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Champions-elect are on a high at league’s doubles

Bowlers from champions elect teams were winners of the Highley League’s doubles titles at Much Wenlock.

Div One finalists Frank Leek & Andy James and Rob Renke & Brian Walters. Div Two finalists Darren Bailey & Phil Harris and Des Conneely & Luke Fearnall
Div One finalists Frank Leek & Andy James and Rob Renke & Brian Walters. Div Two finalists Darren Bailey & Phil Harris and Des Conneely & Luke Fearnall

The division one trophy was won by experienced Highley A pairing Andy James & Frank Leek, who beat Rob Renke & Brian Walters (Islanders) 21-11 in the final.

And the division two final on Sunday afternoon was an all Horsehay affair, with Phil Harris & Darren Bailey beating their B team colleagues Luke Fearnall & Des Conneely 21-14.

“Many thanks to Much Wenlock for hosting the doubles finals,” said league chief John Palmer.

He and his fellow Highley officers are making plans for the President’s and Consolation Cup finals at Bridgnorth on Sunday, October 1, which will be followed by the league prize presentation at approximately 5pm.

Losing doubles semi-finalists – division one: John Roberts & Gareth Jones (Horsehay) and Geoff Wylde & Dave East (Highley); division two: John Baines & Jeanette Bennett (Stockton) and Mick Rhodes & Alan Ludlow-Rhodes (Horsehay B).

For one Castlefields bowler it was agony losing in the final of the Midland Masters – but for another it meant a huge boost.

County star Michael Beer enjoyed a brilliant run of five wins on the two greens at Ye Old Knowle in Solihull to earn a crack at Warwick & Worcester homester Greg Smith in the final.

But after taking an early 8-4 lead, Beer ended up losing 21-17 in Sunday’s crunch showdown to Smith, who has played for Hanwood and now Wrockwardine Wood in the Premier League.

And the result meant the multi-titled Smith’s triumph handed his big rival and Beer’s Shrewsbury clubmate, Callum Wraight, a last-gasp ticket to the Champion of Champions as he sat top of the reserve list.

A British association spokesman explained: “The winner of the Midland Masters gets into the Champion of Champions (at Monk Sports in Warrington on September 30) – unless they have already qualified.

“And with 5/4 Masters favourite and winner Greg Smith in already, first reserve Callum Wraight now comes into the 32 strong field.”

County Merit champion Rich Lawson (Hanwood) was Smith’s 21-18 semi-final victim while Beer’s scalps were Paul Evans 21-12, Michael Warrington 21-14, Bill Kinchin 21-17, Aaron Tapper 21-16 and Adam Bell to 12 in the last four.

“Joe Killen and Clay Flattley, both of St Georges, got to the last 16 on a very good day for Shropshire bowlers,” said a county association spokesperson after 11 qualified for the finals day.

A change of date for the Sir John Bayley Mixed Doubles has met with an instant response from Shropshire bowlers. Due to have been held on September 23, clashes with other competitions meant organiser Michael Cooper was struggling for entries.

But now, having moved it to Saturday, October 7, he has nearly filled all 16 places and is set to offer a full £300 first prize.

Bowls diary

Sir John Bayley Mixed Doubles – for 16 pairs now on Saturday, October 7, entries £14 with £300 first prize if full. Book with Michael Cooper on 07908 476654.

Mixed Doubles at Prince of Wales Hotel – on Sunday, September 24, from 10am with £200 first prize. Entries £10, one home bowler allowed per pair, fee to be paid by August 31, bookings to Jenna Parsons on 07816 161697.

Open Doubles at Bridgewater – for a maximum of 32 pairs all on Sunday, October 14. Entry £20 and all entry money will be paid out on the day. Names to Richard Proudlove on 07725 131713.

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