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Under 25

U25’s report

Five of the Oxfordshire U25 side lined up for their final competitive game in the Junior Home Counties league against a strong Kent side on 7th July at Kidlington. Sam Watts, Harvey Alder, Jamie Wilkinson, Bradley Squires and Joe Glenn have all given a lot of time and effort to the juniors over the years and were looking to go out with a bang. The game that followed was befitting of their determination to the side. 

Captain Sam Watts’ rink of Jonathan Dadson, Lucas King and Joe Glenn dropped a 5 on the first end against Adam Lawrence, but had recovered by 5 ends to trail 6-7. By 10 ends, this had turned into a slender lead of 11-10. 

Jamie Wilkinson and his team of Luke Gilbert, Bradley Squires and Harvey Alder conversely led 7-6 at 5 ends, but after a couple of dropped counts were 9-18 down at 10 ends to Jason Avery’s rink. 

Orren Bennett’s rink of Joe Justin, Andrew Docherty and Brandon King were playing against the triple of Luke Ereira after one of the Kent players failed to show. Despite an early dropped 4, Orren’s side was level 5-5 at 5 ends, and led 11-7 at 10 ends (11-5.25 after 25% lost). So overall at 10 ends Oxon trailed 31 shots to 33.25.

Sam’s rink shaded the next 5 ends to lead 17-14, Orren’s rink conceded another 4 but still led 13-9.75 while Jamie’s rink slipped a little further behind at 12-23. Kent led by 4.75 shots overall. 

By 18 ends, Jamie’s rink had fallen further behind at 13-27, Orren’s rink had collected a 4 of their own to lead 18-10.5 and Sam’s rink had found their highest gear and had extended their lead to 21-15. The difference was now only half a shot in Kent’s favour. 

The final few ends from all the rinks were filled with drama in the context of the game. The 3 graduating members of Jamie’s rink clearly did not want to go out with a whimper, and a couple of huge bowls from Harvey and Jamie helped them recover 5 shots in the final 2 ends to get back to a 18-29 defeat. But it gave their teammates a chance overall. 

Orren was due a win after consecutive last end, one shot defeats in the previous two games. Despite dropping a pair of 3’s on the 19th and 20th ends, Orren played a bowl out and stayed for 2 shots with his final bowl, meaning while the scoreboard showed a draw, the rink was won 20-15. This levelled the score overall with 3 ends to play on the last rink.

A one on the 19th end put Oxfordshire in the lead for the first time in the game, and this was backed up by an excellent 3 on the 20th end with Jonathan and Lucas surrounding the jack. 4 shots ahead on the match playing the last end, Sam’s side built a good head but Kent successfully killed the end to try again for the shots they needed. This time the head was not as well covered and Kent had a chance to trail the jack a yard for 4 shots. The first attempt was narrowly missed and left Sam with his final bowl to take the opportunity away from Kent. With teammates and supporters along the side of the green and with the confidence which brought him the National Two Wood title in 2017, Sam opted to play for the jack, where a close miss would mean removing some of the opposing back bowls. But the jack was taken clean into the ditch, with Sam’s bowl sat just inches away next to it. Adam Lawrence was quick to commend this bowl and chose not to play his last, with no way to make a shot or kill the end, giving Sam’s rink a 26-15 victory, and a 5 shot win overall 64-59, and an 8-2 win on point. This was an excellent game of bowls from all involved, and a result which lifts us to 3rd in the table, where we will hopefully remain after the other teams complete their final fixtures.

From a personal point of view, I have thoroughly enjoyed my first season as junior manager and the players are the main reason why. The team is often a big stepping stone to playing county bowls, and it’s clear that those 5 who are leaving will be an important part of the County Men’s side for years to come. Obviously, with losing this many players in one go, the rest of the side next will need to step up and fill those shoes, and the younger ones coming through have showed some excellent promise. A couple of people playing an afternoon friendly who arrived early today were enthralled by the final few ends and asked “Is it always as exciting as this?”.  I hope so!

The season is not yet over, starting with a get-together/practice match at Kidlington on the 28th July, followed by trips to Leamington for Jonathan Dadson and Joe Glenn in the Men’s Junior Pairs, Joe Justin and Orren Bennett in the Men’s Junior Singles and Jazzmin Alder and Katie Glenn in the Women’s Junior Singles and Claire Soden and Jazzmin Alder in the Women’s Junior Pairs. Then the Amy Rose competition starts at 2.30pm on Saturday 31st August vs Kent at Leamington. I’m sure all welcome your support!

