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2020 season

From Bowls Oxfordshire Men:

With the ongoing situation regarding the Covid-19 virus and after consultation with other Associations and following Bowls England information, the 2020 bowling programme for the OBA is cancelled.

This covers Bowls England Championship and Competition qualifiers, Domestic competitions, friendly County games and Presidents Celebratory games.

Also cancelled are the Senior and Junior Home Counties BA Leagues, Annual fixtures and Celebratory games.

The Past Presidents and Vice Presidents fixture programmes have also been cancelled.

Bowls England Affiliation fee’s and entry fees for Bowls England Championships when received from Bowls England will be reimbursed.

Likewise, OBA Affiliation fee’s and entry fees for Domestic Competitions will be reimbursed.

Payment will be made to clubs, who will then reimburse members.

Following the decision taken it has been agreed that the 2020 Presidency will roll over to 2021.

The County Officers wish the best of health for the future to all bowlers and please keep yourselves safe.

For those of you who can, we recommend that you visit the Bowls England website to keep yourself abreast of what is happening within our sport, even though there may not be any bowling taking place.

Ian Whelpton

From Bowls Oxfordshire Ladies:

All Ladies competitions, executive meetings, county leagues (MEL) and friendly matches, and one day events, have been cancelled for 2020.  This decision was made by your Executive Committee and in line with Bowls England statement issued this week.

Ladies President v Immediate Past President Day on 27th April is also cancelled.

Please note cancellation of all matches for 2020 include:

County Singles, Pairs, Triples, Fours, 2 Wood Singles, Junior Singles and Junior Pairs, Senior Fours and County Top Club. 

Also one day events:  Unbadged Singles and Unbadged Pairs.

All National Competitions are cancelled as follows:

John’s, Walker Cup, Amy Rose, National Senior Singles and Pairs, Top Club Women, Family Pairs, Champion of Champion (Women), National Mixed Pairs and Mixed Fours, Tony Allcock (over 60 Double Rink).

Affiliation fees will be refunded as appropriate, along with competition entry fees.

We wish you a safe and healthy summer and look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Jeanette Berry.

West Witney win men’s league cup

League Cup winners 2019

This year’s League Cup final saw League champions Headington A face West Witney under the floodlights at Kidlington.  Headington were looking to win the League Cup for the 9th year out of 10, whilst opponents West Witney were hoping to lift the cup for the first time.  With five members of West Witney returning from a Club tour to help strengthen their side, and a good crowd gathered around the green, the stage was all set for a classic final.

After 5 ends Headington were already into their stride and in no mood to let the chance of another League and Cup double slip away – leading by 9 shots and ahead on 3 of the 4 rinks.  However, after 10 ends the West Witney had started to fight back and edged narrowly in front. The turning point came with just 6 ends to go, as Shane Cooper and Kev Alder’s rinks both picked up 5 shots each on crucial ends, to open up a good lead for the Witney boys.

Despite Headington ending the game with 2 winning rinks, West Witney’s stronger finish brought them a comfortable victory on the other 2 rinks, to see them home by 17 shots overall and claim their first League Cup win.

Winning captain Andy McIntyre commented, ‘It’s been a great year for the Club, winning the Hawker Cup and League Cup for the first time.  I’m particularly grateful for the 5 players who travelled all the way back from Bournemouth for the Final. I know they’d have enjoyed celebrating their journey back to the coast!’

West Witney 64; Headington A 47:  K Alder 21, J King 11; D Leighfield 9, H Watts 13; P Skidmore 10, M Charlett 13; S Cooper 24, I Snowdon 10.

Oxfordshire league cup semi finals

This year’s League Cup semi-finals at South Oxford saw four teams from Division 1 battle it out for a place in the final.  

