Midland Alliance – Shropshire lose in final
Midland Alliance Competition – Florence Tennis & Bowls Club, Stoke – Sunday 26th April 2015. The Shropshire selectors were justly proud of their team mix of “experience and fringe” players as they impressed and acquitted themselves to storm into the final only to fall short of the victory by a mere 3 shots to a strong Warwick & Worcester team in the 10-a-side one day competition staged this year at the Florence complex in Stoke. With the seven midland County Associations being split into two groups, Shropshire found themselves drawn in the group of three which was to lead the squad into lengthy sessions of frustrating inactivity, something which along with other operational issues the organisers will need to address for the future. The morning started as brightly as the glorious spring sunshine for Shropshire as they dropped a miserly 5 shots whilst winning nine of the ten games as they comprehensively despatched North Midlands in their first match by 60 chalks. Due to only having three teams in the group, they were not then to take to the green for over 2hrs as North Midlands narrowly overcame Derbyshire by 10 shots. The interlude in play was clearly detrimental to Shropshire in their second game as the expected win proved to be a harder task as the pace of the green had significantly altered and playing a Derbyshire side who had just finished their previous game. After the first five games off the green which saw Derbyshire winning 3 games and take a 14 shot lead, it took a sterling rear guard action to only drop one more game to turn the scoreline into a favourable 15chalk success which included bringing on a substitute player for that match Callum Wraight and booking a final place. Yet another lengthy break of over two hours ensued as Shropshire were forced to await the eventual results and group winners from the other green before the final could begin. The final was played with the ten games, five on each of the greens which surprising saw the opposing counties win their games on the green they had not played all day. As the one green finished and only one game remained on the other, Warwick & Worcester led by 1 chalk and Glyn Wellings trailled 15-20 meaning he had to run out to force a tie. An eventuality the organisers had no secondary etc way to decide the winners. Glyn, with his fellow teammates in full supporting voice made a sterling effort to get the match to trail 19-20 which included a superb strike to pluck the jack out and off the green in the penultimate end. The last end saw Glynn lay on with two bowls within 18inches and with his opponent over a yard short, things looked good before a perfectly weighted bowl weaved its way past them and nestled against the jack assuring Warwick & Worcester a 3 chalk victory and also ease the pulse rates and spare the organisers blushes. BCGBA President, Barry Massey was on hand to present the prizes and congratulate the days participating teams on their sportsmanship.