I hope the clubs around the county will continue to support the two sides. I have appreciated the feedback I have had so far. But as ever, the juniors can always use new players. Doesn’t matter about the experience level, the camaraderie of the team give a welcoming atmosphere for any youngster to bowl in. 

If there are any who wish to be involved, please could players, parents or clubs get in contact with me on the details below. There are plenty of informal chances and friendlies for anyone to get involved so please get in touch.

David Leighfield
Junior Manager
07595509236
David.leighfield@outlook.com

U25’s lose to Surrey in JHCL

On Sunday 23rd June, Oxfordshire under 25s travelled to Malden Manor to play Surrey in the Junior Home Counties league. Despite a close battle throughout the game, Surrey were victorious by a score of 8-2, and by 11 shots. 

Jamie Wilkinson’s rink of Luke Gilbert, Sam Kibblewhite and Brandon King were always up against it playing Junior International skip Charlie Souter. The Oxon boys applied themselves well but Charlie continued to play big running bowls to great effect, and Jamie fell to a 12-26 defeat.

Captain Orren Bennett’s rink of Joe Justin, debutant Brandon Appleton, and Ben Dickson started well and led throughout the game. Unfortunately, Surrey skip Eoghan Harding’s rink never let Orren get away, and with a count of 4 on the final end, Surrey took the rink 18-19.

Harvey Alder came into the game confident after winning their rink well in the previous game and his rink of Jonathan Dadson, Jack Kendall and Joe Glenn continued in the same vein. They led from start to finish, and while they did drop a few shots late on while chasing the overall score, they still recorded a 22-18 win. 

A good performance from the boys despite the result. Big thanks to Brandon Appleton of Chadlington for stepping in at short notice for his debut and he gave an excellent account of himself. Lots of positives going forward to the final JHCL game vs Kent.  

U25’s White Rose

In the new single rink, 15 end format of the White Rose competition, Oxfordshire Under 25s were represented by 2 teams at the regional finals at Cranleigh Bowls Club in Surrey, on Sunday 16th June. With 2 teams qualifying from each region, confidence was high after the previous weeks JHCL win for having 1 or even 2 Oxon teams getting through. Heavy rain before the start of play delayed proceedings and when the rink had cleared, the first-round games began.

Oxfordshire Yellows – Sam Watt’s rink of Joe Justin, Bradley Squires and Orren Bennett – began their campaign against the Surrey Sharks team skipped by Eoghan Harding, and the first few ends were shared and at 8 ends, Oxon trailed 6-8. Results were going against them and the Surrey side continued to tick over the scoreboard and by 12 ends this was 6-13. The Yellows won the next 2 ends to give themselves a chance, needing 5 shots on the last end. When the head was not going their way, Orren attempted a running bowl to kill the end, but unfortunately picked the jack up too well and took it into the ditch. The Surrey number 3 made sure of the result by drawing to the edge of the ditch and Sam Watts conceded the end without the skips needing to bowl. So unfortunately, Oxon Yellows fell at the first hurdle, a 14-8 defeat.

The Oxfordshire Blues team of Jonathan Dadson, Dan Swanson, Harvey Alder and skip Jamie Wilkinson were fortunate enough to receive a bye through the first round, due to Middlesex only being able to field one side. This meant they faced Kent Hop Pickers who had also received a bye. Managed by Shane Cooper, Oxon started slowly, but after a count of 4 had fought their way back into the game, 10-10 at 12 ends. However, a loose 13th end meant a 4 was dropped, followed immediately by a 3 for Kent after a fortunate rebounding jack ended right behind a Kent back bowl. This left a difficult task of needing a 7 on the last end which was out of our reach, meaning the Blues also lost their first game, 17-12. 

Not a good day for Oxfordshire, on 2 tricky rinks, and with 5 players moving on at the end of this season, a new-look side will return next year to try it all again!

Oxon U25’s beat Bucks in JHCL

Oxfordshire under 25s achieved their first JHCL win in 3 seasons with a 6-4 victory over neighbours Buckinghamshire at Waddesdon on Sunday 9th June.

