Merits Roll!

There’s not long to wait now before the League’s next competition of the 2022 season.

It’s the Under-25 Merit, which will be played on Saturday 20th August at Horsehay with an 11 am start.

Organiser Phil King will take entries on the day and Horsehay club secretary Steve Reeves has advised everyone attending: “The village hall have asked that the car park is to remain clear (shouldn’t be an issue as it only holds 8 cars anyway!).”

There’s news for the League’s junior bowlers too with the Under-15 and Under-18 Merits now set to be held on Sunday 4th September (probably with an 11am start).

Phil is looking for a two-green venue and it looks like early losers in both Merits will be paired up to contest the Fletcher Junior Doubles.

Junior selectors Brenda Slingo and Derek Killen are hoping for a big turnout in preparation for the Shropshire junior inter-league the following Sunday, being hosted by the Tanners Shropshire League.

Categorised as MSBL Comps

Super Stuart

A Sinclair bowler’s dedication to the League has reaped the richest individual reward possible.

Stuart Church has played his way to the top of tree for Sinclair in the MSBL over more than a decade – and now he’s king of the League too.

He won the 2022 Mid Shropshire Senior Merit on Saturday 30th July at Maddocks, capping a day of fine performances with a 21-12 victory over Ian Pessall of Hadley USC in the final.

Stuart’s day did not start too well though as plans to pick up son Harry en route to the Shropshire Vertidrain & Turf Services Ltd-sponsored competition went awry and he was left to cut a lone figure for most of the afternoon.

But it did not stop him performing on the green as he beat young Akeel Khan (Shifnal) 21-17 in the quarter-finals and then comp organiser Phil King (Sir John Bayley) 21-16 in the semis.

And in the final Stuart produced a vital burst of three doubles to go from 11-6 up to 17-6 and then holding his nerve to get over the finishing line.

With Sinclair doing so well in the top flight of the league this season, Stuart – second in the club averages behind son Harry – must surely have his sights on his championship title too.

The consolation for runner-up Ian Pessall, younger son of Shropshire legend Keith, was to be the recipient of a new trophy donated by County and League President Mike Potter.

“I tried but the better bowler on the day won,” he said, after he had rallied well to beat Jamie Brookes 21-19 in the semi-finals, the Shifnal bowler then heading straight off to the Conwy Festival.

Brookes had ended the four in a row title hopes of Wrockwardine Wood star Jamie King 21-16 in the quarter-finals when the other scores were: Pessall 21 Alison Cotton (St Georges) 16; Phil King 21 Harry Brookes (Shifnal) 13.

The competition was played as a one-dayer, lack of entries meaning qualifiers were not needed and 22 bowlers competed for a prize fund boosted by £125 by the new sponsors.

PICTURED (from left) sponsor Mike Humphries, winner Stuart Church, League President Mike Potter, Ian Pessall, sponsor Paul Beer

Categorised as MSBL Comps

Golden stars

Three MSBL bowlers struck gold in the competitions run as part of the 2022 Wenlock Olympian Games.

Husband and wife, Chris and Ann Grocott, won the doubles knockout at Broseley, while Sinclair stalwart and League veterans team captain Peter Sprsagg won the singles at Much Wenlock.

The Grocotts – PICTURED – were runners-up in this season’s Dixon Driscoll Doubles at Allscott Heath and beat Horsehay clubmates Andy Garbett and Gavin Bridge 21-6 in the Oylmpic final on Sunday 10th July when 20 pairs contested a marathon day.

And a week earlier Peter Spragg,  just days after losing in the semi-finals of the County Veterans Merit at Madeley CC, defeated Sinclair colleague Stuart Church 21-8 in the final to take singles gold.

Categorised as MSBL Comps

Merit Double

Maddocks will have the honour of hosting the League’s Senior Merit finals on Saturday 30th July, starting at 11am.

Despite the prize fund being boosted by £125 thanks to sponsorship from Shropshire Vertidrain & Turf Services Ltd, there were not enough entries to justify qualifying sessions so this competition is being played in a one-day format.

The bowler who scores the highest break will win a £25 prize thanks to the sponsorship – and there will be a new trophy for the runner-up donated by League and County President Mike Potter. 

And Horsehay, a founder member club when the League was launched 90 years ago, will be the setting for the League’s Under-25 Merit on Saturday 20th August, again starting at 11am.

But the host club stress there will  be NO parking available at the Village Hall on the day.

Categorised as MSBL Comps

Olympics call

Two chances to win Olympic medals in the space of seven days come the way of Mid Shropshire bowlers next month.

