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League week 7

This week’s matches saw the halfway point in the season and, at least in some divisions, gave us some real pointers to the way the season is going.

Division 1 now seems a head-to-head battle between Headington and Watlington. Both had big wins this week and are now well clear of the rest. They meet on 13 July in what could be the title decider.

Headington continued their run of good form with a whitewash of last season’s champions, Carterton, on their opponent’s green! Difficult to praise any of the rinks as they all won by at least six shots but Nick Rae-Welsh’s men took the best performance award with a twenty shot winning margin.

Watlington were at West Witney in a much closer affair with Shane Cooper’s rink cancelling out Andy McIntyre’s twelve shot win for Witney. The other rinks both went to Watlington as the Witney men ran out of ends and were unable to close what early in the game had been a twenty shot difference between the teams.

The final fixture in the division looked as if it would be decisive in the relegation stakes early in the match. After eight ends Central were losing on all four rinks and in danger of being whitewashed. While they pulled back to win on two rinks nothing they did was going to compensate for Colin Pollard’s rink’s magnificent thirty shot win; indeed, they were unlucky to drop seven shots in the last two ends having been forty-one – four up after nineteen ends.

Despite not playing, Kidlington remain clear at the top of Division 2. Their closest rival, Witney Mills, closed the gap with a comfortable win at bottom club Adderbury but still remain four points behind. Nothing spectacular on any rink in what would appear to be a close match.

The other match in the division was at Shiplake where the home side were able to field a stronger team than they can away from home and beat visitors, Witney Town, comfortably. Shiplake held the early advantage on all four rinks and only Paul Demczak’s rink was able to pull back for the visitors whilst captain Barrie Evans lead his men to a convincing win for Shiplake.

Division 3 leaders, Charlbury increased their advantage over non-playing second place Banbury Central with a good win in a close match at Headington. whilst Eric Pitts men were able to break clear for the visitors, the other rinks were separated by no more than three shots. The loss leaves Headington at the foot of the table as Blackbird Leys took two points from their encounter at Chadlington. In a match with big wins on all four rinks, Ron Arthur and Paul Madeley’s rinks had bigger margins for the home side than Bob Spencer and Paul Sage could muster for their opponents.

The final match in this division proved a close affair between Hanborough and Bicester. It was decided by Martin Oliver’s rink’s big win for Hanborough.

In a similar fashion, Paul Heafey’s rink settled the match between Thame and South Oxford in Division 4. The win leaves Thame well clear atop the division with their visitors still in second place.

With City and County not playing, West Oxford and Bloxham closed the gap on the final promotion place. West Oxford defeating Oxford University Press in a match full of big wins. Gary Richardson and Chris Sherwood’s rinks both won by more than ten shots for West Oxford thus cancelling Paul Tweddle’s efforts for OUP.

The final match was also the closest of this weeks matches, Bloxham taking the match points by a single shot despite Brian Clark’s men winning by eleven shots for Woodstock. Tony Gardner and Dave Morse both skipped rinks that won by eight or more shots for Bloxham.

Printable report
Match Results
League Tables

League week 6

Another week of good weather produced some good bowls matches across the league.

Watlington provided the outstanding result of the week with their whitewash of last year’s Division 1 champions, Carterton. Good solid bowling from all sixteen Watlington players, as they have done for much of the season, means that they and Headington are now clear of the chasers.

That they are still second is as much to do with Headington’s abilities as it is to do with Banbury Central’s poor form. A six – nil defeat for Central may have not been unexpected, given other results so far this year, but the manner of it, 118 – 46, certainly was.

(As I write I have only the outline result for the third game, between South Oxford and Witney Mills. I am informed that this was also six – nil but, unexpectedly perhaps, to South Oxford.)

Next week’s round of matches is at the halfway point in the season and, only then, will Division 2’s standings start to mean anything. This week saw three games played for the first time this year and wins for Kidlington, Witney Mills and Witney Town contrive to move Kidlington well clear at the top with only Adderbury, of the others, looking out of the promotion race.

