THE CURTAIN is about to come down on Wiltshire’s finest year of bowls, with three national titles won as well as two near misses.

Local bowlers from the Swindon area featured prominently in the hat-trick of wins, with Westlecot indoor club, plus outdoor clubs Royal Wootton Bassett and Purton, claiming national championships.

However, Box ladies Sue Cooke and Alex Jacobs lost in the national pairs final, while Bassett also missed out on the men’s Top Club title after losing in the semi-finals.

The superb treble and record setting achievements started early in the year at City of Ely at the end of January.

Katy Smith, representing Westlecot IBC, won the national ladies U25 singles crown after beating her elder sister Lucy in the final.

After this sparkling indoor performance, both Katy and Lucy were capped by England a few weeks later in the junior home international series.

Meanwhile, Katy gained more indoor honours, winning the British Isles U25 singles championship in Belfast after beating Scotland’s 21-17 Carla Banks in the final.

On the back of their efforts in the national U25 championship, the Smith sisters qualified for the world indoor junior championships at Newport at the start of this month.

They both finished as runners-up in their respective pools but then lost in the semi-finals.

Outdoors, local players produced a superb winning double in August at the national championships at Royal Leamington Spa.

The Royal Wootton Bassett foursome of Barry Sictorness, Terry Walton, Chris Cheesley and skip Mel Biggs became the first winners of the men’s national senior fours championship after beating Dipton Park 19-16 in the final.

Biggs said: “It was good to win a new national competition and it was a great team effort from all the boys. I quietly fancied us to go close if we performed to our best and it all happened for us.

“I am really pleased for Terry (Walton) as he has never been to a national championship before, while Barry (Sictorness) has been trying for years and Chris (Cheesley) has been several times without success – it is not about me but the other lads and their first success.

“It was a new competition and by winning, it means we will represent England in the British Isles Championships next year at Leamington. That means we should get a lot of local support it is not far to travel. And we all look forward to defending our title again next year.”

A week later, Purton Bowls Club members were celebrating a first national championship title for the club.

The trio of Chris Mitchell, Julie Jones and skip Alison Fail lifted the ladies national triples title in a nerve jangling final, defeating Nottinghamshire’s Dukeries BC 19-18 in a tense match which came from the last bowl of the contest.

Fail said: “Luckily, I had last wood. We were one down but had three or four second woods.

“Then their skip drew in a close second wood but I did not panic, composed myself and drew in the perfect wood for second shot only about six inches away to give us the win.

“We knew it would be a tough game and that they were slow starters as in their previous matches. But on this occasion we made a great start and were 17-5 up and just managed to hold them at bay and produce a great team effort to win.

“It is the first national championship win for Purton. It was really pleasing for me as I had been to Leamington on many occasions before but not in the triples or pairs. So to win the triples at the first attempt was brilliant.”

The national triples victory was Purton’s first success in a national championship event since the club was formed in 1971.

However, the club’s team of Jean Bird, Carol Bartlett and Josie Lloyd did win the women’s benevolent triples competition in 1999.