BOWLS: County men battle back for Middleton Cup triumph

Wiltshire Times: Wiltshire's Graham Shadwell Wiltshire's Graham Shadwell

WILTSHIRE men staged a tremendous fightback to snatch victory over Worcestershire and keep their 2014 Middleton Cup campaign on track.

Adrift 74-46 at halfway (ten ends), they cut the gap to 100-99 after 18 ends and snatch a 119-116 success on the last end of a highly-charged inter-county championship encounter at Wootton Bassett.

Wiltshire only took the honours in two of the six matches but the plus scores recorded by the rinks skipped by Russell Francis (13 shots) and Graham Shadwell (six shots) were enough to outweigh the narrow losses elsewhere.

Delighted team manager Dave Snell said: “There was a big turnaround in this exciting match with Worcester who got off to a flying start leading by nine after one end and their surge continued as at 10 ends they had taken a 28 shot lead.

“It was at this stage that the Moonrakers started their fantastic fight back across the green and after 15 ends were only seven (shots) down and the momentum seemed to be with us, and after 18 ends we were only one shot down.

“Then with one end left to play we were one down when Russell Francis’s rink picked up a four and Wiltshire won by three shots.”

He added: “There were several battling performances with Ben Gadd 13 down at one stage and only lost by two, Mel Biggs down by 10 at one stage only lost by four, while Mike Jackson’s rink down by 11 lost by six. And Neil Smith’s rink had a tight game losing by five.

“We only had two winning rinks in Graham Shadwell and Russell Francis but a great team spirit got us over the line.

“We now travel to Rugby in three weeks time knowing that a win of 14-8 against Warwickshire will secure us a place in the quarter finals again.”

In the group table, all from two games, Wiltshire have 32 points, Worcestershire 23, Gloucestershire 22 and Warwickshire 11.

In the final matches Wiltshire are away to Warwickshire who have failed to win a game while Gloucestershire entertain Worcestershire.

RESULTS

Rink 1: Barry Sictorness (Wootton Bassett), Justin Davis (Holt), Graham Hatherall & Mel Biggs (both Westlecot) lost to Grant Burgess 18-22. Rink 2: Kevin Embling (West), Keith Bailey (Holt), Gary Morphet & Neil Smith (both WB) lost to S Poynter 14-19. Rink 3: Tom Warner, Nick Revell (both Amesbury), Wayne Snook & Ben Gadd (both Holt) lost Rob McCaughtrie 21-23. Rink 4: Wayne Simmonds (Holt), Chris Cheesley, Dave Godwin (both WB) & Russell Francis (S Moulton) beat M Stone 26-13. Rink 5: Mike Richards (West), Kevin Oliver (Holt), Ian Jefferies & Mike Jackson (both West) lost to Andrew Walters 15-20. Rink 6: Gary Jackson (West), Craig Doughty (Holt), Steve Snell (W B) & Graham Shadwell (Spencer Moulton) beat Rob Stanley 25-19.

Score: Wiltshire (14pts) beat Worcestershire (8) 119-116.

WILTSHIRE Bowls Association continued their centenary celebrations with the third in a series of special matches against the Dennyside Bowls Association.

Under the leadership of 2014 men’s president Dave Richards (Trowbridge Westbourne) they lost narrowly to Dennyside by 12 shots at Swindon on Monday.

Wiltshire only took the honours on one rink but drew on another while the matches were all close calls.

President Richards for example being edged out by one shot on his rink by his counterpart Stewart Wright.

The Dennyside BA are an organisation who raise money for charity so after the match dinner a collection was made as well as donations taken and a couple of auctions held.

This resulted in a grand total of £2,000 being raised and donated to Wiltshire president Dave Richards chosen charity - Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

RESULTS

Wiltshire v Dennyside, Rink 1: George Henderson lost to Mike Collinton 16-22. Rink 2: Geoff Porte drew with Alan Ley 20-20. Rink 3: Dave Richards (pres) lost to Stewart Wright 12-13. Rink 4: Alan Small lost to Ian Dudley 16-23. Rink 5: Tudor Lloyd lost to David Cutler 20-21. Rink 6: John Southern beat Mike Andrew 20-17.

Score: Wiltshire lost to Dennyside BA 104-116.

MORE BOWLS NEWS & PICTURES IN THIS WEEK'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND WILTSHIRE TIMES

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