Captain of the day Orren Bennett’s rink of Luke Gilbert, Ben Dickson and Bradley Squires started evenly against a strong rink skipped by Michael Gomme, being 5-6 down at 5 ends. By 10 ends, this had increased to a 6-11 deficit. The Oxon boys started to play their way back into the match and were level at 13-13 at 15 ends. Then in a burst of high scoring, 2 ends later this became 13-19 down, before Orren’s men picked up a 5 and a 4 to be 22-19 up at 19. However, it wasn’t to be, as a couple of dropped 2’s meant they were edged out 22-23.

Jamie Wilkinson’s rink of Joe Justin, Brandon King and Dan Swanson were slow out the blocks against Bucks skip George Reid, 2-9 down at 5 ends. This gap maintained til 10 ends and they were 6-13 down but had increased by 15 ends to 9-18 down. Then the comeback started, and at 18-20 down playing the last end, Jamie played 2 excellent bowls to be holding the 3 shots required to win the rink. Unfortunately for them, George’s last bowl did enough to get second and the final score was a 19-20 loss.

Harvey Alder’s rink of Jonathan Dadson, Lucas King and Joe Glenn found the pace of the picturesque Waddesdon green quicker than their opponents and were leading Andrew Litchfield’s rink 11-1 at 5 ends. They continued to steadily increase this lead to 17-5 at 10 ends and, with a 7 on the 15th end, they had a strong lead of 26-11. Harvey’s front end peppered the jack relentlessly and Harvey played big bowls when required as they continued to race away, finishing as 35-12 winners and bringing home the points for the overall score as well.

The final score was 76-55 to Oxfordshire.

This was an excellent performance on all 3 rinks against a strong Bucks side and has finally broken the “curse” of the blue trousers, being the first win in the Oxon juniors kit.

Next game is Sunday 16th June, which is the White Rose regional finals at Cranleigh, Surrey. We have 2 teams in the new format single-rink competition and go into it with fresh confidence after this win.

Oxon U25’s lose to Berks in JHCL

Oxfordshire Under 25’s began their JHCL with a disappointing 10-0 defeat to Berkshire at Kidlington on Sunday 2nd June.

Captain Sam Watts and his rink of Joe Justin, Sam Kibblewhite and Ben Dickson started well against Berkshire skip Kyle Mallandian and turned a 5-4 lead at 5 ends into a 13-7 lead at 10 ends. Unfortunately, it really was a game of two halves, and the Berkshire rink pulled this back to 14-14 at 15 ends before racing away at the end, and Sam’s men finished with a 16-29 loss.

Harvey Alder’s rink of Luke Gilbert, Giles Francis and Joe Glenn also began well against Junior international BJ Byles’ rink, leading 7-4 at 5 ends. By 10 ends, Berkshire had come back into the game and were 8-11 ahead. This gap remained constant til 15 ends at 11-14, before BJ and his men pulled away and it finished 13-19 to Berkshire.

Orren Bennett’s four included two debutants, Chadlington’s Jack Kendall and Andrew Docherty from Banbury Borough, along with Bradley Squires playing against England u25s international skip Lloyd Sabatini. The Oxon boys struggled to start with, being 2-4 down at 5 ends and 5-13 down at 10 ends. This gap maintained til 15 ends at 9-16 before Lloyd’s men extended their lead to give the royal county a 14-25 win on the rink and a 10-0 win overall, 43 shots to 73.

While the result may not have gone our way, the Oxon boys gave a good account of themselves and I was impressed with the debuts of Jack and Andrew. I hope they will continue to be part of the squad and will be ones to watch over the coming years.

Dadson and Glenn secure the Under 25 Pairs Title

U25 pairs winners 2019Watlington’s Jonathon Dadson and Kidlington’s Joe Glenn have won the Under 25 Pairs, completing a trio of wins at Kidlington BC.

Their first game was against Carterton’s Joe Justin and Banbury Borough’s Jamie Wilkinson. After 9 ends the score was at 15-7 in Dadson and Glenn’s favour before Justin and Wilkinson picked up 3 shots to make it 15-10 at 10 ends. Dadson and Glenn then went on to win all of the remaining ends except 1 to see them progress to the semi-final, 27-12 victors.

The semi-final see Jonathon and Joe against Watlington’s Ben Dickson and West Witney’s Bradley Squires. A close first half see the score at 11-8 in favour of Dickson and Squires, this was then followed by 9 shots in 3 ends to them, seeing the score rise to 20-11. The last 5 ends were all won by Dadson and Glenn, scoring 12 shots and progressing them to the final as 23-20 winners.

