By Alan Jackson
Warwickshire’s senior squad finished their Middleton Cup campaign with a 112-113 defeat at home to Wiltshire, as the score suggests the game was tight but does not describe the drama contained in the last ten ends of the entire game.
The overall lead flipped from one side to the other.
With two bowls left on Dan Box’s rink the overall score was level and the jack had been moved to the ditch side edge of the rink, Box bowled his wood close and the Wiltshire skip replied. The game would be decided by a measure for shot. A matter of a few millimetres separated the bowl but it was the Moonrakers bowl that was the closest, giving them the overall win in a thrilling encounter.
Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington), Tom Pritty (Bournville), Matt Wordingham and Andy Smith (both Avenue Leamington) looked to be on course for a big win, leading 16-3 after ten ends. Five ends later and the score had reached 23-7 in the Bears favour but the visitors shut them out for the remainder of the game as they cut down the deficit to four shots, final score 23-19. The all Rugby rink of Liam Pearcey, Brian Boardman, Matt Wells and Calvin Wells trailed by two shots with fifteen ends played. Heading into the final end the scores were level on 19 all. With his last wood Calvin Wells tooke the shot to win 20-19.
A topsy turvy game saw Martin Hammond (Three Spires), Chris Barton (Kings Heath), Steve Merrett and Colin Jacox (both Avenue Coventry) trailing at the midway point but leading 22-19 with the aid of an eighteenth end six.
The Moonrakers hit five unanswered shots in the the last three ends to claim a 24-22 win. Trailing by twelve shots at the halfway stage Andy Manning (Nuneaton), Greg Sampson (Avenue Coventry), Trevor Manning (Nuneaton) and Steve Taylor (Avenue Coventry) did well to pull the visitors back six shots but could not close the gap any further, final score 19-13 to Wiltshire.
Martyn Murley (Rugby), Geoff Millership (Nuneaton), Chris Chapman and Alan Apsey (both Rugby) got off to a slow start and found themselves 11-4 down after ten ends. The Bears held Wiltshire from extending their lead but they also could not close the gap, leaving the Bears 19-12 down. Finally Dan Box’s rink of Graham Box (both Little Compton), Neil Brereton (Entaco) and Neil Hancock (Little Compton) were 16-11 up after fifteen ends and extended that to 21-11 with three ends left. Wiltshire won the nineteenth to lead by one shot overall, Box took the twentieth to bring the match all square,making the last end winner takes all. As described the Moonrakers to the last end to win overall but lose the rink 13-22.
Although the Bears finished this year’s Middleton Cup with three losses out of three, the margin of defeat in each game was low; two against Worcestershire, eleven against Gloucestershire and one against Wiltshire.