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Brandon King reaches final of Sutton Winson Plate

Congratulations to Bicester BC and Watlington BC bowler Brandon King on reaching the final of the Sutton Winson Plate at Leamington on Sunday, when he joined forces with Liam Harris of Suffolk, last years winner of the Sutton Winson Trophy.

The Plate competition is a drawn pairs competition of the best of three sets, for first round losers in the Trophy competition. Steady progress by the OBA Under 25 team member and his partner of two 2-0 and a 2-1 win saw them into the final against a pairing from Gloucestershire and Kent. After sharing the first two of the three sets, the pairings could still not be separated, with the scores level at the end of the third set. Unfortunately for Brandon and Liam the extra end proved to be an end too far.

The Trophy competition, which is for Under 18 year olds, saw first round wins for Banbury Central’s Luke Gilbert and Carterton’s Joseph Justin. In a memorable week for him, Joseph played his first senior county game earlier in the week in Bristol.

Thame bowler Jonathan Dadson had two good wins to reach the third round.

League final week

To paraphrase Dickens ‘It was the best of seasons, it was the worst of seasons’ depending on your club!

Starting with the best: Headington A have set numerous records over the last fourteen weeks; Champions of Division 1 by the widest margin, undefeated all season (Only Watlington and Banbury Central able to take more than a single point in any match), and, to cap it all, the biggest point score from twelve matches (65.5 from a possible 72) in the leagues history.

Also undefeated were Thame, winning Division 4 by nineteen shots; is this also a league record?

The weather! We may have complained about the cold, the heat and, occasionally, the rain this summer but we lost no matches to the latter this season, another first in my time compiling the results.

Now the worst: Travel. Oxfordshire is a long, and, in its centre, wide county. Clubs are finding it increasingly difficult to get members to travel on a Thursday evening – at any time some would say. We need to think hard about what we are asking a generally ageing cohort of bowlers to commit to or there will be more matches where teams only field triples and not rinks and, eventually, a club will be unable to field twelve men for an away match! Some suggestions will be made at the AGM that would reduce total match time, including travel time, and we need be prepared to act on them.

To return to this week:

In Division 1, the only outstanding issue was who would join South Oxford in Division 2 next season. Carterton travelled to Headington knowing that they needed two points more than Banbury Central gained from their match at City and County. In the end, what could have been an interesting evening was a bit of a damp squib as Graham Morbey’s rink went twenty- three shots ahead after fourteen ends for Central. With Will Campion’s men fifteen shots ahead at the same time, Central were always going to take four points from the match so Carterton needed all six from theirs! Headington’s Nick Rae-Welsh’s six shots on end eleven, giving his rink a seventeen shot cushion, ensured that this was not going to happen and Carterton will play in division 2 next year. (Is Carterton’s relegation yet another unique occurrence this year as they were the reigning champions?)

Kidlington have looked Division 2 champions elect for some weeks. However, a poor result in their final match meant that, mathematically, Witney Mills could pip them. That Mills were playing Adderbury, a club fighting to stay in the division, only made the fixture more intriguing. In the event, Mills won comfortably on three rinks and, Richard Barnett’s rink completed the whitewash with a six shot win on the twenty-first end. Whilst the victory clinched promotion for them, Mills needed another forty-two shots to deny Kidlington a deserved title.

Witney Town’s chance of promotion depended on the Mills result but they did their bit with a good win against a weak, travel weary, Shiplake side. Ultimately, the results meant little as promotion and relegation issues were settled elsewhere.

We already knew that Charlbury were champions of Division 3, but they still had a major role to play in deciding who were promoted with them. Hanborough or Headington B were still promotion candidates. However, the latter travelled to the champions for their final fixture and were unable to compete on any rink, Charlbury‘s Mike Smith leaving the best ‘til last with a seventeen shot win for the home team.

This meant that Hanborough were promoted regardless of their result against already relegated Bicester. The latter scrapped well to lose a close match by three shots.

Blackbird Leys and Chadlington fought out a draw to ensure the former’s survival and the letters relegation. (I only have this information about this match!)

In Division 4, we already knew that Thame were the champions but, with City and County having already played their last match, both South Oxford and Bloxham had the chance to overtake them and move into the second promotion spot. In the event, Thame showed South Oxford why they are champions, defeating them on all four rinks. Bloxham made a much better attempt, getting close to Woodstock on all four rinks but, ultimately, only Tony Gardner’s rink held on for victory, albeit by twenty shots, but the ensuing three points was not enough so City and County are promoted straight back to division 2.

Printable report
Match results
League tables

Men’s Domestic Cup Finals Day

The Men’s Domestic Finals day was hosted at Witney Town Bowling Club on Sunday with 3 competitions played, the Allison Cup, Longford Cup and the Officers Cup.

