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Headington A win the league cup

League Cup Winners 2018

This year’s League Cup final saw League champions Headington A face Watlington under the floodlights at Kidlington. Headington were looking to collect their fifth League Cup title in a row, whilst their opponents Watlington had reached the final for the first time, after celebrating a solid year in Division 1. With the floodlights warming up and a packed house of support – the stage was all set.

Unfortunately for Watlington, Headington were quickly into their stride and in no mood to let their chance of another League and Cup double slip away. By 6 ends, Headington were already 24 shots up on the game, with Captain Mark Charlett once again leading the charge. Despite Shane Cooper and Steve Gilkes mounting a fight back for Watlington on both their rinks, Headington stretched their lead even further and the game finished with a few ends to spare.

Winning captain Mark Charlett commented, ‘It’s been another great year for the Club, winning the League and League Cup, plus we’ve had some good performances in this year’s National competitions. However, I’d also like to congratulate Watlington for reaching their first ever League Cup final, and who have been get stronger every season!’
Headington A 77; Watlington 38: H Watts 15, S Gilkes 10; M Charlett 29, D Auger 10; N Rae-Welsh 15, S Cooper 10; J King 18, S Watts 8.

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. Although the shorter nights meant that the last of the 18 ends finished in the dark, there was a nail-biting climax and the closest contested semi-finals since the competition started.

Furthest from the clubhouse it was Oxford City & County A facing Watlington. Five times finalists City & County were looking to finish their season on a high, after a first ever relegation to Division 2; whilst Watlington were hoping to cap their highest ever finish in the League by reaching their first League Cup final. Watlington started the brighter, and by the half way point were 8 shots up on the game. Despite being behind, City & County managed to dig in, before mounting a challenge over the final 3 ends. Playing the last end in complete darkness, a 3 for Chris Lewis’s rink still wasn’t quite enough for City and County and Watlington triumphed by 4 shots.

In the other semi-final, Division 1 Champions Headington A were up against West Witney, with players from both sides returning from good performances at the National championships. Headington’s captain Mark Charlett was quickest out the blocks, with his rink going into a 10 shot lead after 7 ends. By the half way stage Headington were already 11 shots up on the game, with only Trevor Prew’s four ahead for West Witney. In the second half it was the Witney team who finished the stronger, winning most of the final few ends for a very tense climax. Despite the comeback though, West Witney ran out of ends and Headington held on – victorious by just 2 shots overall.

The final of the League Cup between Watlington and Headington A takes place on Thursday, 6th September, under the floodlights at Kidlington Bowls Club.

Semi-final results:
City & County A 60; Watlington 64: K Croxon 11, C Gilkes 14; A Ley 17, S Gilkes 20; C Pollard 13, S Cooper 18; C Lewis 19, S Watts 12.
West Witney 65; Headington A 67: T Prew 17, H Watts 16; K Alder 15, M Charlett 18; P Skidmore 14, J King 18; A McIntyre 19, I Snowdon 15.

League final week

Is it really fourteen weeks since the season started? It still does not feel as though it is all over until 2019!

My apologies to those players and clubs that might feel hard done by in that I have not included their achievements as well as they thought I should have but I can only detail so much each week. This week, I must concentrate on the games that were important to the promotion and relegation battles, to the exclusion of some others.

We know that Headington are Division 1 champions and that Kidlington are relegated but the second and third places were up for grabs as, more importantly, was the final relegation spot. Headington still had two matches to play, both potentially changing league positions. Their first, postponed due to a clash with a national competition, was against West Witney, who needed to win to challenge Banbury Central for second place. As it transpired the match was a little one sided and West’s challenge was over. The second was against Watlington, who were in danger of relegation! A much closer affair but a similar outcome saw Watlington come away with a single point, won by Sam Watts’ rink that pulled away winning the last six ends. This left the club five points clear of both Witney Mills and City and County and, probably, safe for the season.

Chris Weller’s rink won easily for Witney as did Chris Lewis for City and County, so Witney were still a half point ahead but with both clubs looking to take the match points after the initial big wins.

Alan Wiggin’s men were held at thirteen ends but won six of the last seven to take their game comfortably for Witney whist Omar Shariff’ rink outplayed Central’s Nigel Galletly to take a fourteen shot lead at nine ends. Hard as the opposition tried they were unable to close the gap and City won another point.

Chris Cox took a six shot lead for Kidlington in his match, but Richard Barrett’s men knew how important the match was and fought back only but, ultimately lost by a single shot; For City Colin Pollard’s men led early but dropped a six to Central and were unable to regain the lead, so the season was on the final rinks of the matches!

