BBranded Individual Merit



Les Mumford knows all about winning the Mid Shropshire Senior Merit – and being forced to miss finals day.

And that’s why the Madeley Cricket Club bowler will head to this year’s finals at the re-arranged venue of Trench (2pm) full of hope and understanding.

For the 2009 champion has a first round bye after qualifier Olly Harris (Horsehay) discovered he was unavailable to take his place in the last 16 of a competition now sponsored by BBranded.

Ironically, it was Mumford who had to miss a recent Mid Shropshire Merit finals day after qualifying due to a wedding in Scotland.

Having helped Mid Shropshire retain the Shropshire veterans inter-league crown, Mumford is one of three past winners of the title in Saturday’s field along with 2013 champ Alan Jones and the 1987 winner, Broseley stalwart Sam Owen.

There’s also County Merit finalist John Potter, who will be trying to emulate his father Mike, who won the Merit as a third division bowler in 2006.

FINALS DAY FIRST ROUND DRAW (made by president Jeff Hutchinson and chairman Sean Round at the June meeting):

Top half - Dan Lewis (SJ Bayley) v Alan Jones (Madeley CC), Tony Garmson (Wrockwardine Wd) v Pat MInton (SJ Bayley), Steve Downes (Wrockwardine Wd) v John Potter (Hadley USC), Chris Worthington (Donnington Wd) v Tony Roche (Madeley CC).

Bottom half - Jason Wilson (St Georges) v John Roberts jnr (Madeley CC), Phil Jones (Bowring) v Phil Craggs (Allscott), Les Mumford (Madeley CC) v walkover, Sam Owen  (Broseley) v Steve Hendy (Bowring).

QUALIFIERS HELD ON WEDNESDAY 27TH MAY, 6.30pm START, at Allscott, Donninton Wood, Sinclair and St Georges to produce 16 finalists from a a much increased entry of 67.

2014 FINALS NIGHT REPORT from Hadley USC on Saturday, July 5 at 5pm:

It must have been one of the hardest bowls matches of his life but Richard Suggett won an emotional father versus daughter final to be crowned the league's new Senior Merit champion.

Nothing was asked or given as Richard beat Kate 21-12 in an all-Bowring final at Hadley USC on a sunshine Saturday night.

And Suggett senior did it the hard way, dethroning reigning champion Alan Jones 21-10 in the semi-finals and 2009 winner Les Mumford 21-19 in the last eight.

But the final was a different matter and the Suggetts hugged before the start and hugged afterwards before their clubmate, league chairman Sean Round, helped make the presentations.

It’s been a curate’s egg of a season for the now-retired Richard, struggling in Bowring’s second division side but qualifying for the Merit finals in super style at Ercall Magna and then hitting the jackpotat Hadley.

Suggett junior, a regular in the strong Shropshire Ladies county team, beat Tony Roche 21-16 in her semi-final, but her hopes of becoming the first ever female winner of the title were then ended . . . by her dad.

Referee for the night, County Deputy President Mike Potter said: “It was a history-making and most emotional final with both father and daughter struggling to hold back the tears.

“There certainly was no accident that these two reached the final as, from their first games, they both looked like the ones to beat.”

Full scores

First round: Richard Suggett (Bowring) 21 Michael Cooper (SJ Bayley) 16, Steve Bishton (Bowring) 9 Les Mumford (Madeley CC) 21, Sam Owen (Broseley) 21 Ollie Harris (Horsehay) 13, Alan Jones (Madeley CC) 21 Juliette King (Sinclair) 19, Graham Turner (Donnington Wood) 21 Richard Jones (Horsehay) 12, Justin Pegram (Newport) 16 Tony Roche (Madeley CC) 21, Alan Smith (Newport) 14 Kate Suggett (Bowring) 21, Paul Beer (St Georges) 21 Sam Millward (Newport) 18.
Quarter-finals: Richard Suggett 21 Mumford 19, Owen 20 Joens 21, Turner 18 Roche 21, Kate Suggett 21 Beer 14.
Semi-finals: Richard Suggett 21 Jones 10; Roche 16 Kate Suggett 16.
Final Richard Suggett 21 Kate Suggett 12.  

Exactly the same number as last year - 54 - was the good news regarding the entry figure for the 2014 competition. Qualifiers from Wednesday 11 June:

At Donnington Wood: Justin Pegram (Newport), Ollie Harris (Horsehay), reigning champion Alan Jones (MCC) and Sam Owen (Broseley).

At St Georges: Michael Cooper (SJ Bayley), Alan Smith (Newport), Steve Bishton (Bowring) and Juliette King (Sinclair).

At Ercall Magna: Richard Suggett (Bowring), Richard Jones (Horsehay), Sam Millward (Newport) and Paul Beer (St Georges).

At Allscott: Kate Suggett (Bowring), Graham Turner (Donnington Wood), Tony Roche and Les Mumford (both Madeley CC).

The draw has been made and will be posted here shortly.


He only took up bowls six years ago, but Broseley’s Alan Jones has already bagged a top Shropshire league’s major prize.