Allison cup 2017 - B Smith

The first semi-final of the day saw 2014 Allison Cup winner, Phil Gladden of Adderbury, back to try and regain the title, playing against Buford’s John Hurren. The game was very evenly matched throughout with no player able to gain more than a 4 shot advantage before Gladden picked up two back to back 3 shot pick-ups to take him 18-12 in front. Hurren fought back well to get it to 18-16 before Gladden ended the game picking up 3 singles. Gladden through the final 21-16 victor.

The second Allison Cup semi-final was between Banbury Central’s Ian Gilbert and Witney Town’s Brian Smith. The game started very evenly matched and after 10 ends it was 7-6 to Smith. However a big push from Smith enabled him to pick up 9 shots in 4 ends without reply taking him 16-6 in front. The next 7 ends only single shots were picked up by both competitors taking the score to 19-10 in Smith’s favour before a 4 shot pickup gave Gilbert a glimmer of hope, although this was short lived as Smith picked up the 2 shots required to book his place in the afternoon’s final, 21-14 victor.
The next game of the morning saw the Officers Cup semi-final between South Oxford’s Keith Mobley and Carterton’s Tim Jupp. With Banbury Central’s Nigel Galletly already booking his place in the final by beating Witney Town’s Tim Ludlow 21 shots to 15 earlier on in the week, it was down to the other two to fight for the other final spot. A strong start from Mobley saw him take a 13 shot to 5 advantage before Jupp battled to bring the score to 13-11 down. The next couple of ends saw Mobley pick up 4 shots taking him 17-11 in front before Jupp regained the mat for the last time picking up 1 shot. The final two ends saw 2 doubles from Mobley taking him over the line 21-12 winner.

The first Longford Cup semi-final was the longest game of the morning taking the competitors 2 and a half hours and 28 ends played before a winner was decided. Witney Town’s Tim Ludlow was up against Headington’s Bernie May. May got off to a good start taking 6 shots without reply before Ludlow stepped into gear and picked up 8 shots back in succession. From then on there was never more than 3 shots separating the competitors with the lead changing several times during the tussle. The last 8 ends saw only single shot pick-ups but it was Ludlow who took 5 of them to take him to the final as 21-18 winner.

The final game of the morning was the second Longford Cup semi-final between Headington’s Dennis Crook and last year’s winner, Witney Town’s Brian Bloomfield. A strong performance from the start saw Bloomfield take an early 14 shot to 1 lead after 7 ends before Crook fought back to pick up 6 shots in 7 ends taking the score to 18-7. Bloomfield then picked up the three he needed the following end to secure his space in the Longford final, 21-7 victor.

A Fish and Chip lunch was enjoyed by competitors, spectators and officials before the finals got underway in the afternoon sunshine.

Officers cup 2017 - N Galletly

The Officers Cup was played on the show rink between Keith Mobley and Nigel Galletly, with excellent bowling throughout from both competitors. The tight final saw neither competitor able to gain more than 2 shot gap throughout the whole duration. 8 shots apiece at 9 ends went up to 12-11 in Mobley’s favour. After 21 ends both players had scored 18 and it could have gone either way when 2 singles gave Galletly a 20-18 shot lead and he was holding game when Mobley managed to win the end taking it to a tense 20-19. A fantastic bowl from Galletly left him an unmovable shot and ran out 21-19 in what was a fantastic battle.

Longford cup 2017 - T Ludlow

The Longford Cup was an all Witney Town affair between Tim Ludlow and Brian Bloomfield. A very strong start from Ludlow saw him go 10-3 in front after 6 ends and then battled to keep his lead which gave him 15 shots to 6 at 10. Bloomfield managed to win three ends on the bounce before Ludlow quickly replied picking up 5 shots in 2 ends. Bloomfield picked up a double on the 16th end to take the score to 20-11 down. Ludlow had a fantastic last end which saw him take the trophy from last year’s winner, 21-11 victor.
The last final played was the Allison Cup between Phil Gladden and Brian Smith. Once again another close and tense game to begin with which saw the score at 7-5 in Smith’s favour at 10 ends. Gladden then scored on 5 ends without reply taking him into the lead, 11-7 before another 6 shots scored over the next 5 ends taking Gladden to a comfortable 17-9 lead. 5 excellent ends by Smith followed which brought him right back into contention taking him into the lead 18-17. Gladden managed to score another 2 shots before Smith ran out the winner 21-19 after some fantastic bowls by both.

Presentation of the trophies for the afternoon’s winners were presented by Bill Jarvie and saw the day come to a close.

A huge thanks to Witney Town Bowling Club for hosting the domestic cup finals day and providing superb facilities and catering throughout the day.