John Mott’s men led by five for Witney after twelve ends but only won one more end as John Healey’s rink fought back but it was just too big a lead to bridge and Witney Mills ensured their survival as City could not overtake them. Alan Ley and Mick Andrew’s rinks were unaware of this, so their battle still mattered and battle it was! Alan led throughout but was unable to draw away despite going nine shots up after five ends. The Central rink slowly closed the gap and the game was level at seventeen ends, the final end win for Mick finally relegated City and County. Division 2 beware!

As for that division, Carterton were already confirmed as champions and Hanborough to relegation, so the battles were for the final promotion and relegation places. Chipping Norton needed a big win to stay up at Shiplake’s expense. As they were away at relegated Hanborough they had a good chance and they grabbed it with both hands. Percy Hickman’s rink provided the killer blow coming from fifteen eight down with three ends to play and still three shots down starting the final end they won the final end by six shots to take their game and keep Chippy in Division 2 for another season.

The promotion stakes were high, either Witney Town or South Oxford would be promoted. The latter were away at runaway leaders Carterton and did well to take two rinks but those two points meant that Witney only needed to match that result to go up. They were away as well, at Charlbury and, in a bizarre result only possible in bowls they tied one rink and won one but that, by Tim Ludlow’s men, was by a massive twenty-five shots. The two match points that win guaranteed were enough and they play in the top division next year.

Division 4 was an altogether clearer cut affair. West Oxford were heading the promotion race but needed to win and match rivals Chadlington’s result. However, they were hosting a Bloxham team that could still be promoted but only if they took at least five points and South Oxford and Chadlington tied their match. Bloxham arrived ready for battle and did all they could, winning comfortably on three rinks and drawing the last only because John Parker’s men scored six shots on the final end for the home side. The other teams involved played each other knowing that they needed a big win to ensure that they finished second ahead of the losers. John Cope’s men provided South with a chance winning by scoring a six and a five in the last five ends to open a big gap. However, Chadlington’s three other rinks had different ideas, winning comfortable to give their club the five points they needed to finish second and play in Division 3 next year.

Match results
Final league table
Printable report

League week 13

The 2018 season is rapidly approaching its denouement, and with one round of matches left we now know the champions of all four divisions.

Congratulations to:
Headington, Division 1 champions for another season
Carterton, back in the top division next season as champions of Division 2
Adderbury, likewise bouncing back up as champions of Division 3
Bicester are Champions of Division 4

However, the rest of the promotion and relegation scraps are still to be competed for in the final round of matches, other than Division 3 where all fixtures are now complete. Promoted for here is Headington, relegated are City and County along with Blackbird Leys, whose defeat to Adderbury sealed their demise.

This week’s results in Division 1 saw Headington take on Witney Mills and come away with their ninth win in ten matches. The results was never in doubt once Ian Snowden’s rink had roared into a twenty eight shot lead at the halfway point. (A lead that included a hot shot eight on the eighth end!). Only Chris Weller’s rink were able to stop the rot to give Mills a possible much needed point.

This because City and County continued their second half of the season fightback, this time away at Watlington. Winning at Watlington is never easy even if the home side were without some of the back end players. To do so when you need it to have any hope of survival is even more impressive. Three rinks were as comfortable as the scores suggest but the fourth featured an excellent comeback by Omar Sharif’s men who found themselves seven down with three ends to play and won the last three ends to tie the game. That extra half point opens up the possibilities for them next week, when they play Banbury Central, who were themselves easing past West Witney and back into second spot in the league. City can still survive, especially as Watlington, who are four and a half points ahead in the relegation battle, take on Headington in their final fixture. Witney Mills could also be relegated but they have a marginally easier, on paper, final match away at Kidlington.
Central’s victory came late on in the game as even at thirteen ends the overall scores were level with one rink apiece and two very close. However, Will Campion and Tom McKenna’s rinks both won their last five ends to come away with comfortable victories.

Carterton continue to show that they are in a different class to the rest of Division 2. This weeks ‘victims’ were promotion hopefuls Witney Town, Highlight of the match was, for the second time this season, an eight shot hot shot going to a losing rink. This week Paul Demczak won the eight only to lose almost all the remains ends to Paul Sharman’s rink.

Town’s defeat leave us with an intriguing final weeks fixture as they now play South Oxford with the winner being promoted! South were doing what they. Needed to stay in the promotion race defeating Shiplake comfortably. Town won easily on two rinks but were well defeated on a third. The rink of note was that between Keith Mobley and David Webb where Keith’s rink went seven shots ahead only to be hauled back by David’s men to be all square at sixteen ends with Keith winning the final row for the game. Shiplake now have to wait on the Chipping Norton v Hanborough fixture next week as they have finished their season. Chippy’s defeat of Charlbury removed any lingering hopes that the latter may have had of promotion, indeed at first glance they look to be in the relegation battle but their superior shot count means that they will finish above Shiplake unless they lose their final game by sixty-three shots.

