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League week 5

Some, apparently, very one-sided matches in most divisions this week, results that give a real indication as to which clubs are aiming at title and which are already trying to stave of relegation.

In Division 1, Headington and Watlington are now clear of the chasers with City and County and Kidlington wondering what they need to do to stay in the division next year.

The ‘big’ match was at Watlington where potential title rivals West Witney were the visitors. In the event, three rinks were won comfortably by the home side but the fourth was a bit special. David Leighfield’s men led Shane Cooper’s rink until end sixteen, where they dropped two shots, another two on the seventeenth for Shane and it looked all over but David had other ideas! Two ‘world class’ final bowls saw him win the end by three and tie the match.

Any thought’s that Watlington might have had about closing the gap on leaders Headington were dashed as their rivals won comfortably at home to Kidlington. The visitors held the home team on three rinks at the halfway stage but only Chris Cox’s men were able to maintain the pressure, running out comfortable winner for the visitors. Five points was enough to keep Headington at the top but Kidlington, and City and County now find themselves at the bottom of the league and City’s match against Banbury Central in two weeks will be vital for their season.

This week, they travelled to Witney Mills and were well beaten on three rinks, with Les Day’s rink imposing themselves from the start for Mills and running out winners by seventeen shots. Only Chris Lewis and his team were able to win for City and County, restricting their opponents to single shots on seven ends in the process.
The results from Division 2 men that three teams have pulled clear of the rest and the Chipping Norton already appear doomed to finish bottom.

Chippy came up against a rampant Carterton side and were well beaten on three rinks, only Keith Field’s rink able to hold onto the opposition. Indeed, they went into the final end all square with Tim Jupp’s men and, unfortunately for Chippy, lost the last end by a single shot to give Carterton all six points.

With South Oxford not playing, Witney Town were able to close the gap coming out on top in a close encounter with Shiplake. A comfortable win apiece but two very close and very odd rinks elsewhere! Tim Ludlow’s team scored once in the first six ends and were still eleven- six down at eleven ends. However, eleven shots in the next six ends saw them three ahead at sixteen ends only to drop a three on the seventeenth to need to win the last end. Tim obliged for the point! Just as odd was the clash between Alan Scholan and Jim Bland. Down six-one after six ends, Jim’s men fought back to lead by three at thirteen but then drop five over the next two ends. A six on end fifteen was enough to give them a four shot lead with two ends to play but Alan’s team were not done yet and two twos secured a memorable tie!

Charlbury’s defeat of Hanborough had three rinks that were as one sided as the final scores appear to make them. However, the fourth rink proved close though N Williams rink for Hanborough may well have thought they had done enough, holding a four shot lead at fifteen ends only for Davy Cooper’s Charlbury rink to win the final three ends for a tie.

Big wins for City and County and Adderbury in Division 3 leave the latter at the top and Banbury Central looking at relegation. Phil Gladden’s rink lost their first two ends and the final one but won all others to complete one of the most comprehensive wins in some years. Only Jim Pickering’s rink were able to put up some sort of fight for Central but even this faltered at fifteen ends when they dropped a four.

Meanwhile, Blackbird Leys were on the wrong side of a similar score line against City and County. Only Alex Fleming’s men ever getting into the act for Leys. Indeed, they led at eleven ends but then dropped eleven shots over the final ends to give all six points to the home side.

Headington and Thame shared two wins apiece, all four proving one-sided affairs with Les Canfield’s fifteen shot winning margin being the difference between the teams.

Division 4 is still competitive at the top. Chadlington’s defeat of previous leaders Bicester took them back into the lead. The final score cards show the danger of relaxing when you are ahead in the sport! Peter Madeley, Anthony Hobbs and Carl Smart all looked as though they were cruising to victory, indeed Carl went fourteen-one up after nine ends then failed to score for six ends! However, all three clung on for victory but Phil Radbone’s rink lost despite taking an early eight shot lead being out played by Martin Graves’s men for much of the rest of the game.

A very tight game at South Oxford saw four unexpected results in that none of the leaders at eleven ends went on to win their games. Best result was that for J Cope’s men who took seven shots on the last four ends to snatch victory.
Gary Richardson’s men looked down and out at trailing by six shots after eleven ends for West Oxford. However, they then outscored their opponents fifteen-one over the last seven ends. Only Roger Cann’s men were able to reply for Oxford University Press building up a twelve shot lead that their opponents could not overcome even with a five on the sixteenth end.