The nephew of Broseley stalwart Sam Owen, Jones triumphed in the Molson Coors Mid Shropshire League’s Senior Merit on a balmy Saturday night (July 6) at Newport.

He proved to be the master of the No.1 green by beating Ian Delves (Sir John Bayley) in a final that threatened to be a runway but ended up finishing well after 11pm.

Jones looked a matter of minutes away from getting his hands on the coveted Billy Harris Cup when he pulled clear to be 17-9 ahead. But softly spoken left-hander Delves was going down without a fight and got back in it at 17 across before Jones pulled away again to win 21-17 and receive the trophy from league president Jeff Hutchinson.

Taught to play by his uncle and cousin Craig Owen – “who used to thrash the pants off me” – Jones, calming his nerves with a few cigarettes, had survived a 21-19 scare against Craig Baugh in the semi-finals.

In fact it was a double dose of misery for Bowring in the semis as club secretary Karen Smith lost 21-16 against Delves on a night when host club Newport, led by Colin and Mary Rudrum, did themselves proud.

Craig Owen won the title in 2010, Sam Owen in 1987. But now it’s Alan Jones who has joined the family roll of honour.

Scores from the last 16:

Phil Craggs (Allscott) 21 Chris Bates (Allscott) 10, Ian Delves (SJ Bayley) 21 Rob Steventon (Shifnal) 17, Stuart James (Bowring) 18 Karen Smith (Bowring) 21, Tony Garmson (Wrockwardine Wood) 21 Kate Suggett (Bowring) 17, Dan Tipton (Allscott) 21 Richard Suggett (Bowring) 14, Ben Hudson (SJ Bayley) 11 Craig Baugh (Bowring) 21, Paul Powell (Horsehay) 12 Ashley Gregory (Hadley USC) 21, Alan Jones (Broseley) 21 Chris Taylor (Allscott) 11.

Quarter-finals – Craggs 18 Delves 21, Smith 21 Garmson 12, Tipton 12 Baugh 21, Gregory 13 Jones 21.

Shifnal’s Rob Steventon stunned the Shropshire bowls world when he reached this year’s finals of the county’s richest competition, the £4,680 Meole Open.

On Saturday, July 6, he returns to the spotlight as one of 16 qualifiers for the finals of the Molson Coors Mid Shropshire League Merit at Newport (6pm).

And although the prizemoney on offer will be a lot less, the title at stake will mean just as much for Steventon on a night which features five bowlers from Bowring, including father and daughter Richard and Kate Suggett.

The Shifnal man has kept up his good form, winning seven of his nine games as the club’s A team push for promotion from division two, but he faces a tough opener against Ian Delves of the Bayley’s first division side.

Ashley Gregory of Hadley USC flies the flag for the Shropshire junior team and, given her fine form in recent weeks, Bowring secretary Karen Smith must have a good shot at the title.

Last year’s Merit finals at Sinclair was blessed with a super night and big crowd, and with the forecast good, league officials and Newport are hoping for a large turnout.

There’s sure to be a big following from Allscott as the club have four bowlers in the field – two of them having the misfortune to be paired together when the draw was made at the league’s executive meeting on Tuesday.

The draw for the last 16 on Newport’s non-Premier green, reads:

Top half – Phil Craggs (Allscott) v Chris Bates (Allscott), Ian Delves (SJ Bayley) v Rob Steventon (Shifnal), Stuart James (Bowring) v Karen Smith (Bowring), Tony Garmson (Wrockwardine Wood) v Kate Suggett (Bowring).

Bottom half – Dan Tipton (Allscott) v Richard Suggett (Bowring), Ben Hudson (SJ Bayley) v Craig Baugh (Bowring), Paul Powell (Horsehay) v Ashley Gregory (Hadley USC), Alan Jones (Broseley) v Chris Taylor (Allscott).

Qualifyfing for the 2013 competition on Wednesday, June 12, catered for 54 entries at four venues. Five bowlers from Bowring and four from Allscott took nine of the 16 final places up for grabs, including father and daughter Richard and Kate Suggett.
Full list of qualifers:
At Abbey - Ashley Gregory (Hadley USC), Rob Steventon (Shifnal), Chris Taylor (Allscott), Richard Suggett (Bowring).
At SInclair - Phil Craggs (Allscott), Kate Suggett (Bowring), Tony Garmson (Wrockwardine Wood), Paul Powell (Horsehay).
At Donnington Wood No 1 - Dan Tipton and Chris Bates (both Allscott), Stuart James and Karen Smith (both Bowring).
At Wrockwardine Wood No 1 - Alan Jones (Broseley), Craig Baugh (Bowring), Ben Hudson and Ian Delves (both SIr John Bayley).
2012 FINALS NIGHT - report courtesy of the Shropshire Star

They shook hands at 20 across and embraced like best mates should after one of the most exciting Mid Shropshire League Merit finals ever seen.

So it was no surprise that winner Jamie King struggled to contain his emotions after a thrilling climax to his tussle with former clubmate Aiden Smith on Saturday at Sinclair.

