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It was a busy weekend for Westlecot with National Team Competitions finally getting going. Having been given walkovers in some competitions, our teams have been chomping at the bit to play in highly competitive matches, and it showed in the performances, on what was very nearly a perfect weekend.

On Friday night before battle commenced on Saturday, we saw a high quality game of singles between clubmates Andy McIntyre and Scott Edwards. Andy put in a really solid showing, leading to some very tight heads. This perhaps wasn’t reflected in the score, as Scott was near the top of his game, running out a 21-7 winner. Scott will now play away from home against AJ Docherty of Chipping Norton in the next round.

Saturday saw our Mens Denny Cup team taking on a Whiteknights side who despite missing a few players from previous years, still fielded a very strong team against us. Thanks to a fantastic start by Chris Cheesley’s rink at home who led 12-1 after 5 ends, Westlecot led 30-19 across the board early on, with the Mikey Titcombe and Scott Edwards rinks away both leading by a single shot and Neil Smith trailing 5-7 at home.

At the halfway point the game began to tighten up. Although Scott had extended his lead away from home to 12-8, Mikey’s rink had just slipped marginally, trailing 13-17 which left the scores level overall at Whiteknights. We still held on to a 4 shot advantage overall, as Chris still held onto a 6 shot advantage on his rink, with Neil just 2 shots adrift.

It was during the second half of the game that we began to assert ourselves, Mikey and Neil’s rink managed to get themselves back in front, Scott extended his lead to 8 shots and Chris once again maintained a 6 shot cushion.

Westlecot continued to pull away with Whiteknights conceding with just a few ends to play across the board. All 4 of our rinks returned winning scorecards which at certain points didn’t look all that likely. A really good game played in a great spirit with Westlecot managing to come out on top on this occasion. Westlecot will now meet Desborough in the next round of the competition. We look forward to meeting Whiteknights again over the next couple of weekends, facing them in both the Egham and the Top Club.

Also on Saturday we saw the local derby in the Ladies Yetton Trophy between Westlecot and Swindon Manor. This was set to be a tough match for our ladies, as there were some very strong players in the Manor side, but we certainly gave it our best.

The game was relatively close throughout, but the Manor managed to get themselves in front towards the end of the game. This was helped massively by the rinks at Westlecot with Manor skip Laura Laytham staging a remarkable recovery against our rink skipped by Janet Willis after being 7-2 down at the 5 end point, and 12-10 down at 10 ends, eventually turning things round to win 27-15. Alison Fail also trailed a majority of the game before scoring crucial counts of 5 and 2 on the final 2 ends to beat our rink skipped by Barbara Twine by one shot.

This unfortunately counteracted a superb effort by our ladies on the 2 rinks at Swindon Manor who actually combined to record a 9 shot victory, which came just short of giving us the overall victory, the game ending in a 72-68 win for Swindon Manor, who we wish all the best to in the next round. Our ladies have the consolation of now being entered into the Yetton Plate, however their opponents are yet to be confirmed.

Sunday was another busy day for Westlecot in National Competitions with Neil Smith facing a tough home tie against Martin Shepherd in the National Singles, the Wessex League side taking on Oxford & District in their season opener and the Under 30 Double Triples taking on Carterton in their first round match.

Neil and Martin know each other very well from the Open Singles Circuit, both of them knowing what the other is capable of. The match started off relatively tight, but as the game went on the score began to prove that Neil was on better form as he pulled away from Martin and ran out a 21-7 winner, a really good start to his national singles campaign. Neil will now face a tricky away tie against Brackley’s Alan Dunkley.

Neil and Martin will see each other again very soon as well, as they play each other at Chipping Norton in the next round of the Champion of Champions after Martin won his preliminary round.

With a number of players missing from the Wessex this weekend, it was a fantastic opportunity for some of our members to step up to the plate, and step up to the plate they did. Paul Kistle’s rink at home were level at 5 ends, but grasped control of the match from then on, eventually getting over the line fairly comfortably 21-12. Terry Walton and co were involved in a much tighter affair, trailing by a couple of shots at the halfway point, however managed to turn it around and record a 2 shot victory.

Away from home, things were a bit tougher. Scott Edwards followed up on his success in the Denny Cup with a 5 shot victory after being involved in a closely fought contest. On the other rink despite a valiant effort, Andy McIntyre and co were unfortunate to end up going down 13-23. However, this meant a great 14 points to 2, 74 shots to 68 win overall and a great start to our Wessex League campaign.

The David Cornwell Double Rink has certainly changed over the years. Having previously been an U25 Double Rink, it was changed to triples for the 17/18 season, followed now by the age cap increasing to U30. Our junior team have had a pretty good record in previous years, having made a National Semi-Final and two Quarter-Finals since 2015 and they got their campaign off to a solid start on Sunday.

The triple skipped by Josh Fail were involved in a closely fought contest against Joe Justin, eventually managing to come out on top by a single shot. Mikey Titcombe’s triple got off to a good start against Craig Morphet and managed to keep hold of that throughout the game, recording a 20-8 victory. Overall, a 13 shot win for Westlecot who now look forward to playing last season’s champions Wey Valley in the last 16. Preparations for this match are already underway, it will take place on Saturday 27th November, with Whiteknights being chosen as the neutral venue for the two clubs to battle it out at.

Overall, a good weekend for Westlecot! Plenty more to report on next week, with our O60’s double rink in action during the week and our Egham team opening their campaign with another fixture against Whiteknights at the weekend.

Written by Mikey Titcombe.

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