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Oxon U25’s update

Oxon Under 25s beat the JHCL champions elect Buckinghamshire in a tight and exciting contest decided with the final bowl at Kidlington yesterday. With two rinks finished and Oxfordshire two shots to the good the game looked to have gone the way of the visitors when, with just Shane Cooper’s last bowl of the game to play, Bucks held four shots with an offset jack. The Watlington man duly stepped up to the mark however, and played a fantastic shot under the circumstances to trail the jack for four to Oxon and a six shot and 8-2 points win overall.

In front of enthusiastic support for both teams Bucks had the better of the first half, with the Oxon rink of Cooper tied, Sam Watts’ four trailing by three and the luckless rink of Chris Gilkes eighteen adrift, and their confidence was high. The Oxford team though has gained massive experience from these type of games over the past few seasons and that showed as Gilkes and his men kept their heads and scored 11 shots to 5 in the second stage while Cooper and Watts steadily opened up what proved to be winning margins to set up the final end drama and the 60-54 victory.

Rink Scores (Oxon first):
Shane Cooper 24, Matt Gomme 16;
Chris Gilkes 12, Nathan Harvey 24;
Sam Watts 24, David West 14

As we understand it, despite this setback, Bucks still secured the title by virtue of a Sussex win over Berkshire at Popes Mead. Our congratulations go to them.

Previously, on 3rd July, Oxon travelled to Sussex and beat their hosts by 71 shots to 65 and 8 points to 2.
Rink Scores (Oxon first):
Shane Cooper 19, Andrew Fairhall 27;
Chris Gilkes 22, Callum Philliore 17;
Sam Watts 30, Jonathan Fenn-Tye 21.

Oxon travel to Maidstone next Sunday, minus several key players, but still in a position to secure the runners up spot with a good win.

At the same time yesterday there was a mixed friendly practice game between Oxon and Bucks involving seven of our Ladies Amy Rose team and three of the U25s reserves. It is hoped that this too, will become an annual fixture alongside the JHCL game.

The next date for your diaries is the annual Under 25s Day at Watlington on Sunday 28th August. If, at any of your clubs, you have youngsters interested in playing regardless of experience or ability, please please get in touch with Steve Gilkes on 07868 435052 or stevegilkes@btinternet.com It is a day designed, not just for established players, but newcomers to have a fun introduction to the sport too. We need new players to start now, boys and girls, so please do all you can to get them along. Lunch, drink and a gift for all players is provided.

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