This week marks the halfway point in this year’s bowls league, with each team having played the rest of their league once, giving teams and players a chance to see how they have done so far for the first time.
In Division 1, Headington have reopened their lead over closest rivals Carterton and City and County thanks, in part, to their excellent win away at Witney Mills but also to City and County’s win at Carterton.
None of the Witney Mills rinks were able to match Headington, and only Chris Weller’s men were able to keep the score close.
Omar Shariff’s rink’s, with a fifteen point winning margin, formed the basis for City and County’s win in what was otherwise a well-balanced encounter.
The last match in the division saw Banbury Central maintain their recent good form, defeating South Oxford. A good win for Les Campion’s rink ensured the home sides victory, only Keith Mobley’s rink managing victory for the away side – though this against previously undefeated Will Campion’s men.
Watlington re-asserted their authority in Division 2 after last week’s slip up. However, they have the ‘old men’s’ rink, skipped by Bob Gilkes, to thank rather than their young guns for this one with a twenty-five shot margin ensuring the match points went to the home side in an otherwise divided match.
However, despite their current eight point margin, they may well be looking at Banbury Chestnuts as their most dangerous rivals. A second win in succession, this week against close neighbours Adderbury, has moved them from potential relegation candidates to promotion contenders. Once again it was the Wilkinson brothers who skipped their rinks to winning positions.
West Witney defeated Bicester comfortably with the latter looking almost certain to suffer successive relegations as they are now fifteen points from safety.
On the other hand, Kidlington appear to have the Division 3 title in their grasp, despite not playing this week.
Erstwhile second place team Banbury Central were held, three all, by bottom club Thame who have to thank Graham Penn for their points. His rink’s eighteen point win proved more than enough to top Central’s total, despite Tom McKenna’s men recovering from a ten point deficit to win by seven for them.
Chipping Norton maintained contact with the promotion race, winning easily at City and County with David Leighfield’s rink providing the outstanding results winning by twenty-seven shots.
Hanborough were unable to improve on their recent disappointing form going down to Headington. In what must have been interesting bowls to watch, if frustrating to play, the teams scored 167 shots between them with Headington topping the century thanks to solid winning margins on all rinks.
Blackbird Leys and Chadlington fought out the battle for the top of Division 4 with Chadlington winning on three rinks to go back to the top. However, the biggest win went to James Baldwin of Leys with a seventeen shot winning margin. Big as this was, Ron Arthur’s rink almost cancelled it out with their eleven shot margin and wins on the other two rinks gave Chadlington the spoils.
Third place now belongs to Bloxham, for whom Dave Morse’s rink were the biggest winner with a twenty-seven shot margin. Wins for Paul Tweddle and Tim Cox gained Oxford University Press two valuable points and lifted them off the bottom of the league.
The final match this week saw South Oxford beat Woodstock in a close match with Keith Clark’s seventeen shot margin being the difference between the teams.