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Oxon’s Middleton Cup dreams back on track

Oxfordshire’s Middleton Cup aspirations are back in the team’s hands after coming away with a hard fought win against group leaders Hampshire at Atherley on Saturday.

Oxon’s Mark Sykes got away to the best start, opening up a 10-1 lead over Leo May at five ends while the remainder of the games were closer during the early exchanges. The second quarter saw the Oxford team open up an eighteen shot lead with Captain, Alan Prew moving into a commanding lead over opposing skip, Jim Marsland, however the third undoubtedly belonged to the home side as they moved back within two shots at fifteen ends. Chris Daniels extended his early lead to eleven shots over Mark Charlett while the remaining Hants rinks all picked up important scores.

During the final six ends Hampshire got their noses in front and could have then closed the game out had it not been for some dogged, as well as great, play from the Oxon men.

Charlett’s four had struggled for consistency and results through the game but two three’s on the last two ends put them seven behind and Oxon four in front with just Paul Sharman to finish. It is becoming the norm for the Carterton man to be last out and this time he played a brilliant take out shot on the twentieth end for an invaluable three. A front toucher from Lee Young with his first bowl of the last end, great cover from Andy Martin and a jack trail from Barry Lambourne then followed. With Sharman just having to consolidate it meant that, despite his best efforts, Hampshire skip Richard Shelley could do nothing but attempt a dead end. Two misses, a five picked up, ten shot rink win and a nine shot, 16-6, victory for the county was the result which sets up a final day shoot out with Kent who eclipsed Middlesex by 20-2.

15 points at City & County on 6th July will mean a second successive quarter final appearance for Oxon although Kent will start as favourites given their vastly superior strength of numbers and the recent wins over their hosts.

Read Full report here: MC & Balcomb Report 220613

Oxon Skips First:
Carpenter 18, Morgan 22
Sharman 22, Shelley 12
Snowdon 19, Marchant 23
Sykes 23, May 23
Charlett 16, Daniels 17
Prew 25, Marsland 23

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