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July 2nd, 2012:

U25 Double Rink Report (White Rose)

The Oxfordshire Under 25s double rink side took the green against Sussex at Kidlington Bowls Club on Sunday playing for a place at the national finals in August.

A fantastic game of bowls was played out which ended in a cruel finale for Oxon’s youngsters, going out by the narrowest of margins.

The rink of Sam Watts, Chris Gilkes and Shane Cooper skipped by George Schwab got off to a good start against junior international Aaron Southgate and opened up an nine shot lead at ten ends.

Gary May with Carterton brothers Dan and Darren Wakeman and team captain Lee Wilkinson led at five ends but, struggling for form by their own high standards, were behind at ten.

Bowls from Middleton Cup skip Martin Heitzman at three and skip Stuart Holland got good results, adding to the excellent start of the Sussex front end which made life difficult for May.

To their credit the Oxon four battled throughout but couldn’t bridge the gap that opened up in ends ten to twenty. Always controlling their game, Schwab’s four however played bowls with a maturity beyond their years.

Sam Watts in only his second outdoor season made sure of a solid start and Chris Gilkes, although below par, added with some great bowls but it was the backend of Cooper and particularly Schwab that caught the eye with some magnificent play.

It took all of Southgate’s experience and a measure of fortune thrown in to keep his team in the game at all. Going into the last end Sussex led by one shot overall.

Darren Wakeman drew shot for May which stayed until Heitzman replaced it. May with his first bowl secured the shot. Holland missed with both his. May, with his last, played a fantastic shot to trail the jack for four but it overran by two inches meaning one shot only.

So, with just the final end for Schwab to come the score was tied. That eight or so bowls lay within two feet of the jack was testament to the ability of all concerned when the skips came to play.

Oxon held two when Southgate played his first which altered nothing. Schwab then drew a back toucher which was good enough to win any game but Southgate with the last Sussex bowl of the day got premium result with a speculative weighted shot and ended up laying one with Schwab to play. He played the only shot available and played it brilliantly springing the jack back towards waiting Oxon bowls. In an undeserved twist the jack hit a bowl and ricocheted back up the green for a Sussex single and a devastating end result for Oxfordshire.

Credit to Sussex for hanging in and riding their luck but this was a game that they will count themselves fortunate to have won. Nonetheless good luck to them at Worthing.

The Oxon lads will be stronger for the experience gained which will carry them through games in the future. This was a brilliant game and a great advert for the sport enjoyed by all that watched

Oxfordshire 34 – Sussex 35

George Schwab 21, Aaron Southgate 13
Gary May 13, Stuart Holland 22

Full Report: White Rose report 01/07/12

Men’s HCL v Berks

Oxfordshire made it a hat trick of wins in this year’s Home Counties League at South Oxford Bowls Club on Saturday.

Having already secured victories against both Surrey and Sussex, Oxon’s players took on a strong Berkshire side and came out winners by nineteen shots and sixteen points to six to make it three out of three so far.

Featuring the permitted eight Middleton Cup players the Oxon side was made up of bowlers from nine of the county’s clubs and all gave a committed performance to take the spoils.

Quick out of the blocks were the fours of Headington team mates, Ian Snowdon and Mark Charlett who opened up gaps which, although narrowed at times, were never closed and saw the team through when Berkshire fought back later in the game.

Charlett’s rink of Carterton’s Shane Cooper and Kidlington duo Chris Weller and John Hardie ended up highest winning rink taking thirteen shots without reply in the last six ends.

Baden Sparkes’ four was always involved in a close battle and picked up shots when they could to finish up winners by four over Adrian Collins. Solid performances from all eight players on the end rink made for a hard fought tussle throughout.

Oxon Middleton Cup Captain, Alan Prew led by example and played some great shots but still ended up three down to Chris Holliday’s four. Alan Ley, playing Oxon old boy Ryan Buckett, was close throughout but ended up going down by six as did the four of Mark Sykes who, last to finish, were caught by a sudden deluge on the final end and finished up soaked through.

Although the home team was always in front, Berkshire closed to two shots late on and it is to the credit of the losing rinks that they kept scores to a minimum and picked up valuable shots when they could.

It is this team spirit that will stand the team in good stead when the long journey to Kent is made in a fortnight’s time. Surrey beat Kent which leaves Oxon in a good position with three games to go.

Oxfordshire 121 – Berkshire 102

Ian Snowdon 23, Colin Brooks 12
Mark Charlett 30, Paul Ryman 11
Baden Sparkes 16, Adrian Collins 12
Alan Ley 14, Ryan Buckett 20
Mark Sykes 17, Andy Knapper 23
Alan Prew 21, Chris Holliday 24

Full Report: HCL report v Berks 30/06/12

League Week 8

The Oxford & District Bowls League sponsored by Yarnton Nurseries report for week 8 can be found here: Week 8 – 28/06/12.

League tables can be viewed here: League Tables