Furthest from the clubhouse it was an all west Oxfordshire affair, as Witney Mills came up against close rivals, and green sharers, West Witney.  Mills were quickest out of the block, racing to a 10 shot lead after 5 ends. However, after 10 ends it was West Witney in the ascendency, recovering to lead by 36-28.  Despite the game finishing close on 3 of the 4 rinks, Mills were unable to contain Shane Cooper’s rink, who ended up with an 18 shot victory, helping West book a place in the final for the first time since 2013

In the other semi-final, Division 1 Champions Headington A were up against Banbury Central A, opponents on the last day of the League season. Will Campion’s four gave Central an early boost, picking up 10 shots with no reply in the first 4 ends. However Jason King’s rink then got hold of the mat and won 12 ends on a row to lead 24-10.  Only Keith McNeil’s rink were able to pick up a consolation win for Central, as Headington came out on top by 71-53. 

The final of the League Cup between West Witney and Headington A takes place on Thursday, 5th September, under the floodlights at Kidlington Bowls Club.

Semi-final results: 

Witney Mills 45; West Witney 69:  P Robins 14, P Skidmore 16; L Days 7, S Cooper 25; A Wiggins 12, D Leighfield 14; C Weller 12, K Alder 16.

Banbury Central A 53; Headington A 71:  M Andrew 13, I Snowdon 20; W Campion 11, J King 25; K McNeil 17, N Rae-Welsh 10; N Galletly 12, H Watts 16.

League Week 13

With a final week of matches still to come, the top two divisions are already over, as far as promotion and relegation are concerned.

Champions elect, Headington, won a very tight match with their only real rivals, Carterton and cannot now be caught, so my first congratulation goes to them for retaining their title.

Behind them, in Division 1, the other issue was who joined Witney Town in division 2 next year. Witney Mills needed to beat Town and hope that Banbury Central slipped up against West Witney. In the event neither happened. Surprisingly, Mills lost at home, Town outperformed them on three rinks, the final scores looking closer as Mills made a late flurry of shots but to no avail.

Banbury Central had a convincing win at home to a weakened West Witney side. Will Campion’s rink bounced back from a heavy defeat last week to inflict one of their own and any hope that West had of getting two points was lost when Shane Cooper’s attempted drive for five shots move the jack off the rink and Lee Young’s rink won the replayed end.

Division 2 is also now settled. Adderbury’s win at Kidlington and, already champions, City and County’s defeat of South Oxford mean that Adderbury will play in the top division for the first time next season.

Relegation was also settled as already relegated Charlbury registered a rare victory and with it ensured that the opposition, Chipping Norton, are relegated as well. 

The best rink of this week’s games came from Dave Tidball, of South Oxford, whose rink had trailed for much of the game before taking six shots in the last two ends to grab the point.

Little has changed in Division 3; Bicester were crowned champions last week, but the second place appears wide open. I say appears as in real terms Bloxham, currently second, have completed their matches, Central, currently third, host champions Bicester, whilst Thame, currently fourth, travel to Chadlington, who will be desperate to avoid relegation! Shiplake are in an even odder position! Currently fifth, they host relegated Hanborough. Were they to take all six available points and the clubs above them lose, they would finish second. However, if they dropped all six and Chadlington won, they would be relegated! 

In this week’s fixtures, mention should be made of Ed Creed’s rink for Central which took twelve unanswered shots between ends eleven and seventeen to go from six behind to six ahead in the fixture against Hanborough. 

Division 4 results mean that West Oxford are promoted. Second place, City and County have completed their fixtures and Burford are unable to overtake them whatever their result. The other promotion place is still up for grabs, with the money going on Woodstock as their last fixture is at Oxford University Press and they need four points from it to guarantee second place. Burford can only win big at Blackbird Leys and hope that Woodstock trip up. 

In this week’s matches, the highlight was John Hurren’s win for Burford as they came from nine behind after twelve ends to win by taking the last six ends of the match.

League Week 12

Still two weeks left this season, but some promotion and relegation issues are already settled.

Headington need four more points to retain their Division 1 title after their comfortable win at Witney Town. Only Philip Warner’s rink provided stiff opposition for them, indeed they clocked up a third of their club’s total shots in their defeat of Mark Charlett’s rink.

Headington’s quest for the title was aided by West Witney, whose defeat of Carterton also removed any lingering possibility of their relegation from the division, indeed, they could now finish second. A blistering start in the match by David Leighfield’s rink, that went nine shots clear after four ends and then crushed the comeback attempt by Gordon Walker with a five shot win on the eleventh end provided one talking point but the highlight of the match came in Badon Spark’s game where Witney scored ten shots in two ends to lead ten – two after four ends but were slowly pegged back by the Carterton rink to relinquish the lead on end thirteen and never regain it.