Indeed, their defeat by Witney Town, despite Phil Gladden’s big win, makes their relegation look likely. Town’s Paul Demczak more than cancelled out Gladden’s score and he was able assisted on the other two rinks.

Leaders Kidlington comfortably defeated a weak Shiplake side, who still find getting people to travel difficult, but only Joe Woodward’s men were really able to make their advantage count with an eighteen shot victory.

Witney Mills defeat of Chipping Norton came from a close match where the biggest margin, of seven shots, came in Chippy’s one victory.

Division 3 is proving the closest in the league this year. Charlbury maintained their lead at the top with a win against Hanborough in a close match. David Cooper’s rink’s nineteen shot winning margin proving decisive with the match split at two rinks apiece.

Banbury Central find themselves in second place despite starting the season thinking that they would be in another relegation dogfight. This week it was Tom McKenna’s twenty-two shot winning margin that won them the points.

Whilst Blackbird Leys still occupy last place, their defeat of Headington B keeps them in contention with third place Chadlington only having one and a half points more than them now. A nineteen point win for James Baldwin’s rink, with good support from Roy Brain’s men ensured Leys of the match points.

John Timms’ seventeen shot win set up Thames’ defeat of Bloxham in Division 4 in an otherwise very close affair. A win that leaves them top of the table.

City and County’s defeat of West Oxford was a similar affair with Joe Glenn’s men seventeen shot winning margin ensuring the points went to the home side.

The final fixture, between the bottom two clubs saw Oxford University Press triumph with a whitewash of Woodstock. Both Roger Cann and Geoff Jordan’s rinks had sizeable wins in the match.

Printable report
Match results
League tables

League week 5

The weather could have gone either way – I was in Wales where it rained heavily all day – but all matches seem to have survived.

Division 1 provided a week of large victories, or heavy defeats, depending who you were playing for. Headington retained their position at the top with good win, away at City and County. Results included a fifteen shot win for Howard Watts rink whilst the home sides only victory came from Paul Comley.

However, the title is yet to be decided as both Watlington and Carterton closed the gap taking maximum points from their fixtures. Carterton’s defeat of South Oxford was a comprehensive as the score suggest. Their fifty-one shot winning margin included a nineteen shot win for Paul Sharman’s rink.

Watlington might have expected more of a challenge away at Banbury Central but the home side put up little resistance, only Will Campion’s rink getting close at 20 – 22 but they started their fightback from 17 – 2 down and needed more ends than they had!

Leaders, Kidlington, increased their margin in Division 2 winning by twenty-five shots at Adderbury, Paul McGrath’s rink leading the way for them. Chipping Norton consolidated second place defeating Witney Town in a close game where all rinks could have gone either way until the last three ends.

Division 3 remains as close as ever. Hanborough defeated Blackbird Leys as Geoff Thompson’s eleven shot margin was enough to cancel Paul Sage’s nine shots for the visitors.

In a ‘game of two halves’, Bicester defeated Charlbury, despite Mike Smith and his men winning their rink comfortably for Charlbury, thanks to big wins for Kevin Taylor and Richard Herbert’s rinks.

The closest result of the week in the league came at Headington where the match ended in a bowls ‘draw’. The home team won on three rinks but the Banbury Central rink skipped by Jim Pickering won by a crushing twenty-seven shots to take match points and tie the fixture.

South Oxford remain on course to be promoted from Division 4 at the end of the season winning a close match at home to Bloxham. However, Jim Lucas tried to spoil their evening winning by twenty-one shots for the visitors. David Lyne almost cancelled this out for South Oxford winning by nineteen shots and David Bye completed the job for a two shot overall margin.

Thame maintained their form with a dominant defeat of Oxford University Press whilst City and County followed suit winning, slightly less convincingly, at Woodstock.

Prinatable report
Match results
League tables

League Week 4

Excellent weather for bowls gave the other teams in Division 1 the chance to close the gap on the leaders as it was Headington’s bye week.

