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May 14th, 2017:

Oxon men beat Northants in Middleton Cup trial

Oxfordshire Bowling Association started their 2017 Middleton Cup campaign with a narrow win over Northamptonshire at Kingsthorpe Bowling Club.

In the first of 2 trial games the Oxfordshire team won by 124 shots to 111. The rinks of Paul Sharman, David Leighfield, and Nick Rae-Welsh all won whilst the rinks of Ray Gaskins and Baden-Sparkes both lost by 1 shot after being level after 20 ends.

The rink of Mark Sykes at 10 ends were up by 7 shots but only scored a further 3 in the final 11 ends and finally lost by 7 shots.

With three players making their Middleton Cup debut for Oxfordshire (Steve Witcombe, Jim Bland and Alan Carter) and the return of Baden-Sparkes after being out injured last season the Oxfordshire team made a great start to this year’s campaign. All the newcomers settled in well which was very encouraging. The second trail match is against Gloucestershire at Oxford City & County on Saturday afternoon (May 20th).

Oxfordshire 124, Northants 111

Steve Witcombe, Bradley Squires, Paul Comley, Baden Sparkes lost 24 – 25
Sam Watts, George Schwab, Will Parker, Paul Sharman won 21 – 11
Mick Nash, Keith Holloway, Jason King, Nick Rae-Welsh won 20 – 19
Jim Bland, Melvin Brain, Kevin Alder, David Leighfield won 25 – 14
Alan Carter, Trevor Prew, Chris Gilkes, Ray Gaskins lost 17 – 18
Joe Abercrombie, Paul Mabbutt, Shane Cooper, Mark Sykes lost 17 – 24