WILTSHIRE ladies fell at the last hurdle for the second year running in the final of the Johns Trophy inter-county championship on the opening day of the month-long national championships at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa, last weekend.

The Moonrakers lost in the 2018 final to Surrey 125-109 and suffered a similar fate to the same opposition this season, going down 142-91.

To reach Leamington, Wiltshire ladies had beaten Gloucestershire 121-105, Warwickshire 141-102 and Dorset 128-111 in the group matches and then Somerset 121-119 in the quarter-finals to book their place at Leamington once more.

In their semi-final against Essex, Wiltshire edged home 117-114 to reach the final again.

Wiltshire were 28-25 up overall after five ends and 56-55 at 10 ends before pulling away to lead 91-76 after 15 and 111-93 ahead after 18. However, they were hauled back in the closing ends to only win narrowly 117-114.

The Moonrakers won on four rinks and lost on two only. Top of the list was the foursome of Carol Grenfell (Box), Viv Baskerville (Chippenham Town), Janet Willis (Stratton Chuchway) and skip Sue Bird (Warminster) who won match 25-15.

The selectors opted for the same six rinks for the final that had edged past Essex – although that included six changes from the side who lost to Surrey in last year’s showpiece match.

However, they came off second best once again and lost on all of the six rinks, with the foursome of Georgina Newman (Avon), Wendy Anderson (Stratton C), Nicki Kemble-Young and Susan Griffiths (both Supermarine) going the closest to preventing the whitewash after only losing 15-14.

Wiltshire held their own for the opening few ends overall and were only 35-34 down after six but had slipped 64-47 adrift at 10 ends.

Surrey stepped up the power in the second-half of the game, moving to a 101-71 lead at 15 ends and 121-82 up at 18 before finally winning 142-91 at 21 ends to retain their title.

County ladies match secretary and Johns Trophy selector Mary Jones said: “It was disappointing to lose again but Surrey are a very strong county.

“However, it was wonderful to get to the final again after beating Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Dorset, Somerset and Essex, so the selectors must be doing something right.

“The whole team is a credit to Wiltshire and we will now see how we get on in the Walker Cup for the first time ever.”

  • LOCAL players competing in other early competitions at Leamington made swift exits from their various events.

Royal Wootton Bassett’s Charlotte Daniell won her first-round junior singles tie 21-20 against Jazzmin Alder (West Witney) but went out in the second round 21-16 to Robyn Hall (Eaton Socon Ladies, Beds).

Jo Hicks (Highworth) also won her opening junior singles match against Emily Ferguson (Sittingbourne, Kent) 21-19 but lost in round two to Megan Hunt (West Ealing, Middx) 21-15.

The Bassett father-and-son pairing of Dave and Michael Snell lost in the quarter-finals of the family pairs 17-21 to Tom and John McGuiness (Gerrards Cross, Bucks).

Westlecot’s ladies fours team of Ann Haunton, Kay Webb, Linda Perfitt and Lynda Whittingham crashed out 26-9 to Durham in their first match.

Lucy Smith (RWB) was ousted in the ladies champion of champions event by Amy Gowshall (Lincolnshire) 21-6 in the last 16.

Jake Webster and Mikey Titcombe (Westlecot) also went out in the first round of the junior pairs, losing 16-14 to Surrey’s Harding brothers Aaron and Eoghan.