Centenary celebrations for Warwickshire with Bowls England

By Alan Jackson

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Warwickshire kicked off their Midland Counties League campaign with a three rink win over Nottinghamshire at Rugby BC, picking up sixteen points. The final score was 125-115.

Mark Smith, Andy Sparkes, Luke Horne and Adam Smith (all Avenue Leamington) made an excellent start, not conceding a shot in the first seven ends to lead 13-0. Notts cut the deficit to six after thirteen ends but three ends later the Bears led by eleven. A good finish took Smith and co over the line with a 28-15 victory. Harry Smith, Ian Harrison (both Nuneaton), Jordan Ward and Tom Millership (both Rugby) trailed by a shot after four ends but turned that around to lead by eight after nine ends. The visitors managed to cut the deficit down to two shots but a strong finish saw Millership’s rink win 23-12.

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Tom Wheeler, Keith Mason (both Rugby), Keith Wooding (Avenue Coventry) and Mark Ireland (Erdington Court) scored five shots on the eleventh end to lead by seven shots. With five ends to play the Bears led by five shots, a couple of singles cut that to three but Ireland and co scored five shots over the last three ends to win 25-17. Ewan Mason (Rugby), Ian Billington (Whitnash), Neil Hancock (Little Compton) and Gary Langford (Sherwood Park) were all square after six ends and fourteen ends. Nottinghamshire took a late lead, three clear with two ends left, Langford and co levelled the game to leave a one end shoot out but it was the visitors that took the shots to win 20-17.

Jordan Shelton, Rob Maries, Mick Hawkins and Martin Timms (all Welford) got off to a slow start but kept in touch with their opponents, though reached thirteen ends level nine all. Notts took next end with a six followed by a double and treble, to lead by eleven with five ends to go. Timms and co dug in and cut the deficit down to two heading into the final end but couldn’t complete the turnaround, final score 18-21. Andy Prickett (Welford), Gary Tubb (Oakfield), Pete Harwood (Nuneaton) and Darren Ward (Rugby) made the better start but found themselves eleven shots adrift at the halfway stage. With two ends to go the deficit had increased to twenty-one shots, a single and last end four provided little comfort as the Bears fell 14-30.

* Warwickshire’s opening celebration game of their centenary saw them hosting Bowls England at Victoria Park home of Royal Leamington Spa BC. A good afternoon in the sun saw the Bears almost complete a clean sweep, winning five rinks in a 134-114 victory.

Dave Mobbs (Rugby Rail), Ian Box (Rugby Police), Past President Geoff Moran and County Present Nigel Hewitson recovered from being 4-0 down early on to lead by ten midway through. Bowls England halved the deficit over the next two ends but Hewitson restored his ten shot advantage with two ends to go. A penultimate end treble for the Bears with one in reply helped Hewitson and co complete a 26-14 win. Ken Tredgold (Southam), Michael Foster (Bilton), Peter Dymond (Grange) and County Coach Mal Evans made an excellent start, racing to a tenth end 12-3 lead. Bowls England cut that down to six with six ends to play but a couple of threes helped Evans and co double the lead with two ends left, Bowls England took those ends with a single and double but they couldn’t deny Evans’ rink a 21-12 victory.

Past President Graham O’Donohue, Junior Vice President Aubrey Brookhouse, County Secretary Michael Jackson and Competition Secretary Rob Maries scored an early seven on their way to a halfway thirteen shot lead. Bowls England chipped away at the deficit cutting it down to two with a couple of ends left. Maries and co took the penultimate end with a double to ease nerves, Bowls England took a last end single, Bears winning 22-19. Immediate Past President Peter Vale Humphreys, Tom Duggins (Executive), Ian Gibbs (Rugby) and Past President Brian Mace Humphries trailed by seven after ten ends but cut that down to just two three ends later. Bowls England scored four consecutive doubles to lead by ten with four ends to play, Mace Humphries’ rink finished the game with a double, pair of fives and single to snatch a 22-19 victory.

Barry Weston (Matrix), Ian Hancock (Stoke), Senior Vice President David Wigman and Past President Phil Green were level after five ends but a shot down at the midway stage. A good spell including a trio of threes took them six clear with four to play, Bowls England levelled the score next end and then moved one ahead. Green and co retook the lead with a four, Bowls England needing three to draw, they could only get two, final score 24-23 to the Bears. Malcolm Wickens, Paul Smith, Jerry Horne and Ray White (all Royal Leamington Spa) made a good start to lead 9-4 after seven ends, Bowls England replied with eleven unanswered shots to lead by six after thirteen ends. The sides exchanged shots over the next six ends, Bowls England then took the penultimate end with a five to take their advantage to eleven. White and co reduced that by three but couldn’t deny the visitors a 27-19 win.