League report
League Tables

League week 4

For the first time in two seasons rain stopped play. Three matches were a complete washout, all at Witney or west of it, and others ended at fifteen ends, but many were played to completion before the rains arrived!

Division 1 lost the derby at Witney with the shared ground of West and Mills being flooded at 18.00.

Watlington travelled to Banbury Central and eventually won the match having tied two rinks apiece. Central’s downfall, and Watlington’s match winners was the rink between Les Campion and Steve Gilkes. Fortunately, for Watlington, Les’s men played poorly whilst Steve’s all had blinders with the final score 24 – 7 to Watlington and with it the match points. Keith McNeil’s rink can feel hard done by as they inflicted Shane Cooper’s first fours defeat of the season winning with a respectable twelve shot margin.

Though John Hardie’s men fought hard over the last four ends to overturn a five shot lead a snatch victory from defeat, this was Kidlington’s only win in their match with close neighbours City and County. Two easy wins for City and County and an honourable tie in the topsy-turvy encounter between Alan Ley and Paul McGrath’s men, with the lead changing four times, gave the home side their first victory of the season.

Division 2 suffered worst of all with the weather, the only fixture surviving being that at Shiplake. The sides played out one of the closest matches of the week, with the home team eventually running out winners by six shots, with grateful thanks to Graham Kennedy and his men who came from seven shots behind at thirteen ends to lose out by two shots but swung the match totals to Shiplake. Two close, but comfortable, wins for Shiplake on the other rinks and a second, also very close affair, in the final rink for the visitors, where Tony Reid and Jeff Martin played the last end only a single shot apart, with the single shot going to Chippy thanks to a running last wood from Jeff that move the jack to a Chippy bowl.

Division 3 escaped the weather, almost!

Whist Thame escaped entirely, the other games were shortened by the storm, Blackbird Leys at sixteen ends and Headington at fifteen.

Headington comfortably beat City and County. Routine wins on two rinks but the other two could have gone either way right until the last wood. Mark Plested’s rink hung on grimly for their, and City and County’s only, point needing to win the last end to do so. Colin Whitehead and Terry Gripe tied their last end for a Headington win!

With a comfortable win apiece, the match at Blackbird Leys could have gone either way. Indeed, had it ended at fifteen ends Banbury Central would have taken one and tied the other, as it was fortune, and the weather, smiled on Leys, with Roy Brain scoring a three on the last end to tie his match and Alex Fleming scoring the one he needed to win his.

Comfortable wins on two rinks for Adderbury at Thame but the other two were close with John Timms hanging on for his win, winning the final end by a single shot, despite a great comeback by Chris Skidmore’s men who found themselves twelve – four down after eleven ends. A four by Richard Jenner’s men on the seventeenth end guaranteed their victory in an otherwise tight game against Dave Sharpe’s rink.

Had Bloxham fielded a team for their first match of the season, they would probably have been top of Division 4 this week! However, all that a good win for them, against a previously unbeaten Chadlington, does is put them into positive points total for the season.

New Division 4 leaders are Bicester who scored the first century by anyone his season in their defeat of Oxford University Press. Kevin Taylor’s win included two sixes and a seven, whilst M Grave’s men were thirty-five shots ahead at fourteen ends and then relaxed! OUP’s shining light were Geoff Jordan’s men who contrived to make a comfortable win seem very close by dropping a five on the last end when six ahead!

West Oxford have Gary Richardson’s rink to thank for all their points as they tied the fixture with Woodstock, their nine shot winning margin was, just, enough to overcome the eight shot total margin for the opposition on their three winning rinks. The fixture was curtailed to fifteen ends and the match points could have gone either way, with both sides winning the fifteenth ends on two rinks.

League week 3

Week three of the season and Division 3 clubs had their first fixtures.

Headington started their campaign looking as though they mean to move up a division! However, their match at Banbury Central was closer on three rinks than the final scores would imply. Whilst Colin Whitehead’s rink won at a canter, the others were close until the halfway mark after which Russell Edwards and Martin Kershaw’s men dominated, whilst Steve Gould needed five shots on the final two ends to snatch a draw.