Division 4 finally sorted its season out its champion with Bicester defeating Bloxham they now cannot be caught by the chasers even though they have finished their season. The visitors were never in two rinks once the Bicester rinks had taken the lead lead, whilst they did win the other two, they never looked like closing the shot difference. Defeat removes any realistic chance of Bloxham gaining promotion but they have an important role to play as their final match is against West Oxford, who remain in the hunt having only taken half a point away at Chadlington.
The other two clubs that could still be promoted, Chadlington and South Oxford, play each other knowing that, whatever their result, the must better that of West Oxford.

This weeks matches only memorable moments were Chadlington’s Phil Radbone’s four on the final end of his match to tie the scores and restrict West Oxford to a half point; and John Copes’ rink taking four shots on the final end of their match to give the match points to his club and keep them in the promotion race.

Printable report
Match results
League tables

League week 12

From a bowling perspective, I hope that the heat wave continues for a few more weeks, unfortunately my garden thinks otherwise as, I suspect, do many greenkeepers!

As this was, supposed to be, the final round of matches of the season for those in Division 3, it seems appropriate to start there. Leaders Adderbury hosted second place Headington knowing that both were already promoted to Division 2 next season regardless of the outcome. Chris Skidmore provided the home side with the basis of a win with his total domination of his opponents and once Phil Gladden’s rink took a five on the fourteenth end in his game the outcome never looked in doubt. However, Steve Gould pulled much of the deficit back and the result could still have been determined by the last game. This was a real struggle with few ends scoring more than a single shot and, appropriately, Cliff Hall’s rink taking one shot on the final end to tie the game. Honours to Adderbury but I suspect neither team was really bothered!

Banbury Central’s match was a very different proposition. Visitors, City and County, were already relegated but Central needed a big win if they were to have any chance of staying up at Blackbird Leys expense. Big win they achieved, never realistically looking like losing in three games and though trailing by seven shots after nine ends, Keith William’s men took a six on the tenth end and dominated the next five ends to complete the club’s whitewash.

Whilst Central were doing all they could, Blackbird Leys had the chance to guarantee their own survival at Thame. Unfortunately, they were unable to match their opposition on two rinks and only managed to tie a third. Highlight of the match was seven shot end for Alex Fleming’s rink on the sixth end of their match. Unfortunately, it was insufficient as Robin Jenner’s men recovered from the trauma to win the next five ends by nine shots and ensure their own win.

Division 1 could have been all over with two weeks to spare. Headington still look champions in waiting; especially with the second and third place teams playing each other next week; having beaten Banbury Central in a re-arranged fixture on Tuesday and following that with an expected whitewash of already relegated Kidlington. The Central match could have been so different! The home side were without four of their usual players, so they fielded a rink from their B team skipped by the enigma of this season that is Tom McKenna. This week Tom was on his best from and led his rink to a magnificent twelve shot win over Ian Henwood’s men. Whilst Central lost on two rinks their total losses balanced Tom’s win so the final rink, of Will Campion against Jason King, determined the outcome of the match. Will led by two shots at sixteen ends, Jason pulled a shot back on the seventeenth leaving Central holding the match points with one end to play. All or nothing on the last end which went to Headington by two shots, enough to win their game and take the match overall by that single shot! Whew!!

As important was City and County’s do or die game at home to Witney Mills. Having looked relegation certainties until a few weeks ago, City and County have pulled a lot back recently but knew that they need a big win as the only club that could be relegated instead of them were the visitors! On the night, they rose to the occasion winning one three rinks and drawing the fourth. It was an evening where keeping big losses off the cards mattered as City and County failed to win more than half the ends in any match yet still won most of them. Over the four games they took six ends with more than a three shot margin whilst Witney managed only one and these big scoring ends swung the game their way, no more so than Omar Sharif’s rink that, with a one shot lead at twelve ends, lost four of the last six ends but still triumph as the two they won scored nine shots between them.

A big win for Chris Gilkes ensured the match points for Watlington although it could have been more had Andy McIntyre despaired at five shots down with two ends to play in his game against Shane Cooper. His men rallied well to take a four and a three on the last two ends to snatch the game and the draw for West Witney.

In similar fashion to Division 1, Division 2 looked all over a while ago but whilst Carterton are indeed champions and Hanborough are already relegated, the last two important spots are still to play for.

Carterton’s whitewash of Chipping Norton not only cemented their first spot but also provided Shiplake with a chance of survival.

