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U25’s White Rose

In the new single rink, 15 end format of the White Rose competition, Oxfordshire Under 25s were represented by 2 teams at the regional finals at Cranleigh Bowls Club in Surrey, on Sunday 16th June. With 2 teams qualifying from each region, confidence was high after the previous weeks JHCL win for having 1 or even 2 Oxon teams getting through. Heavy rain before the start of play delayed proceedings and when the rink had cleared, the first-round games began.

Oxfordshire Yellows – Sam Watt’s rink of Joe Justin, Bradley Squires and Orren Bennett – began their campaign against the Surrey Sharks team skipped by Eoghan Harding, and the first few ends were shared and at 8 ends, Oxon trailed 6-8. Results were going against them and the Surrey side continued to tick over the scoreboard and by 12 ends this was 6-13. The Yellows won the next 2 ends to give themselves a chance, needing 5 shots on the last end. When the head was not going their way, Orren attempted a running bowl to kill the end, but unfortunately picked the jack up too well and took it into the ditch. The Surrey number 3 made sure of the result by drawing to the edge of the ditch and Sam Watts conceded the end without the skips needing to bowl. So unfortunately, Oxon Yellows fell at the first hurdle, a 14-8 defeat.

The Oxfordshire Blues team of Jonathan Dadson, Dan Swanson, Harvey Alder and skip Jamie Wilkinson were fortunate enough to receive a bye through the first round, due to Middlesex only being able to field one side. This meant they faced Kent Hop Pickers who had also received a bye. Managed by Shane Cooper, Oxon started slowly, but after a count of 4 had fought their way back into the game, 10-10 at 12 ends. However, a loose 13th end meant a 4 was dropped, followed immediately by a 3 for Kent after a fortunate rebounding jack ended right behind a Kent back bowl. This left a difficult task of needing a 7 on the last end which was out of our reach, meaning the Blues also lost their first game, 17-12. 

Not a good day for Oxfordshire, on 2 tricky rinks, and with 5 players moving on at the end of this season, a new-look side will return next year to try it all again!

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