COUNTY semi-finals day at Westlecot on Sunday in the four men’s events - four and two wood singles, junior singles and pairs championships - produced several outstanding performances.
Holt’s Wayne Simmonds won both of his semi-finals in the singles and pairs, as did Westlecot’s Mel Biggs but the most remarkable result came in the second singles semi-final.
Biggs, a five-times record breaking county men’s champion, was in awesome form on his own green and registered his second whitewash in this competition in less than a fortnight.
On June 30, he despatched Mike Crane (Wilton) 21-0 in ten ends in the last 16 at Wootton Bassett, then in the quarter-finals defeated fellow ex-England international Shadwell 21-19 and followed it on Sunday blitzing Holt’s Wayne Snook 21-0 in just eight ends.
Simmonds beat Tom Pittuck (Swindon Town Gardens) comfortable 21-11 and will clash with Biggs in the singles final at Devizes in early September.
Snook, after his mauling by Biggs, bounced back in the pairs semi-final with Simmonds to beat a far-from-fit Shadwell (who switched to lead owing to back problems) and Russell Francis 19-10.
In the other pairs semi, holders Biggs and Mike Jackson, will defend the title against Simmonds and Snook after defeating Steve Rose and Dave Royle (Rodbourne Cheney) 25-14.
Francis may have lost in the pairs but will be going to Leamington after he beat Spencer Moulton teammate Andy Colebrooke 17-16 in the two wood semi-final. He grabbed two twos on the last two ends for a last gasp one shot win.
The other semi-final saw Avon’s Chris Easton concede to Graham Hatherall (Westlecot) on the 19th end despite leading 13-10 as he will be away on holiday when the event is staged at Leamington and substitutes are are not allowed in singles matches.
The other semi-finals held at Westlecot on Sunday were in the junior men’s singles where Wootton Bassett’s Kyle Anderson lost to home player Michael Richards but James Richman (Highworth) edged out home player Mike Titcombe by two shots.
Singles: Wayne Snook (Holt) lost to Mel Biggs (Westlecot) 0-21; Wayne Simmonds (Holt) beat Tom Pittuck (Town Gardens) 21-11.
Junior Singles (U25s): Mike Titcombe Jnr (W’lecot) lost to James Richman (Highworth) 19-21; Mike Richards (W’lecot) beat Kyle Anderson (Wootton Bassett) 21-16.
Pairs: Wayne Simmonds & Wayne Snook (Holt) beat Graham Shadwell & Russell Francis (Spencer Moulton) 19-10; Mike Jackson & Mel Biggs (holders, W’lecot) beat Dave Royle & Steve Rose (Rodbourne Cheney) 25-14.
Two Wood, Quarter-finals: Rob Clews (Chippenham T) lost to Graham Hatherall (holder, W’lecot) w/o; Richard Young (High) lost to Chris Easton (Avon) 14-17; Andy Colebrooke (S Moulton) beat Dave Godwin (WB) 16-10; Russell Francis (S Moulton) beat David Murray (R Cheney) 18-11.
Semi-finals: Hatherall beat Easton – conceded on 19th end although Easton leading 13-10; Colebrooke lost to Francis 16-17.
All the men’s semi-final winners in singles, junior singles (U25s), two wood singles and pairs qualify for finals weekend at Devizes September 6/7 and to represent Wiltshire in the national championships at Royal Leamington Spa in August.
THE COUNTY men’s junior side were beaten for the first time this season in a regulation 21 ends full match.
They went down by one shot on aggregate in their latest three rink South-West Counties U25 league match to Somerset on Saturday at Chippenham Town.
Wiltshire took the honours on two of the three rinks and led across the board for most of the SWCL game. They were 16-15 up at five ends, 34-23 at ten, 44-42 at 15 and 51-46 at 18.
However, they only scored four shots on the last three ends and dropped ten to agonisingly lose by one shot 56-55.
Rink 2: Adam Bolwell (Holt), John Hermon (Garrards), Gary Jackson (Westlecot) & Nick Revell (Amesbury) lost to Dale Taylor 12-21. Rink 3: Craig Hatherall (W’lecot), Craig Morphet (Highworth), Tom Warner (Ames) & Michael Richards (W’lecot) beat Reece White 22-16. Rink 4: Ashley Plumb (Ames), James Richman (High), Mike Titcombe (W’lecot) & Kyle Anderson (Wootton Bassett) beat Sam Steel 21-19.
Score: Wiltshire lost to Somerset 55-56.
WILTSHIRE have reached the Middleton Cup quarter-finals after edging out Warwickshire in a nailbiting final west group match two weeks ago away in Rugby by one shot 113-112.
On Saturday, Wiltshire are pitted against Devon in the quarter-finals on the neutral green at West Backwell BC, North Somerset (2pm).
They will be seeking revenge as Devon halted their progress in the quarter-finals last season and went on to lose in the inter-county championship final at Worthing to Berkshire.
However, despite Devon’s formidable record in the Middleton Cup since the turn of the century, Wiltshire should not be overawed as Devon lost a group match this season to Dorset and only just pipped arch rivals Cornwall for top spot in the other west group.
Wiltshire selectors have opted for an unchanged side and will field the same 24 players that beat Warwickshire in the last match.
An upbeat Moonrakers team manager Dave Snell said: “This is four years in a row that Wiltshire have reached the quarter-final stage of the competition which certainly shows consistency combined with a team spirit second to none and I am looking forward to playing our friends from Devon again.”
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