The final relegation place now lies between Witney Mills and the erstwhile second placed side, Banbury Central. Watlington used their home advantage to great effect, especially Andy Kemish’s rink which crushed Will Campion’s by twenty-five shots. Central need to get five points from their final two games to ensure their safety.

City and County’s promotion back to division 1 was finally settled this week as they defeated Chipping Norton, a result that almost certainly relegates the losers. Mathematically, Adderbury could still pip them to the title but they would need to win both their remaining games and hope that City and County come away from their fixture at South Oxford this week with fewer than three points. Three easy winning rinks for City and County this week, only Percy Hickman’s rink was able to put up a fight for Chippy, winning their game on the final end.

Eric Pitts’ rink mounted a spirited comeback for Charlbury at Adderbury, coming from seven shots down after ten ends to restrict the Ted Eley’s men to two more shots in the final eight ends, only to lose by a single shot. The other three rinks proved more comfortable to the home team who are now favourites to gain promotion.

However, South Oxford remain in the race with their five points from a very close game at Headington. Indeed, both David Tidball and Mick Keen’s rinks only took the lead on the final end for South Oxford and Martin Kershaw’s game was tied at sixteen ends!

Bicester have claimed the title in Division 3 with their demolition of Thame, but elsewhere little is settled in the division, indeed current second place Bloxham could still be relegated! 

Bloxham’s win at home to Shiplake came as both Dave Morse and Alan Miles’ rinks registered big wins. The former recording both six and seven shot winning ends whilst the latter’s margin would have been greater had they not dropped a four on the final end!

Banbury Central’s win might have been for fewer points but Eric Trinder’s rink snatched victory on the last end. Central could still be relegated but that extra point increased the gap to the visitors, Chadlington, who now need to win their two remaining matches and hope Central do not!

The Division 4 title race looks to be going to the last round of matches with fewer than five points separating the top four clubs and two of those only having one more match to play!

Leaders Woodstock lost an epic at South Oxford this week.  In a match where the two clubs were never more than six shots apart over all four rinks combined, David Child’s rink came from behind on the last end to win, not only their game but the whole match for South Oxford as the three shots they scored tipped the total score South’s way by a single shot.

Not to be outdone, Burford and City and County also had an epic. Jack Lafford and Doug Mustoe’s rinks both came from behind to snatch victories on the last end leaving Bob Heaven’s to save the day for City as his rink’s nineteen shot win was enough to win the match shot count and thus the match points for most shots.

The last game was at West Oxford where the home side dominated visitors Oxford University Press on two rinks and added the other two with very close victories, indeed Alan Blackburn’s men secured theirs by winning the final end by three shots. The win moves West into prime promotion position as they still have two matches to play, unlike Woodstock and City and County.

Match Results

League Week 10

A shorter than normal report this week as the weekend was taken up by playing, and watching, too much sport!

Division 1 saw the closest match of the week, with the best, or worst, finish you could hope for depending on who you support. Carterton travelled to Banbury Central and lost on two early finishing rinks. Last end on the other two saw Tim Jupp’s rink a shot behind but Paul Sharman’s lead by ten shots; that meant they needed Tim to win and a swing of six shots over the two rinks for the match points. Tim’s men not only obliged but took a five leaving Paul needing a single shot! As Will Campion played his last bowl, Central were losing by one on the end and the match and he needed to rest on the shot bowl to win the end. Agonisingly, for Central, he missed by half a bowl and Carterton snatched points that they did not expect to get.

Witney Mills continue to fight for their lives, this week taking on Headington and coming away with two winning rinks, as good a result as anyone this year. All four rinks were one sided though Mark Charlett’s rink scored six shots over the last two end’s it was still not enough to catch Alan Wiggins’ men.

Comfortably wins on two rinks and ties on the other two meant that Watlington defeated West Witney easily. Chris Gilkes’ rink took the last three ends in their game to snatch their draw.