Alex Fleming’s men snatched five shots on the last end to grab a point for Blackbird Leys in their match at Adderbury. With two close rinks going one apiece, it was left to Darren Sharpe’s rink to ensure the match points for the home team with the performance of the night, a comprehensive thirty point winning margin.

Terry Gripe’s men deserved the accolades at Thame. Their City and County rink started well, going five shots clear after seven ends only to lose the next five ends to trail by seven shots and then snatch victory on the final end having dragged themselves back into the match. Elsewhere, the outcomes were more clear cut, other than Mark Plested’s rink where they required four shots over the last two ends to pull clear. However, their efforts were to no avail as Thame had won the other two rinks comfortably and with them the match points.

Division 1 Headington gained their ‘expected’ win at home to struggling City and County. Easy wins on three rinks for them though Graham Kerr’s rink did tie with Mark Charley’s only to lose twenty-five percent of their score as they only fielded three men.

Kidlington now realise, if they did not already, that Division 1 sides play to the final end. One comfortable win for each club but the match against West Witney hinged on the other two rinks. Steve Gibson’s rink took a seven shot lead for the home side after seven ends but only scored two more shots over the rest of the game as Paul Skidmore’s rink won comfortably. It was a similar tale for John Hardie’s men who were seven shots ahead at ten ends, but Andy McIntyre’s rink only allowed them two more shots.

Witney Mills surprised Banbury Central winning comfortably on two rinks and Allan Wiggin’s rink inching out Keith McNeil’s over the last two ends. Only Les Campion was able to apply any pressure for Central, winning the last two ends to sneak past Chris Weller, having been behind after sixteen ends.

Division 2 leaders South Oxford continued their progress with a comfortable win at Chipping Norton. Two rinks were won as easily as the score suggests but Keith Field’s rink for Chippy was held by the triple of Keith Mobley until the last end, John Benfield held Mike Keen’s men until the fourteenth end but lost the last four.

Carterton had three comfortable wins but Paul Sharman’s rink was never in their game against Dave Cooper’s men, only making the score seem a little more respectable with a five on the last end.
Shiplake travelled to Hanborough with fifteen bowlers, so one rink was going to struggle. In the event, Tony Reid’s triple struggled throughout their game finally dropping a six on the last end. With one easy rink win each, and David Webb’s men just holding on for the win Shiplake would have expected to take the match points but that six was their downfall!

Bloxham still prop up Division 4 but may not do so for much longer if they continue the impressive form they showed at Oxford University Press. Tony Gardner’s rink were only one in any sort of trouble but they scored five on the last end to snatch victory.

With leaders Chadlington not playing, South Oxford took the chance to catch them with a good win at home to West Oxford. Easy wins on two rinks and an impressive last five ends from David Lyne’s men, winning all five and scoring eight shots in the process to come from six shots down and take victory.

Odd result of the evening was at Woodstock where visitors Bicester had Tony King’s rink to thank as their fifteen shot winning margin proved enough to outscore the other three rinks, all of which went to the home team.

League report

League Week 2

Week 2 and all teams have played at least one match, other than those in Division 3 which does not start until next week. Some indication of form, or otherwise, in most divisions but Division 4 looks as though it may be a real mixing pot!

In Division 1, Headington continued their domination, this week against another strong rival, West Witney. Whilst captain Mark Charlett and Jason King’s rinks dominated the second half of their games, the other Headington rinks found themselves struggling at fourteen ends and trailing by seven and nine shots. However, David Leighfield’s rink did not score again against Howard’s King’s men, losing to a four on the final end, whilst Andy McIntyre’s rink held on to win by two shots saving the game on the final end and winning Witney their single point in the process.

Watlington hosted Witney Mills, who struggled on three rinks with only Les Day’s men able to win for them with a good second half performance, only allowing their opponents to score two shots in the last seven ends. Shane Cooper’s rink dominated their opponents, as they have done in all three league/league cup matches so far this season.

Banbury Central match against Kidlington was also one sided on two rinks. The other two were tight at eleven ends, with the home club leading by a single shot on both. While Will Campion’s men dominated the final ends of their match, Chris Cox’s rink held their nerve and outlasted their opponents, thanks, in good part to a fine display of lead bowling, to earn Kidlington their single point.