The other semi-final was between Carterton’s Orren Bennett and Headington’s Sam Watts and they were against Headington’s Brandon King and Watlington’s Dan Swanson. At the half way stage, Bennett and Watts were up by 3 shots, 9-6. 2 shots to both pairs followed in the next two ends before Bennett and Watts won the remaining 6 ends, scoring 12 shots to take their place in the final, 23-8 victors.

The final see a very tense start, with the score at 7-6 in Bennett and Watts’ favour after 8 ends. The 9th end see Dadson and Glenn fight back well picking up a 6 to take the lead. Back to back 3 shot pickups for Bennett and Watts see them reduce the deficit to just one shot after 13 ends. 4 shots to Dadson and Glenn in the next 4 ends to Bennett and Watts’ single left them requiring at least 4 shots going into the final end. A close head was built by both teams with the high standard of bowling seen throughout the day still continuing. 2 shots were all that could be found for Bennett and Watts, meaning Jonathon Dadson and Joe Glenn won the county under 25 Pairs Final 18-16. They walk away with the David Allin Cup and a place at Leamington in the National Finals in August.

A big thank you to Kidlington BC for hosting us all day and providing wonderful food throughout.

Also a big thank you to all of the spectators for supporting the games all day and Paul Demczak for assisting in the running of the day.

Ladies U25 singles and pairs

The U25s Emma Gilkes and Jazzmin Alder played their re-arranged semi final at Oxford City and County BC on Friday 20th July.

Emma raced into the lead only for Jazzmin to settle down and pull back to level the scores at seven ends. Then it was a closely fought game with both girls trying to get a grip of the pace on the green until Emma pulled away leaving Jazzmin on 11 shots for five ends and only able to score one more shot with the result Emma 21, Jazzmin 12.

With the final being played at Oxford City and County the following weekend Emma will face Zoe Pratley who both represent Oxfordshire at Leamington on Sunday 5th August at 9.30am and 11.30am respectively.

The U25’s pairs final was played at Oxford City and County on Sunday morning 22nd July, Claire Soden (Watlington) and Jazzmin Alder (West Witney) are through to the nationals at Leamington in the U25 Pairs after playing a very convincing game against Zoe Pratley (Oxford City and County) and Emma Dickson (Watlington). Final score over 18 ends 29– 13.

Their match will be at 1pm on Saturday 18th August on E green (unless rescheduled).

U25’s lose to Kent in JHCL

The results still aren’t going the way of the Oxfordshire Under 25s this season as they suffered a third successive defeat in the Junior Home Counties League at Halls BC on the 8th July, this time at the hands of Kent at Halls BC. As always with this group of youngsters spirits were good going into the game but hot conditions and a challenging green made life difficult and in the end they came away empty handed on all rinks. It is fair to say that Kent deserved the overall win however it is equally fair to add that the score of 74-45 and ten points to nil flattered them a little.

On the bright side Lucas King of Bicester and Headington’s Sam Kibble-White made their debuts and both played excellent games. Well done boys!

This period is a steep learning curve with new players coming into the team and other players moving up from front end positions to skip and three. Senior players have work, family and other commitments which again places extra strain on the small squad that we now have. That said though, whilst the results being endured this year are at this moment disappointing, the experience gained will stand the lads in good stead for the future and there is no reason why this group cannot emulate the teams of recent years and progress to the finals of the White Rose again.

The final JHCL game of the season is against Bucks at Kidlington on Sunday 29th July. Start time 10.30am.

The 2018 Under 25s Day at Watlington is on BH Monday 27th August commencing at 10.00am. This is the tenth anniversary of the event and all Under 25s players from 2008 to 2018 are invited to attend (whether still playing or not)

JHCL Rink Scores (Oxon first):
J Dadson, S Kibble-White, O Bennett, H Alder 15, J Powell, A Fullard, T Attaway, M Rich 21
R Parkes, T Tisbury, J Justin, D Swanson 10, J Levett, J Wimble-Roberts, J Sanford, L Ereira 25
L King, L Gilbert, J Glenn, J Wilkinson 20, J Rowe, H Wimble-Roberts, J Austin, I Jenner 28

Under 25s roundup

Results still aren’t quite going right for the Under 25s this season.

