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August, 2016:

Amy Rose and White Rose competitions

The men’s and ladies junior teams both play at the National Championships at Leamington Spa this weekend. The ladies play Northants in the opening round of the Amy Rose double rink at 11:30am on Saurday 3rd September and the men make their second successive national semi-final appearance, this time against Lincolnshire, at 9:30am on Sunday 4th.

The teams have both been selected: Amy Rose and White Rose

Under 25s Day

U25 day 2016

Who says it’s an old person’s game?

Thirty young bowlers from across Oxfordshire yesterday competed in the ninth annual Under 25s Day at Watlington Bowls Club.

Despite torrential downpours in the morning there were smiles all round as eight teams played each other in a round robin which was eventually won by David Leighfield of Chipping Norton with Thame’s Matt Canfield and four time winner Katie Bland from Shiplake Village.

This event kick started the current Under 25s teams back in 2008 and some players have competed every year since. That said, two new Oxfordshire players made their debuts. Charlie Buckett from Shiplake and Victoria Nemar of Thame played for the first time and will now be part of the junior teams from 2017. Charlie’s brother Jody and Lucas King from Bicester played for the first time in a couple of years and will also be valuable additions to the squad. Due to the age limits of junior bowls, for every new player coming in, often senior players are lost through age at the opposite end. Last year six players moved on and this year it was the turn of men’s captain Chris Gilkes who was thanked for his services to the Under 25s over the past years. Special thanks also to Chris Cadman from Suttons BC for stepping in at the last minute.

Ever popular, the event was well attended by parents and supporters as well as four past presidents of the Oxfordshire Bowling Association and two past lady presidents of the OWBA and Bowls Oxfordshire Ladies, all of whom
braved the elements of the morning but who were rewarded with some great bowling throughout and sunshine in the afternoon. The barbecue lunch provided for all competitors and support was a welcome break from the rain and, on that note, our thanks go to OBA President Peter Latter for his kind donation of burgers and sausages.

The competition, based on shot difference and run as ever brilliantly by Gordon Hooker could have been won by either the eventual victors or by Chris Gilkes’ team going into the last game however a defeat for Gilkes at the hands of Cadman saw him and his team finish third, pipped for runners up spot by Jazz Alder and her rink.

The winners received their medals from Watlington President and Oxfordshire’s longest serving past president, Henry Franklin, who also made a generous donation from the club to the junior bowlers.

Winners: David Leighfield, Matt Canfield and Katie Bland
Runners Up: Jazz Alder, Bradley Squires, Lucas King, Jonathan Dadson
Third: Chris Gilkes, Dan Swanson, Jody Buckett, Luke Gilbert

At the conclusion of the day the draw for the set of Aero bowls was made and was won by Chris Gilkes who charitably donated them back for auction to raise funds towards kit and running costs of the junior teams in the seasons to
come. The auction was won by David Leighfield. Thanks to both for your generosity.

If any young player or potential young player reading this wishes to take part in the junior Oxon teams next year, please get in touch with Steve Gilkes at or 07868 435052.

Thame win county top club

The County Top Club Final between Banbury Central BC and Thame BC took place on Sunday 28th August 2016 at Banbury Chestnuts BC.

Thame BC Ladies just kept in front to the end of a thrilling final by just 3 shots, with equal points each with a win on 2 rinks.

Final scores (Thame 71, Banbury Central 68)

Singles: Caroline Walker 21, Pam Shepherd 11
Pairs: M Duncan/D Penn 13, E Jones/M Cox 22
Triples: J Brooks/S Foster/B Waters 17, J Williams/G Sharpe/A Gilkes 18
Fours: S Heafy/C Liddle/M Giles/M Plested 20, M Sykes/J Williams/J Bone/A Norton 17

Banbury Borough take the Hawker Cup

Hawker Cup winners 2016 - Banbury Borough

Banbury Borough regained the Hawker Cup which they last won in 2014, when they came from behind on both rinks to record a comfortable 38-26 win against Headington.

Borough’s Joe Abercrombie, Jamie Wilkinson, Darren Sharpe and Mark Sykes recovered well from being 6-11 down at 12 ends with a four and two singles to move into a one shot lead at fifteen.

