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July 25th, 2016:

League Week 11

With three sets of matches left, league positions and promotion and relegation are becoming clearer.

In Division 1, Headington’s maximum score at City and County moves them clear of chasers Carterton with no other team now able to challenge them for first place. Indeed, the title could be all but won when the top two clash next Thursday.

Banbury Central almost ensured their safety with a defeat of Witney Mills in a very close match. Nigel Galletly and Will Campion skipped rinks that won by small margins which were, however, bigger than those on Witney Mills winning rinks. The result leaves Mills in danger of returning to Division 2 after one season.

Closest match of the week was, surprisingly, at Carterton where the home side only won on a single rink but still took match points from Shiplake as David Clanfield’s team won their rink by thirteen shots. Given their season, Shiplake can consider themselves very unlucky with the final outcome. They could still avoid relegation but will need to beat Witney Mills 6 – 0 next week to do so.

In Division 2, Bicester’s defeat, at home to Charlbury, means they will play in Division 3 next season whist pushing Charlbury closer to safety. A good win for Kevin Taylor’s rink was insufficient with Eric Pitts men winning by twenty-eight shots for the visitors, whose shot count was over one hundred.

Banbury Chestnuts topsy-turvy season continues! This week they had a big win away at West Witney. Lee Wilkinson lead the way for Chestnuts with only Kevin Alder’s rink winning for the home side. Their defeat means that promotion back to Division 1 for West Witney rests on next week’s local derby against Witney Town.

Leaders Watlington were pushed hard by Adderbury for whom Chris Skidmore and Ted Ely’s rinks started well building nine shot leads after five ends and were never caught, indeed Adderbury lead in the match after thirteen ends only for Shane Cooper’s rink to score five and to take the lead on his rink and overall in the match on the fourteenth.

Promotion for Watlington is in their own hands as they meet one of their two remaining rivals in the last week of the season. Adderbury and Banbury Chestnuts also meet in the final week in a fixture that will probably decide the second relegation place.

The position in Division 3 remains as clouded as ever! With the exception of long term leaders Kidlington, all the other teams could still, technically, be promoted or relegated.

In an extremely close match, Kidlington maintained their unbeaten record by a whisker and guaranteed their promotion at the same time. Headington won on two rinks and drew on a third. Indeed, the draw was achieved for Kidlington by Chris Cox’s rink with a four shot win on the last end of the match. Joe Woodward’s six shot winning margin proved sufficient to get the match points for the leaders.

As good as Headington’s match was they actually lost ground to close rivals Chipping Norton who cruised away from bottom club Hanborough thanks to big wins for Tim Sealey and David Leighfield. As Chipping Norton’s next match is against Headington the second promotion place could be decided next week.

Thame’s defeat of City and County moves them above Banbury Central and out of the bottom two. Good wins for John Timms and Graham Stones’ rinks proved enough for Thame.

Chadlington need three points from their last two matches to get promoted from Division 4 as Bloxham still have a bye week to come. Their six points in the fixture against Oxford University Press saw them score the second century of the week in the league with big wins for Ron Arthur and Carl Smart’s rinks.

Bloxham almost got a ton as well, thanks to Tony Gardner’s thirty-seven shots, as they were comfortable winners against Woodstock.

Blackbird Leys took match points against West Oxford with Roy Brain’s eighteen shot win just outdoing Gary Richardson’s fifteen for the visitors.
Printable report
Match results
League tables

Men’s county finals: Join the RAF and have Sunday’s off

Men's county fours winners 2016

Contestants in Sunday’s OBA final’s at Carterton BC played their games in virtual silence as very few aircraft appeared to take off or land during the day, contrary to the normal activities at nearby Brize Norton.
Even the Headington rink of John Nicholls, Ian Henwood, Jason King and Mark Charlett seemed unusually quiet in their game against fellow club mates Dean and Gary May, Nathan Lewis and Howard Watts, but they were playing at 10.00a.m. Their Fours final produced a tight scoring game of one’s and two’s which saw Watt’s rink start the better leading 5-2 after four ends and then Charlett’s foursome take five of the next six ends to lead 9-6 after 10. Seven singles followed and with four ends remaining Charlett’s rink led by two, 12-10. They added a three on the eighteenth only to concede a five and a two to go into the last end 15-17 down and the prospect of Watt’s and his team mates snatching the title from under their noses. There was however still one end to play and it went the way of the Charlett four picking up a three to collect the title with an 18-17, having won eleven of the twenty-one ends.

