The Uplands, Smethwick. Est. 1898

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A Season In Review 2007



The 2007 AGM saw a very poor turnout with several sides left without a willing captain. In total we lost the availability of several players, some leaving and some choosing not to play regularly in 2007. These players included Nigel Freeman, Steve Blakeman, Tony Rowley, Phil High, Matt Barnwell, Steve Barnwell, Maureen Wilkins, Eddie Wilkins, Karen Newman and John Jones.

The W&W Premier, W&W Alliance, Oldbury 'A', Smethwick 'A' and West Bromwich teams all received no nominations for captains. Frank Newman offered to take on the role of W&W Premier captain. In doing so he reminded the members that he would pick the team his way and did not expect unfair criticism during the season as nobody else was willing to take on the position. Keith Lawlor and Karemjit Gurdas agreed to continue in each of the captaincy's they held in 2006 - the Smethwick 'A' side and the W&W Alliance side respectively. Denise Killion took on the West Bromwich team meaning she would captain two teams, already being nominated for the Smethwick 'B' team.

W&W Premier.

The first team suffered an early setback when we lost at home to West Bromwich Labour by 4 shots. It was a result that would put us in the relegation zone for the majority of the season. Home form eventually improved and we recorded five wins on Broomfield that were by 88 shots or above, the best being a full house against Forget Me Not (+128).   Those wins helped us to a final aggregate of +198, the third best in the league and the reason we survived.

Drakes Drum, The Valley and Great Barr gained promotion to Division 1 with The Greyhound, Olton West Warwicks and Ye Olde Knowle being relegated to Division 3. Next season we will also play The Richmond, Kings Heath Park and Kings Norton who were relegated from Division 1 as well as Acocks Green RBL, British Oak and New Inns Harborne who gained promotion from Division 3.

Ollie Newman finished runner up in the Division 2 league averages (+129), missing out by just five shots to Keith Russell of The Valley. There were five ever presents in the league: Paul Newman, Frank Newman, Ollie Newman, Jonathan Blakeman and Mick Barnwell who all played 22 games. Ollie Newman and Jonathan Blakeman also played all 30 league and cup games combined.

Of the three cup competitions we had moderate success. In the W&W Premier Cup we were knocked out in the second round on a wet Friday night by Kings Norton at Triplex. In the Free Press Cup we made it to the quarter finals in which we lost by 34 shots to West Bromwich Football Supporters.   We had our best run in the W&W Arthur Mitchell 'Bomber' Cup for ten years (runners up in 1997) by reaching the semi final stage. We played Moseley Cricket Club in the semis where we were outplayed by a Division 1 team that boasted nine current or former county players.

W&W Alliance

The Alliance team had enjoyed two seasons of success, rarely being challenged home or away but faced tougher challenges in Division 2. The team suffered from regular availability using 28 players in total. There were no ever presents, Denise Killion (21) and Karemjit Gurdas (20) playing the most games.

The side lost at home for the first time since 2003 and went on to lose two home games in total making it our worst Alliance season since 1994. On a positive note the team eventually survived on plus by winning away at Ward End Cons.   Denise Killion took over as captain after the home defeat to Kings Heath Park.

Nigel Francis won the averages after playing only 12 games. He held the best plus (+81) and had the most points (20). In the Alliance Cup Acocks Green RBL knocked us out first round.

Oldbury 'A'

The season started with a poor performance at The Gate but what followed were impressive results at home with six wins of 50 shots or above. The George lost two games at home, which should have given us a chance of taking top place. In the end it was wins away from home that were lacking with two in total and three close calls (-1, -7, -11).

Ollie Newman won the league and club averages for the second season running, winning 19 / 21 games. His plus of 179 was the best for Broomfield in the Oldbury 'A since Paul Freeman's effort in 2001 when his plus exceeded 200.

A successful cup run saw us beat The Green Man (+44), Weoley Castle Inn (+29) and The Royal Oak (+21) before losing by 29 shots to The George in the final at M&B Portland Road.

We finished outside the top two for the first time in four seasons, ending up in 4 th place. The side had one ever present in Mick Barnwell who played all 22 games.

West Bromwich

The shortest of seasons for any of the midweek teams with the first game being played the last week in April and finishing before the end of August. The West Bromwich team started with an impressive 77 shot over Rowley Labour but then lost four games on the bounce only picking up 8 eight points. A relegation battle started and although away performances never improved, home wins were always healthy in terms of plus and points.

Captain Denise Killion and average winner John Hardman were both ever presents (18 games) but the side never had a settled side with only four players reaching 10 games or above. The team finished 6 th in Division 1, 17 points above relegation.

The team reached the final of the Handicap Shield beating Cradley Libs (+32), Brades Village (+8), Wednesbury Cons (+22) and Greets Green (+8). The final was played at Hamstead where they lost out by 5 shots to Penn 'A'.

Langley and Bilston Town were relegated from Division 1 with Penn 'B' and Dartmouth gaining promotion from Division 2.


