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May 23rd, 2017:

Orren Bennett and David Leighfield win OBA under 25 pairs competition

This years under 25 pairs was played with great success in the sunshine at South Oxford Bowls Club. This year sees the first time the boys able to progress to Leamington due to a Bowls England introduction of a male junior pairs competition.

The pairing of Orren Bennett and David Leighfield had to play three games of 18 ends to qualify, as only the winners overall progress to the national finals at Leamington Spa in August this year.
The pairing’s first game was against Woodstock duo Ollie John and Ben Dickson, the game was fairly evenly matched for the first half but a six on the 11th end made it very difficult for the Woodstock boys to comeback and they ended up losing 24-9 to Bennett and Leighfield.
The other three first round games were all taken to extra ends, after fantastic bowling by all players involved. A special mention is noted to Joe Justin and Darren Wakeman, from Carterton Bowls Club, who were 17-1 down after 8 ends, who went into the last end 20-17 up! A 3 from the pairing of Bradley Squires and Harvey Alder on the final end forced an extra end which ended up with the Carterton lads progressing to the semi-final winning 21-20.

Watlington’s Rob Parkes and Banbury Borough’s Jamie Wilkinson were in a tight tussle on rink 1 early on, against Thame’s Johnathon Dadson and Oxford City & County’s Joe Glenn, again a 3 shot pick up by Parkes and Wilkinson on the last end forcing an extra end. Dadson and Glenn won the extra end progressing to the semi-finals 15-14 victors.
The final first round game saw an all Watlington affair with the pairings of Sam Watts and Shane Cooper against Brandon King and Dan Swanson. Once more a 3 pick up on the final end forcing an extra end from King and Swanson. With one bowl left for Cooper and neither side quite sure who had shot, he played a very successful running bowl to remove both of his opponents bowls leaving his partners bowl for shot. Watts and Cooper progressed to the semi-final 21-20.

After a fantastic buffet lunch provided to the competitors and spectators from South Oxford Bowls Club, the semi-finals commenced with Dadson and Glenn against Bennett and Leighfield and Justin and Wakeman against Watts and Cooper. Watts and Cooper both played very strong games which got them a 26-5 victory and a place in the final. The other semi-final saw Bennett and Leighfield fight back from 15-4 down at 8 ends to win 25-20.

The final commenced in the glorious sunshine and both pairs keen to book their place at Leamington. There was a lot of emotion and big bowls played which saw the lead changing from pair to pair, but a 4 shot pick up on the 16th end for Bennett and Leighfield gave them a 16-12 lead with 2 ends to play. The penultimate end saw the Watlington pairing picking up a 2 which meant a very tense final end for the competitors, which saw Bennett and Leighfield pick up a single shot and win 17-14.
A very special thank you to Angie and Beryl from South Oxford for the excellent hospitality that was provided throughout the day and thank you to South Oxford Bowls Club for letting us use their facilities to host the event.

Watching the junior pairs played with so much talent and ability from all of the lads that were involved, shows just how bright the future is for bowls in Oxfordshire, for both the junior and senior game.

The Junior Pairs national finals will be held at Leamington Spa on Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th August.

League Week 2

Last season’s Division 1 champion’s, Carterton, narrowly defeated Banbury Central with the match hinging on the outcome of the Sammy Timms v Will Campion rink. Always at a disadvantage with only three players, the Central rink led at the halfway mark only to drop six shots on the eleventh end and never recover.

Despite the four points they won, Carterton fell further behind Headington, whose form remains impressive. Their only failing in the match at South Oxford was their inability to run up one hundred shots and they now have a four point cushion over their nearest rivals. Next week’s fixture against Watlington will tell us more about both club’s sides.

City and County failed to capitalise on their impressive victory last week, unable to take even a point at West Witney. Good bowling by all four Witney rinks with that skipped by Kevin Alder and well led by Oxfordshire under-25’s Harvey Alder, doing the most damage.

The closest result of the week was at Adderbury in Division 2 with the home side emerging victorious by two shots against newly promoted Chipping Norton. Indeed, Jeff Martin’s rink would have been disappointed as their seven shot win could easily have swung the match to the away team but Adderbury amassed enough on two other rinks to emerge victorious overall by two shots.

What, on paper, should have been a close match, at Kidlington, seems to have been anything but as the home side defeated Witney Town by seventeen shots. Much of the margin was scored by John Hardie’s rink with an impressive fourteen shot win.

Charlbury look to dominate Division 3, following last week’s comfortable win with an even better one, this time away at Banbury Central. Mark East’s rink led the way with an impressive seventeen shot victory.

Chadlington bounced back from their opening day defeat with a comfortable victory at home to Bicester. Big win’s here for Phil Radbone and Carl Smart’s men.

Headington were the victors in a strange encounter at home to Hanborough. Graham Haynes and Geoff Thompson ran up a twenty-two shot winning margin between them only to have Russell Edwards’ men win by twenty-four shots for Headington and snatch the match.

In Division 4 South Oxford had a comfortable win, away at West Oxford, in a match curtailed by rain, whilst Brian Clarke’s rink impressive win away at Thame was to no avail as the other three home rinks all won comfortably.

(Whist I know that South Oxford defeated Bloxham I do not have sufficient details of the match to comment or enter it into the league table.

Match Results
League table

Bob Joiner

U25 & U31 update

Oxfordshire Under 25s men kicked off the season at South Oxford BC on 6th May with a trial game against Wiltshire. This resulted in an overall win for Oxfordshire however the primary objective was for the team to get together on the green and start gelling again following the winter. This was achieved and followed up with a mixed get together and White Rose trial at Kidlington BC on 14th May.

We presently have 34 junior players, male and female, in the county which is good, however that number will reduce by five at the end of the season and by at least two more in 2018. It is therefore imperative that we recruit further players to swell the ranks and build upon the successes of the past few seasons.

As is my annual plea to all clubs, players and interested parties, please do all you can to recruit new bowlers of any age and in particular junior players, passing details to me regardless of age, experience or perceived ability. As I said in my end of season report, if we all introduce one new person to the sport this year we will be in a far healthier position as a county and as a sport!

This is scheduled to be my last season as manager and so I seek support from anyone interested in taking over or at least assisting in the role. Please call or email me for a chat.

Anyway, here’s to a great season for all in Oxfordshire. Look forward to seeing some of you at our junior games and many of you on the circuit.

Oxon U25s v Bucks 28/05/17

Steve Gilkes
Oxfordshire Junior Teams Manager
Mobile: 07868 435052