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June 25th, 2013:

Balcomb Trophy regional finals: Oxon’s last gasp heartache

Balcomb Trophy 2013

Following the Middleton Cup victory over Hampshire the day before, Oxon’s ‘top eight’ went into the regional semi-final of the country’s most prestigious team competition in good form with high hopes of a victory against Kent despite their opponents boasting an extremely strong team and playing in their home county.

The early ends were fairly close affairs and at five ends Alan Prew with Ian Snowdon, Nathan Lewis and Keith Holloway led Shaun McCaughan’s rink by four, while Howard Watts playing with Mark Sykes, Paul Sharman and Jon Philpott trailed Gordon Charlton by only one. The gap had closed from three to just one at ten ends with great play from both teams.

As with the Middleton Cup at Atherley the third quarter was better for the opponents than Oxon. Charlton seemingly could do no wrong and opened up a nine shot lead at fifteen ends whilst McCaughan narrowed the gap to two at the same stage against Prew.

On the respective twentieth ends Watts with his last bowl cut the score against him down to one while Prew’s rink picked up a massively valuable four to put Oxon one up going into the last end. Watts and his team all put bowls into the head and put pressure on Charlton who, with his last bowl, played an Oxon wood in for shot.

Lewis drew a shot which stayed for Oxon until the final bowls on the other rink but then Prew, with his last bowl, looking to cover space just behind the jack moved it slightly and sat alongside. Oxon then, held game with just McCaughan’s last bowl to come. Credit to him, having missed with his first, with his final effort he trailed the jack perfectly for a Kent four and two shot overall victory.

This was a great game of bowls and a fantastic advert for the game. Every player gave their all for the cause but on this occasion it just wasn’t to be. Kent went on to lose the final to Hampshire who had beaten Middlesex in the second semi-final.

Read Full Report here: MC & Balcomb Report 220613

Rinks Scores: (Oxon Skips first)
Watts 15, Charlton 21
Prew 24, McCaughan 20

Oxon’s Middleton Cup dreams back on track

Oxfordshire’s Middleton Cup aspirations are back in the team’s hands after coming away with a hard fought win against group leaders Hampshire at Atherley on Saturday.

Oxon’s Mark Sykes got away to the best start, opening up a 10-1 lead over Leo May at five ends while the remainder of the games were closer during the early exchanges. The second quarter saw the Oxford team open up an eighteen shot lead with Captain, Alan Prew moving into a commanding lead over opposing skip, Jim Marsland, however the third undoubtedly belonged to the home side as they moved back within two shots at fifteen ends. Chris Daniels extended his early lead to eleven shots over Mark Charlett while the remaining Hants rinks all picked up important scores.

During the final six ends Hampshire got their noses in front and could have then closed the game out had it not been for some dogged, as well as great, play from the Oxon men.

Charlett’s four had struggled for consistency and results through the game but two three’s on the last two ends put them seven behind and Oxon four in front with just Paul Sharman to finish. It is becoming the norm for the Carterton man to be last out and this time he played a brilliant take out shot on the twentieth end for an invaluable three. A front toucher from Lee Young with his first bowl of the last end, great cover from Andy Martin and a jack trail from Barry Lambourne then followed. With Sharman just having to consolidate it meant that, despite his best efforts, Hampshire skip Richard Shelley could do nothing but attempt a dead end. Two misses, a five picked up, ten shot rink win and a nine shot, 16-6, victory for the county was the result which sets up a final day shoot out with Kent who eclipsed Middlesex by 20-2.

15 points at City & County on 6th July will mean a second successive quarter final appearance for Oxon although Kent will start as favourites given their vastly superior strength of numbers and the recent wins over their hosts.

Read Full report here: MC & Balcomb Report 220613

Oxon Skips First:
Carpenter 18, Morgan 22
Sharman 22, Shelley 12
Snowdon 19, Marchant 23
Sykes 23, May 23
Charlett 16, Daniels 17
Prew 25, Marsland 23

U25’s defeated by Surrey in JHCL

Oxfordshire Under 25s came up a little short for the second time in as many weekends against Surrey at Weybridge on Sunday. Having lost out in the White Rose regional final last week, the boys were looking to put things right as they took on their opponents in the Junior Home Counties League this time round however it wasn’t to be as they were defeated by 13 shots and 10 points to 4.

A far more experienced Surrey team got out of the blocks early and raced to an eighteen shot lead at five ends which despite a concerted team effort by the Oxon team could not be fully bridged as the game progressed. They got back to seven shots at fifteen ends but no matter how much they gave could not sustain the challenge to the end.

Gary May, with brother, Dean, Brandon King and Craig Maroney making a welcome return to the Under25s after a break from the sport, were Oxon’s best winning rink of the day. Having led from the start a deserved ten shot victory was the result.

After the game Surrey manager Dave Clark commented on the strength of his own team but also praised the Oxon players for the way they stuck to their task despite being behind the whole way. Once again valuable experience will have been gained and the team now looks ahead to the clash with Sussex at Kidlington on 7th July.

Read Full report here: JHCL Surrey v Oxon 230613

Oxon Skips first:

Shane Cooper 20, Dan Morris 26
Gary May 24, Josh Wilson 14
Dan Wakeman 18, Sam Muir 17
George Schwab 8, Matt White 26

League week 7

The Oxford and District Bowls league, sponsored by Yarnton Nurseries, reached the halfway point in the season on Thursday.

Headington A’s comprehensive 5 – 1 defeat of Carterton now puts them in first place in Division 1. Wins for the rinks of Ian Snowdon, Mark Charlett and Howard Watts proving to much for the home side, despite Gordon Walker’s rinks efforts.

City and County A’s comfortable victory at home to Banbury Chestnuts maintained their second place whilst Banbury Central A’s straightforward win at Witney Mills moved them into third place and pushed the home side deeper into relegation territory.

Division 2 is still very tight and there could be major changes in the second half of the season. South Oxford A still lead the division, by a single point from Bicester, despite not playing this week.

Division 3 is still close enough that, with the right results, any team could still be promoted or relegated. All four matches were also close this week. Chipping Norton’s ten point winning margin being the largest of the night. Wins by Stuart Davies, Keith Field and Peter Rathbone proving too much for the visitors, Bloxham, despite John Stephens valiant 16 shot victory for them.

Read Full league report here: League Report 20 June 2013
Rink Scores: Match Results 20 June 2013
League Tables: League table

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