A first season in Division 2 provided a tougher test in 2007. Nevertheless the team made a positive start winning well at home and also picking up a total of 19 points against Somers.

The team challenged selection and pushed for a strong team rather than field the 'third eight'. Senior bowlers played nearly 75% of the games overall but the side finished 4 th and were 5 points off a promotion spot. One more away win was required with most teams winning away at Somers or The Wernley.

Captain Terry Jones quit the team with three fixtures remaining, ending his 128 game run of Broomfield's 139 in the Dudley League. Dave Chilton won the averages with 28 points and a plus of 114.   No ever presents with Nigel Francis (19 games) missing just one match.

The Herald Cup started with a first round victory over Gornal & Sedgley (+31). The second round was all but lost but the team beat Coombswood with the help of a 21-0 walkover. The quarter final saw W.B.F.S. field a strong team that included Ivan Smout and Alan Bentley. We lost the game both at home and away, losing by 29 shots in total.

Next season the team will play the likes of Beech Tree and Old Cross 'A' as well as the return of fixtures against George 'B' and Gornal & Sedgley.

Oldbury 'B'

The Oldbury 'B' fielded a total of 10 beginners or young bowlers and proved that we have a starter setup that is only bettered by the likes of Moor Lane. The team also had seven bowlers who played 15 or more of the 20 games.

The averages were won by Matthew Wilkins who won 10 / 17 games in his second full season for the club.   No ever presents with Melissa Gurdas missing just 1 of the 20 games.   There were first ever wins for the likes of Danielle Newman, Melissa Gurdas, Diane Kazmierowski, Leigh-Anne Nemedi and Emily Lawlor.

Sam Fagan captained the side for the first 12 games and then left the club to return to the Old Chapel. Frank Newman took care of the side for the final two months of the season.

The team finished their season on Broomfield on a high with an impressive 64 shot win over Queens Park, picking up 9 points.   A bottom of the table finish in Division 4 cannot take away the valuable experience that our new and young bowlers gained.

The cup side was strengthened and reached the semi finals of the Division 3 & 4 Cup.   There were only two games after a first round bye, beating the Royal Oak 'B' by 8 shots on the Wernley and then losing to Dartmouth by 37 shots at West Bromwich Labour.

Smethwick 'A'

The season was not completed till mid October because of Moor Lane's outstanding fixtures. We were left needing to win on Moor Lane by 9 shots to take the Division 1 title. We lost by 36 shots with most of our bowlers not having played for three weeks. Ironically we finished runners up only because Moor Lane chose not to play their final fixture when 2 nd place was for the taking. West Bromwich Labour retained the Division 1 title for the fourth season in succession, and this league which we won 9 times in the 1990's continues to stay out of our reach.

The 2007 season was an improvement on recent years, winning three away games: Beeches 'A' (+7), Bell Inn (+22) and Coombswood (+7).   The team had a 6 week unbeaten run including a best win of 105 shots against Halesowen RBL.

Ollie Newman won the averages for the fifth time in six seasons, missing out in 2004 due to a season off. It was also his fifth 100+ finish in six attempts, 2007's +124 adding to aggregates of 148, 143, 130 and 144 since 2001.

The defence of the Sydney F. Jones Cup started with a 22 shot win over the George at Great Barr. The quarter final was played at West Bromwich Labour, beating W.B.F.S. 'B' by 19 shots. We lost the semi final to Moor Lane by 24 shots after a disappointing performance on the Green Man.

There were two ever presents in Ollie Newman and Jonathan Blakeman who took part in all league (18) and cup (3) games.

Smethwick 'B'

A poor start in which the team lost their first 6 / 9 fixtures and got knocked out of the cup in the preliminary round by Langley. The cup draw could be considered as unlucky with the game being played on the Gate.

A home defeat to the Towers put the team in danger of relegation but this was cancelled out by a 5 shot win on the Gate. The best win of the season came in the middle of the poor period, beating Gate Colley Gate by 87 shots on Broomfield with 6 winners!

The final league tables saw us achieve a mid table finish (5 th place). Phil High who compiled a plus of 132 after only 14 games won the averages. No ever presents with captain Denise Killion playing the most games (17 / 18).

Next year the team will face new fixtures against Coombswood 'A', Bell Inn 'A', Greyhound and Dartmouth 'A'.

Oldbury Seniors

A historic season with the team winning the double for the first time in its history.   Division 1 was won with 14 / 20 wins, 10 points clear of the Royal Oak 'A'. The team also held the best aggregate in the league by far (+336).

There were four away wins in total: Gate (+5), Old Cross 'A' (+20), George (+35) and W.B.F.S. 'A' (+17). The most impressive feat was a run of 10 victories in their final 11 fixtures.

Chris Price won the averages (+103, 25pts), but three other players also had outstanding seasons: Malcolm Spencer (+86, 25pts), John Hardman (+108, 24pts) and Frank Newman (+73, 24pts).

