WILTSHIRE men have reached the semi-finals in the inter-county indoor championship for the first time in 21 years.

The Moonrakers booked their place in the last four of the Liberty Trophy alongside Kent, Norfolk and Lincolnshire with a superb performance to beat Devon 126-108 last Saturday morning at Isca IBC (Exeter).

The foursome of Jordan Moody, Tom Pittuck, Phil Gregory & Neil Smith recorded the biggest winning margin of 21 shots in a 33-12 success.

The rink skipped by Christie Miller’s Andy Moore, with North Wilts players Steve Snook and Darren Anteney at lead and number two, carded a next best winning margin of six along with the rink led by young Mike Titcombe.

Skip Kyle Anderson drew his match 20-20 after dropping a pair of twos on the last two ends, while the rinks skipped by Ian Jefferies and Tom Warner went down by 11 and four shots respectively.

The game was a rip roaring contest with the lead changing hands on several occasions during the absorbing 21 ends.

Liberty Trophy holders Devon made the best start across the board leading overall 30-22 after five ends but Wiltshire upped the pace to wipe out the deficit and move ahead 63-58 at halfway (11 ends).

Wiltshire extended this advantage to 86-80 at 15 ends and were still up 104-98 at 18 ends. Moonrakers sealed the victory with a strong finish scoring 22 shots and only conceding 10 for a final scoreline of 126-108.

“It was a brilliant performance from everyone,” said team manager Neil Smith. "This has been coming for the last few seasons.

“We have rebuilt the team and instilled the belief in them that we are good enough to go all the way.

“I have always believed that, now the team are believing and enjoying it.

“This is Wiltshire’s best run (in Liberty Trophy) since the three glory years of the 1990s - runner-up, winner and semi-finalist - three years on the trot.”

Wiltshire will face Kent, winners twice in the last five seasons, in the semi-finals on Saturday, March 3. It will be staged on a neutral green with Whiteknights (Reading) the likely venue, but it has to be confirmed.

The other semi will feature northern counties Norfolk and Lincolnshire also at a neutral venue.


Wiltshire men v Devon (Liberty Trophy) Rink 3: Steve Snook, Darren Anteney (both North Wilts), Nick Revell (Five Rivers) & Andy Moore (Christie Miller) beat Ian Lesley 21-15.

Rink 4: Tom Newman (CM), Terry Walton, Dave Godwin & Kyle Anderson (all Westlecot) drew with Louis Ridout 20-20.

Rink 5: Jordan Moody (FR), Tom Pittuck, Phil Gregory & Neil Smith (team manager, all West) beat John Evans 33-12.

Rink 6: Denis Holborow, Craig and Graham Hatherall & Ian Jefferies (all West) lost to Ian Bond 12-23.

Rink 7: Ashley Plumb, Jamie Reynolds, Fraser Boynton & Tom Warner (all Five Rivers, Salisbury) lost to Sam Tolchard 16-20.

Rink 8: Barry Sictorness, Chris Cheesley, Mel Biggs & Mike Titcombe (all West) beat Ryan Whitlock 24-18.

Score: Wiltshire beat Devon 126-108.

WILTSHIRE men saw victory slip away at North Wilts on the last end of their latest friendly match last weekend to lose the game 116-118 to neighbours Gloucestershire.

Wiltshire led 115-106, nine shots up, with only the final end number 21 to play on all six rinks.

However, they only scored a single on Dave Richards rink but dropped a four on Clive Swift’s rink, a three on Martin Salter’s rink and two counts of two and a single to concede 12 shots and lose the game by two shots.

Overall county men trailed 25-35 at five ends and 56-57 at 10 but then turned things around to move ahead 84-82 after 15 and 103- 98 after 18 ends only to collapse on the run-in to the finishing line.

Wiltshire only took the honours on two of the six rinks. President Ashley Ponting claimed the top rink award leading his foursome to a six shots win while Martin Salter led his quartet to a 25-21 victory.

County men’s next friendly match is this coming Saturday away against Dorset at Dolphin IBC (Poole).

Wiltshire men v Gloucestershire (county friendly) - skips only.

Rink 1: Martin Salter beat Campbell McColl 25-21. Rink 2: Dave Richards lost to Martin Bevan 18-20. Rink 3: Ashley Ponting beat Roger Harrison 22-16. Rink 4: Clive Swift lost to Maurice Hawkins 19-22. Rink 5: Doug Perry lost to John Hutson 16-17. Rink 6: Richard Gainey lost to Steve Mills 16-22.

Score: Wiltshire lost to Gloucestershire 116-118.

NORTH WILTS ladies enter a crucial stage in their bid to add to their haul of four national indoor championship titles won during the club’s 22-year-history.

Since the club opened its doors in 1996 they have won one team title, Yetton Trophy, ladies inter-club championship in 2008, two main championship events - ladies fours the winning foursome were Carol Grenfell, Sue Cooke, Janet Hardie and Alex Jacobs also in 2008 while in the ladies pairs in 2010 Cooke and Jacobs proved to be the number one combination.

Then in 2015 dynamic duo of Cooke and Jacobs (skip) were joined by Jean Collier at lead and scooped the Over 50 two wood triples crown.

The 2017/18 campaign sees North Wilts ladies, runners-up last season, still running in this year’s Yetton Trophy as well as the Over 60s ladies double rinks for the Mason Trophy.

They are through to the quarter-finals (last eight) of the Yetton and face top Devon ladies side Torquay United this Saturday at the neutral venue of Donyatt IBC (Ilminster, Somerset).

They are expected to field the same side (16 players) that cruised past Rivermead (Reading) 85-43 in round five a fortnight ago following wins over MidGlos 76-45, Clevedon 98-64, and two victories early on over local rivals Christie Miller 81-76 and Clarrie Dunbar 81-76.

In the Mason Trophy North Wilts ladies have not progressed past the third round stage in the past 10 years with Thornbury proving to be their nemesis on several occasions.

They are hoping that will change this season as they are expected to field the same eight in the A side that registered heavy wins over Purnell 42-26 and Clevedon 49-31 in rounds one and two.

The side for round three (last 64) against Christie Miller on Friday is expected to comprise of half of the vastly experienced Yetton team that are through to the quarter-finals in that competition.


N Wilts v Torquay Utd (Yetton Trophy) Saturday at Donyatt 10am, Rink 1: June Coyle, Eirona Carpenter, Wendy Ivory & Fizz Mace. Rink 2: Norma Rowden, Barbara Shepheard, Viv Baskerville & Jean Collier. Rink 3: Ann Roberts-Phare, Jane Taylor, Irene Button & Alex Jacobs. Rink 4: Margaret Cooke, Karen Funnell, Betty Cowe, & Sue Cooke.

North Wilts A v Christie Miller (Mason Trophy) Friday 10am, Home: Ann Roberts-Phare, Jane Taylor, Sue Cooke & Alex Jacobs.

Away: Margaret Cooke, Viv Baskerville, Irene Button & Jean Collier.