Division 2 leaders City and County went down to their first defeat of the season at Headington. Two exciting finishes in the match as Steve Gould’s rink, who were never behind until they dropped a three on end fifteen, won the last two ends but just failed to catch Omar Sharif, while Russel Edwards snatched the last end to tie his game. Alan Ley’s twelve shot win should have given the match to City and County, but Colin Whitehead’s rink won their game by nineteen shots!

South Oxford took full advantage of Adderbury’s bye week to move clear into second place with a big win at home to struggling Chipping Norton, while Kidlington’s defeat of Charlbury moved themselves further away from the relegation zone whilst putting almost the final nail into the visitor’s relegation coffin!

Bicester continue their move out of Division 3 with a good win at home to Bloxham. Highlight was the tie between Kevin Taylor and Alan Miles’ rink where the lead changed hand four times before Kevin scored the two his rink required to grab a hard earned draw.

Thame benefitted both from Banbury Central’s bye week and a weak Shiplake team with their comfortable win moving them into second place. Only the ever reliable Jim Bland’s rink was able to provide some comfort for the visitors.

A massive win for Ken William’s rink guaranteed match points for Hanborough as they hosted struggling Chadlington. In fact, their opponents failed to win a single end in the second half of the match, a feat almost matched by Phil Radbone for Chadlington but his opponents did win one end!

Woodstock’s lead at the top of Division 4 was reduced, despite their win at City and County, with West Oxford continuing their progress, winning at home to struggling Blackbird Leys.  Only John Parker’s rink come close to losing but their six shot lead after thirteen ends proved enough despite Paul Smith’s fight back.

Woodstock themselves have Brian Clark’s rink to thank for their win as their fifteen shot winning margin just swung the game to the away side.

South Oxford and Burford drew their match only because James Clack’s rink, for South, took eight shots on the final two ends to come from six down to win! This proved just enough to offset the shots lost by South as they could only field fifteen men and therefore lost shots on the three men rink they played!

League Week 9

Division 1 provided the surprise of the week, possibly the surprise of the season, with strugglers, Witney Town, comprehensively beating previously high flying Banbury Central. Brian Bloomfield and Paul Demczak’s rinks led from early on and ensured the match points for Town whilst Alan Scholan’s men won the second half of their match to give Town a fifth point. Will Campion went eleven-two up after five ends and seemed to be heading for an easy win only for Phil Warner’s four to slowly claw their way back, eventually running out of ends in losing by a single shot.

Central remain second as Carterton had a bye but West Witney’s defeat of Witney Mills move them back into the race for second and third places. Mills’ two winning rinks outscored their opponents by a total of thirty-three shots, which would have given them the match points in any other match this season where both teams won two rinks apiece. However, West’s Shane Cooper’s rink recorded the most one sided victory in the league for some seasons defeating Les Days by thirty-seven shots to give his team the match points!

Headington open a gap at the top of the table taking five points from a one sided encounter with Watlington. Adrian Kemish’s rink winning by a single shot for the visitor’s only points. Chris Gilkes’ four provided the only other real opposition for Headington, and then only for the first four ends of their game against Howard Watt’s rink.

In Division 2, City and County outplayed local rivals Kidlington on two rinks and added a third when Omar Sharif’s rink scored a four on the fifteenth end to pull away in a closely fought game. Kidlington’s single point came from James Feeley’s men who won the second half of their game very comfortably.

Adderbury bounced back from last weeks ‘nightmare’, defeating close rivals South Oxford on all rinks. Two of these victories were comfortable throughout but Phil Gladden and Tom Clark’s teams could easily have been beaten, with both only able to pull away in the last five ends.

Closest match in the division was at Charlbury where Headington just grabbed the most points from an encounter headlined by two rinks where the balance of the games swung completely in the last two ends. For Headington, Russell Edward’s rink trailed by five shots at sixteen ends and scored them all in the last two ends to tie, whilst for Charlbury Mike Smith’s men, having trailed throughout the game and only scored eight shots in sixteen ends, were six shots down with two ends to play but scored nine in those two ends to overtake Colin Whitehead’s men for an unexpected win.

