Shropshire Star

Beer dethrones the champion in Merit final classic

One of the best finals ever seen in the 92-year history of the Molson Coors Mid Shropshire Bowling League graced the climax of the Over-60s Merit.


And in winning the Ray & Jeff Hutchinson Trophy, first time entrant Paul Beer made history by beating the reigning champion Ian Gaut 21-20 in the final at the Bayley.

“Paul Beer won an epic final and becomes the first player to win both the Senior Merit (in 2008) and the Over-60s Merit,” said league competition secretary Rob Burroughs.

“And he could be the first to win both titles in the same season after qualifying on Friday night for the 2024 Senior Merit finals next month.”

Beer, now bowling for Shifnal but team-mates with Gaut at St Georges in the senior citizens league, was 7-4, 13-7 and 15-9 ahead in Saturday night’s showpiece match.

“Ian fought back to 16 across and from 19-16 down went 20-19 up, but Paul bowled a great last bowl to save game and then won with an 18-inch wood last end,” added Burroughs.

“Both men were ruthless in their semi-finals, both winning 21-6, Ian beating Steve Faulkner (Wrockwardine Wood) and Paul defeating Dave Price (Hadley USC). Well done to Paul on his success and for Ian for being part of one of the best Mid Shropshire finals we’ve seen.

“Thank you to Sir John Bayley who hosted, and to all 31 players who entered, a new record for the competition.

“It will be back on the same weekend next year but this time played on two greens to speed up the day!”

A proud Beer, who is a league sponsor, said: “It was an excellent game that could of gone either way to be honest and we did put on a bit of an exhibition – which is not the norm in finals.”