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The first shoots of the bowls season spring

It’s the weekend that the Shropshire crown green bowls world springs back into life with dozens of stars of the sport flocking to the county.


The opening qualifying sessions of the £5,660 Coors Meole Brace and the £3,200 NJ Installations Hadley Open in Telford are packed with entries that read like a who’s who of the game.

And that means Rob Burroughs, the promoter of both big money competitions, can’t wait for the action to start today at 10.15am at the Shrewsbury club that is home to the long running Champion of Champions qualifier.

Early qualifying hopefuls at Meole include former Champion of Champion John Bailey, Yorkshire star Josh Mordue and the Shropshire trio of Josh Bradburn, Ayden Smith and Aaron King.

“The afternoon sees big competition winners Leighton Roberts, James Davison, Darren Plenderleith and Ben Harris play, along with brothers Pete and James Grimston, while Castlefields have three players there in Glyn Herbert, Paul Williams and new signing Gary Neal,” said Buroughs. “Sunday morning is another featuring big comp winners such as Owen Jackson, Simon Coupe, Greg Smith, Chris Ward, Gordon Hawkins, Danny Sillitoe, Dane Hopwood, Gareth Herbert and Jon Palmer as well as our own former Shropshire county players in Derek Wright and Keith Wall and a former homester and winner Adie Rowe.”

The action in the new event at Hadley, with its £700 first prize, starts this afternoon and features past Autumn Waterloo champion Jon Palmer, who will be playing regularly for Castlefields this season.

“Jason Groom is another that maybe will be playing more for the Bylet and takes part, while Clay Flattley also features, recently moving back to St Georges, and Highley trio Stu Gittings, Danny Statham and Phil Chester,” added Burroughs.

“In the evening past Isle of Man winner Leighton Roberts from Ifton is there, along with new Bayley bowler Ayden Smith and new team mates Dave Lloyd, Stuart Rutter and Chris Worthington.

“But the Sunday afternoon session is the best quality session of the whole competition, befitting of a final line-up,” added Burroughs. “Top players and major competition winners Greg Smith, Gareth Herbert, Simon Coupe, Owen Jackson, James Wilcox, Steve Pratt and Peter Varney are there, along with brothers Pete and James Grimston. And the evening features former Champion of Champion winners Callum Wraight and Mike Beer, along with Castlefields team mates Keith Wall, Mark Taylor and Russell Pugh.”

n Also tomorrow it is the last of the round robin sessions in the North Shropshire Parks’ winter series with round 23 at Whitchurch’s District Club, the venue for the big money finals day the following Sunday.

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