Division 3 proved as topsy-turvy as ever! Leaders, Bicester, travelled to Chadlington and came close to drawing the match. Bicester led on two rinks and overall by three shots at fifteen ends so the match points could have gone to either side, but they matched each other shot for shot for the final three ends with Bicester hanging on for the points that ensured they remain top.

A few weeks ago, Banbury Central were sure that they would be in Division 4 next season, now they are looking towards Division 2! Three rinks were as comfortable wins as their scores suggest but the game between Keith Williams and Bill Giles’ rinks went to the last end with Central grabbing the required shot.

Hanborough and Bloxham have both had odd seasons, winning well one week only to slump the next. This week it was Bloxham’s turn to shine as they visited Hanborough. Nine shots in the last five ends were sufficient to give the game to Graham Haynes rink the point for the home side but this was their only win. Jim Lucas’s rink scored five in the last two ends to grab victory, while the other rinks were always dominated by Bloxham, who are back in the promotion race.

Woodstock remain at the top of Division 4, but their lead was reduced by West Oxford who, surprisingly, returned home with four points thanks to Mick Bostock’s rink, which scored four on their final end to cement their own win and grab the match points for West.

Blackbird Leys only point came as Ron Painton’s rink restricted City and County’s Ken Buckingham to a single shot on the last end to triumph by one shot. Elsewhere, the City rinks dominated.

South Oxford’s Dennis Simms looked to be heading for an easy win against Oxford University Press’s Geoff Jordan’s rink only to drop seven shots over the final three ends to allow the OUP four to snatch an unlikely draw. Unfortunately, for OUP, this was their only success from a match that leaves both clubs in the lower half of the table.

League week 8

The second half of the season started with a heatwave, both literally and metaphorically!

In Division 1, two clubs put down their markers to show that they intend to stay in the division next year. Watlington, who were struggling, took on Carterton in a match switched from the latter’s home green to Watlington’s. On past form, this should have been a close match, in the event Watlington proved too strong on all rinks, scoring almost double the shots of the visitors for a much needed six points.

West Witney, also in possible danger, hosted neighbours Witney Town, who continue to find life at this level tough. Three one sided games and a fourth that saw the visitors briefly lead after eight ends but eventually succumb, gave West the six points that they really wanted. Town’ next three games are as tough as they get, and it will take some outstanding bowling by their whole squad if they are to climb off the bottom of the table.

The third match could have been close but Banbury Central used their home advantage to defeat Witney Mills. Chris Weller’s rink provided Mills their point though Paul Robbin’s men fought well only going down on the last end. Central move above Carterton into second place thanks to their better shot count.

The other three divisions all saw top of the table clashes and the expectation was for some close encounters. The reality was far from it!

In Division 2, City and County proved far too strong for Adderbury with most appropriate post-match comment coming from the Adderbury captain – “Nightmare!” Two rinks were very close; indeed, Omar Sharif and Chris Skidmore produced the lowest scoring rink anywhere in the league this season with the City men hanging on as Adderbury scored five, of the six they needed, in the final two ends.

South Oxford move above Adderbury having defeated Kidlington on three rinks. All four rinks in this game look, from the score cards, to have been determined early on the with winning rinks all being ahead at the halfway point.

For the second week running, Headington finished with a very odd result. Keith Field’s rink were dominant, for Chipping Norton, winning by twenty-one shots. Headington won the other three rinks, by a margin of twenty-one shots so the shot count was tied – again! Colin Whitehead’s rink must have felt the disappointment most as they dropped four shots in the last two ends of a game they had dominated to that point.

Division 3 saw one of the comebacks of the season in the match at Bloxham. Ed Creed’s rink, for Banbury Central, were totally outplayed early in the game by Tony Gardner and his men going nineteen to four down after nine ends. However, Tony’s rink only scored a single point in the second half of the game, and that on the final end, whilst the Central rink racked up nineteen themselves! Game to Central. With Tom McKenna’s rink winning by seventeen shots the match points went to Central, who move above Bloxham in the table.

The big game in this division was at Shiplake, who have produced their strongest teams and best performances at home. Close rival Bicester had other ideas! Whilst Jim Bland’s rink tried to send the match to Shiplake, winning their game by twenty-five shots, scoring seven fours or fives in the process, the usually dependable Barry Lambourne, was losing by nineteen shots and the top spot reverted to Bicester.