Division 2, with Carterton having a bye, still looks a three-horse race for promotion, even at this early stage of the season. Witney Town’s whitewash of Chipping Norton was as one sided as it looks on three rinks with the visitors trailing from the off but the rink between Phil Warner and Tim Sealey was a very close affair. Seven shots in total scored on ends fourteen and fifteen gave Tim’s men a five shot lead and, with three ends to play, the thoughts of a point for Chippy. However, Phil’s men had different ideas, winning the final three ends to snatch victory at the death!
South Oxford also maintained their good start and they too dominated on three rinks. On the fourth, Ken William’s Hanborough rink was leading by six shots at fourteen ends only to see Keith Mobley’s men edge back winning the final four ends but falling to score the enough as Hanborough hung on for the point.

Shiplake may have expected a weakened, tired team to arrive from Charlbury – surely the worst journey of the season, though Woodstock and Oxford in the rush hour! – but none of it. Charlbury were off to excellent starts on three rinks and, while the home side pegged them back on two at the mid-point, they eventually ran out easy winners on all three. Jim Bland’s men salvaged something for the home side, winning their rink comfortably, but Shiplake look as though they may struggle this season.

The mixing pot of Division 4 saw Chadlington maintain their form and Bloxham field a full team!

Chadlington’s match, at home to Oxford University Press, was not quite as one sided as the score suggests as the visitors only had fourteen men thus two rinks had to sacrifice 25% of their scores. Whilst this did not affect the result for Phil Radbone’s men, Goff Giles’s triple tied their match only to see the shots and points lost on countback. The rink of the night, across all leagues it would seem, was in the game between Carl Smart and David Barlow’s teams. Trailing throughout and dropping a six on end thirteen, David’s men were apparently out of the game. Having none of it, they won the next three ends to catch their opponents after sixteen ends and then won the final two ends for the point.

A six scored on end eight saw Ray Hopkin’s rink take the lead for Bloxham at Woodstock in the closest match of the week. While they hung on for their win, and Dave Morse’s rink came back from a nine shot deficit at thirteen ends to give Bloxham two points, the Woodstock rinks skipped by Brian Clark and Paul Shipton both won and, in a very close match, the two sides tied on shots scored to share the points.

Biggest win of the night was for Simon Cole’s rink in Bicester’s match at South Oxford. Leading from the start, they lost only four ends for a twenty-three shot win. Whilst the other three rinks were close, and all followed the pattern of the night with one side well up at eleven ends only for the opposition to claw their way back into the game, though in this case the early leaders all held on for the Bicester win.

League tables
Match results

League week 1

The new season started last Thursday on a fine, if latterly, cold evening with this season’s modified match structure. Playing only eighteen ends allowed the matches to finish before it became too dark to see the jack, as it has done in the past. It also allowed for a delayed start where teams had to travel the length and breadth of the county, including crossing Oxford in the rush hour.

Reigning Division 1 champions, Headington, fielding a team that was, if anything, even stronger than last August’s, continued their previous seasons assault on the opposition. Visitors Banbury Central, themselves stronger than in 2017, played well but were still beaten. However, only Nick Rae-Welsh’s rink, with Ray Gaskins leading, were able to pull away for a comfortable win for the home side. Whilst the other three rinks were close, only Keith McNeil’s men provided Central with a point, and that thanks to an excellent debut for Andy Winter who, stepping in as a last-minute substitute and having only taken up the sport last year, played a pressurised final few ends like an old professional.

The match between last season’s runners up Watlington and newly promoted Kidlington almost went to plan for the home side. Two rinks won comfortably, Sam Watts’ men thirteen shots ahead at the halfway point on the third and only Chris Cox in front for the visitors, a five-one results looked on the cards. Odd game bowls! Sam Watt’ rink contrived to take only one further shot as Paul McGrath’s men found their form, snatching victory with eight shots in the last three ends, and whilst Steve Gilkes rallied his side to within three shots with one end to play they lost on the final bowl. Kidlington skip Chris Cox stepped up with the rinks final wood in his hand, trailing by six shots on the end. To save the day he had to reduce the deficit to two shots. He did to give the visitors the narrowest of victories and another point.