Men's county singles winner 2016At the same time as the fours was being played, the spectators were also entertained by Banbury Borough’s Keith Holloway and Watlngton’s Chris Gilkes battling for the Singles title. Both players were to also feature in other finals later in the day. A win for Holloway and he would join the small band of Oxfordshire bowlers who have won each of the the four senior titles. A win by Gilkes would put him in with the chance of being the first to take both the Junior and Senior singles in the same year. After dropping a brace of three’s on the first two ends, Gilkes settled down to take the next four before a single from Holloway levelled matters at 7 all. Singles shots predominated on a tricky rink before Holloway collected a three on the thirteenth and a pair three ends later to lead by four shots, 15-11 after sixteen. Two shots each over the next three ends still had Gilkes trailing but then a combination of excellent woods, and some good fortune, went the Watlington’s way as he put an end to Holloway’s title hopes, picking up eight shots over the next six ends to take the title with a 21-17 win and halfway to the double.

Men's county under 25's singles winner 2016Both bowlers featured in the next games to be played, Gilkes in the Under 25 Junior singles against Chipping Norton’s David Leighfield, and Holloway chasing the Two-wood singles championship against Carterton’s Stuart Timms.
In a very tight game played on a demanding rink, neither of the Under 25 lads managed more than a two on an end apart from one four in Gilkes’ favour. Seven ends – 4 all, eleven ends – 7 all, fifteen ends – 10 all, they could to be separated. Then came the four to Gilkes on the seventeenth end opening up a five shot lead for him 15-12. An immediate response from Leighfield of eight shots over the next six ends turned the game in his favour as he now held three shot lead. Not to be outdone, Gilkes replied with a 2 and a single to level the scores yet again leaving both bowlers three shots short of victory at 18 all. The tide turned yet again as Leighfield’s made the title his, picking up a two and a single to take the game 21-18 in his second season at Chipping Norton, having previously trod the hallowed turf in Wiltshire. Men's county 2 wood singles winner 2016

In the Two-wood singles, (Bowls equivalent of cricket’s 20-Twenty) Holloway started the quicker of the two in and lead by four shots, 9-5 after 12 ends. Timms responded by taking three of the next four ends to level the game at 10-10. With a maximum of five ends left to play, the Borough man then collected a pair of singles and a two with Timms’ managing a lone single and running out of ends leaving Holloway the winner at 14-11 after 20 ends.

men's county triples winners 2016The all Banbury Borough Triples final concluded after only fourteen of the eighteen ends having been played. Keith Holloway, Darren Sharpe and AJ Docherty overwhelmed their club mates Jamie Wilkinson, George Schwab and skip Mark Sykes right from the start, going into a 9-1 lead after five ends then collecting a 6 two ends later on their way to a 17-2 lead after nine ends. A flurry of seven shots over the next three ends brought the Sykes trio to within eight shots and seven ends still remaining. Any thoughts they had of a making a comeback were stifled on the next two ends when they dropped a five, followed by a pair, leaving them 9-24 down and the decision was made that enough was enough. Victory to Docherty’s threesome and a second title of the day for Holloway.

Men's county pairs winners 2016The day was brought to a close with the host club pairing of Tim Jupp and Stuart Richens up against the Headington duo of Ian Henwood and Mark Charlett who were looking to add the Pairs to their already won Fours title. A five on the second end gave the Headington boys a 7-1 lead but the Carterton lads quickly picked up a couple of singles and a four to level the scores after six ends. Tight ends and low scoring saw the teams level at 12 all after fourteen ends, then a triple and single saw Henwood and his partner open up a four shot lead with five ends to play. Three of the ends went the way of Jupp and Richens but they were still two shots adrift 16-18 with one end to go. What an end! Jupp dropped two perfect woods right behind the jack. Whilst opposition woods went near, the two shots remained, leaving Richens to concentrate on not making the head any wider and leaving woods in receiving positions should the jack be moved. Charlett had one wood left with an extra end looking likely. The bowls was delivered, the line and weight looked good and this time the shot was perfect, connecting with the jack and giving him shot. Now it was up to Richens to conjure up at least two shots to stay in the game, but alas it was not to be, as the target was missed and the Henwood, Charlett partnership held on to the single, winning 19-16 and joining Holloway as double title-ists on the day.

Opponents retired to the bar, laughter rang out from winners, runners-up more slightly subdued, but both will be equal when they walk out onto the Leamington greens in August.
The skies were still hushed, rain was in the air and the RAF were still enjoying their Sunday off.
As usual, the Carterton club’s hospitality was first class.