A single to Mick Nash, Kelvin Woodward, Ian Henwood and Mark Charlett levelled the score, but that was the last of their scoring as the rink from the north of the county picked up 8 shots over the next four ends to close the game at 20-12.

Not to be outdone, Borough’s other rink of Paul McLeod, John McGeough, Keith Holloway and AJ Docherty up against the Headington foursome of John Nicholls, Colin Whitehead, Nathan Lewis and Jason King, found themselves 9 shots adrift at 4-12 after nine ends before taking four of the next five ends to get to within two shots at 11-13. The Headington boys could only add another single to their score whilst their opponents took five of the last six ends, collecting seven shots to win their match 18-14.

In the mornings semi finals, the Banbury eight had a 41-36 win against the second of Headington’s semi-finalists. Docherty’s four won 21-14 against Dean May, Alan Manger, Gary May and Howard Watts, as Sykes’ rink had a narrow 20-22 loss to Bernie May, Steve Hainge, Paul Mabbutt and Ian Snowdon.

The second semi between Headington and Middle Barton saw Charlett’s four win 18-13 against Richard Smith, Colin Brock, Martin Fraser and Roy Kinch and Jason King’s rink record a 22-12 scoreline against David Wotherspoon, Eric Dix, David Robey and Jim Stevens. Making the final stages of a competition was a new experience for the Middle Barton bowlers who handled the occasion well in front of their strong support.

The play off for third and fourth places saw a 49-34 scoreline in Headington’s favour with the Middle Barton side bringing in Gerald Abbotts as substitute for Richard Smith to give their small membership the opportunity to enjoy the day

League cup semi finals

Played on two consecutive Thursdays for the first time, the League Cup semi-finals couldn’t have been closer, with an exciting climax to both games.

First up was Shiplake v Watlington, with both teams making their first ever appearance in the semi’s on the green at South Oxford.

With Watlington securing promotion to Division 1 in the League and Shiplake going the other way to Division 2, the south Oxfordshire teams knew they would have another season apart, and both were keen to make their debut in the League Cup final.

Watlington were quickest out of the blocks, and at the half way point were leading by 12 shots and winning on all 4 rinks. However Shiplake bounced back and at 14 ends had edged ahead, with 3 of the rinks now in front – Matt Shepherd’s four leading the charge.

Despite securing a good victory on Les Wescott’s rink, it was not to be Watlington’s night. The other 3 skips, all from the Gilkes family, couldn’t recover their earlier lead and Shiplake ended the game victorious by 6 shots and with a place in the final.

There was also drama in the second semi-final, as holders Headington A did battle once again with old rivals City & County A. With 2 men short on the night, City & County knew they’d need a good start, as part of their score would be adjusted at the end. Within just a few ends, Paul Comley, Alan Ley, and Colin Pollard were piling on the shots, whilst Chris Earl’s four were keeping things close against Headington’s Nick Rae-Welsh. At 8 ends City and County were up by 11 shots, and as darkness started to fall still looked to be knocking the Champions out. Then, with captain Mark Charlett leading the fightback, Headington gave themselves an outside chance – as 3 of their rinks crept home with narrow wins, whilst trailing City & County heavily on the fourth.

With just one end remaining, and Headington needing 3 shots for victory, everyone gathered around the one rink left playing. Bowling a shorter jack, Headington adjusted better to the poor light and romped home with 5 shots on the end to clinch an unlikely victory, despite an accomplished win for Colin Pollard’s four.

The final will now be played between Headington A and Shiplake, under the floodlights at Kidlington, on Thursday 8th September.

Shiplake 69, Watlington 63
J Bland 19, S Gilkes 15; M Shepherd 20, C Gilkes 13; B Evans 19, B Gilkes 13; G Kennedy 11, L Wescott 22.

Headingon A 69, City & County A 66½
H Watts 16, P Comley 15; M Charlett 21, A Ley 16; R Gaskins 17, C Pollard 25; N Rae-Welsh 15, C Earl 10½.

