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July 2nd, 2015:

Mens Triples Quarter Finals

For those of a certain age, Tuesday’s Triples Quarter finals at Oxford City & County BC brought back memories of a radio programme which ran from the late 50’s through to the early 80’s, in which a certain Alberto Semprini introduced his Semprini Serenade programme with the catch phrase of “Old ones, New ones, Loved ones, Neglected ones”.

On the bank, casting a watchful eye whilst meeting up with old friends and playing colleagues from his days at Oxford City & County, where he won the Fours in ’85 & ’86, and the old Summertown club, was Eric Harrington on a visit back to Oxford. As well as being the father of the Oxfordshire bowling legend Gary Harrington, Eric was also renowned for introducing many Oxfordshire and visiting bowlers to the appreciation of fine Teutonic wine, in particular, Liebfraumilch. The German wine industry owes him a lot.
A good turnout of spectators, many of whom were there supporting their “Loved ones”, enjoyed some fine bowling on a beautiful evening. If there were any “neglected ones” – sorry.

On the green it was good to see young under 25 player Joe Woodward in the Kidlington trio along with relatively new bowler Chris Thomas, whilst Banbury Borough’s triple included Darren Sharpe making a comeback into the game. Barry Lambourne’s Shiplake side included Martin Shepherd who is a new face to most people, whilst Headington’s Steve Hainge was a newcomer to the later stages of the competitions.
Woodward and Thomas along with skip John Hardie, up against the 2013 Triples from Headington, John Nicholls, Jason King and Mark Charlett,were swept off their feet in the early stages of the game, being 0-16 down after seven ends.
They can however take some solace from the fact that over the next ten ends they won seven and had a score of 9-7. Others would have gone in to meltdown.

David Clanfield who lost out in the Pairs Quarter linked up with Andy Martin and Paul Sharman against Shiplake’s Jim Bland, Martin Shepherd and Barry Lambourne. Taking six of the first nine ends, the Carterton triple entered the second half of the game leading 13-6. A 3 on the tenth brought Lambourne’s team to within four shots but they were only able to claim two more singles before the game finished on the seventeenth with a 19-11 victory to the Carterton lads.

Headington’s second triple of the evening saw Steve Hainge, Ian Henwood and Paul Mabbutt up against Carterton’s other trio of Bob Turley, Tim Jupp who lost out in the Pairs on Monday, and Gordon Walker sporting a distinguishing goatee beard.
After five ends of some excellent bowling by both sides, Mabbutt had led his team to a 5-2 lead. The next five ends saw Walker’s triple take control of the game picking up 16 shots including a 5 and an 8 without reply and taking a 13 shot lead. Each side won three of the next six ends before the Headington boys conceded at 10-25.

The last of the 4 matches pitted Headington’s Pairs quarter winners Howard Watts and John Philpott along with the heavily bearded Nathan Lewis, against The Banbury Borough triple of Darren Sharpe, Richard Redford and Keith Holloway.
Early honours were fairly even and after eight ends only three shots separated them, Watts leading 7-4. Holloway playing at skip, not a position most people see him playing at, and his team mates then took the next five ends moving into a 16-7 lead and with only five ends to play. The Headington threesome responded with a six and a single to go two behind and with a four on the seventeenth, went into the last end one up. What a last end. With Borough holding the shots to move into the semi’s, Watts played the perfect bowl to draw shot. Holloway replied giving the shot back to the Banbury side, levelling the score. Watts’ last wood was played into a receiving position should the jack be moved, leaving his opponent’s with the decision of trying to play a difficult shot to make two or accept the one and go into an extra end. The last wood did not change things so an extra end it was.
The jack was cast into a very dry area at the top of the rink and bowls that appeared to be on target continued to roll well past the jack. With Borough holding shot, Watts edged out the shot bowl to put the game in Headington’s favour. Once again the pressure was on the Banbury skip who unfortunately was unable to change things with his last wood.

A beautiful evening had finished in excitement that those who do not play the game cannot appreciate. No sign of Funeral care adverts, retirement home adverts or magical treatments for arthritic conditions.

A gathering of “Old ones”, “New ones”, “Loved ones”, and I hope “No one” felt “neglected”.