BOX ladies have reached the semi-finals in the senior ladies (O55) fours at the Bowls England national championships currently being staged at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa.

The foursome of Carol Grenfell, Jean Collier, Sue Cooke and Alex Jacobs booked their place in the last four with two victories at Leamington on Thursday.

They were in fine form in the morning, recording a comprehensive 24-8 victory over Banbury Borough (Oxfordshire) skipped by Angela Ives.

Box followed it up in the afternoon session with a 19-14 win against Heather Bell, Linda Andrews, Ann How and Pat Stanley from Chesterton (Cambridgeshire) in the quarter-finals to seal a last-four spot.

Earlier on Wednesday, representing Wiltshire in the last 32, they had demolished Rowntree BC, York 28-7.

In the semi-finals this morning, Box will face a foursome of Carole Baker, Joyce Webster, Jackie Devitt and Brenda Whitehead from the Norfolk BC situated in Norwich.

The other semi-final features foursomes from Wigton (Cumbria) and Alton Social BC (Hampshire).

The final is scheduled to be staged this afternoon.

Box had qualified for Leamington after winning the Wiltshire final of the ladies senior fours competition staged at Spencer Melksham.

They beat Chippenhan Town in the county semi-finals narrowly 22-19 but thrashed Stratton Churchway in the final 24-4.

  • SPENCER Moulton's Russell Francis suffered disappointment for the second year running at the national championships at Leamington in the men’s champion of champions competition.

Last year he was beaten in the final by Hertfordshire’s Glenn Williams, and this year he lost on a last-end decider 21-20 to Cornwall’s Andrew Broad from St Stephen-in-Brannel BC in the semi-finals, who went onto win the final 21-18 against Middlesex player Glen Adams.

Francis trailed Broad 5-0 after four ends but was tied 6-6 after seven and 7-7 at nine before Broad edged a couple of shots ahead to lead 13-8 at 15, but only 13-12 at 17. However, the gap was extended to 18-13 after 20 ends with a count of three.

Back came Francis with a trio of singles to cut the gap to only 18-16 after 23 ends, only to drop a two on the next end to trail 20-16 and defeat looming.

But the Spencer Moulton Middleton Cup skip summoned up a big last effort and scored a couple of pairs to restore parity at 20-20 after 26 hard-fought ends.

On the next, Francis lay game shot twice but Broad drew shot with the very last bowl of the match for a 21-20 victory to thwart Francis' hopes of success in the champion of champions competition once again.