Shiplake were at home to promotion chasing Witney Town knowing that, with just one more match remaining after this, they needed a big win if they were to stay in the division at Chipping Norton’s expense. Big win they got, fielding a very strong side they won comfortably on all rinks, though it required a six on the fourteenth end from Barry Lambourne’s men to achieve their win. They now travel to South Oxford knowing that another win will keep them up.

Chippy still have two games to play, the second at already relegated Hanborough. However, they host Charlbury next week knowing that they must better Shiplake’s result if they are to have a chance of playing in this division next year.

Charlbury played steadily throughout their game at home to Hanborough, outplaying their opponents on all rinks in a match unusual only in that there was nothing of note to comment on!

Division 4 continues its merry, complex season. Playing their penultimate match, Bicester had the chance to guarantee their promotion playing one of two teams who could still overtake them. As it was, they won two rinks, with Phil Bannister’s rink taking a ten shot lead after eight ends and Martin Graves dominating the second half of his game. Chadlington were not to be outdone, winning the other two and, had Carl Smart not dropped a four on the seventeenth end of his game they would have taken the match points as well.

West Oxford needed to better Bicester’s score if they were to remain in the hunt for the title. They achieved this with easy wins on three rinks, unfortunately, Gary Richardson’s rink were unable to press home their advantage at sixteen ends in a close game as Dave Barlow closed out for Oxford University Press’s only win of the night.

The final match of the night saw South Oxford reduce their chance of promotion as they lost to Woodstock. The highlight was Don Portman’s rink coming from eight shots down with three ends to play to snatch an unlikely win by scoring two threes and a four on the final three ends.

League week 11

As the summer league season draws to a close, promotion and relegation issues start to dominate club captains and players thoughts about the few weeks left. With the new schedule for Division 3 these are issues that really dominated this week’s matches as next week’s fixtures are their last of the year. Adderbury travelled to bottom club City and County knowing that a victory would ensure their being crowned champions whilst relegating their opponents. They were dominant almost from the start of the match on all four rinks, only Gary Gray’s rink offering real opposition and then only after they trailed Phil Gladden by eight shots. Winning the next seven ends took them into a short term lead but Phil’s men re-found their initial dominance to win three of the last four ends and take the point. Adderbury are champions and City and County will play in Division 4 next season.

Elsewhere in the division Headington outplayed Blackbird Leys on a green that the visitors never really mastered, only James Baldwin’s rink providing some real opposition, leading at sixteen ends only to drop the last two and lose the match.

Banbury Central staved off relegation for one more week by beating Thame and they host City and County in their final fixture. However, the battle to avoid the final relegation place favours Blackbird Leys as they have two matches left to play. In this week’s fixture, Central’s win was thanks in no small part to Jim Pickering’s rink which fought back from eight shots down at halfway to be only a single shot down going into the last end. Although they lost that end, their two shot margin was small enough that Central remained ahead on overall shot count and thus won the match points.

Division 2
saw leaders Carterton almost clinch the title with a dominant victory at Hanborough. The defeat pushed the losers into last place as Chipping Norton hosted, and surprisingly defeated, long distance travellers Shiplake. Unfortunately for Hanborough Carterton started well on all four rinks and never looked like being caught on any of them.

Shiplake were only ever in contention on one rink. Graham Kennedy was on level terms at thirteen ends, after which Tim Sealey’s men pulled away to win comfortably for Chipping Norton.
Witney Town and South Oxford are locked in a battle for the second promotion place. They met this week and the honours went to Witney, despite John Hall’s efforts for the Oxford side. Paul Demczak’s men went behind at the start of their match and stayed behind until the eleventh end, after which they steadily pulled away from their opponents to guarantee the points Witney needed to pull clear of the rivals into second place in the division.
Division 4 continues its turbulent way. Unlike the other divisions, here any two of four teams could still be promoted.
Bicester remain at the top of the league but erstwhile second place South Oxford dropped to fourth place as they had no fixture and the sides just below them both won.

Oxford University Press were unable to maintain their form of the previous weeks going down to Bicester. Whilst their three losing rinks were all well beaten from the start, Paul Tweddle salvaged some pride even though his rink won fewer than half the ends played. Scoring fives and sixes on ends can be a great help! For Bicester, Tony King’s rink were the pick taking the first eight ends to go fifteen shots up.

Twelve shots in three ends in the middle of the evening swung the result to Chris Sherwood’s rink for West Oxford playing at Woodstock. While Alan Blackburn snatched his win on the final end having been four behind with four to play. Three single shot ends left Brian Clarke leading for Woodstock with one end to play which Alan’s men won by two to grab the point for West Oxford.

