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Under 25s Day

U25 day 2016

Who says it’s an old person’s game?

Thirty young bowlers from across Oxfordshire yesterday competed in the ninth annual Under 25s Day at Watlington Bowls Club.

Despite torrential downpours in the morning there were smiles all round as eight teams played each other in a round robin which was eventually won by David Leighfield of Chipping Norton with Thame’s Matt Canfield and four time winner Katie Bland from Shiplake Village.

This event kick started the current Under 25s teams back in 2008 and some players have competed every year since. That said, two new Oxfordshire players made their debuts. Charlie Buckett from Shiplake and Victoria Nemar of Thame played for the first time and will now be part of the junior teams from 2017. Charlie’s brother Jody and Lucas King from Bicester played for the first time in a couple of years and will also be valuable additions to the squad. Due to the age limits of junior bowls, for every new player coming in, often senior players are lost through age at the opposite end. Last year six players moved on and this year it was the turn of men’s captain Chris Gilkes who was thanked for his services to the Under 25s over the past years. Special thanks also to Chris Cadman from Suttons BC for stepping in at the last minute.

Ever popular, the event was well attended by parents and supporters as well as four past presidents of the Oxfordshire Bowling Association and two past lady presidents of the OWBA and Bowls Oxfordshire Ladies, all of whom
braved the elements of the morning but who were rewarded with some great bowling throughout and sunshine in the afternoon. The barbecue lunch provided for all competitors and support was a welcome break from the rain and, on that note, our thanks go to OBA President Peter Latter for his kind donation of burgers and sausages.

The competition, based on shot difference and run as ever brilliantly by Gordon Hooker could have been won by either the eventual victors or by Chris Gilkes’ team going into the last game however a defeat for Gilkes at the hands of Cadman saw him and his team finish third, pipped for runners up spot by Jazz Alder and her rink.

The winners received their medals from Watlington President and Oxfordshire’s longest serving past president, Henry Franklin, who also made a generous donation from the club to the junior bowlers.

Winners: David Leighfield, Matt Canfield and Katie Bland
Runners Up: Jazz Alder, Bradley Squires, Lucas King, Jonathan Dadson
Third: Chris Gilkes, Dan Swanson, Jody Buckett, Luke Gilbert

At the conclusion of the day the draw for the set of Aero bowls was made and was won by Chris Gilkes who charitably donated them back for auction to raise funds towards kit and running costs of the junior teams in the seasons to
come. The auction was won by David Leighfield. Thanks to both for your generosity.

If any young player or potential young player reading this wishes to take part in the junior Oxon teams next year, please get in touch with Steve Gilkes at or 07868 435052.

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