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Gameweek 3 Preview

Champions return to triumph, Castlefields go into unknown, Newport look for first win

The Salop Leisure Shropshire Premier Bowling League Champions Sir John Bayley return to where they won last year’s title at Ifton in week 3 of the 2017 season. They got 4 winners there last season to seal the league and might be looking for something similar as a good return. But captain Tom Roden warned “We don’t tend to have the best record on Ifton and over the last few years they’ve got themselves a very strong team. So we go into the game knowing how tough it will be to come back with a good result (as most away games are now in the SPBL). But again, we go there with the aim of improving on last year’s result and keeping the pressure on the teams at the top.” Ifton skipper Dickie Jones has seen his side enjoy a good start with an 11-3 win followed by 4 winners at Castlefields. But he knows that the Champions are “one of the few teams we measure ourselves against. They are a good side but there are a number of good teams in this league. It’s been a good start for us and we are chuffed with how we’ve done. We haven’t lost at home for 14 games and there’s no reason why we should lose against them. We want to go undefeated at home all season and if we can improve away then we will be in and around the top four, which is our aim.” Fellow title rivals Castlefields take a trip into the unknown for most of their players as they travel to newcomers Hanmer. Hanmer enjoyed a strong start with a 12-2 home win over Bylet but know some of the Castlefields team will have seen it before. Captain Dave Ellison says “we face my tip for the title Castlefields. We will try to carry on where we left off against Bylet but we know this will be a lot tougher because of the experience a few of the Castlefields lads have on our green and the quality they have added to their squad this season.” Castlefields though could be without Rich Goddard, Callum Wraight and Steve Freer who take part in an invitation at Houldsworth in Stockport, but with it being a 32 starting at 10 would hope they can be back for at least the back four. The league wishes them well in the competition, along with Greg Smith of Hanwood.

5 time Champions Newport find themselves in the unfamiliar place of bottom after two away games to start the season. And it won’t get to much easier with a home game against St Georges, but skipper Mick Jones is “hopeful of getting our first win with home advantage after a difficult start. Even though I think St Georges will go close this year we have our best side available with Chris Grocott and Alan Davidson back.” The Dragons only got 3 at Hanwood to start with and with the dry weather Newport could be quick like Hanwood. Conversely leaders Meole Brace, after two home games to start with, face their first away trip to Wem USC. They won there two seasons back so will be hopeful of going close again with their good record there, but Wem USC are much better at home now and did start with a home win in another tough home game for them against Chester Road. Hanwood will look for another good home win against Wrockwardine Wood especially given the weather and their 13-1 win over the same opposition last season. The Wrockites got an alright four at Burway but will look to their away form to improve as they enjoyed a good home start against Hanmer last game. Burway will want to keep their good home record up but face a Chester Road side who got a good 6 at Wem USC and got 7 winners on their green last season. Bylet will look to build on there great 12-2 home win over Burway last week and with their new additions settling in nicely captain Mick Harries says “we have a better squad with some good additions this year. We’ve had trouble attracting players in the past because of where we are but there’s three new faces and the club have had an influx of players. Hopefully I might have some nice selection problems and that’s always a nice situation to be in. We always want to aim high but we know it’s a tough league and all the teams are quality.” Bowring have had a good start to the season beating the Champions at home then getting a good 5 at Chester Road so will look to continue this run.

Gameweek 3 Fixtures:

Ifton v Sir John Bayley

Burway v Chester Road

Hanmer v Castlefields

Wem USC v Meole Brace

Newport v St Georges

Hanwood v Wrockwardine Wood

Bowring v Bylet

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