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League week 11

First this week an update on the Gilkes after their car crash. Bob and his wife are now at home and making small steps towards recovery having suffered chest and trunk injuries from seat belt and airbags. They hope to be back at the bowls club as soon as possible.

In the league, it was a week of close matches, even if the final scores seem to say otherwise.

With Division 1 leaders Headington not playing, Watlington had the chance to narrow the gap between them. Whilst they did so, with a four – two win over City and County, this may not be enough to give them a realistic chance of the title. Indeed, should they drop points to Banbury Central this week and Headington win their match, at home to City and County, the title will have been decided.

Watlington’s win was set up by Chris Gilkes’ twenty-three shots win. Whilst this more than cancelled Alan Leys impressive eighteen shot margin for City and County, it would have been even more decisive if, in the comeback of the season so far, Colin Pollard’s rink had not contrived to come from 23 – 9 down after sixteen ends to win the match 24 – 23 for City and County!

The other fixtures in the division were more about relegation than winning titles. West Witney’s win at Carterton looks impressive at first glance but the rink scores show that Carterton were also fighting for their division one lives. Paul Sharman’s rink were ahead at eighteen ends only to drop a five to Andy McIntyre and be unable to recover; David Leighfield scored four shots in the last two ends to win his rinks whilst Paul Skidmore saved the best for the end being fifteen – five down after thirteen ends but then only dropping one more shot to win his rink by two.

However, the real relegation battle was at Banbury Central were the home side need to beat strugglers South Oxford convincingly to have any chance of staying up themselves. Once Will Campion had gone fourteen – zero up on his rink, the rest of his teammates settled to the task with Mick Andrew drawing ahead in the second half of his game and Keith McNeil scrapping a last end win in a very tight match. Five points may yet be enough for Central giving what is still to come on the fixture list!

In Division 2, leaders Kidlington defeated Chipping Norton comfortably, only Norman Sifford able to make an impression for the home side winning by thirteen shots. Whilst mathematically not yet sure of promotion, Kidlington could clinch this with their next match.

Adderbury concocted a lifeline for themselves with a win at home to Shiplake, who showed their problems with travel distances fielding only fourteen players. Biggest win of the match was for Mike Jelfs’ rink who beat the opposition triple by fourteen shots.

Division 3 remains as topsy-turvy as ever! This week’s matches saw Banbury Central involved in another odd result, this time to their disadvantage. Winning on two rinks and drawing a third proved insufficient to take the match points as Ken Williams rink won by twelve shots to clinch the match for Hanborough, doing so with an impressive second half to the game where they dropped only two shots. Both clubs now tie on points and are half a point behind second place Blackbird Leys whose comfortable win away at Bicester was down to solid bowling rather than any single rink winning by a large margin.

Whilst the top four may think that they are fighting out the promotion places, Headington’s whitewash of Chadlington move them out of the relegation zone and, with three matches still to play, they remain close to the promotion dogfight. Martin Kershaw and Steve Gould skipped impressive victories for Headington with the latter taking the prize with a twenty shot win.

Woodstock’s demolition of West Oxford was the outstanding match in Division 4. However, wins on all four rinks, including a twenty shot margin for Dave Francis’ men, and scoring a century in the process was still not enough to lift them off the bottom of the table!

The other two matches appear to have been close affairs, indeed South Oxford’s win, at home to Oxford University Press was; David Bye’s twelve shot win cancelling Richard Cann’s ten shots for OUP. However, Thame’s defeat of City and County, whilst also four points to two, concluded with the home side scoring forty-four shots more than their opponents thanks to big wins for both Paul Heafey and Ray Plested’s men with the latter taking the star prize with their thirsty-three shot winning margin.

Match Results
League Tables
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