By Alan Jackson
Sport can be very cruel at times, with small margins being the difference between success and failure. Warwickshire’s opening Middleton Cup fixture against Cornwall was such an occasion, the Bears winning three rinks and drawing another but losing 112-114, picking up seven points.
A good start for Warwickshire saw them leading overall by 13 after then ends, which was cut to nine with fifteen ends played on all rinks. Andy Prickett (Welford), Darren Ward (Rugby), Richard Brittan and Mark Ireland (both Erdington Court) were four down heading into the final six ends, neither side could make inroads as they cancelled themselves out to leave the end score 18-15 to Cornwall. Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington), Gary Langford (Solihull Municipal), Keith Wooding (Avenue Coventry) and Andy Smith (Avenue Leamington) started the final six up by two, with two ends left the lead had doubled, a treble for Smith and co was countered with a Cornwall double, final score 19-14 to the Bears.
Mark Smith (Avenue Leamington), Steve Taylor (Avenue Coventry), Neil Hancock (Little Compton) and Colin Jacox (Avenue Coventry) held a seven shot lead on fifteen ends but Cornwall reduced that to two in the sixteenth end. Jacox’s rink added a single and double before Cornwall cut the deficit to just a shot with two ends to play. The Bears took the twentieth end with a single but Cornwall levelled the score on the final end, 22 all final score. Andy Manning (Nuneaton), Rob Maries (Avenue Leamington), Tom Millership (Rugby) and Dave Fallon (Nuneaton) were down 11-16 at the start of the run-in and failed to pick up any more shots despite playing well, Cornwall just finding something every end to win 27-11 in a rink where the score didn’t really reflect how well the Bears played.
Matt Wells (Rugby), Mal Evans (Sherwood Park), Dan Box (Little Compton) and Calvin Wells (Nuneaton) were five down after seventeen ends put pulled level with a five. Cornwall took the next two ends with singles leaving Wells and co two down heading into the final end. Knowing every shot was important Wells’ rink dug deep but it took Calvin Wells’ final wood to get the extra shot needed to clinch a terrific comeback and seal the 19-18 victory. Jordan Ward, Brian Boardman (Rugby), Steve Smith (Nuneaton) and Martin Timms (Welford) were the last to finish, leading thirteen at the top of the run in, Cornwall cut that to six with three to play. Timms and co took a single then a double around the same time Wells completed his comeback. With one end left in the whole game the match situation was Cornwall ahead by four, the final end was played with all eyes watching, the Bears took it but could only claim a double to give Timms and co a 26-15 victory.
# The day after the narrow defeat at the hands of Cornwall in the Middleton Cup Warwickshire again faced Cornwall, this time in the Balcomb Trophy. The sides again produced an encounter that went down to the wire.
A six on the fifth end put Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington), Dan Box (Little Compton), Dave Fallon (Nuneaton) and Andy Smith (Avenue Leamington) on the back foot but kept pace to trail by three with ten ends played. Mark Smith (Avenue Leamington), Martin Timms (Welford), Colin Jacox (Avenue Coventry) and Calvin Wells (Nuneaton) started with a five but the scores were level after nine ends.
Cornwall took control on both rinks, Smith now eight down with five ends to play and Wells nine down also with five to play. Smith and co fought back, reducing the deficit to five with two ends left, a double in the penultimate end was followed by a treble to leave Smith’s rink all square on 22 all. The result of the game would be decided by the other rink. A four, double and pair of singles by Wells and co left the Bears one shot down with one end left. It was Cornwall that took the last end, final score 21-19 to Cornwall, overall score 43-41.