BOWLS: Impressive Middleton Cup win for Bears, now with chance of topping group

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By Alan Jackson

After last week’s disappointing result in the Middleton Cup the Bears knew if they were to stand any chance of progressing to the Regional Final they needed to pick up as many points as possible against Herefordshire at Welford and hope Somerset did them a favour against Dorset.

Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington), Jordan Merrett (Avenue Coventry), Craig Carter (Rugby) and Andy Smith (Avenue Leamington) took a fourth end six on their way to a midway 17-5 lead. Smith and co dominated the second half of the game on their way to a 29-12 victory. Martyn Murley (Avenue Coventry), Mal Evans, Richard Brittan (both Erdington Court) and Alan Apsey (Welford) were down by two after six ends put dug in to reach the halfway stage nine in front. While the visitors had the better of the final five ends they couldn’t deny Apsey’s rink a 25-16 win.

Matt Wells (Rugby), Chris Barton (Kings Heath), Keith Wooding (Avenue Coventry) and Tom Millership (Rugby) scored three trebles and a brace of two to lead by five after eleven ends. Herefordshire moved within three shots but eight shots in three ends halted any resistance, final score 24-16 to Millership’s rink. Liam Pearcey, Brian Boardman (both Rugby), Martin Timms (Welford) and Calvin Wells (Rugby) trailed by six shots after nine ends but reached parity three ends later. Herefordshire hit a pair of singles to lead with five ends to play but Wells and co scored a five, four, double and single to take control of the match. Although they dropped a double on the last end the Bears completed a 23-15 victory.

Martin Hammond (Three Spires), Steve Taylor (Avenue Coventry), Neil Hancock (Little Compton) and Colin Jacox (Avenue Coventry) reached ten ends leading by six but the visitors cut the deficit in half heading into the final five ends. A couple of twos and a single helped ease Jacox and co to a 20-14 win. Mark Smith (Avenue Leamington), Neil Brereton (Welford), Steve Merrett (Avenue Coventry) and Dan Box (Little Compton) struggled to get going, with thirteen ends played they trailed by eight shots. A double and four looked to bring the Bears back into it but a brace of doubles moved the visitors clear by six. Nine shots in three ends gave Box’s rink a three shot advantage with one end to go, a very nervy end saw the Bears drop two but win the match 21-20.

Completing an impressive 142-93 win, gaining all 22 points gave the Bears a glimmer of a chance of progressing beyond the group stage but they still needed Somerset to do them a favour against Dorset. Luckily they did as they limited Dorset to just two points leaving their final total 56, Warwickshire with a game in hand have 43 points so they need to gain at least 14 points in their final match against Somerset at Welford on Saturday, July 8 to win the group.

# The Senior Squad wasn’t the only side to play at Welford during the week, on a searing hot day the Bears welcomed Worcestershire for the next county friendly match. The visitors proved too hot to handle as they inflicted a six-rink 84-146 defeat on the Bears.

Dennis Wilkinson (Stoke), Phil Brook (Stratford), Keith Glenn (Whitnash) and Tim Messinger (Wolvey) started well on their way to a midway three shot lead. Worcestershire jumped ahead but Messinger and co reclaimed the lead. Going into the last end the scores were level and with his last wood the visiting skip went from being down to picking up three, final score 18-21. Chris Richards (Rugby Police), Terry Harris (Tamworth), Assistant Secretary Bob Allcock and David Thomas (FISSC) dropped a five on the second end to reach ten ends trailing by nine. Both sides increased their scores by seven shots meaning Thomas and co lost 11-20.

President Graham O’Donohue, Stuart Miles (Grange), Mike Nettleton (Handsworth Wood) and Colin Ward (Rugby Railway) dropped a couple of fives on their way to a twelve shot deficit with fourteen ends played. O’Donohue and co hit a five of their own to help cut the deficit, reaching the twentieth end trailing by seven. A four for Worcestershire saw the President’s rink fall to a 16-27 loss. Alan Install (Tamworth), Peter Litchfield (Grange), David Williams (Executive) and Bob Smith (Sherwood Park) saw their midway five shot deficit turn into a ten shot deficit after seventeen end. Worcestershire edged the remaining ends to win 22-11.

Kelvin Rice (Entaco), Bryn Poore (Nuneaton), Treasurer Michael Jackson and Bernard Kendry (Bidford) trailed by three after five ends then dropped thirteen unanswered shots over seven ends. While Kendry and co had the better of the remaining ends but still lost 13-26. Derek Wattison (Executive), David Payne (Royal Leamington Spa), Ray Curtis (Bidford) and Junior Vice President Geoff Moran were 14-1 down after seven ends. After fifteen ends the deficit had increased to twenty but Moran hit a four. It proved not to be a comeback as the visitors took four over the next three ends. A twentieth end six took the Bears into double figures but Worcestershire won 30-15.