Chadlington’s defeat of Bloxham was thanks to Carl Smart’s eighteen shot margin in a game where his opposition were never allowed to play, winning only six ends all game, and five of those by a single shot.

Finally, this week, Division 1! Still leaders Headington had no game for the third week – this time it was their bye week! It has allowed their rivals to close the gap to something a little more respectable. Banbury Central are their nearest competition having beaten Watlington on the own turf. A sixteen shot win for Mick Andrew’s rink put the icing on Central cake but the performance of the match was by Nigel Galletly’s triple which restricted Chris Gilkes rink to six winning ends, none by more than two shots, to win even losing twenty-five percent of their score for being a man short.

The Witney derby took place this week when Witney Mills were the ‘home’ team. Fittingly, each club won on two rinks but Paul Skidmore’s rink restricted Les Days to seven shots all match, winning by thirteen shots, which were enough to win the match points for West Witney.

The last match is the most relevant in the league this week as it involves the two teams that have battled relegation since the season began. Kidlington travelled a short distance to City and County knowing that they needed all six points available to have any chance of remaining in the division next season. Their host knew that they required a win to have any realistic chance of surviving as well. John Hardies big win shaded the match for Kidlington and leaves City and County with vital matches against Witney Mills and Watlington in the next two weeks.

Printable report
Results
Tables

League week 10

By the time you read this the World Cup final will be over, Harry Kane should have the golden boot and we can all relax again until December 2022!

On a more parochial note – Headington lost in Division 1!!. OK they had a weaker than usual squad but they would still have expected to beat lowly City and County. In Tour de France commentator parlance, ‘chapeau’ to Chris Lewis and his rink who inflicted Headington’s biggest single rink loss for at least two season, and probably much longer if anyone would like to check! Chris lost the first two ends, to trail by five shots then won the next seven to lead sixteen – five at the halfway point, a lead Gary May’s rink were unable to narrow. Mention to for Omar Sharif’s rink who also won, though by a much narrower margin, to ensure City’s four points. As an afterthought, it was very nearly five-one to City and County as Colin Pollard led Mark Charlett by ten shots at the halfway point only to drop fifteen shots in the second half of the game.

The other two matches in the division followed a more expected route. West Witney defeated, a now almost certainly relegated, Kidlington, winning three rinks vey comfortably. Chris Cox’s men salvaged a point for Kidlington who now need a miracle to stay in the division next season!

West might have thought that they would lie second in the league, as Watlington had a bye and Banbury Central took on a Witney Mills teams who had defeated them earlier in the season. However, Central had other ideas winning comfortably on three rinks, although the fourth was a different and far more interesting affair. When Will Campion’s final bowl on end twelve converted the end to a hot-shot eight for Central, and a lead of thirteen shots, it all looked up for Andy Wiggin’s men. Not so, they scrapped away and reduced the deficit to a mere six shots going in to the eighteenth end! Surely a Central rink with three very experienced bowlers could not drop a six on the final end but, in a dramatic finish, that is exactly what happened and Mills came away with a tied game. Fascinating to watch, exciting to play in, more so if you were a member of Andy’s team! Central are now in second spot on shot count.
Carterton extended their lead at the top of Division 2 with a comfortable defeat of Charlbury. Easy wins on two rinks but the other two were cases of ‘what might have been’. Paul Sharman’s rink started with a flurry and were eleven shots ahead after seven ends. Mark East’s men were not going to give up and they dragged themselves into the match with a six on the eighth end and were level at twelve ends. Nip and tuck ensued with Paul’s men holding a six shot advantage at sixteen ends only for Mark to score six over the final two ends for a tied game. Davie Cooper must have thought it was going to be his night when he led his rink to a ten – zero lead after four ends. Remy Clanfield had different ideas and, with the aid of a six on end six and subsequent fives and sixes, drew level and then powered away for a comfortable win.

South Oxford would have expected to be in second place at present as Witney Town had no match. Bottom place Chipping Norton had other ideas. Two rinks apiece with Tim Sealey’s men scoring six unanswered shots over their last three ends to swing the match score to the visitors.

Shiplake eased their relegation threat with a good win over Hanborough. Jim Bland’s twenty-six shot win was always going to earn Shiplake the match points but he was ably assisted by Graham Kennedy’s men. Matt Shepherd and Ken Williams fought out a titanic draw with the result going to an umpire’s measure on the final end, which went in Shiplake’s favour.

Division 3 leaders, Adderbury, outclassed close neighbours Banbury Central to increase their advantage over the chasing pack and now need only to beat Blackbird Leys in their re-arranged match to move back into division 2. Central rearranged their team hoping to come away with one win but Phil Gladden’s rink spoiled even that plan, sharing the results on the night with Tom McKenna’s rink.

