The 4th Annual Shropshire Open – James Tidd and Lloyd Cooper the big winners

The 4th Annual Shropshire Open took place at AMF Shrewsbury on Sunday 2nd July 2017. A total of 32 bowlers entered the event (up from 22 last season) with entrants entering averages ranging from 93 to 230 and age range of 21 – 79, this tournament certainly appeals to all abilities and ages.

The event was once again part of the British Tenpin Bowling Associations Tour (Stop 6) which meant competitors could obtain much needed ranking points.

For those unfamiliar with the event, competitors bowl 6 games before a cut to the top 8 scratch pinfall and top 8 on handicap pinfall from the remaining competitors. A second round consisting of a further 3 games before a cut to the top 4 competitors based on their total pinfall in each section progressing to a stepladder final.

In the first game of the first round, last year’s runner-up Daniel Davies set the scoring benchmark with a 224, closely followed by Craig Barrett’s 223 and Lee Burrows with a 220. Game two saw more people settle in to the scoring with home boy Darren Milner landing a 254 (breaking the event’s highest score of 252 set on 18th May 2014 previously held by John Plumridge) Adrian French with 213 and Craig Ellis 212 completed the top three scratch scores of Game 2. Game 3 saw those from Game 1 recapture their scoring form with Daniel Davies continuing his great start with a 225, Craig Barrett 222 and James Tidd & Colin Laing with 216 apiece.

In the Handicap section, Laura Evans and Lee Burrows lead Game 1 with 250, Colin Laing 1 pin further back with a 249 with Luke Harris & Sarah Hood tied on 244. Game 2 saw Darren Milner’s record score pumped up to 299, Lloyd Cooper well back in second with 266 and Adrian French with a 257. The final game of the first series went to June Johnson (276) ahead of Colin Laing (259) and Lloyd Cooper in 3rd with 249. At the half way point Darren Davies (628) set the pace in the scratch section with Lloyd Cooper (753) leading the Handicap section. Competitors changed lanes ready for the second set, some hoping to maintain their scoring and others hoping to improve!

Out of the blocks early in Game 4 both leaders set down big markers, Daniel Davies (244) – followed by Glenn Richardson (213) and Ian Duff (211) – and in the Handicap standings Lloyd Cooper (287) – followed by Daniel Davies & Ian Duff (257) and Louisa Turner (254) – extending their leads. Game 5 saw a familiar name leading the scratch scoring; Daniel Davies with a 246 followed by Steve Giddens (226) and Paul Williams (225). In the Handicap Standings both Paul and Steve’s games were bumped up to 266 and 262 respectfully with Rob Spinks-Chilman making a push with a 261.

In the last game jostling for a place in the final 8 of each section, nearly every competitor was in with a shout of qualifying. James Tidd made such a move topping out with a 226 to claim 5th place in the scratch section, Ian Duff’s 225 (all scores in the 2nd series 200+) claimed 7th spot and with Glenn Richardson & Jonny Whittaker scoring 219 to secure a berth in the top 8 scratch section in 8th and 4th respectfully.

Over in the handicap section there were similar last-minute moves. Ian Duff topped out with a 271, Laura Evans 269 moved her in to 7th place in the Handicap Standings, Rob-Spinks-Chilman had the 3rd highest handicap game again (265) to secure him 6th place. With Drama set at Eastenders ‘Duff Duff’ commiserations go to Louisa Turner who missed the cut by 1 pin and with 5 others eliminated within 34 pins of the cut, the close nature of the event was apparent.

The cut to the top 8 for the scratch section was Glenn Richardson’s 1135 (52pins up on last year’s cut). Darren Davies led the way with a 1305 (50pins down on last year’s leader). The cut in the Handicap section was 1355 (140 pins up on last year – although the handicap base has been amended) and Lloyd Cooper had a very healthy lead in top spot with 1536 (+174 on last year’s totals), replicating his excellent current form.

Darren Davies took the Highest Scratch second series with 677, Lloyd Cooper also did the ‘double’ posting a 783 Handicap Series. Notable mention to Colin Laing who hit consecutive 599 series!