Another big thank you goes to the markers for the day, Allan Hall, Steve Tolhurst, Mike Jones, Paul Demczak and Alan Scholan; also thanks are due to the umpire for the multiple calls he tended to all day.

Oxon men beat City and County of Bristol in friendly

Oxfordshire travelled to Bristol St Andrews on Tuesday 8th August to play City and county of Bristol.

With a level start on the first 15 ends Oxfordshire reversed their habit of the last few games and finished strongly on the last six ends to win by 18 shots. The award ceremony was an unusual mixture of not so young and the very young with a 200 game badge awarded to OBA Secretary Steve Tolhurst, a 50 game badge to OBA Assistant Match Secretary Alex Fleming and a first game badge to teenager Joe Justin, relieving the anxiety of waiting his GCSE results. All 3 completed a successful day with raffle prizes.

Oxfordshire 128 City and Council of Bristol 110

Chris Lewis Joe Justin Alan Wase Ian Whelpton won 19-15
Mike Jones Eddie Dorling David Wedge John Benfield won 23-13
Paul Demczak Bill Jarvie Alex Fleming Alan Ley won 23-20
Mel Cameron John Stephens Phil Warner Mike Andrew drew 18-18
Roy Radband Kevin Washington Terry Gripe Mick Morris lost 19-27
Steve Tolhurst Ron Slater Allan Hall John McGeough won 26-17

League week 13

The penultimate week of the season defined the outcome in some divisions but left real possibilities still to be decided in others.

In Division 1, newly crowned champions Headington travelled to Banbury Central, who were fighting for their place in the top division. The home team were ahead on three rinks after eighteen ends but only Nigel Galletly’s rink held on for victory, having been eight shots clear with four ends to play (On a rink that I suspect set its own precedence with three members of the league committee playing on it!). Headington captain, Mark Charlett, skipped his rink to victory over the final three ends whist Nick Rae-Welsh drew level with Will Campion with his last two woods.

Elsewhere, last season’s champions, Carterton, hosted Watlington in a match they had to win to stay in the division. Baydon Sparkes’ men did their bit with a convincing victory but the other rinks were closely contested. Remmy Clanfield’s rink were held until the halfway mark then pulled away to win comfortably whilst Robbie Clanfield’s men looked good until they dropped five shots on end seventeen and just about hung on for the draw. Paul Sharman was well down at the halfway point but fought back to one down at nineteen ends but failed to complete the comeback.

West Witney ensured their survival with a convincing win at South Oxford, Paul Skidmore’s twenty-four shot win proving the highlight.

Central are at City and County next week whilst, just down the road, Headington host Carterton. The latter needing two points more than Central to still be in the division next year!

Kidlington are almost confirmed as champions of Division 2 after their match at Shiplake, but they could have guaranteed the title with a victory. As ever, Shiplake fielded a stronger team at home than they sometimes do away, and Jim Bland’s rink produced one of the comebacks of the season to snatch victory for the home side. Trailing by seven shots at the halfway point, they then took control, including a five shot win on the final end, to grab victory both on their rink and in the match itself.

However, Witney Mills will need to win on all four rinks and by an almost unheard of seventy-two shots if they are to snatch the title with their last match, where they are at home to Adderbury! This week they travelled to Chipping Norton and came away with a win by a surprisingly wide margin thanks to some late fine bowling on three rinks: Whilst Paul Robbins and Richard Barnett’s rinks scored well on their final ends to increase their victory margin, Chris Weller only won with his final wood!

Surprise of the day came at Adderbury where promotion chasing Witney Town were expected to beat the bottom team comfortable but came away with just a single point! Three big wins for the home side, especially Phil Gladden’s seventeen shot margin, ensued that the promotion and relegation issues will not be decided until the final week of the season. Adderbury themselves need to win or draw their final match to stay in the division, at Chipping Norton’s expense!

Charlbury are confirmed as Division 3 champions, with their draw at Hanborough and Blackbird Leys defeat at Headington meaning that they cannot be caught.

In a division seemingly wanting to set yet another record, one for tied matches, the matches at Hanborough and Chadlington both finished three apiece with each having a team winning on three rinks but losing the match points to the fourth opposition rink. At Hanborough, it was Dave Copper’s men who took the match points for Charlbury with a seventeen shot margin whilst at Chadlington, Phil Radbone’s rink won by eleven shots, four more than Banbury Central’s three winning rinks managed between them! (This was Central’s fifth match this season where one rink outscored the oppositions three winning rinks!)

With Bicester confirmed as being relegated and Central now safe, the final relegation place lies between Chadlington and Blackbird Leys, who meet in their last match, with Leys knowing that two points will be enough to keep them in the division, at Chadlington’s expense.