For the early part of the season it looked as though Headington would be champions of Division 3. More recently, Adderbury’s good form and a slump in theirs means that they are now heading for a mid-table finish. This week they travelled to Thame and, unfortunately, lost two rinks by quite large margins with Graham Penn’s men scoring a six and a five on their way to a comfortable win for Thame.

By their own admission, Blackbird Leys demolition of City and County was uneventful though it does leave the losers staring relegation in the face.

Division 4 continues its season of unforeseen results1 This week the game between leaders, Bicester, and sixth place Woodstock should have been a formality for the home side. Perhaps the presence of the American President in Woodstock spurred on the visitors who played above themselves for their six points. Steal of the night was by Brian Clarke’s men who started well, going eleven points clear, only to see their lead being nibbled into and finally relinquished on end seventeen. Trailing by one shot, Brian needed to take the last end for the win and did so by the two shots required.

The game between West Oxford and South Oxford was memorable only for the rink where Gary Richardson’s men took on David Bye’s. Gary took six of the first eight ends scoring ten shots in the process only to drop the same ten on the other two ends! Both teams swapped the lead and at seventeen ends Gary led by four but then had to hang on on the last as David scored a three to almost snatch a draw!

Bloxham’s defeat of Oxford University Press came from Tony Gardner’s rink, which won by twenty-two shots.

League report
League tables
Match results

League week 9

The heatwave continues, the football is now, as I write, at its semi-final stage and Headington continue to lead Division 1 despite not playing for the second week! (This week’s match was postponed as they were unable to agree any other date with their regional top club opponents.

Behind them, Watlington’s season remains in its slump. This week Witney Mills defeated them on two rinks and tied a third, but the result does not tell the true story. Bob Gilkes rink led for most of his match and was four shots clear at fifteen ends only for Allan Wiggins rink to take eight shots over the final three ends and with it the game. Likewise, Paul Robbins snatched three shots in the final two ends to tie his game. With Les Days winning comfortably and Steve Gilkes doing equally well for Mills the match looked to be going Watlington. Step up Chris Weller, despite starting stepping up with the last two woods well down on most ends Chris either reduced Steve Gilkes score or won the end on most occasions, ‘he undoubtedly won the game for Mills’ to quote Watlington.

Elsewhere, Kidlington were losing to Banbury central on three of four rinks and look certain to return to division 2 next season. Their one bright spark came from Mike Peterson’s rink which led Nigel Galletly’s men until the sixteenth end, where they scored their second four in three ends. Undeterred, Mike inspired his rink to win the last two ends and tie the game.

Division 2 saw promotion chasers Witney Town and South Oxford strive to catch leaders, Carterton, who had a bye. Town came out best taking five points from their match at Chipping Norton. Three rinks were close at the halfway point but Town were able to move clear on all three to take the match, but the fourth rink was all Chippy, specifically John Benfield’s. Leading from end four, he allowed Alan Scholan’s men only three more ends, and those by single shots, to give Chippy an outside chance of the match points! Sadly, his other club teammates were unable to assist him!
Sadly, for Hanborough’s Chris Hayley, his sixteen shot winning margin was to little avail as South Oxford won by even bigger margins for both David Tidball and Keith Mobley. With Martin Oliver taking fourteen shots over the first four ends the match looked well balanced despite the big margins, Sadly, for Hanborough, Dick Claridge’s men took a six on the fifteenth to close Martin margin to seven shots and give South Oxford the match points.
The final match in the division saw Shiplake make the difficult journey to Charlbury and return home with a creditable win in a very tight match; indeed, only Martin East’s rink’s eight shot win stood between Shiplake and a big win! However, raw results never tell the real story and here, especially for Eric Pitts and Dave Cooper who looked to be taking their games for Charlbury. However, Jim Bland and David Webb’s men had other ideas! David rink trailed by three with two ends to play, took a single shot on end seventeen and put up a full length jack on the last end. Two good woods saw them up with just the skips to play, neither of who could change the game, so a draw was a fair result. Jim went one better; trailing by one his final wood trailed the jack to give Shiplake the end by two and the game.

Adderbury continue their domination of Division 3. This weeks ‘victims’ were Thame who were never allowed into the game on two rink and while Ken Calcutt’s men made a game of it until the halfway point they to succumbed in the second half. Only R0bin Jenner’s rink salved any pride for Thame, even that coming about through a four shot win on the final end.

