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Callum Wraight wins County Handicap

He’s won virtually every bowls title there is, but British No.1 Callum Wraight had never won the County Handicap – until now.

The Castlefields king put that strange omission right by coming out on top of a 40-strong field on Sunday at Old Shrewsbury.

And on one of favourite greens, the No.1 beside the river Severn, he had to be at his best to beat 19-year-old Ben Hinton 21-18 in the final as the master got the better of a fast emerging talent.

Hinton, now playing Premier League bowls for Chester Road after being robbed of defending his Shropshire Junior Merit crown last year by Covid, was 6-0 up and right in the hunt at 16 across – but two twos then gave Wraight the edge.

“Callum was quick to congratulate and acknowledge top quality form and bowling temperament and predicted a bright future lay ahead for Ben – an opinion agreed by all,” said organising county competitions secretary Mike Potter. “County president Wendy Icke was on hand to make the presentation of prizes, culminating with Archibald Worthington’s Charlie Wilkinson receiving the Clare Cup for the novice progressing the furthest in the competition.

“My thanks go to greenkeeper Rich Jones for his excellently presented greens, the Old Shrewsbury members for refreshments, and Marie Matthews, Isobel Jones, Dawn Gray, Lin Potter and referee/measurer, Phil Scott for their assistance on the day.”

Three Wrockwardine Wood bowlers made the last eight and 34-year-old Wraight beat one of them, Stuart Rutter 21-12 in the semi-finals while Hinton’s super run continued with a 21-8 romp against Gary Neal (Hanwood).

Quarter-final scores: Callum Wraight (Castlefields) 21–15 Jamie King (Wrock Wd); Stuart Rutter (Wrock Wd) 21–15 Rob Fuller (Bylet); Ben Hinton (Chester Rd) 21–15 Dan Taylor (Wrock Wd); Gary Neal (Hanwood) 21–16 Chris Stretch (Chester Rd).

Premier League hopefuls Adderley are among the five Shropshire entries for this year’s British Super Cup.

The reigning Whitchurch League champions, pipped to a Premier place by Chester Road in the 2019 play-off final, are eager to test themselves in the four home-four away 31-up knockout for the Arthur Land Trophy.

They will be joined by Premier quartet Castlefields, Hanwood, Meole Brace and Wrockwardine Wood in this week’s draw for the opening regionalised round.

Those ties must be played by July 30 and the last eight from a total entry of 43 at £50 per team will receive prize money on finals day at a neutral venue on Sunday, October 10.

Hanwood and Meole are past finalists and the organising team now includes Telford-based duo Martin Gaut and Rob Burroughs.

A new date has been set for the clash of the bowls giants in Shropshire for the Mel Evans Trophy.

The North versus South team challenge match, due to have been held at St Georges last year before Covid got in the way, will now take place at the Telford club on Saturday, August 13, 2022.

All the stars of the game, led by Shropshire’s British No.1 Callum Wraight, have agreed to take part and the day-long action will be followed by a Sports Person’s Dinner in St Georges Sports & Social Club.

Wolves football legend Steve Bull MBE will be the after dinner speaker and tickets costing £25 will go on sale on April 1, all money raised to go to support research into motor neurone disease.

“The organising committee, the host club and my family and I look forward to seeing as many people as possible next year,” said promoter Lynn Pritchatt, long-time partner of the late Mel Evans MBE.

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