Warwickshire kept their dreams of a hat-trick of Midland Counties titles alive with a 119-112 victory away at Nottinghamshire, gaining 16 valuable points.
Leading the way for the Bears was Martin Hammond (Three Spires), Steve Taylor (Avenue Coventry), Neil Brereton (Entaco) and Andy Smith (Avenue Leamington). A one shot advantage after five ends was turned into a midway 13-6 lead. With six ends to play Smith’s rink had extended their lead to ten shots and slowly built upon it to finish 25-12 up. Rugby’s Calvin Wells together with Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington), Graham Box (Little Compton) and Brian Boardman (Rugby) were ahead 15-6 after ten ends. Nottinghamshire chipped away at the deficit to reduce it to six shots with three ends left but a strong finish by the Bears saw them seal a 26-16 victory.
Alan Onion (Erdington Court), Greg Sampson, Steve Merrett and Colin Jacox (all Avenue Coventry) had to withold a late Nottinghamshire fightback to secure the third rink win for the Bears. Halfway in they held a five shot lead which they doubled to lead 19-9 with six ends to go. Notts managed to cut the deficit down but could not deny Jacox and co a 21-17 win. Welford’s Mick Hawkins along with Martin Murley (Rugby), Rob Robinson (Erdington Court) and Pete Harwood (Three Spires) trailed 8-6 with ten ends played but managed to convert that into a 12-10 fifteenth end lead. Over the next three ends Notts increased their tally by six to again take the lead, Hawkins and co fought back but fell one shot shy of parity, final score 17-16 to Notts.
Craig Carter (Rugby), Neil Hancock (Little Compton), Matt Wells (Rugby) and Graham Ashby (Avenue Coventry) were level after five ends but were always trailing their hosts for the remainder of the game. 8-12 down after ten ends became 16-19 down going into the last three. Notts finished slightly stronger to win 22-18. Dan Box (Little Compton) skipped Mark Smith (Avenue Leamington), Phil Green (Norgren) and Chris Barton (Kings Heath) to an early 7-1 lead but slipped to 8-9 down at the midway point. Notts then restricted the Bears to five shots in the second half of the game while increasing their own tally by 19 to finish 28-13 victors.
Other results (points in brackets): Lincolnshire 102 (6)-(16) 106 Derbyshire and Northamptonshire 93 (4)-(18) 130 Leicestershire.
* The two latest County games for the Bears both ended in defeat. Berkshire won 131-122 at Shrivenham BC while Leicestershire beat their hosts 133-102 at Grange BC.
Berkshire rink scores (in playing order): Roy Pratt (Home Guard), Tom Duggins (Thornfield), County President Mike Brayne & Gerald Goodman (Entaco) 16-24; Senior Vice President Graham O’Donohue, Les Husband (Entaco), Barry Thorpe (Wolvey) & Brain Mace-Humphries (Grange) 28-13; Peter Storer (LMRCA), Peter Tomlinson (Three Spires), Arthur Stretton (Tamworth) & Immediate Past President Gareth Willcock 18-19; Peter Hooper (Avenue Leamington), Bob Morris (Executive), Brian Hunt (Nuneaton) & Brian Thom (Wolvey) 15-27; Ron Davies (Grange), Royston Andrews (Avenue Coventry), Steve Willey (Three Spires) & Doug Thorpe (Wolvey) 16-24; Neil Duxbury (Home Guard), Terry Harris (Tamworth), Len Faulconbridge (Executive) & Roy Lawrence (Avenue Coventry) 25-24.
Leicestershire scores (in playing order): Barry Shearsby (Oakfield), Ray Antil (Grange), County President Mike Brayne & David Cooke (Executive) 22-21; Derek Wattison (Executive), Ian Basnett (Stoke), Tom Gilbert (Ambleside) & Immediate Past President Gareth Willcock 11-24; Michael Bowling (Wellesbourne), David Lines (Bilton), David Owen (Rugby Police) & Past President Ian Wilkins 22-16; Terry Harris (Tamworth), Frank Gibbs (Grange), Tony Brabury (Stratford) & David Thomas (FISSC) 19-24; Eric Tallis (FISSC), Clive Faulkner (Norgren), Roger Sirett (Executive) & Arthur Stretton (Tamworth) 9-19; Senior Vice President Graham O’Donohue, Peter Wiggins (Wolvey), Derek Gilbert (Avenue Coventry) & Brian Mace-Humphries (Grange) 19-29.