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League Week 12

Still two weeks left this season, but some promotion and relegation issues are already settled.

Headington need four more points to retain their Division 1 title after their comfortable win at Witney Town. Only Philip Warner’s rink provided stiff opposition for them, indeed they clocked up a third of their club’s total shots in their defeat of Mark Charlett’s rink.

Headington’s quest for the title was aided by West Witney, whose defeat of Carterton also removed any lingering possibility of their relegation from the division, indeed, they could now finish second. A blistering start in the match by David Leighfield’s rink, that went nine shots clear after four ends and then crushed the comeback attempt by Gordon Walker with a five shot win on the eleventh end provided one talking point but the highlight of the match came in Badon Spark’s game where Witney scored ten shots in two ends to lead ten – two after four ends but were slowly pegged back by the Carterton rink to relinquish the lead on end thirteen and never regain it.

The final relegation place now lies between Witney Mills and the erstwhile second placed side, Banbury Central. Watlington used their home advantage to great effect, especially Andy Kemish’s rink which crushed Will Campion’s by twenty-five shots. Central need to get five points from their final two games to ensure their safety.

City and County’s promotion back to division 1 was finally settled this week as they defeated Chipping Norton, a result that almost certainly relegates the losers. Mathematically, Adderbury could still pip them to the title but they would need to win both their remaining games and hope that City and County come away from their fixture at South Oxford this week with fewer than three points. Three easy winning rinks for City and County this week, only Percy Hickman’s rink was able to put up a fight for Chippy, winning their game on the final end.

Eric Pitts’ rink mounted a spirited comeback for Charlbury at Adderbury, coming from seven shots down after ten ends to restrict the Ted Eley’s men to two more shots in the final eight ends, only to lose by a single shot. The other three rinks proved more comfortable to the home team who are now favourites to gain promotion.

However, South Oxford remain in the race with their five points from a very close game at Headington. Indeed, both David Tidball and Mick Keen’s rinks only took the lead on the final end for South Oxford and Martin Kershaw’s game was tied at sixteen ends!

Bicester have claimed the title in Division 3 with their demolition of Thame, but elsewhere little is settled in the division, indeed current second place Bloxham could still be relegated! 

Bloxham’s win at home to Shiplake came as both Dave Morse and Alan Miles’ rinks registered big wins. The former recording both six and seven shot winning ends whilst the latter’s margin would have been greater had they not dropped a four on the final end!

Banbury Central’s win might have been for fewer points but Eric Trinder’s rink snatched victory on the last end. Central could still be relegated but that extra point increased the gap to the visitors, Chadlington, who now need to win their two remaining matches and hope Central do not!

The Division 4 title race looks to be going to the last round of matches with fewer than five points separating the top four clubs and two of those only having one more match to play!

Leaders Woodstock lost an epic at South Oxford this week.  In a match where the two clubs were never more than six shots apart over all four rinks combined, David Child’s rink came from behind on the last end to win, not only their game but the whole match for South Oxford as the three shots they scored tipped the total score South’s way by a single shot.

Not to be outdone, Burford and City and County also had an epic. Jack Lafford and Doug Mustoe’s rinks both came from behind to snatch victories on the last end leaving Bob Heaven’s to save the day for City as his rink’s nineteen shot win was enough to win the match shot count and thus the match points for most shots.

The last game was at West Oxford where the home side dominated visitors Oxford University Press on two rinks and added the other two with very close victories, indeed Alan Blackburn’s men secured theirs by winning the final end by three shots. The win moves West into prime promotion position as they still have two matches to play, unlike Woodstock and City and County.

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