County bowlers keep dream of reaching national bowls finals at Leamington Spa alive
Alongside the ‘Covid’ leagues, the usual County Championship and competitions have been running and a few have reached the area finals stage.
There, the last four in each event compete to reach the county quarter finals - leaving them two matches away from being able to represent Hampshire at the national finals at Royal Leamington Spa later in the year, writes DAVE WILDMAN.
Quarter finalists were resolved in the following events, held on the excellent Green at Lee-on-the-Solent BC – although the weather didn’t help entirely.
Two Wood Singles
The first player through to the last eight was seasoned campaigner Jamie Cooke (Alexandra BC). He weathered an early storm from Rowner’s David Webb who was trying to repeat his 2019 achievement of reaching the quarters, to hit back from 1-6 down after five ends to to be 11-6 up after 12.
Cooke eventually triumphed 17-10.
Carter Blanford (Leigh Park) was taking on Jason Taylor (Milton Park) - the first time either had reached this stage of any county event. They put on a titanic battle, so much so that after the allotted 21 ends the score was 13-13.
Blanford kept his nerve on the extra end to get the vital single to progress.
Andy Hibberd and Roly Bloy (Priory BC) were the first duo through to the quarter finals after beating Chris Hay and Graeme Coles (Rowner) 15-11.
The game was tight up to the 13th end, when there was only one shot in it, but the Priory duo then picked up six shots on the next three ends to take control.
The final qualifiers were the duo from Southsea Waverley of England Internationalist Matt Marchant with his partner Rob Moran. They beat the Fareham pairing of Mike Coleman and Danny Russell 15-13.
Again, this was a tight affair with the scores level after 11 ends. But six shots on the next four ends put the Waverley team ahead and, although the Fareham duo did pick up four shots over the last three ends, it wasn’t enough.
Portsmouth & District League City divisions
There was no stopping the top two teams in Division A.
Leaders Priory picked up 10 points from their 16-shot victory over Naismith.
Kelvin Chandler’s quartet prevented Naismith being whitewashed with their 11-shot win over Roly Bloy’s rink.
Vospers picked up the same number of points with their 10-shot win over co-tenants Gas Social. Derek Langford’s rink picked up Gas’ consolation points with their three-shot victory.
College Park moved off the bottom of the table with their five-shot home win over Milton Park. They were indebted to the efforts of John Hyslop’s rink with their 18-shot win as the other rinks both lost.
In Division B, the Waverley ‘Blitzkrieg’ carries on - this time a 55-shot romp at Cosham Park, naturally winning on all rinks.
Second placed Alexandra saw off tenants Portsmouth Water by 21 shots for an ‘away’ victory, also winning all three rinks.
Star & Crescent recorded an 11-shot home success over bottom club Pembroke Gardens. At least Pembroke did manage to get a second winning rink and it would have been a third if Dave Brookes’ men hadn’t dropped five shots on the last two ends.
Havant & Waterlooville
The top two met at Leigh Park on a rainswept Monday evening in a rearranged game.
It went the way of leaders Park who recorded an 18-shot victory, winning on two rinks.
It wasn’t a good week for Cowplain, as on the Friday they travelled to Denmead and lost again by 11 shots. Doing the damage for Denmead was John Wildig’s 14-shot win over Bryan Franklin’s foursome, backed up by Mike Wright’s rink.
Dave Luffman’s quartet prevented the whitewash with a 10-shot success.
Waterlooville made full use of their carpet to beat Emsworth by 55 shots, winning all three rinks. That win, only their second of the season, moved them off the bottom of the table.
Gosport & Fareham
Leaders Rowner travelled to Bridgemary and returned with 11 points after their 28-shot win. Bridgemary, who are still searching for their first victory of the season, probably should have got a rink win, but Craig Rimmer’s quartet dropped a four on the last end to finish with a tie.
Gosport are finding it hard away from home having to play on grass. After the previous week’s thrashing, they suffered another against Lee-on-the-Solent, this time by 51 shots. The Solent club triumphed on all three rinks with big wins by the Graham Hillier and Dennis Wren quartets.