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13. Lucky for some – Oxon men beat Berks

13 was a lucky number for OBA President Bill Jarvie when he led his team to a 122-109 victory against local neighbours, The Royal County of Berkshire, in today’s friendly fixture at the Caversham Bowls Club.
At the half way mark the rinks were shared three apiece with the OBA fourteen shots ahead at 59-45. The mark had been set and the winning and losing rinks stayed the same through to the end of the match. At fifteen ends the gap had closed to nine, 84-75 in Oxfordshire’s favour, but three ends later it looked as if the hosts had got their act together as they moved into a three shot lead, 101-98. A strong finish over the remaining ends produced a 24 –8 scoreline for the visitors which was enhanced by a six on the last end played on Alan Ley’s rink.
Mike Jones, Deputy President Eddie Dorling, Allan Hall and skip Richard Barnett will claim no doubt claim the victory was down to their fifteen shot win.

An added sweetener for OBA President Bill Jarvie was the fact that this was the first Friendly County fixture of the season that the Royal County had lost.

Rink results:
Colin Haley, Tery Gripe, Mick Morris, Paul Robbins won 24-18.
Mel Cameron, Allen Smith, John Benfield, Alan Ley won 23-14.
Chris Lewis, Bill Jarvie, Alan Wase, Brian Bloomfield lost 20-22.
John McGeough, John Timms, Ken Williams, Ian Whelpton lost 12-22.
Mike Jones, Eddie Dorling, Allan Hall, Richard Barnett won 29-14.
Ron Slater, David Bullock, David Wedge, Mike Andrew lost 14-19.

The Caversham club and it’s members had been perfect hosts as they brought the day to a close with one of the best aftermatch meals of the season.

Men’s league cup

This year’s League Cup semi-finals at South Oxford saw a clash between Kidlington and Witney Town from Division 2 on one of the green, and Headington A and Watlington from Division 1 on the other. With both greens running exceptionally well, the shorter nights meant that the last of the 18 ends finished in the dark, but the heads still remained competitive throughout.

Nearest the clubhouse it was League 2 champions Kidlington facing third place Witney Town, with honours even in the League this season. Kidlington started the brighter, but after the first few ends were only slightly ahead. Although the advantage swayed back to Witney Town half way through, there was never more than a handful of shots across the game. Despite 2 winning rinks for Kidlington, a strong finish from Tim Ludlow’s men, and a 4 shot victory for Paul Demczak’s four, saw Town win the match by 6 shots overall – and clinch their first ever Cup final place.

In the other semi-final, Division 1 runners-up Watlington were looking to cap a great first season in the top flight and were buoyed on by having the new National Two Wood champion Sam Watts in their side. However the challenge was never going to be easy, as they faced League champions Headington A, who had also won the League Cup in 6 of the last 7 years. After just a first few ends Headington had already established a good lead in the game, with captain Mark Charlett and Nick Rae-Welsh quickest out of the blocks for the Champions. Watlington’s rink, skipped by Chris Gilkes, were also quickly into their stride, but by the half way point Headington were in control of the game. Despite a late rally from Gordon Hooker’s rink, it proved to be just a consolation for Watlington, with Headington marching through by 13 shots.

The final of the League Cup takes place this Thursday, 7th September, under the floodlights at Kidlington Bowls Club.

Semi-final results:
Kidlington 59; Witney Town 65: C Cox 18, T Ludlow 25; M Petersen 11, P Demczak 15; J Hardie 17, A Scholan 13; P McGrath 13, B Bloomfield 12
Headington A 72; Watlington 59: H Watts 21, C Gilkes 18; M Charlett 19, A Kemish 11; J King 14, G Hooker 18; N Rae-Welsh 18, S Cooper 12

More Leamington achievements

In addition to the men’s achievements at Leamington this year, there are two more groups that should be added to the 2017 success story for Oxfordshire bowlers.

Firstly, congratulations go to Mo Cox, Mary Tee, Carole Galletly and Caroline Campion from the Banbury Central club who reached the semi-finals in the National Women’s Senior Fours Championship and secondly, the kaleidoscopic rink of Carole Galletly (Banbury Central), Kathy Hawes (Oxford City & County), Mark Sykes (Banbury Borough) and Howard Watts (Headington) who were finalists in the National Mixed Fours Competition.

Oxfordshire’s achievement’s at the 2017 ‘Nationals’ is going to take some beating in the future.

Oxon beat Glous in friendly by 8 shots

Oxfordshire Travelled to Cheltenham on Wednesday 30th August for the annual friendly against neighbours Gloucestershire. Losing 4 rinks the results on the rinks skipped by Alan Ley and Mick Morris were sufficient to give Oxfordshire victory by 8 shots.

Oxfordshire 120 Gloucestershire 112

Paul Demczak Tony Backer-Holst Mike Jones Ian Whelpton lost 13-16
Mel Cameron Percy Strange Alex Fleming Brian Bloomfield lost 18 -24
Alan Carter Eddie Dorling David Wedge Mick Morris won 30-16
Kevin Washington David Byers Phil Warner Paul Robbins lost 16-22
Brian Ealey John Timms Alan Wase Richard Barnett lost 12-21
Steve Tolhurst Roy Radband John Benfield Alan Ley won 31-13

Home counties team snatch a draw from the jaws of victory

A beautiful day for bowling on Saturday saw the OBA playing away to Buckinghamshire at the Stony Stratford bowls Club in the final game of this season’s HCBA Denny league.

