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Gameweek 5 Preview

Two Derbies, Top Two Clash, North Shropshire Duo Battle

There are some mouthwatering clashes in Gameweek 5 of the Salop Leisure Shropshire Premier Bowling League including two derbies with plenty of edge about them. Wrockwardine Wood are flying at the start of the season and meet a St Georges who have had a poor start at home but a good start away. Away captain Stuart Clee knows that “given the local rivalry the game always has an added element of ‘spice’ but it’s not a game we fear. We are looking forward to the challenge and I am confident my lads will apply themselves in the right manner to achieve the target we have set ourselves, like they have done all season so far. I am sure they will be as up for it as we are and may the best team win!” Opposition joint captain Ian Gaut admits “the bounce was definitely back in everyone’s stride after last week’s fine away win. We will treat our improved derby opponents with the respect they deserve but are confident of our usual good points haul against them on our own green.” The other derby clash is in Shrewsbury where Meole Brace will also have a spring in their step after their win on Ifton last week. Skipper Andy Wigginton knows “it’s always our biggest match of the season. They’re a quality side but we’re going into it with confidence!” Castlefields non-playing captain Alan Peach is treating the match “the same as every away game. We get 5 away then we have done a great job. But with 4 points for an away win it puts a different aspect on the results. But it’s a derby game and Meole will be looking to beat us. I’m hoping the lads play to their strengths!”

The top two clash with Sir John Bayley hosting Newport. The Bayley won 11-3 last season, but Newport were short of several players that game, and that means captain Sam Millward is more confident of getting a positive result this time around. “I think we have a team that can win anywhere as long as we turn up and perform on the night. We have done well there in the past and normally get four or five winners. They also do well at our place and won there last year, hopefully we can reverse that! It’s a massive game. If we only get two or three then we will be 10 or 11 behind and playing catch-up, which is difficult to do. I know a few of their lads are on form and they have a great spirit, they’re a good bunch of lads. But we played well against Bylet last week and go in with an unchanged team.” The Bayley beat another potential title contender Hanwood 10-4 last week, and joint captain Scott Simpson believes their good start is down to their new signings blending well. “We brought a few new players in over the Winter but they have all done well and done what they were brought into do. Newport have started well and there’s no doubt they are stronger than they have been in the last couple of years. To beat two top sides like Hanwood and Newport in the first five games would be a great start for us, but know it’s early days.”

There is a North Shropshire battle between Chester Road and Wem USC up in Whitchurch. Chester Road have struggled the last couple of games and find themselves second bottom so know they need a good win to move up the table. But Wem enjoyed a good home win last week and have already had two good results on the road, 5 at St Georges and 4 at Bowring. Fellow North Shropshire team Hanmer will look to bounce back from their home loss against St Georges but face a tough trip to Hanwood. They did get 4 there last season, a result that kick-started their away season. Hanwood have had a good start at home and know they need to continue that to be challenging the top three. Ifton will be another team looking for a reaction after their home defeat last week. However they face a trip to Bylet, a place they traditionally don’t do well at in the last few seasons, apart from a 10-4 win there in 2015. Bylet have had a tough start playing Hanwood, Sir John Bayley and Newport so will be looking forward to trying to take advantage of Ifton’s poor start away, just 3 winners from their first two games. Burway’s good start was halted last week at Wem USC but are back home to take on the Bowring. They know their home form will go a long way to that top 6 finish they want. Bowring were unlucky just to get 2 last week at Wrockwardine Wood, so are hoping for a little more luck as they try and get a good haul to move them up the table from their lowly 11th position.

Gameweek 5 Fixtures:

St Georges v Wrockwardine Wood

Meole Brace v Castlefields

Sir John Bayley v Newport

Chester Road v Wem USC

Burway v Bowring

Bylet v Ifton

Hanwood v Hanmer

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