WILTSHIRE men’s splendid start to their 2019 inter-counties championship campaign in the Middleton Cup continued last weekend.

They recorded their third consecutive victory in West group B when defeating Worcestershire 121-87 at home at Royal Wootton Bassett.

Wiltshire collected 19 of the 22 points on offer to move top of the table and set up a showdown with nearest challengers Cornwall on July 6 at the neutral venue of North Petherton (Somerset) for top spot and a place in the quarter-finals.

The Moonrakers stand on 55 points from three games, while Cornwall are second on 38 from two games, with Somerset third on 28 points.

Wiltshire led throughout against Worcestershire, moving into an early 27-20 lead after five ends and increased it to 59-41 at 10.

They moved 83-65 ahead after 15 ends and were 98-76 in front at 18 before finally winning 121-87 at 21 ends.

Wayne Snook’s rink provided the platform for the victory with a fine 20-shot win, while Gary Morphet’s rink turned an early seven-shot deficit into a very good six-shot win.

Wiltshire’s junior men have qualified for the final stages of the U25 White Rose Trophy being staged at the national championships in late August at Victoria Park in Royal Leamington Spa.

They sealed their place when winning the West A White Rose regional final held at West Backwell, Somerset, on Sunday after defeating a team from the host county in the final.

Counties can supply two separate rinks of four players, with Wiltshire Moonrakers – Tom Newman (Avon), James Richman (Westlecot), Craig Hatherall (Royal Wootton Bassett) and Mike Titcombe (Westlecot) –in the top half of the draw (West A) and Wiltshire Warriors – David Murray (Highworth), Jake Webster and Ben Choules (both Westlecot) plus Josh Fail (Purton) – in the bottom half (West B).

Moonrakers were in impressive form notching three comfortable victories to win the West A final.

In round one, they beat Dorset Cherries 19-7, and followed it with a powerful display in round two by thrashing Herefordshire Bulls 15-5 and crushing Somerset Sabres in the final 15-4.

Wiltshire Warriors were not so successful, going out in round one in the West B section after losing to Cornwall Blacks 17-12.

Moonrakers now proceed to the National Finals on September 1 at Leamington where they meet Durham Dynamos.

  • COMBINATIONS from Royal Wootton Bassett and Spencer Moulton (Bradford-on-Avon) have reached the men’s county final of the national triples championship at the end of July.

They booked their places with victories in the semi-finals staged at Devizes last Sunday.

The Bassett trio of Kyle Anderson, Dave Godwin and skip Steve Snell had to come from behind to edge home 16-15 against Salisbury.

Bassett led 5-4 after five ends but were13-7 down after 10. They regrouped to pull the match back to 14-all at 15 ends and take two singles on ends 16 and 17 to win 16-15.

Spencer Moulton’s Ashley Kierl, Russell Francis and Graham Shadwell registered a convincing 22-9 success over another Bassett triple of Lawrence Smith, Craig and Gary Morphett.

Moulton were 7-4 up at five ends but tied 9-9 after 10 ends. However, they moved into overdrive by winning the next five ends to move ahead 22-9 at 15 ends when a concession came.

Another Bassett team went out of the championships in the only fours semi played at Devizes.

The foursome of Dave Snell, Chris Cheesley, Neil Smith and Mel Biggs lost 14-19 against Amesbury, skipped by Mike Tyler.

The other semi between Holt and Westlecot will have to be re-arranged.

  • FOUR teams, Holt, Chippenham Town, Avon and Salisbury, are setting the pace at the halfway stage in the south area of the Bowls Wiltshire men’s four rink league.

Holt and Chippenham Town are locked at the top of the table on 94 points from seven unbeaten games each, while Avon are two points behind but from eight games.

Fourth place is occupied by Salisbury on 80 points.

The top four clubs in the area progress to play-offs alongside the top four from the north section.