The second-round saw scratch scores reduce slightly with 210 (Ian Duff & Craig Barrett Game 7), 217 (Jonny Whittaker in Game 8) although this trend was bucked with James Tidd breaking the Shropshire Open Highest Game (second time on the day) with a 276 in Game 9 and with it catapult himself in to the top 4 as second 2nd. Despite Ian Duff recording 3 more 200+ games, he missed out in 5th place by 17pins. James’ 276 helped to land a 643 series. Darren Davies was still top of the tree and would be guaranteed a place in the final step, could he go one better than last year?

The drama in the scratch section was intense but the Handicap Section was where it was at (Drama set at Original Batman 2-parter status!) Positions were changing place in every game, with every missed pin punishing the unlucky player. Lloyd Cooper posted 734 to comfortably lead the Handicap section, however top series went to the ever-improving Laura Evans with 751. Notable scoring saw top places to Sarah Jeeves (270 in Game 7), Laura Evans (256 Game 8) and Lloyd Cooper (271 in Game 9).

Honourable mentions to Luke Harris who was seemingly coasting to the Stepladder before a series of gutter balls following spares seriously derailed his challenge, missing the cut by 8 pins and only 24 pins off 2nd spot – what could have been?! Massive congratulations to June Johnson for taking 2nd spot at the ripe age of 79!

With drama levels at ‘Coronation Street Christmas Special’ the scratch stepladder finals saw Craig Barrett (3rd) defeat Lee Burrows (4th) 226-225, in what was a brilliant spectacle to watch, Craig stepped up in the 10th needing a turkey for the win which he duly delivered, avoiding the need for a roll off! In the second step Craig’s 5th 200+ game wasn’t enough to dispatch 2nd Seed James Tidd, who following his 276 pumped in a 266 to lead to a 1st v 2nd Seed showdown in the final. Last year’s runner up and top seed Daniel Davies couldn’t quite bridge the gap and lost to James 215-199, runner-up for the second year and congratulations to our new champion James Tidd!
Scratch

The handicap stepladder finals saw our lowest entering average bowler and our eldest competitor, in what was potentially still a wide open final. 3rd seed Laura Evans overcame Sarah’s handicap in the 9th Frame to take victory and continue her march! Next up for Laura was June Johnson, Laura stepped up her game once more to dispatch June 255-236 in another close encounter.

The final saw the two in form players batting above their averages for the day Laura v Lloyd. With drama bragging rights with the scratch section this match stole back the thunder with drama levels at Lost: Season Finale! With 13 pins difference in handicaps this was going to be a close game, in what was a nip and tuck throughout, the 10th frame saw both competitors still with the opportunity to win, Laura stepped up first and despite a good delivery was left with a 4-9, Lloyd seeing the opportunity to grasp, stepped up but could only register a 9 count, leaving a solitary 10-pin.

Laura stepped up first and delivered one of the balls of the day to make the 4-9 – epic scenes. Lloyd, visibly twitching stepped up to face the trickiest single pin a right hander will leave; however, no nerves were visible when he commenced his approach and with a perfect delivery the 10pin was dispatched. Upon the 12th balls being bowled, the difference between the pair was 5 pins and Lloyd Cooper was Shropshire Open Handicap Champion 2017!

The handicap stepladder finals saw our lowest entering average bowler and our eldest competitor, in what was potentially still a wide open final. 3rd seed Laura Evans overcame Sarah’s handicap in the 9th Frame to take victory and continue her march! Next up for Laura was June Johnson, Laura stepped up her game once more to dispatch June 255-236 in another close encounter.

The final saw the two in form players batting above their averages for the day Laura v Lloyd. With drama bragging rights with the scratch section this match stole back the thunder with drama levels at Lost: Season Finale! With 13 pins difference in handicaps this was going to be a close game, in what was a nip and tuck throughout, the 10th frame saw both competitors still with the opportunity to win, Laura stepped up first and despite a good delivery was left with a 4-9, Lloyd seeing the opportunity to grasp, stepped up but could only register a 9 count, leaving a solitary 10-pin.

Laura stepped up first and delivered one of the balls of the day to make the 4-9 – epic scenes. Lloyd, visibly twitching stepped up to face the trickiest single pin a right hander will leave; however, no nerves were visible when he commenced his approach and with a perfect delivery the 10pin was dispatched. Upon the 12th balls being bowled, the difference between the pair was 5 pins and Lloyd Cooper was Shropshire Open Handicap Champion 2017!

Download full results here

Report, results and Photos thanks to Paul Williams

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