Hanborough and Headington now vie for the final promotion place with the advantage lying with Hanborough as they meet already relegated Bicester and start with a two and a half point advantage.

Whilst newly crowned champions of Division 4, Thame, can relax, the second promotion place is still not decided. Advantage is with South Oxford, who lie three points behind City and County but have a match still to play as City and County’s last match was this week at West Oxford. They could have guaranteed promotion with a win but lost 5 – 1. Chris Sherwood giving the home side a real advantage with his rink’s thirteen shot margin and his rink were ably backed by two others.

Thame were defeating Bloxham in a close match decided by Ken Calcutt’s nineteen shot margin. Defeat still leaves Bloxham with a chance of second place but they must beat a resurgent Woodstock six – nothing and hope that South Oxford also slip up in their final matches.

Woodstock themselves were defeating Oxford University Press comfortably thanks to fine wins for Paul Shipston and Brian Clarke’s rinks, though the result would do no more than determine last place in the league.

Printable report
Match results
League tables

Men’s county selection 6. Sep 2nd – 19th Sep

The men’s county games between 2nd – 19th September have now been selected: Selection No 6

Oxon lose to Middlesex in HCL by 2

Oxfordshire entertained Middlesex at Kidlington on 5th August looking for their first win in this season’s Home Counties League campaign.

Starting well Oxfordshire built a slender lead of 7 shots by end 5. The lead evaporated in the next 5 ends and by end 10 they trailed by 7 shots Middlesex retained the lead for the next 5 ends, and then Oxfordshire reduced the deficit to 4 after 18 ends A further gain of 2 shots left Oxfordshire behind by 2 shots. Wins on rinks 1 to 4 were cancelled out by losses on rinks 5 and 6.

A 50 game badge was awarded to Richard Barnett of Witney Mills BC and a 6 game badge to David Latter of Carterton BC.

Oxfordshire 103 8 points, Middlesex 105 14 points.

The rink scores were:-
P Demczak B Ray C Earl D Leighfield won 23-20
B Squires R Green P Robbins S Cooper won 18-13
S Gibson N Satchell P Skidmore R Gaskins won 20-16
B May D Latter I Whelpton B Sparkes won 17-14
H Beall B Bloomfield A Ley K Alder lost 12-20
S Witcombe A Carter R Barnett C Weller lost 13-22

Domestic cup finals day

The Domestic cup finals day will be hosted at Witney Town Bowls Club Sunday 6th August. Semi final games are commencing at 10:00am. Bacon rolls and registration from 09:15am. Lunch available to order upon arrival for spectators and competitors.

Oxon men beat Herts in friendly

Oxfordshire hosted Hertfordshire at Kidlington on Tuesday 1st August.

Sharing the rinks at 3 each the overall result of the match was determined on rink 1 where Barry Willoughby Percy Strange Allan Hall and Brian Bloomfield recovered from a slow start in which they conceded 1 shot on all of the first three ends before finding form to take 17 of the last 18 ends to win by 24 shots. Paul Robbins rink’s win by 17 shots were eually effective and Alan Ley produced a single on the 21st end to win by 1.

Oxfordshire 135 Hertfordshire 106.

Scores:-

Barry Willoughby Percy Strange Allan Hall Brian Bloomfield won 28-4.
Bernie May Larry Eltringham Glynn MiddletonIan Whelpton lost 14-24
Steve Tolhurst Bill Jarvie John McGeough Melvin Brain lost 23-24
Chris Lewis John Timms Alan Wase Paul Robbins won 28-11
Paul Demczak Alex Fleming David Wedge Mick Morris lost 20-22
Brian Ealey Nigel Satchell Brian Ray Alan Ley won 22-21

Oxon men lose to Surrey in HCL

Returning to Eastbourne after a successful President’s Tour to play Sussex in the Home Counties League Oxfordshire experienced a trouhle-free coach trip round the M25. On Saturday 29th July they were looking for their first win in this year’s competition.

Playing in rain throughout the afternoon the weather finally brought the players off for the final time after 15 or so ends.

David Leighfield and Kevin Alder lead their rinks to narrow victories but the other 4 skips all failed to produce wins and Oxfordshire went down by 24 shots.

Oxfordshire 71 4 points, Sussex 95 18 points.

The rink scores were:-

S Tolhurst S Gibson I Whelpton M Brain lost 10-16
S Witcombe T Prew S Aldren W Campion lost 18-22
A Kernish A Hall R Barnett C Weller lost 8-22
B Squires A Fleming C Cox D Leighfield won 15-10
C Lewis S Jones B Bloomfield R Gaskins lost 6-14
P Demczak T Gripe P Robbins K Alder won 14-11