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September 9th, 2014:

Headington win League and Cup double in nail-biting final

League Cup final 2014This year’s League Cup final between old rivals City & County A and Headington A came down to the last wood on the last end, in a dramatic finish to this year’s competition.

At the half way stage City and County were comfortably ahead as both Paul Comley and Alan Ley’s rinks opened up good leads over their Headington opponents. Howard Watts’ four kept the Headington side in the game though, with their 12 shot lead reducing the deficit over all to 8 across the game.

As the daylight started to be replaced by the floodlights at Kidlington, Headington slowly turned up the heat and reduced the gap to just couple of shots on the game, with the lead then regularly switching between the 2 sides.

With 3 of the 4 rinks having finished and Headington 1 shot ahead on the game, a huge gathering watched the closest ever League Cup final draw to its conclusion. City and County’s Paul Comley, who’s rink had battled well to a good victory, eventually finding no way through and unable to win the last end that they needed. Despite City and County winning on 3 rinks, it was Howard Watts four of Dean May, Ian Kibble-White, and Gary May that helped Headington secure a third League Cup title in 4 years with their 18 shot victory.

Sponsor Sammy Timms commented afterwards, “I’d like to congratulate both sides on a really exciting final and to Kidlington for being such good hosts. The competition has now been running for 11 years and although I’m sad to be finishing my sponsorship after all this time, I couldn’t have asked for a better final to bow out on.”

City and County A 63, Headington A 66: P Comley 21, I Snowdon 11; M Hancock 16, M Charlett 15; C Earl 10, H Watts 28; A Ley 16, J King 12.

Oxon U25’s: Four Counties Top 11 Cup

Oxfordshire Under 25s finished off their season in the Four Counties Top 11 competition at South Oxford on Sunday. The competition, based on the national Top Club, was played at South Oxford BC between Under 25s teams from Surrey, Buckinghamshire, replacing Berkshire, Middlesex and Oxfordshire. This is the third year that the event has been hosted by the Oxford club and once again proved to be popular amongst the players and supporters alike.

Surrey made it a hat trick of victories beating Bucks 3-2 in the final with Oxon, for the second year defeating Middx 4-1 in the third/fourth place play-off.

Featuring a few changes from last year’s team, the Oxon players were drawn against an ever strong Surrey team in the first game and can consider themselves unfortunate to lose 3-2. Jamie Wilkinson, a last minute switch to the 2 wood singles, played some fantastic stuff but the strength and experience of Charles Bruder proved too much for the Banbury Central player in his first ever two wood match so first blood to Surrey.

George Schwab got off to a good start in the four wood singles against Charlie Souter but when leading 16-13 dropped a four, three and a single to give Surrey a two point lead with three disciplines still playing. Captain Lee Wilkinson making his last appearance for the Under 25s due to age picked up where he left off last year in the fours.

With Brandon King, Bradley Squires and Orren Bennett Wilkinson cruised to a 28-6 win over Matt Hayes. Sam Muir, also in a junior shirt for the last time showed his experience and skill as he skipped his triple of Ben Dickson and Dan Swanson to a crucial win over England star Dan Morris to level things up at 2 all. This left the pairing of Sam Watts and Shane Cooper with the job of securing an Oxford final appearance for the first time. Up against James Freemantle and Matt White the Oxon boys were behind up until 14 ends but dug in to go into the last end, one up. A single dropped meant the whole tie would be decided on an extra end which went Surrey’s way meaning for the third year running Oxon would play Middlesex in the third/fourth play-off. Bucks, making their first appearance in the competition beat Middx 4-1 to set up the final with Surrey.

Fielding an unchanged eleven, Oxfordshire went one down against Middx in the afternoon after Jamie Wilkinson lost by two to Kai Matthews in a two wood game which went the full 21 ends. Wins in all of the other disciplines saw the day finish positively although it was in everyone’s mind that with a fraction of fortune it could have been the final they were contesting.

The final was another close affair with Surrey taking the honours with wins in the 2 wood, 4 wood and triples

All in all this was another great day of bowls played in the best spirit of the game and a fitting way for Wilkinson and Muir, along with Dan Morris and Matt White of Surrey to finish their junior careers.

Oxon Team:

2 wood Singles: Jamie Wilkinson, Banbury Central

4 wood Singles: George Schwab, Banbury Borough

Pairs: Sam Watts, Watlington & Shane Cooper, Banbury Central

Triples: Ben Dickson, Woodstock; Dan Swanson, Bicester & Sam Muir, Carterton

Fours: Brandon King, Bicester; Bradley Squires, West Witney; Orren Bennett, Chadlington & Lee Wilkinson, Banbury Central

HCL: Oxon lifted from bottom of table

Oxfordshire men led from start to finish against Middlesex at West Ealing on Saturday to secure the win required to lift them from the foot of the Home Counties League table.

Needing seven points to avoid finishing in last place the much altered team made sure of fifth place with a 118-102 shot and 16-6 points victory in a game played on a heavy, tricky surface. No less than ten changes had to be made to ensure that Oxon travelled with a full team but all that played will say that it was worth the effort.

Colin Whitehead’s four of Paul Demczak, making his first appearance in an HCL game, George Weedon and Chris Earl took top rink by beating Andy Knott by eleven. The glasses however looked for a long time to be going to Kevin Alder with club mate Paul Skidmore, Nigel Galletly and sixteen year old Orren Bennett but they were pegged back towards the end to finish just ten up on Paul Fuller. No more than four shots separated the other rinks either way.

Shane Cooper, skipping a county rink for the first time was probably unlucky to finish four down to Paul Cater on his home green. Cooper was accompanied by the second sixteen year old in the team, Dan Swanson. Richard Barnett and his men fought well to finish just one behind Matt Larman while John Hardie led from the start in the lowest scoring game to finish four up on Brian Elbourne.

Alan Ley was behind in the early stages but battled well to get their noses in front at fifteen ends and were all square going into the last however a four saw opposing skip Roger Milton take the game.

Watlington’s Mark Plested was awarded his full county badge at the end by County Secretary Steve Tolhurst.

Oxfordshire 118, Middlesex 102

Shane Cooper 15, Paul Cater 19
Colin Whitehead 22, Andy Knott 11
Alan Ley 20, Roger Milton 24
John Hardie 17, Brain Elbourne 13
Richard Barnett 22, Matt Larman 23
Kevin Alder 22, Paul Fuller 12

Full Report: Report HCL v Middx 060914

Ladies Officers Cup won by Hawes

Played at City and County BC on Wednesday 27th August the Officers’ Cup final was won by Katherine Hawes with Helen Kingsley (both from City and County) the losing finalist.

Semi finals:
Katherine Hawes 13, Maureen Osborne (Banbury Borough) 6
Helen Kingsley 14, Jenny Banton (Headington) 8

The Plate was won by Angela Ives (Banbury Borough) and the losing finalist was Letty Batten (South Oxford)

Semi Finals:
Angela Ives 16, Ann Fleming (Burford) 5
Mavis Hale (Witney Town) 12, Letty Batten 13

Report by Jeanette Berry