BOWLS: Middleton Cup win for County men against Dorset

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By Alan Jackson

Warwickshire travelled to Westlecot BC to face Dorset looking to kick start their Middleton Cup campaign after last weeks narrow loss to Cornwall. A good performance saw the Bears win four rinks to return a 126-115 victory, gaining 18 out of 22 points.

Karl Finch (Avenue Coventry), Brian Boardman (Rugby), Steve Smith (Nuneaton) and Martin Timms (Welford) were ahead by a shot after ten ends and built on that to lead by eight with five ends to play. A strong finish took the lead into double figures as Timms and co secured a 29-16 victory. Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington), Gary Langford (Solihull Municipal), Keith Wooding (Avenue Coventry) and Andy Smith (Avenue Leamington) raced away to a midway nine shot lead. Dorset cut the deficit to six but Smith’s rink continued to dominate on their way to a 23-11 win.

Matt Wells (Rugby), Mal Evans (Sherwood Park), Dan Box (Little Compton) and Calvin Wells (Nuneaton) were locked in a tight battle with their opponents, level on eleven all on ten ends. With four ends to play Wells and co held a one shot advantage, a four and pair of singles helped the Bears secure another win, final score 24-19. Andy Prickett (Welford), Darren Ward (Rugby), Richard Brittan and Mark Ireland (both Erdington Court) made a strong start, seven up at the halfway point. The lead went to double figures with five ends to play but Dorset cut that down to three over the next four ends, Ireland’s rink ended with a single to win 20-16.

Mark Smith (Avenue Leamington), Steve Taylor (Avenue Coventry), Neil Hancock (Little Compton) and Colin Jacox (Avenue Coventry) made a good start to reach ten ends seven up. Dorset fought back to parity six ends later, but with three to play Jacox had retaken a slender one shot lead. Back to back three swung the game in Dorset’s favour, Jacox and co took the last end with a single but lost 16-20. Andy Manning (Nuneaton), Rob Maries (Avenue Leamington), Alan Apsey (Welford) and Dave Fallon (Nuneaton) had a first ten ends to forget, failing to register a shot, Dorset 23-0 ahead. Fallon and co then got off the mark, the roar of support from the rest of the team helping them turn their double in ten shots but they still trailed by 19 with three to play. A single and treble helped cut that deficit by more but Dorset had the last laugh, taking the last end with a four to seal their 33-14 win.

# Nuneaton again hosted the annual fixture between the Warwickshire President and The Imps. A very hot afternoon ended in an 137-120 victory for the President.

Lee Ingleston (Bilton), Trevor Briggs (Royal Leamington Spa), Clive Burbage (Solihull Municipal) and Nick Cooper (Nuneaton) scored a couple of sixes and a five on their way to a ninth end fifteen lead. The Imps cut that down to nine but a good finish saw Cooper and co add another five to finish 28-14 winners. Dave Harrison (Executive), Ian Box (Rugby Police), Bruce Truman and Dave Mobbs (both Rugby Railway) reached the sixth end 12-0 up, a seven helped them reach the midway point thirteen shots ahead. A four and three helped the Imps reduce the deficit but they couldn’t deny Mobbs’ rink a 27-17 victory.

Mick Allsopp (Nuneaton), Sam Bridges (Bilton), Ian Bassnett (Stoke) and George Palmer (Bilton) trailed by three after ten ends but with four ends to play they had turned that into a six shot lead. A six in the final four ends helped ease them over the line, despite dropping a four on the last end. Final score 27-17 to Palmer and co. Mike Tansey (Three Spires), Bernard Merrick (Executive), John Hibbert and Roger Percival (both Ambleside) scored and dropped a couple of fours on their way to an eight shot lead halfway through. The Imps fought back to reach parity with four ends left but Percival’s rink finished with an unbeaten seven shots to win 26-19.

David Payne (Stratford), Paul Simpson (Nuneaton), President Don Darby and Past President Tony Dawson couldn’t be separated from their opponents, reaching ten ends all square. The President’s rink edged ahead but the Imps shut them out for the last eight ends to win 26-16. Phil Whitmore (Nuneaton), Ron Wilson (Tamworth), Mark Glover (Nuneaton) and Paul Brown (Sherwood Park) found themselves down by thirteen shots after ten ends. The Imps dominated the next seven ends, opening the lead to nineteen. Brown and co rallied but it was damage limitation, final score 27-13 to the Imps.