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League Week 9

Division 1 provided the surprise of the week, possibly the surprise of the season, with strugglers, Witney Town, comprehensively beating previously high flying Banbury Central. Brian Bloomfield and Paul Demczak’s rinks led from early on and ensured the match points for Town whilst Alan Scholan’s men won the second half of their match to give Town a fifth point. Will Campion went eleven-two up after five ends and seemed to be heading for an easy win only for Phil Warner’s four to slowly claw their way back, eventually running out of ends in losing by a single shot.

Central remain second as Carterton had a bye but West Witney’s defeat of Witney Mills move them back into the race for second and third places. Mills’ two winning rinks outscored their opponents by a total of thirty-three shots, which would have given them the match points in any other match this season where both teams won two rinks apiece. However, West’s Shane Cooper’s rink recorded the most one sided victory in the league for some seasons defeating Les Days by thirty-seven shots to give his team the match points!

Headington open a gap at the top of the table taking five points from a one sided encounter with Watlington. Adrian Kemish’s rink winning by a single shot for the visitor’s only points. Chris Gilkes’ four provided the only other real opposition for Headington, and then only for the first four ends of their game against Howard Watt’s rink.

In Division 2, City and County outplayed local rivals Kidlington on two rinks and added a third when Omar Sharif’s rink scored a four on the fifteenth end to pull away in a closely fought game. Kidlington’s single point came from James Feeley’s men who won the second half of their game very comfortably.

Adderbury bounced back from last weeks ‘nightmare’, defeating close rivals South Oxford on all rinks. Two of these victories were comfortable throughout but Phil Gladden and Tom Clark’s teams could easily have been beaten, with both only able to pull away in the last five ends.

Closest match in the division was at Charlbury where Headington just grabbed the most points from an encounter headlined by two rinks where the balance of the games swung completely in the last two ends. For Headington, Russell Edward’s rink trailed by five shots at sixteen ends and scored them all in the last two ends to tie, whilst for Charlbury Mike Smith’s men, having trailed throughout the game and only scored eight shots in sixteen ends, were six shots down with two ends to play but scored nine in those two ends to overtake Colin Whitehead’s men for an unexpected win.

Division 3 proved as topsy-turvy as ever! Leaders, Bicester, travelled to Chadlington and came close to drawing the match. Bicester led on two rinks and overall by three shots at fifteen ends so the match points could have gone to either side, but they matched each other shot for shot for the final three ends with Bicester hanging on for the points that ensured they remain top.

A few weeks ago, Banbury Central were sure that they would be in Division 4 next season, now they are looking towards Division 2! Three rinks were as comfortable wins as their scores suggest but the game between Keith Williams and Bill Giles’ rinks went to the last end with Central grabbing the required shot.

Hanborough and Bloxham have both had odd seasons, winning well one week only to slump the next. This week it was Bloxham’s turn to shine as they visited Hanborough. Nine shots in the last five ends were sufficient to give the game to Graham Haynes rink the point for the home side but this was their only win. Jim Lucas’s rink scored five in the last two ends to grab victory, while the other rinks were always dominated by Bloxham, who are back in the promotion race.

Woodstock remain at the top of Division 4, but their lead was reduced by West Oxford who, surprisingly, returned home with four points thanks to Mick Bostock’s rink, which scored four on their final end to cement their own win and grab the match points for West.

Blackbird Leys only point came as Ron Painton’s rink restricted City and County’s Ken Buckingham to a single shot on the last end to triumph by one shot. Elsewhere, the City rinks dominated.

South Oxford’s Dennis Simms looked to be heading for an easy win against Oxford University Press’s Geoff Jordan’s rink only to drop seven shots over the final three ends to allow the OUP four to snatch an unlikely draw. Unfortunately, for OUP, this was their only success from a match that leaves both clubs in the lower half of the table.

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