City and County are weaker than last year having lost some experienced team members and they were unable to hold visitors West Witney. Alan Ley’s men scored City’s only point whilst David Leighfield’s rink’s comfortable win ensured the match points went to the visitors.

The composition of Division 2 this season, with six teams all to the north and west of Oxford means that Shiplake will have some difficult travelling to away matches. Their first match, at Carterton, was a foretaste of things to come! Weary from the travel, only Jim Bland’s rink were able defeat their opponents whist Tim Jupp and Robbie Clanfield had easy victories for the home side, who are looking to return to the top division from where they were surprisingly relegated last year.

Newly promoted Hanborough held a strong Witney Town side well. At the halfway point only two shots separated the sides, but Alan Scholan and Tim Ludlow’s rinks pulled away for the visitors giving them the match points despite the best efforts of Geoff Thompson and Martin Oliver’s men for the Hanborough.

Charlbury found tough opposition in a South Oxford side which, like Shiplake, are determined to regain their division 1 status as soon as possible. Only Eric Pitts’ rink was able to win a point for the home side, that from what seems to have been a titanic struggle as they won thirteen ends and still only scored fifteen shots in total!

As Division 3 only consist of six teams, it was decided to start their season two weeks later than the other three divisions meaning that there were no matches in the division this week.

Division 4 should have had three fixtures but Bloxham were unable to field a team, giving the match to South Oxford.

Phil Radbone’s rink got off to flier for Chadlington, who were at Woodstock, racing to a thirteen shot lead at the halfway stage, eventually running out fourteen shot winners. Woodstock fared little better on two other rinks with Peter Madeley’s Chadlington rink winning by an impressive sixteen shots. However, Paul Shipton’s men lost their way over the final three ends turning what should have been a fourth win into defeat. Leading by five shots after fifteen ends, they dropped seven over the last three ends as Carl Smart’s rink snatched the point for the home side.
Bicester’s season in the division started badly losing on all three rinks. Richard Herbert provided their only point with his rink’s close win. Indeed, John Parker’s rink win by fifteen shots for West Oxford was one of the largest of the night anywhere in the league.

League table
League results
League report

Oxfordshire bowls league cup final

League Cup Winners 2017

Headington A were looking to crown a record breaking season, by becoming the Oxfordshire Bowls League Cup champions for the fourth year in a row.
Having celebrated reaching the final for the first time, their opponents Witney Town brought plenty of support to cheer their team on. With the floodlights warming up ready to brighten up the Kidlington green, the stage was all set.

Unfortunately for the Witney challengers it was already looking ominous after the first 3 ends, as the League Champions got quickly into their stride. By the half way point Headington A had already amassed an unassailable lead, with only Witney Town’s President, Alan Scholan, ahead on his rink.

By 15 ends all four Headington rinks were comfortably in front and the defending Champions continued their good form and marched on to victory – remaining unbeaten in the League and Cup for the whole season. Ray Gaskins skipped the highest winning rink for Headington, with Mick Nash, Norman Rae, and Colin Whitehead completing the four.

Winning captain Mark Charlett commented, ‘It’s been a great year for our Club, winning the League by a record number of points and claiming the Hawker Cup and League Cup in the last 2 weeks. But I’d also like to offer congratulations to Witney Town, for reaching their first ever League Cup final, and to the many bowlers from across Oxfordshire who have done so well at this year’s National competitions – the best the County has done for many years!’

Headington A 94; Witney Town 45: H Watts 18, A Scholan 15; R gaskins 31, B Bloomfield 7; J King 26, P Demczak; M Charlett 19, T Ludlow 9.

Oxon ladies lose to Cambs in MEL

Another disappointing league result and the last match of the season with only two winning rinks against Cambridgeshire.

Cambridgeshire 124.3, BOL 96
13 pts, 4 pts.

Carol Penson 18, C Hollingsworth 25
Carol Nall 11, S Pinder 25
Wendy Cross 8, B Clutterbuck 23
Pam Shepherd 14, S Alexander 22
Jeanette Berry 19, V Hughes 8.3 (only 3 players)
Marion Darton 26, S Ritchie 21

Men’s league cup

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

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

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

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

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

League final week

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

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

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

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

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

To return to this week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Printable report
Match results
League tables

League week 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Printable report
Match results
League tables