The County Handicap is a one day competition played at the Severnside complex in Shrewsbury on the last Bank Holiday Monday in May.
County Handicap – Mon 27th May 2019 Final Stages - Old Shrewsbury No.1
Sam Onions(+1)(Prince Hotel) 21 – 10 Steve Heath(+3)(Arch. Worthington Club)
Matt Blackhurst(+1)(Bridgewater) 21 – 14 Stuart Rutter(-1)(Wrock Wood)
Josh Bradburn(scr)(Newport) 21 – 12 Keith Wall(scr)(Castlefields)
Chris Elsbury(+2)(Hadnall) 21 – 18 Will Tyler(scr)(Meole Brace)
Sam Onions 21 – 09 Matt Blackhurst
Josh Bradburn 21 – 10 Chris Elsbury
Sam Onions 21-12 Josh Bradburn
For the second year running, the County Handicap Championship Trophy will have a Prince Hotel bowlers name engraved upon it after Sam Onions defeated Newport “new recruit” Josh Bradburn 21-10 in the final of the late Spring Bank Holiday competition staged on Old Shrewsbury and Severnside greens.
Competitions Secretary, Mike Potter welcomed everyone to the Shrewsbury town walls complex, and after enlisting the invaluable help from five assistants, Louise Potter, Charlotte Butler, Michael Cooper, Christy Hughes & Elaine Jones proceeded dividing the 77 entrants into four groups that would play down to the last eight on three of the four available greens. These eight players then moved over to the OSBC No1 green where they contested the competition onwards from the quarter-finals’
Highlights from Quarter finals
Sam Onions(Prince Hotel), from 3-6 down, hit back hard to lead Steve Heath(AWC)13-8 and continued the pressure as Sam soon ended the game 21-10.
Matt Blackhurst(Bridgewater) and Stuart Rutter(Wrock Wood) shared the first 16 ends of their game, but from 11-11 Matt seized control of the jack to push onto lead 18-11 and after sharing the last 4 ends finished with a 21-14 win.
Josh Bradburn(Newport) got off to a strong start against Keith Wall(Castlefields) going into 8-1, 16-3 & 19-5 leads, and prevented Keith from counting any double scoring ends in a run of 7 ends, finally concluded the game 21-12.
Chris Elsbury(Hadnall) saw a 9-6 lead fall to a 9-13 deficit against Will Tyler(Meole) who maintained his lead until at 14-18 Chris took control and ran out to win 21-18.
Highlights from the semi Finals
Sam Onions started with maximums in the first four ends that Matt Blackhurst almost matched in the next four that saw the scores stand at 9-8 in Sam’s favour and despite Matt’s best efforts to wrestle possession of the jack, he could only add a solitary chalk to his tally as Sam steam rolled his way into the final 21-9.
Meanwhile, Josh Bradburn was equally enjoying taking 13 of 14 ends to lead 16-3 over Chris Elsbury who like his previous opponent could not count a double score end but just managed to make double figures as Josh ended 21-10.
A reasonable crowd of 40+ spectators stayed to watch a final that saw play all over the green as Sam Onions and Josh Bradburn tried getting the better of each other. Sam began the stronger, going into a 7-1 lead(6 ends) which he turned into 11-3(12 ends). Josh showed some determined grit to get back to trail 7-12(15ends) but Sam’s resistance in the corners was enough to help him to lead 16-8(19 ends) and following a couple of ends where Josh appeared to critically lose his weight that saw Sam take full advantage and go to the brink 20-10(23 ends) and finally sealed his victory as the game finished 21-12(26 ends).
After paying tribute to the greenkeepers of both OSBC & Severnside, Competition Secretary, Mike Potter thanked the green managers, markers, finals Referee, Isobel Jones and host club, OSBC for providing excellent bowling greens and refreshments throughout the day, County Deputy President, Wendy Icke was on hand to make the presentation of prizes to the worthy competitors culminating with District’s Ben Hinton receiving the Clare Cup for the novice progressing the furthest in the competition and Sam Onions deservedly receiving the Champions trophy.