Headington looked to be on the ropes at fifteen ends losing on three rinks and trailing by eighteen shots across the rinks. Russell Edward’s rink won the game and, whilst none of the other rinks were able to snatch a win from the jaws of defeat, they all closed the gap, outscoring City and County by twenty shots in total to snatch the match points.
Never a dull moment if you play for Banbury Central with Tom McKenna as your skip. Tom’s rinks have become the leagues own yoyo men having lost by 14, 41 and 23 shots whilst winning by 12, 14, 5 and now 18 shots! Blackbird Leys may have thought that they had this match won but Tom’s eighteen shots and Jim Pickering’s men coming from behind to snatch victory over the last two ends provided Central with the match points and a possible lifeline!

Surprise of the week was in Division 4 where Oxford University Press defeated high fliers Chadlington very comfortably for only their second win of the season. Strong finishes by David Barlow and Goff Giles, the latter to snatch victory on the last end, more than ably backed up Roger Cann’s rink, which went into a nineteen shot lead after six ends!

Bloxham continued to show what they are capable of with another win, this week away at Woodstock. Jim Lucas and Alan Miles’s rinks withstood late comebacks and Tony Gardner secured that match points with a comfortable win in a game where his rink never trailed.

Finally, Bicester and South Oxford fought out a humdinger. Tight throughout, Bicester trailed for most of a close match remining two shots adrift with one end to play with a single win and a tie looking probable for them. However, they outscored their opponents by the required three shots and Phil Sansome came up with the win on his rink to give Bicester the four points they needed to stay top of the division.

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League week 8

While England’s B team were losing to Belgium in Russia, the most of Oxford and District Bowls League players enjoyed the sunshine in central England. A few succumbed to the allure of the football and will have to wait to enjoy the pleasure of bowls at a later date.

Of those who played, members of Watlington and West Witney Bowls clubs enjoyed their evening more than their opposition, achieving comfortable victories and leaving the losers that bit closer to end of season relegation.
Three rinks at Watlington were very one-sided with Kidlington players unable to make any real impact in their games. The fourth rink was very close with the veterans of Bob Gilkes rink winning by a single shot, scored on the last end, and no side scoring more than two shots on any end.

The match at Witney was a much closer affair with both side trading big shot winning margins on several ends. Two games involved last ditch comebacks with both going to the home side. Paul Skidmore’s rink found themselves eight shots ahead after seven ends only to trail by two shots at twelve ends to Alan Leys rink for City and County. Paul then regrouped and won three of the next four ends well to lead by six shots with two ends to play but Alan was not giving up and took five shots in the last two ends to finals lose by a single shot.

Kevin Alder’s win was even more bizarre as he was facing a three man team skipped by Chris Lewis. The game came down to who won the final end as Chris’s trio knew they would give away a quarter of their score and finished the seventeenth end trailing by half a shot! It meant that the game was won and lost on the final end with Kevin winning it to complete Witney’s whitewash.

In Division 2, Carterton once again showed why they were division one champions two seasons ago. Usually, their trips to Shiplake have meant them taking a weaken team because of the travel time involved, this year they took a strong side and won on all rinks. Three were as comfortable as the score suggests but the game between David Webb and Sami Timms’s rinks fluctuated wildly with both teams holding the lead at different times and either could have won as it came down to the final end.

Witney Town maintained the challenge for a top two place with a good win at home to Hanborough. Easy wins for two skips and an equally one-sided loss on a third rink. The final rink proved close and at sixteen ends Ken William’s men were leading by two shots but Phil William’s led his side to victory with four shots over the last two ends.
South Oxford and Charlbury fashioned a thriller over the last four ends: at fourteen ends the sides were locked at two rinks each with South leading by sixteen shots across the four rinks. However, Charlbury closed the gap end by end and went to the final end only one shot behind overall. The final ends went three-one to the home side to snatch the match points.

Banbury Central continued their topsy-turvy season in Division 3 losing heavily at Headington fielding three rinks that seem to have had their minds on the football rather than the bowls. Colin Whitehead with the pick for Headington, restricting his opponents to three winning ends all match. Only Eric Trinder’s men provided real opposition for the home side building up a significant first half lead that their opponents were unable to overcome.
Almost as one-sided, but with a worse outcome for the visitors, was the final match in the division this week with Thame welcoming a struggling City and County side and winning on all rinks. Most interesting rink was that fought out by John Timms and Gary Gray’s men. The latter lead by seven shots after thirteen ends but lost their way letting John’s men back into the game which they won with two shots on the final end.

Bicester are back to the top of Division 4 having beaten West Oxford comfortably on three rinks. The final rink went to the wire with Tony King’s men needing a three to tie and, agonisingly, managing only two shots to give Chris Sherwood’s men West’s single point.