King, still just 17, is possibly the youngest ever winner of the Worthington’s-backed league’s top title in its near 80-year history – but he showed nerves of steel to win a stunning last end and get his hands on the trophy.

Smith’s last wood drew the end and settled near the jack, leaving King with no option but to fire with his last wood to try and play the counting bowl out.

And his missile caught just enough of Smith’s bowl to roll it a couple of turns away and leave King counting the vital chalk in a 21-20 cracker.

It wasn’t only the winner who was emotional either, for his dad Phil – the league’s competitions organiser - has always treated Smith like a third son.

They both took up the game at Hadley USC, Smith after ridiculing the youngster about playing bowls, only to be told: ‘Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it’.

He tried it, liked it and now - back playing for Hadley after spells at Bowring and Donnington Wood - Smith is clearly a force to be reckoned with in the league.

He used a short mark to the top of the crown to beat Allan Gaut 21-12 in the last eight and 2010 champion Craig Owen 21-5 in his semi-final.

King, watched by a 100-plus crowd in the evening sunshine, had dealt with two players from runaway division two leaders Allscott to reach the final, Chris Taylor and Phil Craggs.

And the eventual triumph of last year's Junior Waterloo winner meant St Georges retained the Merit crown, Tom Langford having won it in 2011.

King had earlier played a key role in St Georges reaching the semi-finals of the Free Press Cup, scoring 20 away against Paul Gamsby of Kings Heath Park as the Dragons won by 32 overall, Scott Harries winning 21-0 in Telford.

Now St Georges will play either Meole Brace or the Greveille Arms in the last four.

But sadly for King he could not quite manage a weekend double, losing 21-15 to defending champion Kiah Roberts (Burway) in the final of the Shropshire Junior Merit on Sunday at Whittington.

Mid Shropshire Merit quarter-final scores:

John Clarke (Wrockwardine Wood) 18, Phil Craggs (Allscott) 21; Chris Taylor (Allscott) 14, Jamie King (St Georges) 21; Dave Price (Hadley USC) 8, Craig Owen (Bowring) 21; Aiden Smith (Hadley USC) 21, Allan Gaut (Wrockwardine Wood) 12.

Semi-finals: Craggs 15, King 21; Owen 5, Smith 21. Final: King 21, Smith 20.


John Clarke is the ‘lucky’ bowler on finals night in the Merit on Saturday, July 21, at Sinclair (5pm start).

The Wrockwardine Wood stalwart has drawn the first round bye created by the unavailability of qualifier Les Mumford of Madeley CC, who won this title in 2009.

But Clarke will get some practice time on the green before going into battle in round two against either Paul Bradburne or Phil Craggs.

The man with most recent experience of winning the crown, 2010 champion Craig Owen, will be among the favourites along with 1993 runner-up Allan Gaut.

Full first round draw:

Top half - John Clarke walks over; Phil Craggs (Allscott) v Paul Bradburne (Hadley USC), Chris Taylor (Allscott) v Mark Doodson (Bowring), Jamie King (St Georges) v Tony Garmson (Wrockwardine Wood).

Dave Price (Hadley USC) v Oliver Harris (Bowring), Neil Caswell (Broseley) v Craig Owen (Bowring), Jim Fletcher (Donnington Wood) v Aiden Smith (Hadley USC), Allan Gaut (Wrockwardine Wood) v John Roberts jnr (Madeley CC).
Qualifying for the 2012 competition produced 16  bowlers for the finals night. The four qualifiers from each venue on Wednesday, June 6 (6.30pm) were:
Newport No 1 - Aiden Smith (Hadley USC), Tony Garmson (Wrockwardine Wood), Jim Fletcher (Donnington Wood), Phil Craggs (Allscott).
Donnington Wood No 1 - Paul Bradburne (Hadley USC), Craig Owen (Bowring), John Roberts jnr (Madeley CC), Allan Gaut (Wrockwardine Wood).
Sir John Bayley No 1 - Jamie King (St Georges), Chris Taylor (Allscott), John Clarke (Wrockwardine Wood), Dave Price (Hadley USC).
Allscott - Oliver Harris and Mark Doodson (both Bowring), Neil Caswell (Broseley), Les Mumford (Madeley CC).
Young St Georges bowler Tom Langford triumphed at Bylet on Saturday, July 2, when the 16 final qualifiers did battle.
Organiser Phil King commented: "It was a superb, sunny day, and a superb performance by Tom."
Langford got his hands on the coveted W. G. Harris Trophy by beating Chris Lodge of Madeley Cricket Club 21-19 after trailing 8-1 and 15-11.
Performing so well in the Midland Super League this season, it was no surprise that Langford beat Alan Jones (Broseley) 21-10 in the semi-finals and his Dragons clubmate Ian Gaut to 17 in the last eight.
Lodge, one of the most consistent performers in the league in recent years, beat Paul Bradburne (Hadley USC) 21-10 in the quarter-finals and then another St Georges man, Jim Gaut, in the semis.