A big crowd is expected at Old Shrewsbury to see the 2018 playoff final between Hanmer and Mid Shropshire League Champions Highley. Hanmer will be looking to use all their experiences of playoffs over the years as they take on newcomers Highley, who have never took part in our playoffs before. But they have plenty of experience in their side, with Dave East one of the best players in Staffordshire, while Ben Dixon, Darrell Handley and Mark Jones are all county players from that county in a team full of players from Staffordshire clubs. They won the Shropshire Cup this season too, showing they know how to handle a big final. Captain Geoff Wylde says it’s an “unknown green and unknown opponents for us, we will approach the game as we have in each Shropshire Cup game, respect our opponents but know we have a capable team ourselves. Missing two regular regular players is a big loss but we will do our best to overcome that.”
Hanmer meanwhile may have struggled in the league this season, being bottom since before halfway through the season, but have plenty of experience from league bowls and plenty of quality. Mike Riley is a former All England winner, whereas Mike Riley is also a Welsh county player and Jordan Riley and Ieuan Pugh are both Welsh Junior County players so will know how to play in a big game. Skipper Dave Ellison comments on “another playoff match which seemed very unlikely a fee weeks ago, but events on and off the green have given Highley their chance. They have won the Shropshire Cup so must be a decent side and we need to be on top of our game to retain our place in the Prem. This is the one night which flies by and whoever handles the noise and pressure will prevail.” They are also missing three regular players, Graham and Robin Bennett and Craig Jones.
There are some cracking ties in the first four as both teams go for it. Mike Riley against Dave East should be the game of the night, while Mike Gilpin versus Darrell Handley and Lee Peate against Geoff Wylde could be crucial games in the front. Alan Faulkner goes from his number 12 heroics in the last playoff to number one as he plays Ben Dixon, who will relish the occasion. The middle sees Highley lead with experience with Mark Jones while Hanmer go for youth in Jack Hewitt, as there are five under 30s in their side. Hanmer skipper Dave Ellison is in the middle, while the popular Bill Staite leads Highley into the back four, with also features two usual number 12s for both teams, Richard Pullen for Hanmer and Stuart Gittings for Highley.
It promises to be a great game, admission is just £1 with a programme. There will also be a raffle.
There will be live scores here.
There will be some coverage on Facebook and Snapchat.
|Alan Faulkner||0||0||Ben Dixon|
|Mike Riley||0||0||David East|
|Mike Gilpin||0||0||Darrell Handley|
|Lee Peate||0||0||Geoff Wylde|
|Jack Hewitt||0||0||Mark Jones|
|Martin Elson||0||0||Ray Bishop|
|Dave Ellison||0||0||Steve Wright|
|Jack Butler||0||0||Danny Statham|
|Jordan Riley||0||0||Bill Staite|
|Liam Jones||0||0||Greg Carr|
|Ieuan Pugh||0||0||Jamie Holdcroft|
|Richard Pullen||0||0||Stuart Gittings|