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In a quieter week on the national competition front due to the return of the annual Westlecot Open Singles Tournament at the weekend, Westlecot members enjoyed some fantastic victories in the individual nationals that did take place.

We started last week with Lucy Smith’s away fixture in the Champion of Champions against Oxford City & County’s Champion Jeanette Berry. With a place in the area final on the line, the stakes were high however Lucy rose to the occasion, always looking in control to record a comfortable 21-9 win. Lucy advances to the area final where she will play Morgan Merryweather of Whiteknights for a place in the National Finals at Dolphin in Poole in February.

On Wednesday, Neil Smith’s triple travelled to Brackley to face a tough test against Alan Dunkley in their opening encounter. It looked as though our trio had their work cut out early on, trailing 7-2. Alan & co continued to hold the advantage at 10-6 around the halfway mark.

Westlecot dug in though and managed to start clawing shots back and a great turnaround meant Neil’s triple went into the last end 3 shots ahead of their opposition, the score at 15-12. There was a final twist though, as Alan had a chance to either draw a 3rd bowl to force an extra end, or trail the jack to make 4 and win the match. Fortunately, Alan was marginally over the pace with his final bowl, meaning Westlecot advance to the next round by a single shot. Neil & co will face another tough away fixture against David Leighfield of Chipping Norton in round 2.

On Thursday evening, Scott Edwards travelled to Chipping Norton for a tough away match in the national singles against AJ Docherty. Scott settled to the pace of the carpet very quickly and raced into an early lead. Despite his best efforts AJ couldn’t find a way back into the match and Scott maintained his early advantage, eventually closing the game out 21-13. Scott advances to round 3, where he will take on clubmate Mikey Titcombe in what should be a great game of bowls.

Finally this week, Dave Snell and Mel Biggs travelled to Brackley to take on a familiar foe of Westlecot in Alan Dunkley with a place in the Area Quarter-Final at stake. This was a tough tie on paper for Mel & Dave, but they settled to the task. A very low-scoring encounter meant it was difficult for either side to run away with it, but Mel & Dave did manage to seize the advantage and ended up securing a 14-6 win. Another great win for our pair, who move on to face an away tie against either Paul Sharman or clubmate Neil Smith.

That was all for last week. This week it’s normal service resumed with a very busy week of nationals. Chris Cheesley will be in action in the National Singles, Lucy Smith’s Mixed Four take on Carterton’s Craig Morphet, who will also be taking on Neil Smith in the National 2 Wood when he travels to Carterton. Neil will then be back at Carterton for his National Pairs second round against Paul Sharman. Also this weekend, it’s the long awaited return to the carpet of our Denny Cup team, who take on Malvern Hills for a place in the last 16 of the country. Following that on Sunday, our Wessex league team are back in action in the local derby against Swindon Manor!

Written by Mikey Titcombe.

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