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July, 2012:

Middleton Cup Quarter Final

Oxfordshire failed by the narrowest of margins in their quest to qualify for the finals of the Middleton Cup at Barnwood BC on Saturday. Standing in their way were holders and eleven times winners, Devon. The game had been delayed a week due to Devon and Cornwall’s final group match being put back which meant that ever presents, Barry Lambourne and George Schwab were missing from Oxon’s original line-up. Kevin Alder and nineteen year old Shane Cooper making his debut were the replacements and the team travelled to Gloucester as underdogs but still confident of a good performance whatever.

After a delayed start due to traffic problems the game commenced in glorious weather conditions but Oxford hopes were rapidly dealt a heavy blow as their illustrious opponents opened up with eighteen shots on the first end. The impressive Griff Sanders and Richard Bawden took seven and five from Mark Sykes and Paul Sharman respectively while Oxon captain Alan Prew took a two from Commonwealth games star Sam Tolchard by way of consolation. Sanders followed up with a five on the third end to lead Sykes by ten, the same gap that separated them at the end.

Credit has to be given to the Oxford team though as across the green they dug in and played some great bowls with little result due, in main, to the exceptional play of the Devon back ends. At five ends Oxon were twenty-two shots behind and at ten, a seemingly unassailable thirty-one but they kept believing in themselves and kept playing good bowls. Gradually, slowly, the score began to close and Devon started finding gaps and the wrong side of bowls rather than the perfect play of the first half.

Mark Charlett’s rink featuring the outstanding Gary May found themselves 11-1 down early on but gradually closed the gap and overtook Jamie Chestney with some great team play to end up highest winning rink by twelve. Out on a very tricky rink six Baden Sparkes’ four never gave up and played some impressive shots to take sixteen shots to two in the last eleven ends for Oxon’s second winning rink against Kevin Phillips.

Ian Snowdon led early on and he and his four continued to play well throughout. The results unfortunately didn’t match the play and eventually they lost out by eight to James Webber. At fifteen ends Devon’s overall advantage had dropped to seventeen shots, having been as low as thirteen just before. Momentum was with Oxfordshire then and shots were picked up across the board. The gap narrowed agonisingly slowly to a mere four shots and one big score could well have then made the difference but Devon were too experienced to let that happen and continued to fight all the way.

The game between Prew and Tolchard was the closest throughout with Oxon leading by one only at each of the splits. A two at the edge of the ditch for Oxon on the last end meant a three shot victory for the captain and that the difference on the board was now only one with only the fours of Sykes and Sharman still playing. Sykes and his team had shown amazing fortitude and mental strength to stay in the game with Sanders and yet again the Devon man had made life difficult forcing Sykes to play weight with his last bowl. A narrow miss meant that Sharman needed a three to force extra ends. Behind all the way his Carterton four had been in danger of being eclipsed by Bawden’s rink, which included national triples winner Steve Bonetta, however they stuck to the task in hand and played some magnificent shots to get back within six. Holding one, but with a few close seconds to Devon, Sharman with his last bowl of the game had no choice to but to play a speculative weighted shot to move the jack. Another narrow miss and the chance of glory was gone with the score 120-118.

This was a fantastic game of bowls played in the very best traditions of the sport. Devon were always the favourites but the Oxfordshire players proved that they can compete with the very best and must be justly proud of themselves for this and all performances through the season. After the game Sanders told his Oxon opponents that he could not remember being in a tougher game.

Good luck to Devon in the defence of their title at Worthing and thanks to the Oxfordshire supporters that made the trip.

Full Report: MC QF Report

League Week 12

The Oxford & District Bowls League sponsored by Yarnton Nurseries report for week 12 can be found here: Week 12 – 26/07/12.

League tables can be viewed here: League Tables

Blay Cup and Plate results

The Oxfordshire ladies played the Blay Cup and Blay Plate at Hanborough Bowls Club on Saturday 21st July. The Blay Cup was won by Sue Mayo and Maureen Osbourne while the Blay Plate was won by Jan Gore and Jill Hart.

Full results:

Blay Cup

Blay Plate

U31 girls triumph in Unbadged Singles day

The Gwen Steele Unbadged Singles was played to semi final stages on Thursday 26th July at Oxford City & County. Two of the counties Under 31 Amy Rose squad members from Watlington Bowls Club battled through their quarter final rounds to make it through to the semi finals.

13 year old Claire Soden beat Headington’s Pat Blackford in the quarter final while 18 year old Emma Gilkes defeated Banbury Chestnuts Chris Purnell.

Emma will now face Helen Robinson from Shiplake and Claire will meet Gill Muir from Carterton on finals weekend played over the 1st and 2nd September at Oxford City & County.

Gwen Steele Unbadged Singles 2012

Men’s Domestic Finals

Allison, Longford & Officer’s Cups Semi finals and final will be played on Sunday 5th August at Peppard Bowls Club.

A 2 course lunch is available at £5.00 per head for players and visitors. These must be booked through Ian Whelpton (Tel: 01869 347730. E-mail: by Wednesday Aug 1st at the latest.

