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Play-offs For MSBL . . .

posted Nov 12, 2017, 2:13 AM by Malcolm Fletcher
The play-off phenomenon has been the biggest success story in Shropshire bowls in recent years – and could be looming for Mid Shropshire clubs.

Shropshire Premier League officials rightly boast that their play-off final game attracts the biggest crowd of the season on the local scene, having replaced the County Cup final at the top of the pile.

Attendances in excess of the 300 are virtually guaranteed for the showdown on the first Friday in October - as was again the case this year when Wem USC retained their Premier place at the expense of 2017 Mid Shropshire champions Hadley USC at Meole Brace.

And it was the long running success of the Premier play-offs, going back to the late 1990s, that led to Whitchurch League officials producing plans for a play-off structure for their top flight last year.

Now it’s the turn of the Molson Coors Mid Shropshire League to toy with the idea as they look to build on a number of positive developments in recent times, including the launch of the new Dennis Lewis Thursday Division.

Following a meeting of its Future Ideas sub group, a League secretary Malcolm Fletcher said: “We want to work towards Friday night promotion play-offs in divisions one and two between teams finishing third from bottom in them and sides who come third from top in divisions two and three.”

It’s a long term goal that Mid Shropshire officials will try to progress in 2018 by convincing member clubs that two new play-offs will deliver added interest in the league and further raise its profile.

"If such games ever come to fruition they would obviously not attract crowds on the same scale as the Premier play-offs, but they would give teams who just miss out on the two automatic promotion places in divisions two and three a reward with potential big benefit for a fine campaign," he added.

Sadly for Whitchurch League chiefs, their play-off plan involving the teams who finished second bottom of division one and second from top in division two failed to win support and have now been shelved - lack of interest from clubs lower down their seven divison pecking order being the decisive factor..

Now a similar notion has been taken up by Mid Shropshire and, if current officers are re-elected at the league’s AGM in January, a firmed up proposal looms in 12 months time.

And, if the idea had been in place this year, the crunch games - 12-a-side at neutral venues - would have been:

Division one play-off - Donnington Wood A v Broseley A.

Division two play-off - Shifnal A v Allscott B.

Now there's something to reflect on over the winter . . .