Snow stopping county big two
An army of snow-clearing volunteers ensured the £6,000 St Georges Open in Telford was successfully launched as planned.
And their fantastic efforts were rewarded with two of the biggest names in Shropshire bowls taking two of the eight tickets to finals day later this month on the first weekend of qualifying.
County No.1 Callum Wraight and former St Georges star Peter Farmer, the four-time County Merit winner who now bowls for Newport, were the Shropshire successes on Sunday.
The snow clearing meant one of the Saturday sessions was put back to early evening, after which organiser Graham Turner declared: “To all those who said we could not run the St Georges comp, we have completed the first day and not a moan from anyone.”
A St Georges spokesperson added: “Snow won’t stop play – a big thank you to those who have made it possible.”
But conditions had certainly eased by the time Wraight and Farmer took their chance at qualifying for a shot at a £1,200 first prize on March 31.
Reigning County Merit champion Wraight (Castlefields) beat James Southern 21-12 to qualify, having beaten last weekend’s Lew Page Open winner Jamie King (Bowring) 21-12 in his second game.
Farmer, who will be one of the favourites on finals day on his old green, had a tough game to qualify against Yorkshire’s fast emerging Josh Mordue before winning 21-18.
Bowring’s County Handicap hat-trick hero Rich Lawson also came close to qualifying on Sunday, but lost in the crunch game to Josh’s dad Chris Mordue 21-6, while Paul Evans (SJ Bayley) took the other spot, getting past Glynn Cookson 21-16.
Saturday’s snow heroes were Jon Palmer (Castlefields), Scott Simpson (SJ Bayley), Dan Bodley (Staffs) and Glen Herbert of Warwick & Worcester.
Herbert was quick to add his praise to St Georges, saying: “The comp ran perfect - well done Graham.”
And there’s still time to enter the St Georges Open by contacting Turner on 07940 434528, entries costing £25.
While St Georges defied the conditions, the first weekend of qualifying in fellow Champion of Champions qualifier, the West Brom Open, was called off by organiser Steve Bentley.