With three sets of matches left, league positions and promotion and relegation are becoming clearer.
In Division 1, Headington’s maximum score at City and County moves them clear of chasers Carterton with no other team now able to challenge them for first place. Indeed, the title could be all but won when the top two clash next Thursday.
Banbury Central almost ensured their safety with a defeat of Witney Mills in a very close match. Nigel Galletly and Will Campion skipped rinks that won by small margins which were, however, bigger than those on Witney Mills winning rinks. The result leaves Mills in danger of returning to Division 2 after one season.
Closest match of the week was, surprisingly, at Carterton where the home side only won on a single rink but still took match points from Shiplake as David Clanfield’s team won their rink by thirteen shots. Given their season, Shiplake can consider themselves very unlucky with the final outcome. They could still avoid relegation but will need to beat Witney Mills 6 – 0 next week to do so.
In Division 2, Bicester’s defeat, at home to Charlbury, means they will play in Division 3 next season whist pushing Charlbury closer to safety. A good win for Kevin Taylor’s rink was insufficient with Eric Pitts men winning by twenty-eight shots for the visitors, whose shot count was over one hundred.
Banbury Chestnuts topsy-turvy season continues! This week they had a big win away at West Witney. Lee Wilkinson lead the way for Chestnuts with only Kevin Alder’s rink winning for the home side. Their defeat means that promotion back to Division 1 for West Witney rests on next week’s local derby against Witney Town.
Leaders Watlington were pushed hard by Adderbury for whom Chris Skidmore and Ted Ely’s rinks started well building nine shot leads after five ends and were never caught, indeed Adderbury lead in the match after thirteen ends only for Shane Cooper’s rink to score five and to take the lead on his rink and overall in the match on the fourteenth.
Promotion for Watlington is in their own hands as they meet one of their two remaining rivals in the last week of the season. Adderbury and Banbury Chestnuts also meet in the final week in a fixture that will probably decide the second relegation place.
The position in Division 3 remains as clouded as ever! With the exception of long term leaders Kidlington, all the other teams could still, technically, be promoted or relegated.
In an extremely close match, Kidlington maintained their unbeaten record by a whisker and guaranteed their promotion at the same time. Headington won on two rinks and drew on a third. Indeed, the draw was achieved for Kidlington by Chris Cox’s rink with a four shot win on the last end of the match. Joe Woodward’s six shot winning margin proved sufficient to get the match points for the leaders.
As good as Headington’s match was they actually lost ground to close rivals Chipping Norton who cruised away from bottom club Hanborough thanks to big wins for Tim Sealey and David Leighfield. As Chipping Norton’s next match is against Headington the second promotion place could be decided next week.
Thame’s defeat of City and County moves them above Banbury Central and out of the bottom two. Good wins for John Timms and Graham Stones’ rinks proved enough for Thame.
Chadlington need three points from their last two matches to get promoted from Division 4 as Bloxham still have a bye week to come. Their six points in the fixture against Oxford University Press saw them score the second century of the week in the league with big wins for Ron Arthur and Carl Smart’s rinks.
Bloxham almost got a ton as well, thanks to Tony Gardner’s thirty-seven shots, as they were comfortable winners against Woodstock.