BOWLS: County men win battle of the sexes

WILTSHIRE men took the spoils in the annual showdown against the county ladies, grabbing a one-shot victory at the last end on Sunday.

The men were delighted but for the women there was only disappointment as they had led for practically all of the 21-end, six-rink encounter staged at North Wilts (Chippenham).

The ladies made a good start to the annual crunch match and led across the board 24-14 at five ends and 55-49 at 10.

Their advantage was cut to 87-83 at 15 ends, but they had maintained that four-shot lead at 18 when leading 102-98.

The ladies just failed to hang on and gain revenge for last season’s narrow loss, as the men grabbed a last-gasp win with 18 shots against 13 on the last three ends across the board.

Five of the six rinks had finished leaving just one match out on the green, the game between Alison White and Dave Williams.

White’s quartet collected a single on the 20th end to tie the overall score at 115-115 going into the last-end decider.

Williams’ rink held shot on the last with just the skips to play. White’s first wood took the jack out to halfway towards the ditch to hold game shot for the women, but Williams then drew inside it for shot.

White just missed with her second wood and Williams naturally declined to play his second bowl ensuring a rare victory for the men.

“Boy, did I get some stick from the ladies when I declined to play my last wood,” said men’s county secretary David Williams.

“That gave us a one-shot win overall, and I might add that this was also the first win for the men this season.

“It was an excellent game throughout with plenty of banter both on and off the green.”

Rink honours were shared at 3-3 with Jean Collier’s foursome recording the biggest win for the ladies with an 18-shot success, while Steve Gedge’s four were tops for the men, winning by 17.

In the battle of the presidents on rink four, Mary Ballard just came out on top against Westlecot’s Martin Salter, winning 22-21.

Down 20-14 at 15 ends, Salter nearly turned it around with a 7-2 return on the last six ends to only lose by one shot.

Four of the five indoor bowls clubs in Wiltshire supplied representatives for the match - Christie Miller (Melksham), Five Rivers (Salisbury), North Wilts (Chippenham) and Westlecot (Swindon).

Meanwhile, in the national championships, Westlecot’s Katy Smith will play Area 9 winner Bromsgrove’s Gillian Cliff in the inter-area final at Welford-on-Avon on Wednesday, February 6 (6.30pm).

Sixteen-year-old Smith was a surprise Area 10 champion when beating Gill Fry (MidGlos) on her own green 21-15, to take the area title and book her place in the inter-area final, just one match away from reaching the national finals and the last 16 at Nottingham.

The trio of Sylvia Wells, Jenny Vowles and Wendy Anderson missed out on a place in the latter stages of the national triples competition when losing the Area 10 triples final 21-6 to Marian Wheatley’s triple from Leominster at MidGlos on Wednesday.

Neil Smith will face Ryan Atkins (Malvern Hills) in the Area 10 final of the men’s national singles championship at MidGlos on Friday, February 15 with a place in the last 32 at Nottingham in late March the reward for the victor.

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