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Balcomb Trophy regional finals: Oxon’s last gasp heartache

Balcomb Trophy 2013

Following the Middleton Cup victory over Hampshire the day before, Oxon’s ‘top eight’ went into the regional semi-final of the country’s most prestigious team competition in good form with high hopes of a victory against Kent despite their opponents boasting an extremely strong team and playing in their home county.

The early ends were fairly close affairs and at five ends Alan Prew with Ian Snowdon, Nathan Lewis and Keith Holloway led Shaun McCaughan’s rink by four, while Howard Watts playing with Mark Sykes, Paul Sharman and Jon Philpott trailed Gordon Charlton by only one. The gap had closed from three to just one at ten ends with great play from both teams.

As with the Middleton Cup at Atherley the third quarter was better for the opponents than Oxon. Charlton seemingly could do no wrong and opened up a nine shot lead at fifteen ends whilst McCaughan narrowed the gap to two at the same stage against Prew.

On the respective twentieth ends Watts with his last bowl cut the score against him down to one while Prew’s rink picked up a massively valuable four to put Oxon one up going into the last end. Watts and his team all put bowls into the head and put pressure on Charlton who, with his last bowl, played an Oxon wood in for shot.

Lewis drew a shot which stayed for Oxon until the final bowls on the other rink but then Prew, with his last bowl, looking to cover space just behind the jack moved it slightly and sat alongside. Oxon then, held game with just McCaughan’s last bowl to come. Credit to him, having missed with his first, with his final effort he trailed the jack perfectly for a Kent four and two shot overall victory.

This was a great game of bowls and a fantastic advert for the game. Every player gave their all for the cause but on this occasion it just wasn’t to be. Kent went on to lose the final to Hampshire who had beaten Middlesex in the second semi-final.

Read Full Report here: MC & Balcomb Report 220613

Rinks Scores: (Oxon Skips first)
Watts 15, Charlton 21
Prew 24, McCaughan 20

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