The Greville Arms start their defence of the Summit Garage Staffordshire Premier Bowls League tonight against newly promoted Moor Lane. The Greville have the same squad as last season, and captain Andy Nuttall says “we’re looking forward to defending the title, it’s a tough league with no easy games so we’re going to have to be on our guard from the off.” Conversely Moor Lane will be looking forward to their first season back in the top league and skipper Bob Hickman knows” it’s going to be a tough start playing the champions the Greville away first game but we have a good mix of youth and experience. Hopefully this will stand us in good stead for the season and hopefully have having a great home green will give us a slight advantage when playing at home although all the Warwick & Worcester sides know our green well.” Willenhall Nordley finished joint second last season and face another newly promoted side in M&B Cheslyn Hay who themselves will be looking for survival after one season out. Dudley Dell was the other team to finish second and play West Brom FSC who had a disappointing season last year and will want to move back up to the top half. The George are the other promoted team and have strengthened to face a tough trip to an ambitious Tanworth In Arden team who are looking to win the league. St Georges had a tough season last year and with the loss of Glyn Picknell and Mike Wainwright, who are taking a year out, could have a tough time against King George V.
Dudley Dell v West Brom FSC
Greville Arms v Moor Lane
M&B Cheslyn Hay v Willenhall Nordley A
St Georges v King George V
Tanworth In Arden v The George
Two of the relegated teams from last season face each other in a repeat of an opening fixture in the Premier Division from last season, when Chadsmoor won at Penn. So Penn will be wary of them again, but captain Rob Perry is “looking forward to trying to battle in the league to get back to the Premier Division. We’ve lost Ben Dixon and Paul Busby but have added Mark & Andy Jones from Nordley. Apart from that no change.” Both teams will be looking to bounce back, as well as Castlefields who also got relegated last season. They travel to Windmill and captain Mark Taylor is “looking for a positive performance and sure with that will come a positive results at a tough away venue, anytime of year, let alone week 1. We have a good side out, despite Callum Wraight and Ade Rowe missing, and Tom & Jon Palmer unavailable also. We welcome Martin Codd, Keith Wall and Andy Hughes into the side, all who bring much needed quality as well as Andy Duckett and Adam Jones, who played on occasions last year and are a big plus for us tomorrow.” Windmill will also be looking to get back to the league they graced a few years ago. Three Magpies just missed out on going up last season through the playoffs and despite losing Tom Palmer have largely kept the same team, but face a young Great Barr side that will be looking to push the big boys. Royal Oak are looking for their first promotion to the Premier Division and play Ward End Cons first game who are looking to get into the top half. Baddesley have signed the World Indoor Short Mat Champion and one of the best Junior bowlers in Atherstone in order to strengthen their team and make that leap up. They take on Moseley CC first up, who are looking for a return to the Premier Division.
Baddesley v Moseley CC
Penn v Chadsmoor
Royal Oak v Ward End Cons
Three Magpies v Great Barr
Windmill v Castlefields
Stretton Anglesey will be favourites to go up in their debut season with such a strong side full of Derbyshire county players, but captain Paul Chamberlain is still unsure on the quality of the league. “It’s difficult to say as it’s our first season in the league but I expect us to be one of the stronger teams in the league. Away games will undoubtedly be difficult as we will not have seen some of the greens but the same goes for teams coming to our green. However, having said that, a few of us have been on some of the greens in comps and Super Cup. It’s a new venture for us, we are geared up for it and cannot wait to get started at Sutton Park.” Sutton Park will be a new green for them and the home side will hope they can exploit that. Baldwin are another new team in the league and captain Jim Kernick is “obviously looking forward to our opening fixture at Woodfield. First and foremost we’re hoping for dry weather and no traffic delays on the way there! Then comes the bowls. It will definitely be a different experience for the majority of our players as we’ve never seen the green and with no roll up comes new challenges too. We will do our upmost to be as competitive as we can however.” Netherseal are a team looking for promotion after being winners of Division 2 last season and take on Short Heath Libs who will be strong themselves. Wrockwardine Wood struggled last season but with the addition of the two Kings, Aaron & Jamie, will be more competitive and travel to Willenhall Nordley B, who, with the strengthening of the A side, will also be more competitive. Langley did well in the Feeders last season and will be looking at promption and take on a Broomfield side who struggled the whole of last season and will welcome a break from a tough league they had last season.
Langley v Broomfield
Netherseal v Short Heath Liubs
Sutton Park v Stretton Anglesey
Willenhall Nordley B v Wrockwardine Wood
Woodfield v Baldwin