Wales final.

‘We’re still coming down from our victory,’ said Julie, who plans to compete in no less than three Shoot Out tournaments next year. And Julie’s Barmy Army is now taking part in the Barry Summer league, spurred on by their Shoot Out victory.