FOUR previous champions are among the contenders to win a ninth edition of the annual Rudheath Spring Open later today

A prize pot of more than £3,000 includes an £800 share for the overall victor and £400 for the runner-up.

Nick Shaw, who lifted the trophy in 2010, Gary Ellis and Matt Gilmore each know how that feels, as does two-time champion Callum Wraight who won back-to-back editions in 2013 and again the following year.

They will be challenged by a number of names familiar to followers of bowls in mid Cheshire, including Winsford duo Glynn Cookson and Thomas Vickers.

Rob Winnington, who plays for Castle in the Mid-Cheshire Bowling Association’s Premier Division, is through to the last 16 too.

Meanwhile a father and son, Chris and Josh Mordue from Bradford, have also made it.

Each finalist has progressed from one of eight qualifiers that have taken place at the Middlewich Road green since March.

Play gets underway at 6pm.

Hot drinks and refreshments, plus a full bar next door, will be available for spectators.

“The last 16 is packed with locals and past winners,” said Dave Buckley, bowling section chairman at Rudheath.

“It’s possibly the best finals night line-up we’ve ever had.”

Failsworth ace Lee Lawton won the inaugural competition in 2009, beating Congleton’s Chris McDonald by a single chalk in a thrilling final.

Rudheath Spring Open

Saturday, May 20

Finalists (in alphabetical order)

Chris Barton; Chris Bly; Glynn Cookson; Gary Ellis; Matt Gilmore; Dave Jackson; Tommy Johnstone; Dave McDermott; Chris Mordue; Josh Mordue; Darren Prenderleigh; Nick Shaw; Rob Winnington; Callum Wraight; Tom Vickers