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League final week

Is it really fourteen weeks since the season started? It still does not feel as though it is all over until 2019!

My apologies to those players and clubs that might feel hard done by in that I have not included their achievements as well as they thought I should have but I can only detail so much each week. This week, I must concentrate on the games that were important to the promotion and relegation battles, to the exclusion of some others.

We know that Headington are Division 1 champions and that Kidlington are relegated but the second and third places were up for grabs as, more importantly, was the final relegation spot. Headington still had two matches to play, both potentially changing league positions. Their first, postponed due to a clash with a national competition, was against West Witney, who needed to win to challenge Banbury Central for second place. As it transpired the match was a little one sided and West’s challenge was over. The second was against Watlington, who were in danger of relegation! A much closer affair but a similar outcome saw Watlington come away with a single point, won by Sam Watts’ rink that pulled away winning the last six ends. This left the club five points clear of both Witney Mills and City and County and, probably, safe for the season.

Chris Weller’s rink won easily for Witney as did Chris Lewis for City and County, so Witney were still a half point ahead but with both clubs looking to take the match points after the initial big wins.

Alan Wiggin’s men were held at thirteen ends but won six of the last seven to take their game comfortably for Witney whist Omar Shariff’ rink outplayed Central’s Nigel Galletly to take a fourteen shot lead at nine ends. Hard as the opposition tried they were unable to close the gap and City won another point.

Chris Cox took a six shot lead for Kidlington in his match, but Richard Barrett’s men knew how important the match was and fought back only but, ultimately lost by a single shot; For City Colin Pollard’s men led early but dropped a six to Central and were unable to regain the lead, so the season was on the final rinks of the matches!

John Mott’s men led by five for Witney after twelve ends but only won one more end as John Healey’s rink fought back but it was just too big a lead to bridge and Witney Mills ensured their survival as City could not overtake them. Alan Ley and Mick Andrew’s rinks were unaware of this, so their battle still mattered and battle it was! Alan led throughout but was unable to draw away despite going nine shots up after five ends. The Central rink slowly closed the gap and the game was level at seventeen ends, the final end win for Mick finally relegated City and County. Division 2 beware!

As for that division, Carterton were already confirmed as champions and Hanborough to relegation, so the battles were for the final promotion and relegation places. Chipping Norton needed a big win to stay up at Shiplake’s expense. As they were away at relegated Hanborough they had a good chance and they grabbed it with both hands. Percy Hickman’s rink provided the killer blow coming from fifteen eight down with three ends to play and still three shots down starting the final end they won the final end by six shots to take their game and keep Chippy in Division 2 for another season.

The promotion stakes were high, either Witney Town or South Oxford would be promoted. The latter were away at runaway leaders Carterton and did well to take two rinks but those two points meant that Witney only needed to match that result to go up. They were away as well, at Charlbury and, in a bizarre result only possible in bowls they tied one rink and won one but that, by Tim Ludlow’s men, was by a massive twenty-five shots. The two match points that win guaranteed were enough and they play in the top division next year.

Division 4 was an altogether clearer cut affair. West Oxford were heading the promotion race but needed to win and match rivals Chadlington’s result. However, they were hosting a Bloxham team that could still be promoted but only if they took at least five points and South Oxford and Chadlington tied their match. Bloxham arrived ready for battle and did all they could, winning comfortably on three rinks and drawing the last only because John Parker’s men scored six shots on the final end for the home side. The other teams involved played each other knowing that they needed a big win to ensure that they finished second ahead of the losers. John Cope’s men provided South with a chance winning by scoring a six and a five in the last five ends to open a big gap. However, Chadlington’s three other rinks had different ideas, winning comfortable to give their club the five points they needed to finish second and play in Division 3 next year.

Match results
Final league table
Printable report

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