Thame could now move into second place if they defeated Hanborough, who have been playing well of late. That they achieved but they have to thank Chris Shannon’s rink for their win, as their dominant twenty-two victory ensured Thame took the match points. 

Division 4’s highlight was also the game between the top two clubs. In their first match in the league ever, Burford had defeated Woodstock. That was in early May, how times change! This week, in the return fixture Woodstock dominated and took all the available points. The best revenge win came from Tim Stevens’ rink which, by chance, played Jim Hurren’s men in the first encounter and lost by twenty-two shots. In this encounter they won by six!

With West Oxford not playing, City and County took the opportunity to climb much nearer the promotion race by defeating Oxford University Press. Three rinks were well ahead by the halfway point only John Curtis’ men getting close to the City and County men. Mark Plested’s rink were not going to let that happen and moved away in the second half of the game to ensure maximum points for the visitors.

Blackbird Leys got their mojo back after a few poor weeks as they also reversed the result of the earlier match against South Oxford. Unfortunately, both clubs now have little chance of getting near the promotion race this season.

League week 7

The halfway point is reached!

Division 1 reached this point with a week with some surprises. The leaders, and defending champions, Headington travelled to Banbury Central having only dropped half a point in competitive league matches so far. Central almost pulled off the shock of the season as the match went to the final end of the final game! Nick Rae-Walsh’s rink trailed by ten shots and Central were three behind in the match. Fortunately, for Headington, Nick’s front pair ended holding shots and Nigel Galletly was unable to convert for the required three.

Relegation troubled Watlington hosted fellow strugglers Witney Town. Watlington eased their worries, but probably condemned Town to division 2 in the process. Two comfortable wins and a third much closer one giving them five points.

The final match saw an unusual result with both clubs scoring an identical number of shots. Witney Mills might have thought that they were going to beat close neighbours Carterton once Les Days’ men had scored seven shots on the fifth end of the match. However, as the game headed to a finish with the teams very closely matched, and only the last three bowls to be played, Paul Sharman trailed by four shots on the end and Mills were winning the match. Not to be, Paul drew shot with his last bowl, giving Carterton the lead by two shots. Mills needed two shots to tie and three to win from the remaining two rinks, both rinks took a final end shot to level the game at sixty-two shots each.

With leaders City and County not playing, Adderbury had the chance to be top of Division 2 at the halfway stage. Unfortunately, Headington refused to see it Adderbury’s way and finished with a comfortable win. At halfway, Adderbury lead on three rinks and were six shots clear overall, at fourteen ends they were still six shots clear but losing two rinks then Colin Whitehead’s rink changed the game Headington’s way taking the fifteenth end with a seven shot score. Come the final end, again more drama from the same rink as they picked up the jack, from a losing position, and ran it into the ditch before scoring a second shot to tie their game and ensure match points for Headington.

The win does not put Headington into the promotion race but it does lift them out of the relegation places as Chipping Norton were beaten by Kidlington in a game won for the home team by Paul McGrath’s rink which trailed by one shot after nine ends but ran out with a seven shot advantage.

The third match in the division saw South Oxford pull back into the promotion race with a comfortable win at home to struggles Charlbury who have much to do in their next six matches if they are to remain in the division.

Another topsy-turvy week in Division 3 with last weeks big winners, Shiplake and Banbury Central both crashing to heavy defeats. Shiplake travelled to Hanborough and were well beaten on three rinks but looked to be heading for a win on the fourth until Martin Oliver’s rink scored a five on the fifteenth end to sweep into a lead that the visitors were unable to claw back. 

Central travelled to, in bowls terms, close neighbours Bicester with aspirations of moving into the top two. Bicester proved too strong winning comfortably on three rinks and only losing the fourth thanks to an exceptional comeback by Eric Trinder’s rink which came from nine behind at ten ends to win, winning seven of the remaining ends.

The third match in the division showed just how competitive it is, erstwhile second place Chadlington travelled to relegation candidates Thame and were well beaten! Indeed, Thame were forty-three shots ahead at halfway and only conceded twenty-five more over all four rinks in the second half of the match. 