Under 25’s update

The boys travelled to Kent on 7th August in the JHCL and came away with an 8 points to 2 victory. Unfortunately the position in the league could not be improved upon and third place was the result of a season where we only lost one game. With Middlesex no longer competing and Surrey only fulfilling half of its fixtures it was difficult to overcome the initial loss to Berkshire. Looking ahead to next year we have home games against Berks, Sussex and Kent and play away in Surrey and Bucks so hopefully with a good start and a team with another year’s experience we will finally win this elusive trophy!

Already some of our Under 25s have played at Leamington, most notably David Leighfield who reached the last eight of the junior singles only to be beaten by Jamie Walker, currently arguably the number one singles player in the country and eventual winner. David is to be congratulated on his achievement. Chris Gilkes had a bit of a nightmare in his first game and departed the competition earlier than wanted or expected but that’s bowls. He goes again in the men’s singles on Wednesday 31st August.

Katie Bland and Claire Soden both played in the junior ladies singles for the first time and Katie made it into the last 16 before losing out to international triallist Rachel Efde of Bucks. Claire teamed up with Emma Gilkes in the junior singles and played well but were always up against it, beaten in the end by Katherine Rednall and her partner from Suffolk.

As a reminder the girls’ double rink play Northants in the opening round of the Amy Rose on Saturday 3rd September and the boys are in the national semi final of the White Rose against Lincolnshire on Sunday 4th September. Please try and get along to support if you’re able and please let your members know. Thankyou.

Oxon ladies beat Hants in friendly

Bowls Ocfordshire Ladies played Hampshire on Wednesday 24th August 2016 at City and County BC.

Very hot day, lovely company and a win of plus 3.

BOL 100, Hampshire 97

Jeanette Berry 19, J Vickers 16
Angela Ives 15, D Timms 16
Wendy Cross 26, R Brown 15
Carol Nall 10, H Marke 18
Daphne Jacob 12, J Jolliffe 15
Carol Penson 18, L Hayward 17

Oxon men beat Bucks in friendly

Oxfordshire played Buckinghamshire at Iver Heath BC on Tuesday August 15th.

Unusually the 2 Presidents were allocated to rink1 and the decision looked to be going in Buckingham’s favour but a strong finish by The Oxon quartet swung the match in their favour.

Rink 2 was much more comfortable for Oxon and big scores at the end saw them comfortably home.
The result on rink 3 was determined by end 15and 16 with Mick Morris and his team picking up a 5 and a 6 to counteract the 6 dropped on end 8.

Dropping a six also determined the outcome on Rink 4 but this time the advantage went to Bucks.
Rink 5 saw the scores level after7 ends but wins for Ian Whelpton’s four on 3 of the last 4 ends saw the home by 7 shots.

Brain Bloomfield and co were behind from the beginning but struggled to double figures to lose by 13.
A colts badge was awarded to Carterton’s George Strachan.

Oxfordshire 118 Buckinghamshire 109.

Rink scores:
C Lewis G Strachan J Lucas P Latter won 19-16.
M Cameron T Backer-Holst T Gripe A Ley won 27-13.
A Hunt G Weedon K Williams M Morris won 26-21.
B Willoughby J Timms P Demczak M Andrew lost 13-20.
R Slater M Jones D Bullock I Whelpton won 21-14
S Tolhurst C Haley J McGeough B Bloomfield lost 12-25

Knight wins national singles

National Singles winner 2016

Donna Knight (Oxford City & County BC) has won the 2016 Bowls England Women’s National Singles Championship, supported by the Friends of English Bowling yesterday at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa. Knight defeated Wiltshire’s Katy Smith 21-15 in the Quarter Final and Northamptonshire’s Alison Dring 21-18 in the Semi Final. Knight then went on to beat Rachel Mackriell from Eastbourne BC, Sussex 21-18 in Saturday’s final to take the title.

Knight adds the singles title to the national fours title (2014) and the national pairs title (2015) making it 3 titles in 3 successive years.


1st Round: Knight bt Gay Allen (Bembridge BC, IoW) 21-15.
2nd Round: Knight bt Moira Parsons (Welford-on-Avon BC, Warks) 21-8.
Last 16: Knight bt Sylvia Bloomfield (Connaught BC, Essex) 21-12.
Quarter Finals: Knight bt Katy Smith (Royal Wootton Bassett BC, Wilts) 21-15.
Semi Finals: Knight bt Alison Dring (Burton Latimer BC, N’hants) 21-18.
Final: Knight bt Rachel Mackriell (Eastbourne BC, S’sex) 21-18.

