BOWLS: Men’s county champions decided

Adam Smith in action
Adam Smith in action

By Alan Jackson

Players and spectators were treated to another hot sunny day as Norgren hosted the 2016 County Finals. Unusually attention was not entirely on Norgren but also on the National Finals at Leamington where Geoff and Tom Millership were playing in the semifinals of the Family Pairs. Tom Millership had also qualified in the Fours, Triples and Pairs so the Pairs are down to be played at a later date and a substitute has been called in for the Fours and Triples.

Singles champion Keith Wooding

Singles champion Keith Wooding

Keith Wooding (Avenue Coventry) made the better start in the County Singles against Welford’s Simon Davies, opening up a 16-2 lead. Davies started fighting back but Wooding was on the edge of victory 19-7 up. While the Welford man doubled his tally he couldn’t stop Wooding taking the title 21-14.

In the Two Wood Singles Mark Ireland (Erdington Court) took on Martin Hammond (Three Spires). Three singles and three doubles saw Hammond race away to a 9-0 lead. Both players then added five, Hammond keeping his nine shot advantage but ends were running out Ireland. Time ran out for Ireland as Hammond claimed the crown 17-7. The Junior Singles was an all Avenue Leamington clash between Matt Wordingham and Adam Smith. Smith won the encounter in a one sided 21-4 win.

Ian Gibbs (Rugby Thornfield) made the early running in the Unbadged Singles, taking a 12-3 lead against Peter Tomlinson (Three Spires). Tomlinson hit 14 unanswered shots to take the lead 17-12, the players then exchanged doubles before Gibbs cut the deficit down to one. Tomlinson scored the two he needed to earn his County Badge with a 21-18 victory.

The game of the day was the Triples final between Brian Lees, Martin Timms and Alan Apsey (Welford) and Nigel Carter (subbing for Tom Millership), Brian Boardman and Craig Carter (Rugby). An early five helped Rugby an 8-0 start but Welford dug in and after 14 ends the game was level on 11 all. Welford hit two singles to lead by two with two ends left, Rugby cut that to one going into the last end and took the last end to force and extra end. With the last wood of the game Welford’s Apsey was one down and needing to play weight as the shot wood had protection, his wood clipped one of the guarding woods and went wide, Rugby taking the crown in a very entertaining 14-13 win.

Earlier in the day Carter was also involved in the County Fours together with Matt Wells, Thomas Wells (subbing for Tom Millership) and Calvin Wells. Their opponents from Avenue Coventry were Martyn Murley, Scott Ashby, Steve Merrett and Graham Ashby. Rugby started well, 8-2 up after eight ends. Nine shots in four saw Avenue take the lead but with five ends left Rugby had retaken the lead 13-12. A five followed by a treble took Avenue seven shots clear, Rugby tried to cut the deficit but ran out of ends, the trophy going to the Coventry team 20-18.

In the Ivens Cup semis Grange held a midway 17-4 lead over Little Compton, the second half was even, Grange through to the final 27-14. In the other semifinal there was nothing between Solihull Municipal and Wolvey, the scores level on ten all after twelve ends. With two ends left Solihull held a one shot lead and secured their final spot with a penultimate end four, final score 21-17.

After eight ends Solihull and Grange were level on five all in the Final. Grange then scored seven unanswered shots only for Solihull to respond with eleven shots to lead 16-12 going into the last end. Despite a very good attempt Grange couldn’t force and extra end, the Solihull quartet of Chris Wright, Norman Powell, Doug Bott and Paul Jones winning the Ivens Cup 16-15.

* Over in Leamington Geoff and Tom Millership booked their place in the Family Pairs Finals with a 24-15 win over the Muirs from Hertfordshire. Their opponents would be Wiltshire’s Morphets. Morphet raced away to an 11-3 eigth end lead, Millership cutting that back to 12-10 with 14 ends played. Heading into the final two ends the scores were level on 17-17. Morphet scored a treble and in the final end Millership could only manage a double to lose 19-20.