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Fab four denied a shot at Meole Brace glory

By Nathan Judah | Bowls | Published:

Four Shropshire bowlers face disappointment after the decision was taken to cancel this year’s Coors Meole Brace Open.

St Georges’ Peter Grimston weighs up a shot during last weekend’s action

Reigning champion Callum Wraight, Michael Beer, Dan Hand and Andy Morgan all hit form at last weekend’s qualifier at the Shrewsbury club to book what they thought would be a shot at the overall title on finals day.

But after the British Crown Green Bowling Association called a halt to bowls across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers Barry and Ade Jennings have taken the decision to cancel the competition, which acted a s qualifier for the prestigious Champion of Champions event

Last Sunday’s action had seen Wraight hit form to hammer Tony Eades 21-3 while his Castlefields team-mate and fellow winner of the Champions title, Michael Beer, got through with a 21-1 smashing of Martin Jones.

Former Newport star Dan Hand stepped up his recent return to the game with Chester Road with a 21-17 card against Stuart Perry, while Andy Morgan of St Georges prevented a hat-trick of Castlefields successes by beating Adam Jones 21-13.

The coronavirus outbreak had an impact, but could not stop Shrewsbury Indoor Bowls Club from running another successful end-of-season charity day.

More than £400 was raised for the Air Ambulance, despite organiser Liz Taylor reporting that the numbers who took part at the Sports Village centre on Sunday was down on the normal figure.

“Unfortunately we were victims of the coronavirus and had several cancellations due to ill health of elderly people,” she said.

“However, we had 30 members who played triples for two hours and then the majority adjourned to Shrewsbury Town Football Club for an excellent Sunday lunch, where we were joined by some other members not taking part in the competition.

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“We all had a super time and the spider round the green was won by Sean Fitzgerald while the winning team was skipped by Dave Eaton and assisted by Sue Eaton and Lynne Fitzgerald.

“Thanks go to all supporters and the amount raised so far is £402, with further donations still to come – a tremendous effort in difficult times.”

The organiser of the booming North Shropshire Parks winter series is determined to stay positive amid the gloom of the coronavirus epidemic.

Like all organised crown green bowling events, the popular series run by Jamie Brookes is now suspended by order of the sport’s governing body in the wake of guidance guidelines.

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“Unfortunately not only has Covid-19 bared its teeth enough to force me into cancelling round 21 of the winter series this coming Sunday, but also finals day originally booked for Sunday, March 29, will now be postponed until who knows when,” said Brookes.

“My thoughts are that when we do get the go ahead for competitive bowling to return, what better way than a finals day to entertain the masses.”

Brookes, who is greenkeeper at Adderley and secretary of Elephant & Castle, was the unfortunate beaten finalist when the last slice of action in the series took place last weekend at Prees. He lost to Adderley’s Dan Hazeldine 13-6 in the crunch game after 51 turned out and dodged light showers on Sunday.

Rich Lawson reached the quarter-finals to finish top of the series points ranking table and fellow Shropshire man Keith Wall, back from an Open Singles Circuit comp at Chippenham the previous day, also made the last eight.

“So the winter series will hopefully be finished in the summer – and I thank all who have supported it during this winter,” said Brookes.

“Please remember that we, the bowling community, is filled with people from all ages so please look after all your family, friends and neighbours – especially those that are classed in the vulnerable sector.”

Nathan Judah

By Nathan Judah
@NathanJudah

Digital Sports Editor for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star

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