Magnificent seven give Hampshire flying start in Middleton Cup

122721-23_MY_Milton_Bowls'Portsmouth Bowls Tournament, Milton Park, Mixed Triples.'John Biggs (Priory).'Pic Mick Young'01/09/12
122721-23_MY_Milton_Bowls'Portsmouth Bowls Tournament, Milton Park, Mixed Triples.'John Biggs (Priory).'Pic Mick Young'01/09/12
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Seven stars of the Portsmouth & District Bowls Association have helped Hampshire launch their Middleton Cup bid in style.

Barry Starks, Garry Starks, John Biggs, Paul Cooke, Matthew Marchant (all Waverley), Fareham’s Charlie Bailey and Jon Leggett, of Alex, all starred in the first round of the national competition.

They played key roles in the Hampshire squad that defeated Isle of Wight by 51 shots at Shanklin.

Next up for the county side is the visit of Middlesex, before clashes with Kent and Oxfordshire complete the first stage of the event.

The Middleton Cup success has not been the only reason for cheer at county level, though.

Fourteen-year-old Waverley starlet Louis McCubbin was picked in the Hampshire under-25 side that beat a strong Kent team by 13 shots at Maidstone.

In doing so, the county side ensured they moved through to the regional finals at Iver Heath on Sunday.

In the quarter-finals of the County Club competition, Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent both defeated division one clubs.

Gosport saw off Rowner by 18 shots on their home green, while Lee enjoyed an excellent eight-shot win at Alexandra.

Lee will now travel to Gosport for an all-division two semi-final, while top-flight sides Fareham and Waverley clash in the other tie.

Both are due to be held on June 20.

In division one of the Portsmouth & District League, Waverley defeated College Park by 15 shots at their Lowcay Road base.

Adrian Snook was College’s sole winner, defeating Gary Starks by four shots.

Meanwhile, Vospers’ strengthened their hold on second spot with a five-shot win at Alexandra.

Marty Wake’s 18-shot victory over Leggett was key.

Fareham’s indifferent season continued with a six-shot home defeat by Rowner.

In the other match in the division, Denmead defeated Priory by 13 shots, winning on three rinks.

Waterlooville had the night off in division two.

But Lee-on-the-Solent failed to capitalise as they went down to a 10-shot defeat at Cowplain, who picked up 14 points and moved into second place.

The defeat meant Lee tumbled to fourth spot – after Gosport picked up 14 points with a narrow two-shot win over bottom-of-the-table Crofton at Anglesey Gardens.

Crofton nearly snatched the win thanks to Garry Coleman’s 17-shot victory over Chris Hay.

Milton travelled to Leigh Park and won by six shots, thanks to Dave Biggs’ 10-shot victory over Barry Dixon.

Star & Crescent recorded their second win of the season with an 18-shot win at Eastney, picking up 14 points.

In division three, Gas Social finally won their first game of the season with a nine-shot home win over Naismith.

At the top, Water Co are still undefeated after their 14-shot home win over Bridgemary.

The victory was based around Pete Musson’s 18-shot defeat of Vic Clark.

Copnor kept up their chase in second by beating Pembroke Gardens by 15 shots at their Swordsands base.

Dave Powe was Copnor’s star with a 30-9 win over Trevor Watkins.

Hayling moved above Pembroke following their 42-shot victory over the luckless Cosham at Hayling Park.

It was the second consecutive week Cosham conceded 100 shots.

The top-of-the-table clash in the fourth tier – between Emsworth and Bedhampton – went the way of the former, who claimed an 11-shot victory on home turf.

Purbrook moved closer to Bedhampton following their 19-shot away win at Phoenix.

Richard Allen’s 18-shot win over Morley Stewart Jones was a key factor.

In the remaining game, Post Office’s seven-shot victory over Forton kept the latter at the foot of the table.