IT WAS a black Saturday for Wiltshire’s men and women’s bowls teams as they were both beaten within a few hours of each other in their respective inter-county championship matches.

Despite sharing rink honours 3-3, the men lost their second-round Liberty Trophy tie 138-118 to Somerset away at Bristol City & County IBC.

The ladies also won three of the six rinks contested in their second-round Atherley Trophy away against Dorset but agonisingly lost 115-112 at Dorchester.

Wiltshire's men trailed throughout their match but kept matters tight overall in the first half before slipping behind.

They were 29-27 down after five ends, 62- 57 down at 10 and fell 97-88 adrift at 15 ends. Wiltshire cut the gap to 116-109 at 18 ends but Somerset upped their game to claim a 138-118 success.

The all-Westlecot rink skipped by Mike Titcombe collected the top Wiltshire honours with a 26-15 victory.

The all-Royal Wootton Bassett outdoor rink but Westlecot indoor players led by Kyle Anderson edged home 20-17, while the Five Rivers, Salisbury, four won 27-18.

However, the Andy Moore (North Wilts) rink lost 21-15 and the Peter Ward (Salisbury) rink lost 30-18. Crucially Neil Smith’s quartet went down heavily 37-12 to Somerset’s Graham Shadwell. Ironically Shadwell plays outdoors for Wiltshire.

Somerset progress to the Liberty Trophy quarter-finals and face Devon at home on January 11.

Wiltshire ladies went even closer to victory in their inter-county championship away tie against Dorset, only losing an extremely tight match by three shots.

They trailed 26-23 at five ends, 59-54 at 10 and were 81-73 down across the board at 15 but then fought back to cut the gap to 98-96 at 18.

However, despite their valiant efforts, they could not close the gap any further and finally lost 115-112.

Wiltshire won on three of the rinks, with the all North Wilts (Chippenham) foursome of June Coyle, Linda Walton, Bette Cowe and skip Bev Lilley recording a 27-11 victory.

There were also wins for the rinks skipped by Wendy Anderson (25-15) and Jean Collier (23-18).

However, this was unfortunately not quite enough to wipe out the losses as Irene Button’s rink struggled throughout and lost 27-7.

Fizz Mace’s quartet lost 22-14 and Sheila Garlick’s rink went down 22-16.

  • ALEX Jacobs, from North Wilts, is through to the last 16 and final stages of the champion of champions competition.

In the Area 16 section of the competition for club champions, she beat Wendy Toman (Bristol C&C) 21-10 in round one, and another 21-10 win came in the area quarter-final against Sheila Short (Clevedon).

And she completed a 21-10 treble by defeating Julie Morgan (Malvern Hills) in the area semi-final.

However, in the Area 16 champion of champions final scheduled for Bristol C&C, Jacobs was awarded a walkover as Clarrie Dunbar’s Jeanette Wheeler pulled out because of illness.

Jacobs progresses to the last 16 and final stages being held at Warner Leisure Resort, Lakeside, Hayling Island (Hampshire) from January 31 to February 2.

  • NORTH Wilts men produced another fine performance in the Central region of the Wessex League to extend their unbeaten run to three matches as they thumped Thornbury 100-59.

This result means both North Wilts and neighbours Clarrie Dunbar are the only unbeaten teams in the Central region and both have games in hand over their nearest rivals.

Clarrie are second on 46 points from three matches, two points behind St Andrews (Weston-super-Mare) who have played five games.

Bristol are third on 42 points from four matches, with North Wilts only three points behind them but from three games.

North Wilts certainly enhanced their chances of finishing in the top two and gaining an automatic place in the end-of-season play-offs like last year.

Their triumph over Thornbury saw them collect 14 of the 16 points on offer to maintain their unbeaten record this season.

The foundation for victory was laid at home at Westcroft as the foursome of Bob George, Miles Pickering, Trevor Cooke and skip Dave Williams thrashed their opponents 41-6, winning all but four of the 21 ends.

But the only loss came at home on the other rink as Nigel Price’s quartet were edged out 17-16.

Away in Thornbury, both North Wilts rinks enjoyed narrow wins. Tom Newman led his quartet to a 22-18 success, while Andy Moore edged home 21-18.

Overall, North Wilts trailed 18-17 after five ends but were 50-30 up after 10 ends and proceeded to power away to a 100-59 victory.

North Wilts next central group fixture is against Purnell on January 5, while Clarrie Dunbar face Nailsea on January 12.

  • CLARRIE Dunbar's mixed team have reached the fifth round in the Top Club national team competition.

They booked their place in the last 16 at home against Kent side Swale (Sittingbourne) when whitewashing Dolphin IBC (Poole, Dorset) at home on Sunday 16-0.

They won all five disciplines – ladies and gents two wood singles plus mixed pairs, mixed triples and mixed fours – to set up the Swale tie.