At stake was the wooden spoon, with Oxfordshire having had their worst season in the league for a long time and having this last chance of notching up a victory to lift them from the bottom of the league.

In a close game on the scoreboard a six shot lead across the rinks after ten ends turned into a five shot deficit after fifteen ends and worse still a sixteen shot shortfall after eighteen. With one end left to play the OBA had fought back and had moved into a three shot lead on the game but were unable to hold on to the third wood which would have produced a one shot victory and lifted them off the bottom. The three dropped shots on the last end played, left the game all square at 126 shots each, three winning rinks each and 11 points each.

Ron Slater, Steve Jones, Mike Andrew, Baden Sparkes won 25-19
Paul Demczak, Bill Jarvie, Paul Robbins, David Leighfield lost 17-18
Harvey Alder, Kevin Washington, Paul Skidmore, Paul Comley lost 11-28
Adrian Kemish, Bradley Squires, Steve Aldren, Alan Ley won 21-19
Henry Beall, Terry Gripe, Ian Whelpton, Kevin Alder won 32-14
Alan Carter, Alex Fleming, Andy McIntyre, Shane Cooper lost 20-28

Congratulatons to Sam Watts, National 2 Wood Champion

Sam Watts. National 2 wood champion 2017Watlington’s Sam Watts has won this years National Two Wood Singles at the National Championships at Royal Leamington Spa.

His success rounded off one of the best years for the Oxfordshire men in many years, 2006 being the last time the County had a National Championship, thanks to Greg Moon and Gary Lucas from the Banbury Borough club.

It also shows credit to the improvement shown by the Under 25’s over the last nine years.

In addition to Sam’s achievement, the County also had no fewer the 3 semi-finalists in the Junior Singles , Pairs & Triples and each lost out to the eventual winner.

How did they fare?

Junior Singles
David Leighfield (West Witney), Semi-finalist.
Shane Cooper (Watlington,) 2nd round.

Junior Pairs
Orren Bennett (Carterton), David Leighfield, 1st round.

2 wood Singles
Sam Watts (Watlington), NATIONAL CHAMPION.
Stuart Richens (Carterton) won prelim, lost in 1st round.

4 wood Singles
Mark Sykes (Banbury Borough) won prelim, lost in 1st round.
Ray Gaskins (Headington), last 16.

Will Parker, Kevin Alder (West Witney), Semi-Finalists.
Darren Sharpe, AJ Docherty (Banbury Borough), 1st round.

Jon Philpott, Nathan Lewis, Howard Watts (Headington) won prelim, lost 1st round.
Colin Whitehead, Ray Gaskins, Nick Rae-Welsh, Semi-finalists.

Jon Philpott, Nathan Lewis, Gary May, Howard Watts, 2nd round.
Tim Jupp, Steve Aldren, Stuart Richens, Paul Sharman (Carterton) last 16.

Senior Fours
Tim Jupp, Gordon Walker, Steve Aldren, Paul Sharman (Carterton), 2nd round.

Oxfordshire under 25 day

Watlington will host the 10th Annual Oxfordshire Under 25s Day on Sunday 27th August 2017 at 10.00am.

All junior (Men’s Under 25s and Ladies Under 31s) players in Oxfordshire are invited to come and take part in this popular competition which is now in its tenth year. If you are young enough and play bowls (or would like to start) you are eligible to play. All you need is flat shoes and enthusiasm. Bowls provided if needed.

There is no cost to any player and a free lunch and drink are provided.

Spectators are equally welcome so please come along. It’s always a good day! There will be a barbecue, bar, raffle and refreshments.

For further details please contact Steve Gilkes on 07868 435052 or at

Watlington Bowls Club (carparking), Shirburn Street, Watlington, Oxon OX49 5BU

Oxon men lose to Bucks in friendly

Oxfordshire hosted Buckinghamshire at Banbury Chestnuts on Tuesday 15th August.

Following on from a convincing win at Bristol the previous week hopes were high of a repeat performance. Steady progress on most rinks maintained the hopes with a lead of ten shot after 18 ends Then a by now fight back by the opposition saw the lead disappear by the end of the match and a defeat by 2 shots.

The award ceremony was shorter this week on the Oxfordshire side with a 50 game badge awarded to Carterton’s George Weedon and an honourable mention to John Timms on reaching 150 games.

Oxfordshire 126, Buckinghamshire 128.

Mel Cameron George Weedon Nick Morris Alan Ley won 20-18.
Mike Jones John Timms David Wedge Allan Hall lost 21-22.
Steve Tolhurst Bill Jarvie John McGeough Jim Lucas lost 24-31.
Bradley Squires Eddie Dorling Richard Barnett Mike Andrew won 25-18.
Brian Ealey Kevin Washington Percy Strange Ian Whelpton won 20-16.
Chris Lewis Alex Fleming Glynn Middleton Brian Bloomfield lost 16-23.

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