League Final Report

Has there ever been a season like the one that has just finished?

Few matches lost to the weather, two titles going to the wire, new rules for some clubs to adjust to and the closest relegation battle that I can remember!

First the congratulations:

Division 1:

Champions: Carterton BC
Runners Up: Headington BC

Division 2:

Champions: Watlington BC
Runners Up: West Witney BC

Division 3:

Champions: Kidlington
Runners Up: Chipping Norton BC

Division 4:

Champions: Chadlington BC
Runners Up: Blackbird Leys BC

Now some details:

In Division 1, Carterton needed to match Headington’s results to become champions and they did so in style. Away at City and County, which is never easy, they won on all four rinks and made 100 shots for the second time this season meaning that Headington could not beat them however good their results.

As it was, Headington won well on three rinks, including a twenty-eight shot margin for captain Mark Charlett, but Richard Barnett’s rink spoiled their party by winning his rink for Witney Mills.

Unfortunately, the single point gained by Witney Mills was not enough to stave off relegation and they join Shiplake in division 2 next season.

The final match, between South Oxford and Banbury Central, could have no relevance to either clubs final league position and indeed Banbury arrived with a minimal squad and, as a consequence, lost on all rinks.

In Division 2, Watlington knew that they were already champions but also knew that opponents Witney Town could clinch promotion to division 1 with a good result. As it turned out, Watlington mixture of youth and experience won the day and Town awaited neighbours West Witney’s result. Drama aplenty in the match itself, where either team could have won. Big wins on one rink apiece meant that the two close rinks would settle the result. Steve Gilkes trailed Tim Ludlow’s four by two shots with his own last bowl to play and promoted one of his own team’s bowls for shot and a tied rink. Paul Demczak’s men needed a four to win the match for Town and were holding three, and a tied result in the match, only for Chris Gilkes to draw shot with his final bowl. Drama not yet finished as exuberance took over and the head was kicked out before Paul could bowl his last bowl! End replayed in the dark, but to no avail for Town as they were unable to score the required four shots.

Elsewhere, West Witney were demolishing already relegated Bicester, scoring a century of points in the process. The five points they gained in the match were sufficient to get them back to the top division as they leapfrogged Witney Town into second place.

The last match in the division was a fascinating relegation battle between Banbury Chestnuts and Adderbury with the visitors needing two points to overtake Charlbury and remain in division 2 next season. The outcome was close, and one that suited both teams, with Alan Wase’s nine shot margin for Chestnuts, on their only winning rink, being sufficient to give them match points and a 3 – 3 tie, keeping both teams up at Charlbury’s expense.

Kidlington were already champions in Division 3 but either Chipping Norton or Headington could join them in division 2 next season. Both were playing clubs fighting to avoid relegation and, despite the efforts of Martin Kershaw’s four, who ran out sixteen shots to the good for Headington, Hanborough won on three rinks, with Martin Oliver’s eighteen shots win giving Hanborough the victory and keeping both clubs in the division next year.

That result meant that Chipping Norton needed a single point from their fixture at home to City and County, who themselves had to match the result of the winners in the third match, between Banbury Central and Thame, in order to stay up. Unfortunately for them, Chipping Norton were too good on three, of four closely fought rinks, whilst Central were winning well on two rinks with big totals for Ron Cox and Jim Pickering’s men. These results relegated both Thame and City and County, whilst promotion was the prize for a rejuvenated Chipping Norton.

As elsewhere, Division 4 went to the wire. The top two played each other knowing that three points each would promote both clubs. In what, given the scores, must be the tightest match of the year, Blackbird Leys snatched the required match points by a single shot to leave Bloxham in the division next year whatever their result.

Bloxham did beat Oxford University Press, thanks to Ray Hopkins’s rink’s big win, but to no avail in their promotion effort, whist the last match went to Woodstock who defeated South Oxford in a dead fixture.

Prinable Report
Rink Scores
Final League Table