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ROYAL Wootton Bassett are the inaugural winners of the Bowls England men’s senior fours championship.

The foursome of Barry Sictorness, Terry Walton, Chris Cheesley and Mel Biggs (skip) won the Over 55 fours title and lifted the new trophy at Bowls England Headquarters at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa on Thursday afternoon.

Skip Biggs led his fours team to a 19-16 victory over Dipton Park (near Consett, Co Durham).

Bassett led 4-2 at four ends and had stretched the advantage to 12-5 at 11, were 16-11 up at 15 and 18-13 at 18 before finally winning 19-16.

Earlier in the day they had beaten Warwickshire side Avenue, Coventry 18-14 in the semi-final to book their place in the inaugural final against Durham.

It was a first national title for Sictorness, Cheesley and Walton but for former England international Biggs it was his sixth.

He won the men’s pairs, triples and fours while with Westlecot and the senior pairs twice with Dave Snell but the seniors fours title is his first back at Bassett although he did pick-up a Middleton Cup team winners medal in 1986 when skipping for Wiltshire.

Delighted skip Biggs said: “It was good to win a new national competition it was a great team effort from all the boys.

“I quietly fancied us to go close if we performed to our best and it all happened for us.

“I am really pleased for Terry (Walton) as he has never been to a national championship before, while Barry (Sictorness) has been trying for years and Chris (Cheesley) has been several times without success – it is certainly not about me but the other lads and their first success .

“All the games were pretty tight but we had our noses just in front most of the time but could never relax until the end.

“The only time we struggled a bit was in the first game in the rain but we settled down and won well in the end.''

Biggs added: “ It was a new competition and by winning it means we will represent England in the British Isles Championships next year at Leamington which means we should get a lot of local support as it is not far to travel. And we all look forward to defending our title again next year.”

“The boys got a bit emotional at the end with their first national win and a few tears were shed.”

Other than Bassett, Wiltshire bowlers have produced a disappointing set of results so far at the national championships.

On the opening day last Saturday the father and son pairing of Graham and Craig Hatherall went out in their first match in the last eight of the family pairs 26-10 to David and Michael Simpson (Leics).

The following day Lucy Smith (Bassett) made a swift exit from the junior singles, losing 21-11 to Kelly McCarthy (West Ealing, Middx) while Wendy Anderson and Janet Willis (Stratton Churchway) also went out in round one 25-19 in the ladies senior pairs.

Day three saw Wroughton exit the ladies fours championship, Babs Salter’s quartet losing in round one 25-10 to Dunkeries (Notts).

Kyle Anderson (Bassett) and Westlecot’s Gary Jackson went out of the junior (U25) pairs by a single shot in round one losing 13-12 to Hendon (Middx), while Wanborough’s Deanne Davis lost 21-15 in the ladies singles to Jess Eley (Bushey, Herts).

Purton trio Chris Mitchell, Julie Jones and Alison Fail contest the ladies triples at the weekend.

Jayne Croston and Lynda Whittingham (Westlecot) compete in the ladies pairs on Wednesday and the following day Westlecot men begin their bid to win the Club Two Fours competition – they have reached already the last eight in the team competition.

Next weekend sees the junior men’s U25 singles with Anderson (Bassett) and David Murray (Highworth) competing while the Smith sisters Lucy and Katy contest the junior ladies pairs competition.

WESTLECOT and Royal Wootton Bassett march on in the national team competitions bidding for a last eight place at the national championships.

Westlecot secured their quarter-final place on Monday with a comfortable victory in the inter-area final of the men’s Club Two Fours.

Bassett are one step away from a last eight place in the men’s Top Club competition.

Old Town club Westlecot, the Dorset and Wilts (Area Nine) Club Two Fours champions blitzed Hampshire and Isle of Wight (Area 11) champions Southsea Waverley 43-16 on the neutral green at Cove, Farnborough on Monday in the inter-area final to book a Leamington quarter-final place.

A flying start saw Westlecot 10-4 up overall after five ends and extend the advantage to a match-winning 28-8 after only ten ends.

At 15 ends the Swindon side were 41-12 up when one Portsmouth rink conceded trailing 19-9 to Mike Richards. Seconds later the other conceded to Mike Jackson’s foursome as well trailing 24-7 after only 18 of the 21 ends scheduled to be played.

Westlecot move forward to the last eight and quarter-finals of the Club Two Fours at Leamington on Thursday (August 17) where they will face Heaton Hall, Prestwich, Manchester or Burton House, Boston (Lincs).

Beaten finalists last season, Royal Wootton Bassett men are on the brink of reaching the last eight of the Top Club competition again this year after winning the Dorset and Wilts (Area Nine) section of the tournament last weekend at home at Bassett.

They took the honours in four of the five disciplines against Dorset side Poole Park to chalk-up a comfortable 4-1 victory winning the two and four wood singles, pairs and triples but lost in the fours.

Kevin Embling got the ball rolling in the two wood singles with a handsome 15-4 win over the allotted 21 ends. Then Neil Smith staged a remarkable recovery coming from 18-12 down in the four wood singles to claim a hard fought 21-19 success.

However, Bassett lost the next discipline 21-12 in the fours to see their overall lead cut to only 2-1.

But the triples team skipped by Gary Morphet sealed victory with an 18-9 success while Kyle Anderson and Mel Biggs cemented the overall win with a 19-12 pairs success.

Bassett men now face Hampshire and Isle of Wight winners Priory BC (Milton Park, Portsmouth, Hants) in the inter-county final on a neutral green by September 10 with the victors claiming a last eight (quarter-final) spot at Leamington over the weekend of September 16-17.

RESULTS

Westlecot v Southsea, Club Two Fours, Rink 3: Paul Kistle, James Richman, Ian Jefferies & Mike Richards beat G Starks 19-9. Rink 4: Gary Jackson, Mike and Jay Titcombe & Mike Jackson beat M Marchant 24-7.

Score: Westlecot beat Southsea Waverley 43-16.

Royal Wootton Bassett v Poole Park, Top Club, Two wood singles: Kevin Embling beat F Garner 15-4. Singles: Neil Smith beat Alec McKenzie 21-19. Pairs: Kyle Anderson & Mel Biggs beat Chris Weekes & partner 19-12. Triples: James Nobbs, Tom Walkley & Gary Morphet beat P Williats 18-9. Fours: Barry Sictorness, Chris Cheesley, Dave Godwin & Steve Snell lost to A Miller 12-21.

Score: Royal Wootton Bassett beat Poole Park 4-1.