Wem USC retained their place in the Salop Leisure Shropshire Premier Bowling League after beating challengers Hadley USC by 24 in a playoff at Meole Brace attended by an excess of 300 people. It wasn’t as comfortable as the score suggests as Wem took an early lead before being pegged back and then pushed on to win. Man of the match Mike Dulson led the way for them winning 8 in the corners early doors but Hadley kept with them with Simon Homer having another slow start before getting back into the game and inflicting more pain on his opponent as he ran out from 16-15 up down an edge. Jamie Wyer also ran out from 17-12 down in the corners as he played some immaculate bowls. It could have been better for Hadley as Dave Price was 16 across but had a poor end which opponent Fred Bailey capitalised on to run out. So after the first four Wem led by 8.
Into the middle and the volume was turned up, with Hadley supporters the main reason as Ash Gregory after struggling early doors went long and twirled his way to a 12 win from only 10-9 up. This gave Hadley the lead for the one and only time as Nick Wyer let a 17-13 and 20-17 lead go as Chris Brettell ran out to peg them back. Colin Smith was then going quietly about his business against a struggling Phil King and won 6, but with Jim Fletcher 16-10 up Hadley could sense they can get back into it. But Wem’s Mike Fielder had other ideas and pegged Jim back and won 17 to give Wem a 19 shot lead going into the back four.
Wem knew they had to keep it tight and they did pretty much, sniffing out any big breaks for Hadley bowlers. Only John Potter managed to get a run going in the corners, and led 18-12, but at that time Connor Whitehall had pulled away from Ray Gregory and won 15, and with it the match for Wem. Scott Thomas always had the edge on his opponent and came off 17 after a fightback from 15-8 down for Nick Mullinder. Neil Boxall came back to 18 across against John before John won 19, while Steve Homer, after Paul Gleave had a good run himself from 13 across to lead 19-15, then ran out on a straight mark to limit the damage to 24, but it still meant Hadley haven’t returned at the first time of asking.
Wem captain Graham Dulson commented “I thought the game was played with a good spirit from both teams on a well presented green. I am very proud of our team after a very hard season the lads kept playing when the going gets tough, and showed what they are capable of. I think Hadley have some very good players and will be back in the premier soon.”
The league would like to thank Meole Brace for hosting the final, and in particular Mark Thomas for doing the gate and raffle, and Beth Rogers for helping him on the raffle. Also thanks goes to Mike Potter for refereeing to his usual high standards, and to Will Hare for measuring.
|HUSC||Score||Wem U S C||Score|
|Simon Homer||21||Craig Ashley||15|
|Jamie Wyer||21||Derek Wright||17|
|John Newey||8||Mike Dulson||21|
|Dave Price||16||Fred Bailey||21|
|Nick Wyer||20||Chris Brettell||21|
|Ashley Gregory||21||George Williams||12|
|James Fletcher||17||Mike Fielder||21|
|Phil King||6||Colin Smith||21|
|Ray Gregory||15||Connor Whitehall||21|
|Nick Mullinder||17||Scott Thomas||21|
|Steve Homer||21||Paul Gleave||19|
|John Potter||21||Neil Boxall||18|
Mike Dulson collects the Man of the Match Champagne off League President John Coxill.