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May 16th, 2018:

League week 1

The new season started last Thursday on a fine, if latterly, cold evening with this season’s modified match structure. Playing only eighteen ends allowed the matches to finish before it became too dark to see the jack, as it has done in the past. It also allowed for a delayed start where teams had to travel the length and breadth of the county, including crossing Oxford in the rush hour.

Reigning Division 1 champions, Headington, fielding a team that was, if anything, even stronger than last August’s, continued their previous seasons assault on the opposition. Visitors Banbury Central, themselves stronger than in 2017, played well but were still beaten. However, only Nick Rae-Welsh’s rink, with Ray Gaskins leading, were able to pull away for a comfortable win for the home side. Whilst the other three rinks were close, only Keith McNeil’s men provided Central with a point, and that thanks to an excellent debut for Andy Winter who, stepping in as a last-minute substitute and having only taken up the sport last year, played a pressurised final few ends like an old professional.

The match between last season’s runners up Watlington and newly promoted Kidlington almost went to plan for the home side. Two rinks won comfortably, Sam Watts’ men thirteen shots ahead at the halfway point on the third and only Chris Cox in front for the visitors, a five-one results looked on the cards. Odd game bowls! Sam Watt’ rink contrived to take only one further shot as Paul McGrath’s men found their form, snatching victory with eight shots in the last three ends, and whilst Steve Gilkes rallied his side to within three shots with one end to play they lost on the final bowl. Kidlington skip Chris Cox stepped up with the rinks final wood in his hand, trailing by six shots on the end. To save the day he had to reduce the deficit to two shots. He did to give the visitors the narrowest of victories and another point.

City and County are weaker than last year having lost some experienced team members and they were unable to hold visitors West Witney. Alan Ley’s men scored City’s only point whilst David Leighfield’s rink’s comfortable win ensured the match points went to the visitors.

The composition of Division 2 this season, with six teams all to the north and west of Oxford means that Shiplake will have some difficult travelling to away matches. Their first match, at Carterton, was a foretaste of things to come! Weary from the travel, only Jim Bland’s rink were able defeat their opponents whist Tim Jupp and Robbie Clanfield had easy victories for the home side, who are looking to return to the top division from where they were surprisingly relegated last year.

Newly promoted Hanborough held a strong Witney Town side well. At the halfway point only two shots separated the sides, but Alan Scholan and Tim Ludlow’s rinks pulled away for the visitors giving them the match points despite the best efforts of Geoff Thompson and Martin Oliver’s men for the Hanborough.

Charlbury found tough opposition in a South Oxford side which, like Shiplake, are determined to regain their division 1 status as soon as possible. Only Eric Pitts’ rink was able to win a point for the home side, that from what seems to have been a titanic struggle as they won thirteen ends and still only scored fifteen shots in total!

As Division 3 only consist of six teams, it was decided to start their season two weeks later than the other three divisions meaning that there were no matches in the division this week.

Division 4 should have had three fixtures but Bloxham were unable to field a team, giving the match to South Oxford.

Phil Radbone’s rink got off to flier for Chadlington, who were at Woodstock, racing to a thirteen shot lead at the halfway stage, eventually running out fourteen shot winners. Woodstock fared little better on two other rinks with Peter Madeley’s Chadlington rink winning by an impressive sixteen shots. However, Paul Shipton’s men lost their way over the final three ends turning what should have been a fourth win into defeat. Leading by five shots after fifteen ends, they dropped seven over the last three ends as Carl Smart’s rink snatched the point for the home side.
Bicester’s season in the division started badly losing on all three rinks. Richard Herbert provided their only point with his rink’s close win. Indeed, John Parker’s rink win by fifteen shots for West Oxford was one of the largest of the night anywhere in the league.

League table
League results
League report

Oxon men beat Northants in Middleton cup trial

Oxfordshire Bowling Association started their 2018 Middleton Cup campaign with a well fought win over Northamptonshire at Oxford City and County Bowling Club. In the first of 2 trial games the Oxfordshire team won by 118 shots to 102.

With only one rink lost and that by a single shot Oxfordshire came close to a convincing win on all rinks. The extent of the win was determined by Ray Gaskin’s rink who won by 10 shots thanks in part to a 6 on the 10th end. With the sides level after 10 end, Oxfordshire gradually applied the pressure to lead by 11 shots after 15 end, by 12 shots after 18 ends and 6 shots at the finish.

The second trial is next Saturday at Cheltenham. Support will be most welcome.

Oxfordshire 118, Northants 102

Keith Holloway, Will Campion, Kevin Alder, Mark Sykes drew 19-19
Ade Kernish, Bradley Squires, A J Docherty, Ian Snowdon won 19-15
Mick Nash, David Leighfield, Shane Cooper, Ray Gaskins won 24-14
Sam Watts, Paul Robbins, Jason King, Mark Charlett lost 20-21
Jim Bland, Paul Comley, Ian Henwood, Nick Rae-Welsh won 17 -16
Alan Carter, Melvin Brain, Andy McIntyre, Baden Sparkes won 19-17

Oxon ladies beat Glous in a MEL game

Oxon ladies beat Gloucestershire in a Middle England League game played on Tuesday 15th May. Burford BC hosted the match on a lovely sunny day.

A colts badge awarded to Wendy Sandy of Carterton and Blazer Badge to Sheila Cranstoun of Shiplake.

BOL 123 – 13 points, Gloucestershire 121 – 4 points.

Wendy Cross 23, A Jones 19
Carol Gaskins 18, R Hughes 22
Daphne Jacob 25, J Crook 24
Pat Ostler 17, L Challenger 16
Sylvia Blackmore 25, J Sheward 20
Jeanette Berry 15, J Stannard 20