The singles knockout that is part of the 2022 Wenlock Olympian Games is at Much Wenlock on Sunday, July 3, and the doubles KO a week later at Broseley, when the start time depends on the entry numbers.


Wenlock Olympian Games singles knockout – on Sunday, July 3, at Much Wenlock, starting at 10.30am. Open to men and women at £5 per bowler. Book with Bob Mumford on 01952-727138.

Doubles KO for the Wenlock Olympian Games– at Broseley on Sunday, July 10 (10.30am scheduled). Entry £10 per pair by June 30, names to Gail Hall on 07825-641814.

Categorised as MSBL Comps

Senior Merit

Competiton sescretry Phil King reports: “Sadly, there is no need for Senior Merit qualifiers on Wednesday 12th June as there were not enough entries.

“That’s despite the prize fund being boosted by £125 thanks to sponsorship from Shropshire Vertidrain & Turf Services  Ltd.

“So the 2022 competition will be all on one day – Saturday 30th July (venue being work on).” 

Merit Time!

Entries are now being taken for 2022 Senior Merit – which this year promises to be bigger and better than ever.

That’s because, thanks to sponsorship from Shropshire Vertidrain & Turf Services Ltd, the prize fund has boosted by £100 – with an additional £25 for the highest break on finals day!

Qualifying is on Wednesday 15th June (6.30pm start) with finals day for the last 16 on Saturday 30th July.

Entries should go competition secretary Phil King (for contact details see League Contacts under Admin on this site, where the entry form can be downloaded) but all who enter should be aware of:

Appendix to Competition Rules – for 2022 ONLY

    Explanation – After 2 years badly hit by Covid, the rules for both the Senior Merit and Harris Cup need amending for the 2022 season.

    The eligibility criteria for the Senior Merit needs clarification for this one season while the Harris Cup rules are added on to this Appendix, to be changed formally at the 2023 AGM.

    League officers feel an Appendix to the Rules, for the 2022 season only, is the best way forward at this stage of the year – rather than calling an EGM – and can be approved under the League’s General Rules which state:

    1. Any matter not provided for in the rules shall be dealt with by the League Executive whose decision is final.

 Individual Merit:

Change from:

1. Players on the named list as per rule 21(c) shall not be permitted to play in the Mid Shropshire Merit – unless they have played a minimum total of 10 Thursday and / or Saturday division games in the previous and / or current season at the time of the entry deadline.

To read for 2022 only (change in bold):

1.      Players on the named list as per rule 21(c) shall not be permitted to play in the Mid Shropshire Merit – unless they have played a minimum total of 10 Thursday and / or Saturday division games in the current and / or 2019 season at the time of the entry deadline.

Cup Time!

Wednesday 25th May is preliminary round night in the Harris Cup – now 5 home-5 away – and also first round evening in the Ashton Cup for Monday division teams thanks to a perfect 16 entries.

The full draws for that night are:

Harris Cup – Prelim Round on Weds 25/05/22
1SJ Bayley (+2)    Allscott Heath (+12)AtSJB
1Allscot Heath (+12)    SJ Bayley (+2)AtAllscott
2Shifnal (+17)    Hadley USC (+1)AtShifnal
2Hadley USC (+1)    Shifnal (+17)AtHUSC
3Horsehay (+7)    Newport (Premier, -31)AtHorsehay
3Newport (Premier, -31)    Horsehay (+7)AtNewport
4Wrock Wood (Premier, -28)    Bylet (Premier, -25)AtWrock Wd
4Bylet (Premier, -25)    Wrock Wood (Premier, -28)AtBylet
Ashton Cup – First Round on Weds 25/05/22
1Wrock Wood D(+22)    Charlton B(+16)AtWrock Wood D
1Charlton B(+16)    Wrock Wood D(+22)AtCharlton B
2Newport C(+1)    Much Wenlock B(+11)AtNewport C
2Much Wenlock B(+11)    Newport C(+1)AtMuch Wenlock B
3Hadley U S C B(+21)    St. George’s D(+29)AtH U S C B
3St. George’s D(+29)    Hadley U S C B(+21)AtSt. George’s D
4Trench C(+8)    Sinclair C(+10)AtTrench C
4Sinclair C(+10)    Trench C(+8)AtSinclair C
5Madeley CC C(+4)    Shifnal C(+7)AtMadeley CC C
5Shifnal C(+7)    Madeley CC C(+4)AtShifnal C
6Horsehay C(+17)    Wrock Wood CAtHorsehay C
6Wrock Wood C    Horsehay C(+17)AtWrock Wood C
7Allscott Heath C(+1)    Bowring C(+12)AtAllscott Heath C
7Bowring C(+12)    Allscott Heath C(+1)AtBowring C
8St Georges C(+5)    SJ Bayley C(+2)AtSt Georges C
8SJ Bayley C(+2)    St Georges C(+5)AtSJ Bayley C

Dave’s delight


The first winner of the Mid Shropshire League’s Over-60 Merit was Dave Brown in 2016 at Trench.

