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JHCL: U25’s v Bucks

It was a case of glasses, cars, alarms and rain as Oxfordshire Under 25s prepared for their Junior Home Counties League game against Bucks at Iver Heath on Sunday.

Firstly skip Shane Cooper withdrew with a badly cut hand from a glass breakage and then Brandon King’s transport broke down along with Joe Woodward’s alarm clock meaning a few last minute team changes and only eleven players taking the green in torrential rain conditions. Needing all ten points to stay in contention for the title (Surrey are guaranteed six points from their last game as Middlesex have withdrawn from the league) Oxon settled to the task well and, with the green in danger of being submerged, led on all rinks with thirty ends played. Thirty ends constitutes a game and so had it ended then maximum points would have been awarded but the weather had its own ideas though and the rain slowed considerably shortly afterwards meaning the whole game being played.

Captain George Schwab in what could be his last JHCL game with Jonathan Dadson playing his first at lead with Harvey Alder and Orren Bennett in the engine room controlled their game against the four of Jack Seagrove from the off and picked up a hotshot eight on the fourteenth end to effectively end their encounter as a contest. The four continued to score well and eventually ran out winners by nineteen shots. Gary May, also playing his last game in the league, found himself skipping a triple with the two Dans, Swanson and Wakeman playing before him. Under the league rules the three would be deducted 25% of the final score meaning that they had to keep outscoring their opposition skipped by Phil Gregory. They did just that engineering nineteen shots in the last six ends to win 31(23.25) -13. The tightest of the three games was Chris Gilkes with Sam Watts, Joe Glenn and Ben Dickson against Nathan Harvey’s rink. Whilst the rain fell the game was close with never more than three shots between the sides however, once the conditions changed the Bucks front end adjusted the quicker and put Oxon under pressure end after end leading to eleven shots being scored in three ends to open a gap which could not be breached despite the Oxon four winning eleven ends to ten overall.

15-23 was the final result meaning, what would normally be a cause for celebration, a 70.25 to 49 shot and 8points to 2 victory. Nevertheless, the team, despite the disruption, performed very well in difficult conditions to secure the victory over a good Buckinghamshire side.

Oxon can now secure second place in the league with a victory over Kent at Kidlington on Sunday 2nd August.

Oxon 78*, Bucks 49
8 pts, 2 pts

Schwab 32, Seagrove 13;
May 31*, Gregory 13;
Gilkes 15, Harvey 23.

*25% (7.75) of rink score deducted for playing one short meaning 23.25 and team total 70.25

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