BOWLS: Thrilling Middleton Cup encounter

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By Alan Jackson

The Bears travelled to Broadway BC to take on Worcestershire in the opening round of the Middleton Cup. In a thrilling encounter Warwickshire had three winning rinks and one drawn but the hosts grabbed the overall win with a 115-113 scoreline, the Bears taking 7 of the available 22 points.

Andy Manning (Nuneaton), Phil Green (Norgren), Trevor Manning (Nuneaton) and Steve Taylor (Avenue Coventry) recovered from an early setback to lead 12-7 after ten ends. The Bears doubled their advantage with six ends left and held onto it to finish 24-13 winners. Andy Smith skipped Adam Smith (both Avenue Leamington), Dan Ward (Whitnash) and Matt Wordingham (Avenue Leamington) to a good start, leading by five shots at the midway point.

The hosts hit back to reduce the deficit to just two shots but Smith and co stepped up their game and slowly increased their lead to win 19-13.

The all Rugby rink of Liam Pearcey, Brian Boardman, Matt and Calvin Wells reached the halfway stage trailing by three shots, this increased to five shots with six ends left. Wells and co dug deep and took charge, bringing the deficit down to three heading into the final three ends. Six unanswered shots saw the Bears complete their comeback to seal a 21-18 win. In a very tight encounter nothing could separate Craig Carter (Rugby), Chris Barton (Kings Heath), Steve Merrett and Colin Jacox (both Avenue Coventry) from their Worcestershire opponents. Parity at ten ends became a one shot deficit with six ends to go, the hosts increased their lead so that with three ends to go the Bears trailed by six. The Bears hit back, shutting out their opponents but could not secure the extra shot that would’ve snatched the rink win, instead they had to settle for an 18-18 tie.

A poor first five ends proved to be the decisive factor for Martyn Murley (Rugby), Rob Robinson (Erdington Court), Tom Millership and Alan Apsey both Rugby). Worcestershire held an 11-2 lead after those ends but the Bears could only match them shot for shot for the remainder of the game.

Final score 25-16 to Worcestershire. Graham Box (Little Compton), Neil Brereton (Entaco), Neil Hancock and Dan Box (both Little Compton) also got off to a poor start, finding themselves 12-3 down after five. Box and co halved the deficit over the next ten ends but Worcestershire again took control on their way to a 28-15 victory.