And back at the same venue for the 2022 competition on Saturday 14th May the day ended with the same winner after Dave Brown – PICTURED – defeated last year’s champion, Kevin Carter of Broseley 21-9 to have his name engraved on the trophy for a second time.

A preliminary round game saw Dave Oldcorn fight his way back from 5-12 down and eventually tie his game with Helen Clee 16-16 before going on to finish the game off 21-17.

Quarter -Finals

Dave Oldcorn began well to lead Tony Roche 6-1, before losing the jack for 10 straight ends that saw Tony stretch into a 17-6 lead and kept up the pressure to maintain his advantage as the game ended 21-10.

Kevin Carter opened up a strong 9-1 on Steve Wall which he turned into 12-5 and up to 18-10 and managed to hold Steve’s late surge to get the win from 19-15 to finish 21-15.

After an even start with the scores between reigning British Veterans Merit champion Keith Pessall and Pete Spragg 6-6, Pete took control of the game to go 14-8 up before ending Keith’s hopes by winning 21-13.

Dave Brown & Dave Wall found difficulty trying to out-fox each other on different marks around the green as neither could not hold onto the jack all the way down the card, 8-8, 12-12 and 17-17. Until at 18-18 Browny managed to hold it for 3 ends to go through 21-18.


With all four of the Semi-finalists having been winners of this title, the small group of gathered spectators were not disappointed as they were to see some top class bowls.

A very evenly matched game between Kevin Carter and Tony Roche began 6-6, and went on to 11-11, 15-15 and 17-17 before Kevin grabbed his chance and take the last 4 ends to make the final, winning 21-17.

Meanwhile, Dave Brown & Pete Spragg were also trying to break away from each other that saw their scores go from 4-4, 7-7 and 12-12 until Dave did take control of the jack and won 7 of the game’s last 8 ends to seal his 21-14 win through to the final.

The final:

Dave Brown established a 5-4 (6 ends) over the reigning champion Kevin Carter and, once he had found a favourable 25 metre mark along the bottom edge of the green, Dave wasted little time by taking 8 unanswered ends and into a commanding 16-4 (15ends) lead – from which point the players shared the next 10 ends, each counting 5 single chalks that saw the contest end with Dave Brown winning 21-9 (25ends)

Standing in for the holidaying Competitions Secretary, League chairman Sean Round thanked the competitors and Trench Bowling Club for the hospitality and generous use of a green in pristine condition before League President, Mike Potter, presented the Ray & Jeff Hutchinson Cup to a delighted and deserving champion, Dave Brown.

Nice one Nick

Hadley USC’s Nick Mullinder has a liking for the Dixon Driscoll Doubles – and now he’s doubled up in it.

Partnered by former clubmate Ash Gregory, Mullinder won the League’s main doubles trophy for a second time with a 21-13 final victory over Chris and Ann Grocott (Horsehay).

That brought the curtain down on eight hours of action at Allscott Heaton Saturday 30th April in what may be the last league competition to be played on the green before the club moves over the road to a two-green home that will be part of a multi-sports development.

A full house four to go 16-9 ahead was vital in the crunch game for Mullinder and Gregory, now playing Premier League bowls for Newport, as they had to battle hard to see off the husband and wife duo and deny them what would have been a remarkable triumph.

For former county senior team man Chris Grocott, now 34, has not played competitively for five years until signing for Horsehay this season while Ann had just an hour’s practice as preparation for the competition.

Mullinder, who first claimed the title in 2018 with Ayden Smith, and Gregory beat Hollie Bishton & Dan Bodley (Wrockwardine Wood) 21-20 in a marathon semi-final while the Grocotts were easing to a 21-12 victory over Sir John Bayley father and son, Paul and Owen Evans.

Nineteen of the 20 pairs who had entered turned out on the day and eventual winners Mullinder & Gregory enjoyed two huge wins to start the day, beating Carleen Doody Millington & Shavorne Osborne (Trench) 21-4 and organiser Phil King & Phil Jones (St Georges) 21-3.

PICTURED are the proud 2022 winners Ash Gregory & Nick Mullinder