Captain Billy Adams took part in six games, making it his 44 th season for Broomfield. This surpassed Wilf Robins 43 seasons for the club and in all likeliness made Bill our longest serving bowler from the records available.

The Oldbury Seniors Cup success included wins against M&B (+28), Old Cross 'A' (+15) and Baggeridge 'B' (+29). The final was played at Romsley where we had four winners and beat the Gate by 24 shots.

The Oldbury Seniors squad is without doubt the strongest it has ever been. This could be helped even more in 2008 with Chris Thompson expressing an interest to play for the side.

Club Competitions

The William Purcell Pairs were played on the first free Saturday (2 nd June) and saw 20 members participate. Mark Hadley Snr and Phil High were runners up, beating John Hardman and Craig Malone 21-15, Keith and Lynne Lawlor 21-7 and Dave Chilton and Denise Killion 21-8 to reach the final. Daniel Chilton and Jonathan Blakeman were the winners beating Tonia Hadley and Jim Watkin 21-17, Keith Underhill and Karemjit Gurdas 21-8 and then winning the final 21-16.

The Roy Freeman Club Championship saw only 12 entrants. The competition was played on the second free Saturday (28 th July). Mark Hadley Snr beat Danielle Newman 21-8, Marc Wilson 21-10, Marc Hadley Jnr 21-14 and Malcolm Spencer 21-7 to win the trophy for the first time since his first and only championship win 21 years previous.   It was the fifth time Malcolm has finished runner up in the club championship.

The Janice Freeman Club Handicap was played on August Bank Holiday Sunday with 20 entrants. This was perhaps the best of the three club competitions with some great matches.   Keith Lawlor beat Malcolm Spencer 24-13 in the first round but the scoreline did not tell the whole story with so many close ends shared between two of the clubs experienced players.   The day belonged to two players both under 18 and both playing their first season for the club.   Marc Wilson (Receive 2) won the competition beating Matt Wilkins 21-12, Karen Newman 21-14 and Mark Hadley Snr 21-11 on his way to the final. Daniel Chilton (Receive 4) was the runner up and he knocked out Diane Kazmierowski 21-13, Tonia Hadley 21-12 and Mark Nemedi 21-16. The final lasted 28 ends with neither player going more than 4 shots ahead, 21-19 to Marc the final score.

The pairs received 10 less entries than the previous season (30). The championship was 8 entries lower than 2006 (20) but the handicap turnout improved from 16 to 20 players.

In Retrospect, 2007

In total Broomfield competed in 211 matches, winning 111 and losing 100. For comparison, in 2006 we played 202 matches, won 117, lost 83 and drew 2. 45 players were used during the season, 1 less than 2006. We gained two bowlers in Daniel Chilton and Marc Wilson as well as three new beginners starting in the Oldbury 'B'.   There were no promotions or relegations meaning the club sustain a Division 1 or 2 status for 2008.

We hope this was not Ollie Newman's final season, but if it is he certainly signed off in style. He won 67 of his 78 games and missed just one of the clubs 77 'A' games.   Paul Newman and John Wilson also had an impressive season. The 'brush' was handed out once and also received by three players.

A weakness this year was availability with only 18 players who took part in Saturday, Sunday and midweek fixtures. The midweek teams certainly suffered from the senior bowlers being spread over three teams. The 1 st / 2 nd / 3 rd eight system was not used and as a result the sides finished 4 th , 6 th and 4 th respectively and did not achieve league honours. Our only obvious fault was in the Alliance Cup. The later stages of this competition made us aware that most clubs had taken advantage of the four Premier players left out of a Premier cup team with the competition played as 8-a-side compared to 12 on a Saturday.   The selection committee finished the season with four captains, only half of the required number for the teams we field.

Although we only won one cup competition, it was our best run in the cups for several years. In total we played 31 cup games, winning 21 of them. This included three finals, three semi finals and two quarter finals.

By the end of July we found ourselves in a crisis with three teams facing relegation, two captains quitting their role and four players making themselves unavailable for selection.   The committee set a main objective of trying to keep both Saturday sides in Division 2 as well as the West Bromwich in Division 1 and promote the Dudley team. The club achieved three of these four objectives.

We had some outstanding wins on Broomfield, eight of +90 or above. At the same time only three teams were able to achieve a 100% record at home: Oldbury 'A', Dudley and Oldbury Seniors.   In total there were six defeats at home and thirteen wins away (excluding Oldbury 'B' games).

The first half of the 2007 season was poor with home defeats and too much criticism about team selection, many forgetting that nobody was willing to take on the responsibility of being a captain at the AGM.   The second half certainly saw a turn around with improved results and team spirit. The cup runs provided many busy weeks in August and September and the support that teams received was brilliant. We should be pleased that next year both Saturday sides will compete in Division 2. Broomfield boast one of the best youth sections in the Warwick & Worcester but we still need to attract senior bowlers to compensate the loss of experienced players over the past couple of seasons.


J Blakeman 24.10.07