Last year’s champions, Carterton visited close neighbours, and even closer rivals, West Witney and returned home the victors thanks largely to Robbie Clanfield’s rink winning by nineteen shots. Although Witney captain, Kevin Alder, lost his rink by a single shot he did so despite bowling well but having to come from behind in most ends because of the outstanding lead of Joe Justin for the visitors.

In the most exciting finish of the week, Watlington, who had won on the first two rinks to finish but were level on shots with only the final end of the fourth rink to play as Alan Ley, skipping for visitors City and County, won the third rink by thirteen shots. Mark Plested, leading for Watlington put his first bowl close to the jack and the opposition were unable to get closer thus the home side won by that single shot.

Banbury Central travelled to South Oxford and returned victorious due, in no small part, to Keith McNeil’s rink’s eighteen shot winning margin, leaving the home side firmly rooted to the bottom of the division.

In Division 2, Kidlington defeated Chipping Norton by a comfortable margin and Shiplake defeated Adderbury in a much closer affair. The two winners now top a division where few fixtures have taken place so far.

Chadlington remain top of Division 3 despite having a bye this week. Banbury Central moved into second place with a comfortable defeat of Hanborough. Tom McKenna’s men leading the way with a seventeen shot win, whilst Chadlington’s equally comfortable defeat of Headington moved them into third place.

Blackbird Leys and Bicester tied in one of those strange matches that bowls produces from time to time. Three good wins for Bicester, including one by thirteen shot for Alan Hall’s men, proved insufficient to get the match points as, in his clubs only win, James Baldwin ran out a twenty-three shot winner and grabbed the spoils for the visitors and tied the match.

South Oxford remain top of Division 4 beating Oxford University Press in a close match to enhance their margin whilst Bob Perry’s win for Woodstock was their only one in their defeat at West Oxford.

Prinable Report
Match Results
League Table

League Week 3

In a game that may be significant at the end of the season, Headington’s meeting with Watlington last Thursday turned on Jason King’s rink’s defeat of Steve Gilkes’ men. Whilst the rest of the Gilkes family, Bob and Chris, led their rinks to victory, Steve’s men lost by twenty-eight shots giving Headington overall victory and cementing their place at the top of Division 1.

Elsewhere, West Witney were defeating a depleted Banbury Central team missing five of their A squad. Good wins for Kevin Alder and Paul Skidmore’s rinks, only Lee Young able to reply for Central.

City and County got the better of a close match against South Oxford thanks a big win for Paul Comley’s men. The result leaves the losers at the foot of the table.

In Division 2, Tim Ludlow’s rink won the Witney clash for his Town team. Their twelve shot winning margin was not only Town’s single win but also sufficient to swing the match to his side by ten shots as the other rinks were separate by no more than a single shot.

Chipping Norton were having a more comfortable time at home to a Shiplake side making their longest trip of the season. Whilst Barrie Evan’s rink were able to provide some solace for the visitors, Jeff Martin and Keith Field ‘s were winning with ease for the home side.

The closest margin of the week was at Bicester in Division 3, where the visitors, Banbury Central, managed to win on three closely fought rinks but lost the match to Kevin Taylor’s rink who won the final rink by fifteen shots to snatch the match points by a single shot, and tie the result.

The other fixtures were a little more one sided, Hanborough defeating Chadlington, thanks to Martin Oliver’s twenty-two shot margin, and Charlbury running up the only hundred plus score of the week in their defeat of Blackbird Leys. Eric Pitts and Malcom East’s rinks both scoring over thirty shots in this match.

Division 4 saw the most one-sided match of the week with Bloxham’s defeat of Oxford University Press. Jim Lucas leading the way for the victors with a twenty-three shot winning margin.

Elsewhere, City and County defeated South Oxford comfortably whilst Thame eventually won at home to West Oxford. Two rinks apiece in the latter match with Paul Heafey’s rink swinging the result to the home team with their eighteen-shot margin.