South Oxford travelled to Bloxham hoping to maintain their position at the top of the league but the home side had a different agenda. A six on the third end ensured a Bloxham victory for Dave Morse’s rink, while Tony Gardner needed to win the final end against John Guest and Alan Miles’ men hung on to the big early lead they had built up over the first half of their match but the almost story of the week came from the one Oxford winning rink where John Cope’s men saw their fourteen shot led whittled down to a single shot by Jim Lucas and his rink before Jim ran out of ends.

The final match of the week continued the divisions odd season as title challengers Chadlington entertained struggling Woodstock and, surprisingly, lost on three rinks! Dave Francis triple led the way for the visitor building up a big enough lead to be able to drop twenty-five percent of their score and still win. Paul Shipton also won, albeit more comfortably, but the other two rinks went to the wire. Tim Stevens rink scored six over the last two ends to snatch their victory whilst Julian Horsey also took the last two ends to grab their point.

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League week 7

This week marked the halfway point in the season and some trends are appearing.

The title race appears to be all but over in Division 1. Headington added to their already impressive record of victories with a whitewash of one time possible challengers, Watlington. Difficult to make new comments on their achievements save that they have dropped only three points so far this year!

Witney Mills and Banbury Central both did themselves favours defeating possible relegation candidates Kidlington and City and County. Les Days rink were given an initial shock by Paul McGraths men for Kidlington who won the first five ends and built a nine shot lead. Unfortunately, for Kidlington, that was as good as it got as they were outplayed from then on this rink and throughout the game on the other three.

Nigel Galletly’s rink scored twenty-two shots without reply for Central at the start of their game and even a six on the last end was insufficient for Colin Pollard’s rink to close in any meaningful way. Omar Sharif had an even more dramatic final end, scoring seven, but with the same outcome for the visitors as Keith McNeil’s rink had already clinched the game. The other two rinks were much closer affairs with City and County fighting back well on both. Chris Lewis pegged Mick Andrew back from twelve – five down at ten ends to run out of ends at one shot down, while Alan Ley’s men went one better, trailing by seven shots with four ends to play they tied the game on the final end.

Carterton look to be returning to Division 1 as they now lead Division 2 by seven and a half points having beaten promotion rivals South Oxford on their own green. David Tidball’s rink scored eight shots over the last four ends to snatch a point but Carterton were never stretched on the other three rinks.
Witney Town kept themselves in the title race with victory at home to Charlbury. Three rinks were fairly one-sided but Philip Warner’s men won two close final ends to stop Malcolm Fraser’s men, who had scored a four on the sixteenth end to close the gap to a single shot.

Bottom club, Chipping Norton, entertained relegation rivals Hanborough and came away with the spoils thanks to some good bowling from two rinks and it could have been even more impressive if Keith Field’s men had kept the lead they took on the sixteenth end, but Colin Hayley’s rink won the last two ends for Hanborough.

Division 3 is at its halfway point even though teams have played a match fewer than the other divisions. Adderbury now look set to be promoted back to Division 2 having beaten closest rivals Headington emphatically. Phil Gladden was never troubled going fifteen shots clear at twelve ends, but the best result of the night came from Russell Edwards for Headington who won fifteen ends in total.

Elsewhere the division has become crowded, Banbury Central pulled themselves off the bottom of the table with an impressive victory, away at City and County, whilst Blackbird Leys and Thame fought out a close encounter.

Central won easily on three rinks, City and County pulling back a little on each rink to make the scores seem closer than they were. However, Mal Leather’s rink was held for ten ends before out bowling their opposition over the last eight ends.

Thame and Blackbird Leys shared four quite one-sided rinks. The winning side each going well ahead at the halfway point only to have their opponents reduce the gap over the closing ends.

Philip Radbone’s rink swung an otherwise close fixture Chadlington’s way in the top match in Division 4. Eighteen shots in front at fourteen ends, even the opposition scoring a five on the fifteenth end made little difference to the outcome. The closest game was that between Phil Madeley and David Lyne’s rinks where the home side were four shots behind after fourteen ends to regain the lead on the seventeenth only for David’s rink to take three on the last end and snatch victory.

Bloxham again showed what might have been, comfortably beating West Oxford! Bloxham’s three winning rinks were as one sided as the score suggest but the fourth rink went to the last end all square with John Parker’s men winning that end to give West Oxford their single point.

Oxford University Press broke the mould and came away with their first win of the year from their match against Woodstock. Geoff Jordan’s comfortable win proving enough for the match points despite Dave Francis efforts for the visitors. Their other winning rink was a more exciting affair: holding an eleven shot lead at eleven ends one must assume Geff Giles’ men relaxed, wining only one more end to scrape home by a single shot!

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