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Top 25 of 25 Years: Spencer Clarke

Spencer is one of the rare few players in the league who have played for just one club for its entirety. He has played for Sir John Bayley not just since our league launched in 1994 but grew up there too. He has played 547 games for Sir John Bayley, winning 406 of them, not surprisingly the most for the club. He has finished in the top three of the League Averages twice in 2003 and 2006, only losing out to the winner of them on aggregate. He did win the Most Consecutive Wins in 2003, and was runner up in our Merit in 2002 when losing out to an inspired Pete Farmer at Donnington Wood. He has captained the club several times, and achieved his goal of winning the league in 2016 when leading them, and added a second triumph this year.

Name:  Spencer Clarke
Year started bowling:  1980
Can you remember the details of your first competitive game?

That was a long long time ago.   I think I was about 8yrs old and whilst I don’t remember a great deal, I think I only won about 5 games out of 30 in my first full season, so definitely a case of rubber poisoning.   It was however all good experience and you learn a lot from other players.

Clubs played for:

Sir John Bayley

St. Georges (played Summit League)

Major  Honours:
Individual: Team:
Shropshire Senior Merit twice – 2018, 2019 Crosfield Cup – 2009
Bowring Open twice County Cup 3 times – 2006, 2013, 2018
Whitehorse Open Shropshire Premier League – 2016
Father & Son – 1990 Summit Midlands Super League – 2016
Shropshire Junior Merit – 1990 Pool A& Pool B
Baggeridge 4 man Alan Mayhew
West Brom Open (r/up 2013) Staffordshire Consolation Cup
Shropshire Senior Merit (r/up 2008 & 2014)
Occupation  Business Analyst
Birthplace/Date  Wellington / 1972
Favourite Food  Thai / Indian
Favourite Drink(s)  Lager / Gin & Tonic
Favourite Meal  Thai Green Curry
Favourite Newspaper  Racing Post
Favourite TV Programme  In the Line of Duty
Favourite Music Singer/Album  This is the One – Stone Roses
Favourite Singer/Group  Radiohead
Favourite Film  The Bourne trilogy
Favourite Cartoon Character  Tom & Jerry
Favourite Colour  Blue
Favourite Place  Lake District – what a place!
First car/Current car  Ford Escort / Vauxhall Insignia
Most Famous Person Met  Kevin Keegan
Person who would most like to meet  Thom Yorke – Radiohead
Sporting Hero  Usain Bolt / Ruby Walsh
Most Prized Possession  Family
Best Friend in bowls  Mark Shore & SJB team mates
Funniest Team Mate  Plenty of loons at SJB, where do you start?

Pellet, Donk, Hale, Goz !

What are your earliest memories of the Premier League and can you remember your first game in the league?

I have more vivid memories of the season before.  SJB were an improving Mids-Shrops side but we had to finish in the Top 4/5 of the local league to receive an invite into the SPBL the year after, thankfully we sneaked in and have remained ever present.

Our 1st Premier League game was against Chester Road at home and SJB won 9-5, sadly some of those much loved players, on both sides, are no longer with us.

Who was the biggest influence on your bowling career?

My Dad and Grandad (Albert) were the biggest influences on my bowling career and I spent many happy hours learning the game from them.

What do you consider to be your best individual performance in the Premier League?

I’ve had some cracking games over the years and it’s difficult to pinpoint any particular game, but perhaps beating Peter Farmer on Newport is a performance which springs to mind.

What do you consider to be your best team performance in the Premier League?

Captaining SJB to win the Premier League in 2016 was really special, a rollercoaster of a season, culminating in a burning ambition of mine to win the Premier league with SJB.

What was the highlight of your bowling life?

As I reflect now, then winning last year’s Shropshire Merit is definitely the highlight for me,even more so because my Dad was there to enjoy it.  I desperately wanted to win it and, after two near misses, and was overcome with emotion to finally achieve my goal.

What has been the lowlight of your bowling life?

Not many spring to mind to be honest, dust yourself down and move on.

What are your favourite/most memorable greens in the Premier League?

SJB bottom green.

I also like Bowring, Craven Arms and Burway – big crowns, great playing surfaces and the greens are usually quick, oh and bring back Archibald Worthington, always a good night & best food ever!

What are your least favourite/least memorable greens in the Premier League?

 Still looking for a win on Hanmer and not holding out much hope this year either!

What nicknames do you have? 

Goose

G

What memorable matches have you played in or watched in the Premier League?

I played in the dreaded SPBL play off against Coddon at St. Georges, where SJB were fighting to stay in the league.  This is probably the highest profile Premier game I have played in.

What annoys you most in the Premier League?

Nothing – it’s a great league !

What changes would you like to see to improve the Premier League?

None.

My ambition within bowls is to …

To continue playing at a decent level for as long as possible and to enjoy it.  I would ideally like to make it to 100 caps for Shropshire and if possible win a couple more team and individual competitions.

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