On Sunday 17th June the team missed out by one shot against Surrey in the regional semi-final of the White Rose national 2x4s at Sutton BC. Four Oxon players, Harvey Alder, Jon Dadson, Brandon King and Will Soden made their debuts at this level and of the players remaining from the national final appearance of 2016 only Bradley Squires played in the same position as previously. That said, the team spirit and camaraderie within our small squad cannot be rivalled and the players took the green with confidence. Orren Bennett and Dan Swanson both moving from lead to three had excellent games always giving their skips a chance. The game which featured some great bowling on a tricky surface went down to the wire. Harvey Alder at skip bowled a great last end to lie shot but then Surrey’s Charlie Souter somehow managed to wriggle through short bowls with his last to give Surrey a four shot win on that rink. With a large degree of fortune in Surrey’s favour playing its part on the final end of the game between the fours of Sam Watts and Jon Wilson, Surrey sneaked a four to win overall by the narrowest of margins!

Rink scores (Oxon first):
B King, B Squires, D Swanson & S Watts bt H Cushen, E Harding, C Sharp & J Wilson 23-20;
J Dadson, W Soden, O Bennett & H Alder lost to S Tindall, L Griffin, J Tindall & C Souter 27-23

Surrey were again the opponents on Sunday 24th June, this time in the Junior Home Counties League at Kidlington BC. In blistering hot conditions on a green as quick as Usain Bolt all players young people struggled for consistency. These Under 25s were all born after, or at least certainly hadn’t started bowling before, the dawn of automatic watering systems and so the sight of a flat brown square area came as a surprise to most. Like the week before the result went in Surrey’s favour mainly due to one rink settling to the conditions quicker and having greater weight of bowls closer to the jack. Surrey won 32 ends to Oxfordhire’s 31 but scored sixteen more shots overall for a clean sweep and 71-55 (10 points to 0) win. This was a test for all and the players will have gained great experience from the game.

Eight further Oxfordshire junior bowlers received coaching from Gail Gilkes followed by a practice game.

Aside of the green and facilities, Kidlington, ever the fantastic hosts, came up trumps with an excellent buffet, catering beforehand, a big tv and coverage of England v Panama which helped take the edge off another narrow defeat for the Oxfordshire lads.

Rink scores (Oxon first):
B King, J Glenn, B Squires & J Wilkinson lost to H Manuel, A Bearer, E Harding & A Orme 19-21; J Dadson, L Gilbert, O Bennett & H Alder lost to S Tindall, T Goucher, J Tindall & C Souter 19-31; J Justin, B Dickson, W Soden, D Swanson lost to G Hopper, J McCarthy,R Bickley,J Wilson 17-19

The Under 25s next game is the JHCL game v Kent at Halls BC on Sunday 8th July 2018.

Watts and Swanson qualify for the under 25 singles

Watlington’s Sam Watts and Dan Swanson have both qualified for the under 25 singles, which was held on Sunday at Kidlington Bowls Club.

Both Watlington boys had tough opponents all the way through their respective runs in the competition and a massive congratulations is ordered both, in particular to Dan for his first qualification to leamington in a national championship.

Watts beat Carterton’s Orren Bennett, Watlington’s Ben Dickson and then West Witney’s Harvey Alder in the semi final to gain his place at finals day.

Swanson’s route to the final included beating Banbury Borough’s Jamie Wilkinson, Carterton’s Joe Justin and then West Witney’s Bradley Squires in the other semi final of the day.

A fantastic day was had by all and a big thank you to Kidlington Bowls Club for providing excellent BBQ and bar facilities all day to spectators, competitors and markers alike. Many thanks to Jim and Sue Feeley, Chris Cox, Alan Rowe and everybody else who kindly gave help throughout the day.

The biggest thank you for the day is for the following gentlemen who gave up their day to come and act as markers / umpires throughout proceedings:

Kevin Alder (West Witney)
Andy McIntyre (West Witney)
David Leighfield (West Witney)
Chris Weller (Witney Mills)
Paul Demczak (Witney Town)
Steve Tolhurst (Carterton)
Mick Morris (Banbury Borough)

The full result card of the day is as follows:

Last 16:

D Swanson 21 – J Wilkinson 8
J Justin 21 – G Francis 1
R Parkes 21 – B King 9
B Squires Walkover win – W Soden
B Dickson 21 – T Tisbury 9
S Watts 21 – O Bennett 11
J Glenn 21 – J Dadson 15
H Alder 21 – S Kibblewhite 2

Quarter Finals:

D Swanson 21 – J Justin 12
B Squires 21 – R Parkes 9
S Watts 21 – B Dickson 7
H Alder 21 – J Glenn 13

Semi Finals:

D Swanson 21 – B Squires 19
S Watts 21 – H Alder 9