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4th Dec, 2021

BOWLS - White Hart Bowls Club endure mixed season

Aaron Sutcliffe 15th Oct, 2021 Updated: 15th Oct, 2021

WHITE Hart Bowls Club saw their season come to an end recently as 11 of the club’s teams – including three in the highest divisions’ – competed across the West Midlands.

 

In the Worcestershire and Warwickshire league – promotion and relegation were scrapped due to the effects of the pandemic with teams reduced to eight players from 12.

 

White Hart competed in Division F and struggled throughout the season before winning three of their last four games to finish sixth.

 

Mike Estell and team captain Mike Hancock both picked up 10 wins apiece as they swept the club averages awards.

 

In the Northfield and District Sunday League – White Harts A were placed in the Premier League after Royal Austin Selly Park defected.

 

This led to a challenging season with several county bowlers performing for their competitors before picking up two victories to end the season to avoid the wooden spoon.

 

Paul Matthews and Estell both won 11 of their ties with Matthews going on to claim the club averages awards.

 

Meanwhile, White Harts B came agonisingly close to promotion out of Division 3 – missing out on shot difference after matching Hockley Heath’s points total.

 

Neil Laxton topped the team’s averages list.

 

In the South West Birmingham Over 60’s league, White Harts A fell away from title contention to finish fifth after struggling with injuries during the second half of the season.

 

Estell won 11 out of 14 ties to top the club averages as the team look to surpass their highest finish of third place – which was achieved in the 2019 season – next term.

 

In the Yardley Wood Superleague, White Hart A were relegated from Division 2 after several below par performances, although they have assembled a strong squad for next season.

 

Ray Barnett was White Harts best performer as they look to bounce back at the first attempt next year.

 

In the Heart of England league, White Hart A finished next to bottom despite winning two of their final matches as Tim Hollingshead took the averages honours.

 

And in the Heart of England Over 60’s league, White Harts A finished in fifth place in the top-flight but will have been disappointed not to place higher after losing four of their last five matches.

 

Injuries and availability restricted the team throughout the season and the club will want to improve next campaign with Estell winning eight of his 11 ties to scoop the team averages award.

 

Estell and Ray Richards claimed the pre-season The Needles Doubles Tournament after comfortably beating Mick Perrins/Paul Matthews 21-5 in the final.

 

The next event saw Sheila Humphreys maintain her fine record in club tournament’s by winning the Spring Handicap – defeating Ged Dooner 11-8 in the final.

 

Humphreys was unable to repeat the trick in the Summer Handicap as she was beaten in the semi-finals by Jacqui Barnett who then subsequently lost to White Hart legend Norman Batchelor.

 

The 82-year-old rolled back the years – having won the Warwick and Worcester Merits back in 1963 from a field of more than 500 bowlers – despite having to change from left to right-handed due to a shoulder injury some time ago.

 

White Hart’s showpiece event – The Club Championship – saw 17 bowlers battle it out for the prize as Estell looked to retain the title he won last year.

 

Kirk Wright beat promising novice Neil Harrison 21-9 in the first semi-final before Estell secured another final berth with a 21-14 win against Batchelor.

 

Despite Wright storming into a 16-7 lead, Estell somehow clawed the deficit back to lead 19-18 and eventually went on to a high-quality affair after a two-shot final end to retain his Club Championship crown.

 

The club’s final tournament of the season commemorates long-standing club member Tony Sugden who passed away six years ago.

 

Wright avenged his defeat to Estell by knocking him out in the qualifying group before going on to win the Tony Sugden Memorial Trophy with a 15-8 victory against Dave Kings in the final after pulling back a three-shot handicap deficit.

 

Lastly, White Harts hosted the 2021 Heart of England Merit tournament in September which proved a highly successful event with around 50 bowlers from clubs in Birmingham and Worcestershire taking part.

 

Several county players produced some superb matches throughout the week which culminated with two young Triplex Bowling Club members contesting the final in which Nathan Caines triumphed over Dan Baller.

 

The club are welcoming new members both male and female of all ages – to apply for membership please contact Kirk Wright on 07707756641 or kdwright108@mail.com

 

An annual subscription  (April 1st to March 31st the following year) costs £50 plus a one-off payment of £3.50 for a key that gives admittance to the green and clubhouse, which are accessible at all times.

 

Bowlers who play in the club teams are charged £2 per team match and should new members wish to join and play at this time of year they would be charged £25 and their next full annual subscription of £50 would be due by March 31st 2022.

 

The club is open all-year round and the green is playable throughout, weather conditions permitting, except for a fortnight at this time of year at the end of the league season when green maintenance is carried out.

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