Match results
League Tables
Printable report

League Week 2

Last season’s Division 1 champion’s, Carterton, narrowly defeated Banbury Central with the match hinging on the outcome of the Sammy Timms v Will Campion rink. Always at a disadvantage with only three players, the Central rink led at the halfway mark only to drop six shots on the eleventh end and never recover.

Despite the four points they won, Carterton fell further behind Headington, whose form remains impressive. Their only failing in the match at South Oxford was their inability to run up one hundred shots and they now have a four point cushion over their nearest rivals. Next week’s fixture against Watlington will tell us more about both club’s sides.

City and County failed to capitalise on their impressive victory last week, unable to take even a point at West Witney. Good bowling by all four Witney rinks with that skipped by Kevin Alder and well led by Oxfordshire under-25’s Harvey Alder, doing the most damage.

The closest result of the week was at Adderbury in Division 2 with the home side emerging victorious by two shots against newly promoted Chipping Norton. Indeed, Jeff Martin’s rink would have been disappointed as their seven shot win could easily have swung the match to the away team but Adderbury amassed enough on two other rinks to emerge victorious overall by two shots.

What, on paper, should have been a close match, at Kidlington, seems to have been anything but as the home side defeated Witney Town by seventeen shots. Much of the margin was scored by John Hardie’s rink with an impressive fourteen shot win.

Charlbury look to dominate Division 3, following last week’s comfortable win with an even better one, this time away at Banbury Central. Mark East’s rink led the way with an impressive seventeen shot victory.

Chadlington bounced back from their opening day defeat with a comfortable victory at home to Bicester. Big win’s here for Phil Radbone and Carl Smart’s men.

Headington were the victors in a strange encounter at home to Hanborough. Graham Haynes and Geoff Thompson ran up a twenty-two shot winning margin between them only to have Russell Edwards’ men win by twenty-four shots for Headington and snatch the match.

In Division 4 South Oxford had a comfortable win, away at West Oxford, in a match curtailed by rain, whilst Brian Clarke’s rink impressive win away at Thame was to no avail as the other three home rinks all won comfortably.

(Whist I know that South Oxford defeated Bloxham I do not have sufficient details of the match to comment or enter it into the league table.

Match Results
League table

Bob Joiner

Headington A celebrate League Cup success again

After narrowly missing out on the League title to Carterton this year, holders Headington A were hoping to continue their dominance of the Oxfordshire Bowls League Cup competition and make it 3 in a row for the second time.

Having scraped through the semi-final against a battling City & County A side in the semi-final, Headington A were now up against Shiplake – making their first appearance in the final.

Unfortunately for Shiplake, Headington were in a determined mood, and after just 6 ends had built up a 31 shot lead.

As darkness descended and the floodlights at Kidlington started to light up, the result was now appearing inevitable, despite Shiplake’s captain Barry Evans keeping it tight on his rink.

As the game drew to an end, the Headington skips of Howard Watts, Jason King, and Mark Charlett had built up commanding leads on their 3 rinks and the Headington A eventually cruised to victory by 38 shots.

A delighted team captain, Mark Charlett commented, “We were disappointed to miss out on the League title this season, but retaining the League Cup has capped a great season and I’m delighted with the success we’ve had at the club this year. I’d also like to congratulate Shiplake on reaching their first League Cup final and Kidlington Bowls Club for being such excellent hosts again”.

The league Cup was this year sponsored by Bridle Insurance, who extended their support of Oxfordshire Bowls League to include the League Cup competition.

Shiplake 49, Headington A 87.

J Bland 8, M Charlett 29;
B Lambourne 13, J King 26;
G Kennedy 14, H Watts 21;
B Evans 14, R Gaskins 11.

Headington A win Summertown Trophy

Summertown winners 2016

This year’s Summertown Trophy competition welcomed a new Sponsor – Mark Charlett from Oxford Auto Care, with the prize money boosted to over £1,100 for the 10 qualifying teams to compete for. Banbury Chestnuts were again the hosts of final’s day, with teams from across the County playing each other over 7 ends in a round-robin format. The only other difference this year, was that the player’s had to contend with rain throughout a large part of the day, making bowling conditions very tricky and pretty uncomfortable for the bowlers.