The majority of the points on offer were split between the top three teams in Division 4 to leave the two promotion places as close as they were. 

Burford tried to lose the, seemingly very safe, match points to James Baldwin’s Blackbird Leys rink. Easy wins on three rinks, including one against a weak Leys triple, should have ensured match points but the fourth rink was lost by twenty-seven shots and this should have been sufficient for Leys to take match points but Steve Gould’s men took six shots from the last two ends, having only score a single shot in the whole game to that points. Those shots swung the overall score to Burford!

Wins for John Parker and Mick Bostock’s rinks ensured that West Oxford triumphed at home to South Oxford though they could easily have had three wins as West’s David Lyne’s rink only snatched victory on the last end of their game.

I can vouch that the stories of London Transport buses arriving in waves after hours of no buses at all were all based on the truth having spent my childhood in North London. I never thought that I would be using the expression in a bowls report! However, we have waited some time for a tied game in the league and this week provided not one but two! Not to be upstaged by Division one, Oxford University Press and Woodstock fought out a second tied match. Unfortunately, I have no rink cards or other details for this match!

League week 6

Driving back from Birmingham at 16.00 on Thursday, as the wall of water continued to fall, I doubted that any matches would be played to a finish that evening. As it transpired, only the match between Carterton and Headington fell foul to the water, with Carterton’s green being deemed unfit for play.

Kevin Alder’s rink has obviously paid the correct homage to the goddess of bowls as, for the first nine ends of their Division 1 match they both bowled well and took advantage of all the wicks! At sixteen zero up, with two other rinks being close, it looked like a good win for West Witney over close rivals Banbury Central. However, the Central rinks came good, especially Keith McNeil’s which scored seven unanswered shots over the last four ends to give Central a five point win.

With Watlington on a bye week, the other two clubs vying to climb out of the relegation zone met at Witney Town. At fifteen ends, the match seeming to be going to Witney Mills, as a six point victory was on the cards. However, the Witney Town rinks skipped by Alan Scholan and Brian Bloomfield both fought back to snatch victories on the last end, indeed, Brian moved the jack back to get the shots he needed on that end.

Division 2 saw the first two move further clear of the pack.  City and County won a close encounter with South Oxford thanks to the six and five score by Omar Sharif’s rink on ends sixteen and eighteen.

Adderbury had a much more comfortable win at home to Kidlington. The highlight of which was David Sharp’s rink which came from six shots down at ten ends to score twenty-three unanswered shots over the last seven ends.

The third match in the division saw Chipping Norton dramatically improve the chances for the season with a whitewash of visitors Charlbury. The best performance came from Alex Fleming’s rink that came from seven shots down at thirteen ends to snatch victory with three shots on the last end.

Division 3 has new leaders as Shiplake continued their impressive home form, this time at Chadlington’s expense. Indeed, the visitor’s only win came from the triple of Peter Madeley which outscored the opponents by enough to be able to lose twenty-five percent of the total and still win.

Thame travelled to Bloxham and returned with four points thank, in large, to Bill Giles rink which never allowed their opponents a toe hold in the game. Tony Gardner’s rink scored six on the last end to cement their victory in what was a generally low scoring match.

Banbury Central’s heavy defeat of Hanborough moves them into the promotion race, in a close division, whilst leaving their opponents staring relegation in the face before the season reaches the halfway point. Eric Trinder’s rink were the outstanding four, losing only one end in the second half of their game.

Woodstock still top Division 4 despite not playing. Burford, who had the chance to catch them, were beaten by West Oxford whose two winning rinks were won by surprisingly large margins. Tim Stacey’s rink dominated the second half of their game to run out fourteen shot winners and Mick Bostock’s men were equally dominant in their thirteen shot victory.

Oxford University Press would have come away from Blackbird Leys with a share of the points but Dave Barlow’s ‘rink’ was a triple and forfeited shots, and the game point, whilst James Baldwin was ruthless skipping his four to a twenty shot win, allowing his opponents four ends in total in the match.

City and County returned from the deep south of the City having comprehensively defeated South Oxford. Their three winning rinks dominated from the start whilst Keith Clarke’s men were almost as dominant for South’s single win.