BOX Ladies missed out in their bid to add to the three national championship victories they have won at Royal Leamington Spa.

The club, who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary, lost on a last-end decider in the semi-finals of the senior ladies (Over 55) fours at the end of last week at the Bowls England national championships at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa.

The foursome of Carol Grenfell, Jean Collier, Sue Cooke and Alex Jacobs went down 18-17 to the team from Norfolk BC, Norwich of Carole Baker, Joyce Webster, Jackie Devitt and Brenda Whitehead .

The two teams were level at 3-3 and 4-4 after four and six ends before Norfolk moved 11-5 up at 10 but Box had cut the lead to 12-11 at 14 ends and restored parity at 14-14 after 16.

Box edged ahead 17-16 with a three on end 19 however, Norfolk hit back with a single to tie the match 17-17 and set-up a last end decider that unfortunately went against the battling Box side by a shot 18-17.

The Box foursome had booked their place in the semi-final (last four) with two victories at Leamington on the previous day (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 semis spot.

Earlier representing Wiltshire in the last 32 (first round) the Box four had thrashed Rowntree BC, York 28-7.

Box Ladies still have one more chance of a national success as they have reached the quarter-finals of the Top Club competition to be played over the weekend of September 15-16.

They were drawn in Area Three, the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Wilts section of the Top Club competition, and won it to book their place in the last eight at Leamington.

Box opened with a bye and then beat Royal Wootton Bassett 3-1 and followed it with a win over West Witney.

In the next round they beat Tilehurst, Reading, Berks by an identical 3-1 scoreline and in the Area final beat Hazells (Aylesbury) to complete a run of 3-1 victories in a match played at Newbury.

They lost against Hazells in the singles with Jean Collier losing 9-21.

But Karen Funnell and Jacobs took the pairs 29-10 while Debbie Shadwell, Kathryn Yeoman and Cooke won the triples 25-10.

In the early stages of the fours the outcome looked like going to shots difference as the fours team of Lolly Braddon, Jane Taylor, Grenfell and Michele Williams trailed 13-4 after 11 ends.

However they rallied to cut the deficit to only 14-13 at 15 ends and finish with a flurry to win 19-14 and ensure another 3-1 win.

The eight Leamington qualifiers are: Kings, Torquay (Devon); Baldock Town (Herts); Borough Green, Sevenoaks, Kent; Kingscroft, Leicester; Norfolk BC, Norwich; Sutton, Surrey; Box (Wilts) and Broadway (Worcs).

The quarter-final draw is awaited from Bowls England.

SPENCER Moulton's Russell Francis was another Wiltshire bowler to lose in the latter stages of a national championship event.

He suffered disappointment for the second year running in the men’s champion of champions competition.

Last year he was beaten in the final by Hertfordshire’s Glenn Williams. Last week he lost on a last-end decider 21-20 to Cornwall’s Andrew Broad from St Stephen-in-Brannel BC in the semi-finals.

Broad went onto win the final 21-18 against Glen Adams (Middx).

Francis trailed Broad 5-0 after four ends but tied 7-7 at 9 ends 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.

Back came Francis with three singles to cut the lead to only 18-16 after 23 ends only to drop a two on the next end to trail 20-16.

The Spencer Moulton Middleton Cup skip summoned up a last effort and notched two twos to draw level at 20-20 after 26 hard fought ends.

On the deciding last end Francis lay game shot twice but Broad drew shot with the very last bowl of the match to snatch a 21-20 win to thwart Francis hopes of success in the champion of champions once again.

Meanwhile in the national pairs the Holt duo of Wayne Simmonds and Wayne Snook made a swift exit.

The four-week long national championships and competitions at Victoria Park, Leamington draw to a close this Sunday afternoon.