Early pace-setters were Kidlington, who got off to a flying start by defeating last year’s champions, Banbury Central B. After 4 games, Melvyn Brain’s Kidlington side had built up a good lead, going into the lunchtime break on +21 shots. West Witney were closely behind with +16 shots and Watlington B were lying in third with +10 shots.

After lunch things then started to swing away from the Kidlington team slightly, with a heavy defeat to Headington B, leaving them just behind the Headington side. West Witney were still going strong at this point and led the pack after 6 games, but Headington A were also gaining momentum and starting to find their form.

The 7th game though saw the competition turn into a 2 horse race between the Headington sides, with the A’s picking up a 13-0 victory to sit on top with +23 points, followed by the B team, who’d won by 6 shots and had a +18 total.

Headington A continued to add to their shot tally in the last game and ended up claiming the title with a comfortable +34 shots. Their squad of John Philpott, Steve Hainge, Jason King, Mark Charlett, Kelvin Woodward, and Ian Henwood collecting the Summertown Trophy and first prize. Having just won the League Cup Final two days earlier, it was another good day for Headington; as their B side finished the day as runner’s up, and recipients of the Astall Ley Trophy, collecting a second lot of prize money going for the Club.

The big drama though came on rink 5, with Kidlington facing West Witney in a battle for third place. With the contest coming down to the final end, the outcome was eventually decided on a calliper measure – West Witney edging the result and taking third spot on +14 shots.

1st: Headington A +34
2nd: Headington B +21
3rd: West Witney +14

League cup semi finals

Played on two consecutive Thursdays for the first time, the League Cup semi-finals couldn’t have been closer, with an exciting climax to both games.

First up was Shiplake v Watlington, with both teams making their first ever appearance in the semi’s on the green at South Oxford.

With Watlington securing promotion to Division 1 in the League and Shiplake going the other way to Division 2, the south Oxfordshire teams knew they would have another season apart, and both were keen to make their debut in the League Cup final.

Watlington were quickest out of the blocks, and at the half way point were leading by 12 shots and winning on all 4 rinks. However Shiplake bounced back and at 14 ends had edged ahead, with 3 of the rinks now in front – Matt Shepherd’s four leading the charge.

Despite securing a good victory on Les Wescott’s rink, it was not to be Watlington’s night. The other 3 skips, all from the Gilkes family, couldn’t recover their earlier lead and Shiplake ended the game victorious by 6 shots and with a place in the final.

There was also drama in the second semi-final, as holders Headington A did battle once again with old rivals City & County A. With 2 men short on the night, City & County knew they’d need a good start, as part of their score would be adjusted at the end. Within just a few ends, Paul Comley, Alan Ley, and Colin Pollard were piling on the shots, whilst Chris Earl’s four were keeping things close against Headington’s Nick Rae-Welsh. At 8 ends City and County were up by 11 shots, and as darkness started to fall still looked to be knocking the Champions out. Then, with captain Mark Charlett leading the fightback, Headington gave themselves an outside chance – as 3 of their rinks crept home with narrow wins, whilst trailing City & County heavily on the fourth.

With just one end remaining, and Headington needing 3 shots for victory, everyone gathered around the one rink left playing. Bowling a shorter jack, Headington adjusted better to the poor light and romped home with 5 shots on the end to clinch an unlikely victory, despite an accomplished win for Colin Pollard’s four.

The final will now be played between Headington A and Shiplake, under the floodlights at Kidlington, on Thursday 8th September.

Shiplake 69, Watlington 63
J Bland 19, S Gilkes 15; M Shepherd 20, C Gilkes 13; B Evans 19, B Gilkes 13; G Kennedy 11, L Wescott 22.

Headingon A 69, City & County A 66½
H Watts 16, P Comley 15; M Charlett 21, A Ley 16; R Gaskins 17, C Pollard 25; N Rae-Welsh 15, C Earl 10½.

