Derbyshire sprung a surprise by beating North Midlands home and away to give them a great start to the campaign. They won away on Dunlop by 1, no mean feat on that green, with three single figure winners, Steve Adams and Paul Hawker 8 and Craig Shore 9. Darren Plenderleith’s 5 win at number one was the best the 2017 winners had to show. Over at Derby Co-op and Richard Gill was the only single figure winner 9 for the home side as they won by 24, another best win of 12 at number one by Matt Horton the best for the away side. Potteries & District enjoyed a comfortable win over Lancashire both home and away. They had 11 winners on Florence, Kerry Morris the best of them 6 as Kevan Shaw won 20 for the away side. At Garswood Hall and Matthew Hill was the best for the Potteries 10 with Paul Winrow’s 9 win Lancashire’s best.
South Yorkshire won the first game of the three team section as they won by 16 over Cheshire. They won by 13 at home on Dearne Sports, Andrew Sorsby’s 8 win at number 12 being vital after Lee Johnstone had won for Cheshire 21-7 at number 10. They won on Rudheath by 3 after Johnny Sneddon won 7 at number 12 to virtually cancel out Steve Curbishley winning 4 at number 9 for the home side.
Shropshire won the clash of the big guns by 5 over Yorkshire in another classic match. It was their away side that did the business, only losing by 9 on Crosland Moor. Debutant Jon Palmer and the established Callum Wraight both won 6 for them, with Jack Dyson’s win of 8 best for the home side. Over in Newport and Shropshire won by 14 with Wayne Rogers’ 8 win at number 12 being crucial after James Davison had won 7 for the visiting side. It was left to Rich Goddard in Yorkshire to bring it home for Shropshire winning 11 after they were 5 down with him left on. The other game saw North Lancs & Fylde win by 40 overall over Cumbria. They won by 29 at home on Bamber Bridge Catholic, their best being Derek Ainsworth 5, with Cumbria’s best Matty Stewart 21-16. At North Scale and the away side won by 11, Tommy King winning 5 in the first four to be their best. Dave Jones’ 9 win in the back four wasn’t enough for Cumbria to get a home win.
Staffordshire earned an impressive win over last year’s semi finalists Merseyside. It was a tale of two big home wins, Staffs winning by 69 on Hammerwich, a single figure win in each four being key, Ben Dixon the best of them at the back 21-6. Matty Gilmore had given the visitors a dream start winning 11 at number 1, but they only had one more winner after that. On the artificial green at Mossley Hill, they had another dream start at number one after Phil Lee won 6, but the visitors had three winners, Dan Davies their best 11 in the middle, to limit the damage to 53. The other game saw Wales earn an impressive home and away win over Greater Manchester. They won by 3 away in Ashton CC with 8 winners, the best of them being Ian Jones 11, as Jimmy Hynes’ 6 win was in vain for the home side. At home on Broughton and Bretton they won by 26 with Andy Delooze winning 3 in the first four. Up and coming Robbie Ellis won 4 in the middle to be best for the visitors.
Full results are here.