BOWLS: Moonrakers foiled after late recovery
WILTSHIRE gave Somerset a late scare before the visitors secured a 121-118 in their Liberty Trophy clash at North Wilts IBC on Saturday morning.
The home side trailed 106-92 with three ends remaining of their inter-county championship second round tie but fought back brilliantly and only just failed to take the match to extra ends.
With one bowl left, Dave Snell could have extended the match but his perfectly-played delivery saw the jack move agonisingly six inches too far, leaving him with two shots rather than the five he required.
The Moonrakers had lost to Somerset in the last two seasons in the Liberty Trophy but team boss Neil Smith, whose rink defeated Terry Perkins’ 20-14, saluted his side’s effort.
“I am very proud of the guys,’’ said Smith.
“(It was) a great effort against a very good side, we certainly gave them a run for their money.
“Against a strong Somerset side, renowned for their strong finishing, the guys would not lie down and we kept chipping away at the lead.’’
Wiltshire led 33-27 in the early stages, but Somerset came back into it and had eased away by 20 before the hosts set up a grandstand finish.
There were rinks wins for Smith and Westlecot clubmate Ian Jeffries, who defeated Trowbridge’s 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Graham Shadwell, who was playing for Somerset, 29-17.
Andy Moore’s all Christie Miller rink also secured a 19-11 success over Neil Collett.
Somerset now go on to play Sussex in the quarter- finals on February 1.
(Wilts names first) Rink 1: Alan Greenland, Josh Cottle, Hedley Bowen, Dave Snell (skip) (all Westlecot) lost to Jack Groves, Steve Hooper, Andrew Owens, Mark Denslow 29-13.
Rink 2: Jordan Moody, Richard Hindley (both Five Rivers), Chris Cheesley (Westlecot), Nick Revell (Five Rivers, skip) lost to Mark Woods, Matt Hamilton, Andrew Colebrooke, Russell Francis 25-14.
Rink 3: Dave Williams Mike Titcombe, Steve Remington, Neil Smith (skip, all Westlecot) beat Craig Doughty, Keith Bailey, Nick Pearce, Terry Perkins 20-14.
Rink 4: Paul Kistle, Denis Holborrow, Kevin Embling, Ian Jeffries (skip, all Westlecot) beat J Freeman, D Taylor, P Bryant, G Shadwell 29-17.
Rink 5: Chris Easton, Nigel Price, Paul Macdonald, Andy Moore (skip, all Christie Miller) beat A Taylor, B Forse, B Smith, N Collett 19-11.
Rink 6: Keith Hutchens (North Wilts), Dale Hayward (Christie Miller), Steve Snook, Wayne Snook (skip, both North Wilts) lost to P Billington, P Birmingham, S Barwood, J Amfrey 25-23.
Match score: Wiltshire 118 Somerset 121.
THE Wiltshire Indoor Bowls Association levelled the score for the county as they defeated their Somerset counterparts 115-100 at North Wilts on Sunday.
In an almost complete reversal of the Liberty Trophy match 24 hours earlier, it was the home side left stunned by a comeback from the visitors before they pulled away in the final three ends to seal victory.
Wiltshire led by 11 shots just before the midway point, but Somerset bounced back to lead by one after the 18th before the home side again pulled clear.
There were rink wins for Martin Salter (28-9 over Richard Soper), Maurice Bryon (20-9 over Ray Scott) and Dave Williams (20-16 over Tony Steer).
MORE SPORTS NEWS & PICTURES IN THIS WEEK'S GAZETTE & HERALD, OUT NOW