League Final Report

Has there ever been a season like the one that has just finished?

Few matches lost to the weather, two titles going to the wire, new rules for some clubs to adjust to and the closest relegation battle that I can remember!

First the congratulations:

Division 1:

Champions: Carterton BC
Runners Up: Headington BC

Division 2:

Champions: Watlington BC
Runners Up: West Witney BC

Division 3:

Champions: Kidlington
Runners Up: Chipping Norton BC

Division 4:

Champions: Chadlington BC
Runners Up: Blackbird Leys BC

Now some details:

In Division 1, Carterton needed to match Headington’s results to become champions and they did so in style. Away at City and County, which is never easy, they won on all four rinks and made 100 shots for the second time this season meaning that Headington could not beat them however good their results.

As it was, Headington won well on three rinks, including a twenty-eight shot margin for captain Mark Charlett, but Richard Barnett’s rink spoiled their party by winning his rink for Witney Mills.

Unfortunately, the single point gained by Witney Mills was not enough to stave off relegation and they join Shiplake in division 2 next season.

The final match, between South Oxford and Banbury Central, could have no relevance to either clubs final league position and indeed Banbury arrived with a minimal squad and, as a consequence, lost on all rinks.

In Division 2, Watlington knew that they were already champions but also knew that opponents Witney Town could clinch promotion to division 1 with a good result. As it turned out, Watlington mixture of youth and experience won the day and Town awaited neighbours West Witney’s result. Drama aplenty in the match itself, where either team could have won. Big wins on one rink apiece meant that the two close rinks would settle the result. Steve Gilkes trailed Tim Ludlow’s four by two shots with his own last bowl to play and promoted one of his own team’s bowls for shot and a tied rink. Paul Demczak’s men needed a four to win the match for Town and were holding three, and a tied result in the match, only for Chris Gilkes to draw shot with his final bowl. Drama not yet finished as exuberance took over and the head was kicked out before Paul could bowl his last bowl! End replayed in the dark, but to no avail for Town as they were unable to score the required four shots.

Elsewhere, West Witney were demolishing already relegated Bicester, scoring a century of points in the process. The five points they gained in the match were sufficient to get them back to the top division as they leapfrogged Witney Town into second place.

The last match in the division was a fascinating relegation battle between Banbury Chestnuts and Adderbury with the visitors needing two points to overtake Charlbury and remain in division 2 next season. The outcome was close, and one that suited both teams, with Alan Wase’s nine shot margin for Chestnuts, on their only winning rink, being sufficient to give them match points and a 3 – 3 tie, keeping both teams up at Charlbury’s expense.

Kidlington were already champions in Division 3 but either Chipping Norton or Headington could join them in division 2 next season. Both were playing clubs fighting to avoid relegation and, despite the efforts of Martin Kershaw’s four, who ran out sixteen shots to the good for Headington, Hanborough won on three rinks, with Martin Oliver’s eighteen shots win giving Hanborough the victory and keeping both clubs in the division next year.

That result meant that Chipping Norton needed a single point from their fixture at home to City and County, who themselves had to match the result of the winners in the third match, between Banbury Central and Thame, in order to stay up. Unfortunately for them, Chipping Norton were too good on three, of four closely fought rinks, whilst Central were winning well on two rinks with big totals for Ron Cox and Jim Pickering’s men. These results relegated both Thame and City and County, whilst promotion was the prize for a rejuvenated Chipping Norton.

As elsewhere, Division 4 went to the wire. The top two played each other knowing that three points each would promote both clubs. In what, given the scores, must be the tightest match of the year, Blackbird Leys snatched the required match points by a single shot to leave Bloxham in the division next year whatever their result.

Bloxham did beat Oxford University Press, thanks to Ray Hopkins’s rink’s big win, but to no avail in their promotion effort, whist the last match went to Woodstock who defeated South Oxford in a dead fixture.

Prinable Report
Rink Scores
Final League Table