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Carterton through to Leamington in men’s senior fours

Senior Fours WinnersThe inaugural senior fours semi-finals and final were played in yet another splendid summer’s day at Burford Bowling Club on Sunday. This competition is a new competition brought in by Bowls England which is suitable for any four gentlemen, of the same club, who are aged 55 and over. There weren’t a great deal of entrants this year but I am personally hoping word will spread and we will have more and more entrants in the next couple of years growing it to be one of the most sought after competitions.

Having said that, there were four very strong sides fielded from Carterton, South Oxford, Headington and Banbury Central and two excellent semi-finals developed through the morning.
The first semi-final saw a Carterton rink of Tim Jupp, Gordon Walker, Steve Aldren and skipped by Paul Sharman up against a South Oxford rink of Chris Billingham, Vick DePaauw, Richard Green and skipped by Keith Mobley. After a seriously strong start from the Toon rink put them 18 shots to nil up after just 6 ends, the fightback would always be required from the south oxford rink, and they did just that. The next 7 ends went 10-2 in South’s favour to take the score to 20-10 at 13 ends. South continued their dominance in the game, although behind, they won the next 7 ends to take it to a nail-biting climax with the score at 20-18 playing the last. A great last end from the Toon lads saw them pickup 2 shots to win the game 22-20, but it has to be noted of the valiant effort given from the South Oxford rink.

The second semi-final saw a Headington line up of Mick Nash, Russell Edwards, Colin Whitehead and skipped by Ray Gaskins playing against a Banbury Central rink comprised of Alan Carter, Mike Andrew, Keith McNeil and skipped by Ian Whelpton. This was a lot tighter affair than the other semi-final which saw only 7 shots scored in the first 6 ends, going 6-1 Headington’s way. The Banbury rink fought well middle game to take the lead going 13-11 up at 15 ends before a double from Headington took it all square at 15 shots each. 3 good ends by Central saw them 17-13 up with only 2 ends left. A single shot on the penultimate saw Headington requiring 3 shots for an extra end or 4 shots for a win. Great front end bowling from the Headington boys in the last end allowed a good head to be built strongly in their favour and after the last bowl was delivered Headington picked up a game winning 4 shots to take their in place in the final 18-17 victors.
A spot of lunch was enjoyed by players, officials and spectators before the final commenced in the afternoon.

Played on rink 1, both the Carterton Rink and the Headington rink started well with Toon going 9 shots to 6 in front in the first half of the game. The next six ends saw six single shot pick-ups taking the score to 13-8 in Toon’s favour. A big 3 shot count on the 18th end saw the Toon boys up 16-8 with three ends to play. Of the required 8 shots Headington needed they could only gain 4 shots which gave Carterton the victory 16 shots to 12 and a place at Leamington to represent Oxfordshire in the national finals.
The winners, Tim Jupp, Gordon Walker, Steve Aldren and Paul Sharman, were presented the trophy by Ian Whelpton, which looked excellent after some work was put in over the winter months to convert the Bradshaw Cup to now be used as the Senior Fours Trophy.

A massive thank you to the members at Burford Bowls Club for the excellent welcome and facilities that were provided throughout the day and the lunch was excellent.

My closing note would be to encourage all competitors over the age of 55 to build a rink, together with your club mates and enter the competition for next year as this is definitely going to develop into an excellent competition, with the chance to qualify for the national finals at Leamington Spa.

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