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July 7th, 2016:

Men’s fours quarter finals

Southern Nights

The quarter finals bandwagon moved into the south-east of the County for Wednesday’s Four’s Quarters at the Shiplake Village club, with rinks from Banbury Borough, Headington, Oxford City & County, Watlington and Witney Town taking part.

Three of the four games produced landslide wins whilst the other game between the Headington rink of John Philpott, Colin Whitehead, Ian Snowdon and Ray Gaskins coming up against the toughest opposition of the night, the Witney Town rink of Les Cooper, David Hodkinson, Brian Smith and Alan Scholan. A nine shot lead of 11-2 after five ends to the Headington team was cut down to 16-10 by the thirteenth, but had been restored when the game finished on the 20th end, 22-13 to Gaskins men.
Banbury Borough’s AJ Docherty came up against his previous nights Triples opponent Mark Charlett from the Headington club. This time the victory was reversed with Charlett’s rink of John Nicholl, Ian Henwood and Jason King adapting to the green right from the start going 7 up after 3 ends. Docherty’s rink members Paul Hilton, John McGeough and Darren Sharpe could only manage six singles in the game which lasted sixteen ends, before conceding at 6-21.

Banbury Borough’s other quarter final rink of Keith Holloway, Jamie Wilkinson, George Schwab and Mark Sykes produced a similar victory to Charlett, conceding only 5 singles to the Oxford City & County four of Paul Lopez, Chris Lewis, Paul Comley and Chris Lewis, in their 20-7 win in a game that was also conceded after sixteen ends.

The final game, which pitched Headington’s Dean May, Nathan Lewis, Gary May and Howard Watts against Watlington’s Sam Watts, Steve Gilkes, Shane Cooper and Chris Gilkes, came to a close after only fifteen ends, after the Headington boys restricted their opposition to only five singles as they moved smoothly to a 21-5 success, and a semi final match against Sykes’ Borough rink.

Men’s triples quarter finals

Bowling weather at last!

Tuesday evening provided the perfect weather conditions for bowling and the Headington club played their part in providing a perfect bowling surface for the contestants to play on, proving the point that you can have grass on a green and still produce good pace. It was a credit to the greenkeeper.
The score-lines do not necessarily give a true picture of the closeness of most of the games, and a critical wood at certain stages changed the outcome of matches.

The host club had three sides competing, two against teams from Banbury Borough with the third playing against a triple from West Witney. The fourth quarter pitched Carterton’s Peter Maisey, Dan Wakeman and Chris Weedon against the Thame trio of Robin Jenner, Graham Penn and Paul Heafey who found the men from the west of the county too hot to handle. A six on the first end to Carterton set the pattern of the game as they proceeded to restrict their opponents to three singles before the game ended after fifteen ends, 26-3 to Carterton.

Headington’s Will Hawes, Phil Arundel and Russell Edwards reached the half way stage leading 7-6 against the Banbury Borough threesome of Jamie Wilkinson, George Schwab and Mark Sykes. The second half saw the northern triple collect 12 shots over the next four ends with some telling shots being played to change the heads in their favour, before they moved into the semi-finals with a 22-12 win.

The Headington May twins Dean and Gary, with skip Nick Rae-Welsh (does his name qualify him as a Wales supporter), had a tight tussle against West Witney’s Henry Beall, Paul Skidmore and Kevin Alder. After ten ends, both teams had won five with Alder and co. leading 9-8, but a brace of two’s and a single put the Headington boys in the lead for the first time since the opening end, 13-9. Try as the did, tight heads and moving jacks did not go West’s way in their efforts to make up the deficit, leaving both Skidmore and Alder with the disappointment of having lost quarter finals on two consecutive evenings, and the Headington team moving into the semi’s with a 15-12 win.

The evening was rounded off with a game of high class bowling and a scoreline that was not a true reflection of the tightness of the game which involved Ian Henwood, Jason King and Mark Charlett playing on their own patch, against the losing Pairs quarter finalists AJ Docherty and Darren Sharpe plus Keith Holloway from the Banbury Borough stable. In a game of ever changing heads, Docherty lead his men to an 8-1 lead after four ends before they then dropped a six on the fifth, bringing Charlett’s triple to within couple of shots. The tightness of the match was shown over the next ten ends with the Borough team picking up five singes plus a two whilst their oppo’s had three singles and a pair.

The sixteenth end had a taste of (in Docherty’s own words),”de ja vue”. The previous evening, Sharpe and himself had seen a five shot lead disappear over the last three ends to lose in the Pairs and here he was again, 15-12 up with one wood left and a count against him. Thankfully for him things went their way as he picked up the jack and moved it towards one of his own team’s back woods to collect a double and move five shots clear. Matters came to a close on the next end as they added a three and the game was conceded.

Having provided a first class surface for the bowlers to enjoy, further thanks and credit are due to the Headington Bowls club for their generous after-match hospitality in providing complimentary Hot dogs, Burgers and choc-ices to the players and officials.