Nigel Francis - 30 Years
Nigel Francis is the man in form. Celebrating 30 years at Broomfield in 2010, ‘Silver’ has dropped only one shot this season in all competitions. With five away wins and five single figure wins under his belt already this year his record stands at played 11, won 10, +112. Also worth a mention are wins of 21-0 and 21-1 and currently topping both the West Bromwich and Dudley ‘A’ averages.
Nigel joined the club in 1980 along with Peter Nichols and Barry Griffiths and of the current membership is our second longest serving player, Chris Price having joined in 1979. For the best part of 30 years Nigel has played alongside the likes of Mark Hadley, Malcolm Spencer and Keith Underhill and as already mentioned Chris Price. In 1980 their was no W&W Alliance team and the West Bromwich ‘A’ and Smethwick ‘B’ were beginning their very first seasons, Roy Freeman was enjoying his finest season and Broomfield would become Champions of W&W Senior Division 10.
In 1983 Joe Russell awarded Nigel a place in the W&W Premier side and performed well straight away ending the season with a plus of 76, winning eight of his nine games. That season the club won Premier Division 7, Nigel also finishing with a plus of 102 in the West Bromwich ‘A’, second only to Peter Nichols.
A Club Champion in 1985 beating Paul Jackson in the final, Nigel then made it to the final the following year losing out to Mark Hadley. It was roughly the same year when Broomfield ended The Barn’s 11 year undefeated home record in the Warwick & Worcester. During a five hour marathon that did not finish until 8:40pm, Nigel along with Chris Price were best winners (21-12) on a freakish Barn green.
A first team regular from 1983 to 1995 when Broomfield finally broke into Premier 1, Nigel’s first team appearances became limited thereafter. 1995 was another highlight, Broomfield lifting the Free Press Cup for the very first time as they beat The Cock in the final at Handsworth Vic’s, Nigel the best winner 21-5.
“The Silver Fox” nickname came into play in the mid 1990’s as Nigel formed part of the successful W&W Alliance outfit, who pushed for a Division 1 title (Runners Up 1998) and won the W&W Alliance Cup on three occasions (1996, 1998, 1999). Nigel enjoyed more success in the Alliance side winning the averages in 2002, 2003 and 2007. During the clubs final season in W&W Alliance Division 1 Nigel ended with an aggregate of 142 and followed this up in 2005 (+146) and 2006 (+143).
Club stalwarts will remember the one shot victory on The Greyhound in 2004 which kept Broomfield in Premier Division 2. Nigel Freeman’s thrilling comeback is often mentioned but on the day Silver played his part, best winner as he beat a young up and coming talent Adam Parton-Smith 21-5. In 2005 Nigel lost his place in the West Bromwich side and decided to stick with the Dudley league, with different greens providing a fresh challenge. It turned out to be the right decision, finishing on a plus of 102 after only 13 games. One year later Nigel went one better winning the Dudley Division 3 league averages with 15 wins from 18 games (+132).
In October 2007 Nigel was made a Life Member, proposed by Jonathan Blakeman for over 25 years of service to his one and only club. In 2008 Silver made a return to the first team completing 17 games in W&W Premier Division 2. The Dudley averages were Nigel’s again in 2009 and he also finished runner up in the Roy Freeman Mixed Doubles along with Tracy Wilkins.
Congratulations ‘Silver’ on clocking up 30 years at Broomfield.
By Jonathan Blakeman 26/04/2010