Printable Version: Domestic Finals Programme 2012

Semi Finals – 10:30am

Allison Cup

B. Joiner (Banbury Central) v L. Wilkinson (Banbury Central)

K. Mobley (South Oxford) v W. Soden (Watlington)

Longford Cup

R.Claridge (South Oxford) v S. Timms (Carterton)

I. Whelpton (Banbury Central) v G. Watts (Oxford Sports)

Officer’s Cup

B. Bloomfield (Witney Town) v K. Alder (West Witney)

A. Hall (Bicester) v E. Lamb (Bicester)

Finals to be played at 1:30pm

U25 match cancelled

Bucks have cancelled the U25 match due to be played on Sunday 29th July at Kidlingdon due to being unable to raise a team.

Ladies County Match Results

The match against the OBA was played on Monday 23 July on a very warm day. A change from rain! A very pleasant afternoon on a very tricky green.

OBA 125, BO Ladies 96.

BO Ladies skips first:
Sue Lacey 19, Mervyn Gleeson 15
Jeanette Berry 11, Gordon Roper 27
Angela Ives 14, David Allin 23
Carol Penson 13, Paul Comley 25
Katherine Hawes 23, Bob Gilkes 11
Wendy Cross 16, Allan Hall 24

Bowls Oxfordshire Ladies v Surrey played at Southey BC, Wimbledon on Tuesday 24th July on a very hot day and the fastest green played on this season.

Oxon 97, Surrey 117.

Oxon skips first:
Sylvia Rogers 13, S Maulin 22
Dawn Lynch 10, P Clarke 20
Daphne Jacob 20, C Leathwood 24
Carol Penson 17, C Paton 24
Jeanette Berry 20, D Double 12
Hazel Woodward 17, M Vandeau 15

Press Releases

Headington roar on with fifth ton

Cooper set for Oxon’s big tie

Prew captures county crown

Quartet lose out

Witney on song

Men’s County Finals

Summer arrived at last for Sunday’s Championship Final’s programme at Oxford City & County BC.

The Triples and Fours started the day with teams from Bicester and Banbury Borough contesting the Fours whilst Carterton and Headington provided a nail biter in the Triples.

The Borough’s rink of Andrew Buttress, George & Greg Moon and skip Mark Sykes proved to be far too strong a foursome for their Bicester opponents, Robert Pink, John Thompson, Martin Workman and Paul Hooley, winning 15 of the 21 ends. At the half way point only 3 shots separated the teams but Sykes’ rink then won the next 6 ends to take complete control of the game and go on to take the title with a 21-12 success. The mornings other final saw an extra end result in the Triples between Stuart Richens, Robbie Clanfield and Baden Sparkes from Carterton and Headington’s trio of Colin Whitehead, Nathan Lewis and Howard Watts.A 5 on the seventh end saw the Carterton boys take a 12-3 lead and appear to be in control of the game only for them to then lose the next four ends to only lead by two. With only two ends left, Headington still trailed by four shots but picked up a 3 and a single to force an extra end which they won. The only other time they had led was after the first end.

The defending Champions Nathan Lewis and Mark Charlett contested the Pairs against fellow Headington bowlers John Philpott and Ian Snowdon. With a 16-7 lead at 12 ends Philpott and Snowdon were looking comfortable then dropped a single and a seven to see their lead cut to only 1 shot.
However, the seasoned campaigners kept their cool, only dropping two more singles on their way to a 23-17 victory.

Having started the Quarter-finals still in each of the Senior Championships, Carterton’s Alan Prew was only left in the Singles Final, and event that he had been a finalist in three times before without taking the title. His opponent this time was Mark Sykes who had already put one title under his belt in the morning session. After losing three shots in the first two ends, Prew put together a run of 13 winning ends without reply to leave himself one short of the title. Three two’s from Sykes held up the proceedings before the Carterton man scored the one needed to collect the Champion’s Rose bowl.

The Under 25 singles saw Watlington’s Sam Watts, in only his second year of competitive bowling, drop only two singles on his way to a 21-2 win against Carterton’s Dan Wakeman. Try as he may, the Carterton man could not match Watts’ steady drawing game in a match that was over after 13 ends.

The new Two Wood singles Championship brought the day to a close with Borough’s Mark Sykes, playing his third Final of the day, up against Carterton’s Stuart Richens who had earlier been on the sling side of the Triples thriller. The game was nip and tuck throughout, and in a game that has a maximum of 21 ends it went down to the final end before Sykes booked his second visit to Worthing with a 16-13 win.

The next event on the County Competition calendar is the Domestic semi-finals and finals day on August 5th at Peppard BC when the Allison, Longford and Officers cups will contested. Semi-finals start at 10.00 and prayers are being made for another day of sunshine.

Report by Ian Whelpton

League Week 11

The Oxford & District Bowls League sponsored by Yarnton Nurseries report for week 11 can be found here: Week 11 – 17/07/12.

League tables can be viewed here: League Tables