By Alan Jackson
Midland Counties League
Following the disappointing conclusion to their Middleton Cup campaign a much changed side, for a variety of reasons, made the trip to Chester Road BC to face Worcestershire in the penultimate Midland Counties League games.
A good performance saw the Bears claim 18 points with a 123-89 victory.
Mark Smith (Avenue Leamington), Neil Brereton (Welford), Paul Finch (Kings Heath) and Alan Apsey (Welford) got off to a flying start on their way to a halfway 13-5 lead.
Both sides came close to doubling their tallies in the second half, Apsey and co winning 24-9.
Jordan Ward (Rugby), Mal Evans (Sherwood Park), Rob Robinson (Erdington Court) and Calvin Wells (Rugby) went from an early 5-1 lead to 13-8 with five ends to play.
Worcestershire scored a three to bring them within two but Wells’ rink finished with a four, single and pair of doubles to win 22-11.
An excellent start saw Andy Prickett (Little Compton), Harry Billington (Whitnash), Neil Hancock and Dan Box (both Little Compton) leading 13-4 after 12 ends. Both sides exchanged shots for the remaining ends, giving Box and co an 18-11 victory.
Tom Wheeler (Grange), Lee Maughan (Rugby), Steve Smith (Nuneaton) and Brian Boardman (Rugby) trailed by four after ten ends.
The sides then exchanged fives, Boardman and co took the lead with four ends to play but dropped a treble the next end to trail by one. A double and brace of singles helped the Bears over the line, final score 23-20.
Martin Hammond (Three Spires), James Finch, Chris Barton (both Kings Heath) and Martin Timms (Welford) trailed by four after two ends but scored eighteen unanswered to hold a solid lead after ten ends.
Worcestershire started chipping away at the deficit, with one end to play the hosts were only a shot behind.
They completed the comeback with a last end double to win 22-21.
Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington), Alex Lewis (Sherwood Park), Andy Sparkes and Andy Smith (both Avenue Leamington) had to recover from a poor start to trail by a couple at the midway stage.
They eventually reached parity on the 20th end, leaving a winners take all final end. It was the hosts that took it to win 16-15.
This season’s County Finals take place on Sunday (July 30) at Wolvey BC.
In the Singles Phil Bale (Grange) will play Jordan Merrett (Avenue Coventry), Martin Timms (Welford) and Chris Barton (Kings Heath) face off in the Pairs while the Triples sees Robert Townsend (Kineton) and Craig Carter (Rugby) clash.
The Fours will be between Gary Langford (Solihull Municipal) and John Bale (Wolvey), Keith Wooding (Avenue Coventry) plays Chris Barton (Kings Heath) in the Two Wood Singles and John Pritchard (Erdington Court) contests the Unbadged Singles against Paul Vaughan (Erdington Court).
Andy Smith (Avenue Leamington) will play either Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington) or Jim Freeman (Kings Heath) in the Mixed Pairs, the new Senior Fours sees Mal Evans (Sherwood Park) play Greg Sampson (Avenue Coventry).
Rugby BC colleagues Craig Carter and Jordan Ward meet in the Junior Singles while Dan Ellicott (Lillington) and Mark Smith (Avenue Leamington) contest the inaugural Junior Pairs.
The Ivens Cup semi-finals and finals will also be played.