Chipping Norton was this year’s venue for the Men’s Pairs Quarter Finals. Of the 8 pairs on the evening, 3 were from Headington, 3 from West Witney, 1 from Witney Mills and 1 from Watlington.
The First game of the evening see West Witney’s Nigel Siford and Paul Skidmore against Headington’s Sam Watts and Nick Rae-Welsh. The Witney pair got off to a strong start, finding themselves 11-4 up at 10 ends. The Headington pair then tried to close the gap, seeing the score at 12-6 after 13. The next 3 ends see the Witney pair then enhance their lead by scoring 5 shots unanswered. The Headington pairing then scored 4 shots to 1 on the last 4 ends of the game, however this wasn’t enough and the Witney pair progressed to the semi-final, 18-10 winners. 
The second game of the evening was between Witney Mills’ Steve Witcombe and Paul Robbins up against Watlington’s Will Soden and Chris Gilkes. The first 8 ends see the Witney pair take an 8-2 lead before the Watlington lads clawed back to within 2 shots at 10 ends. 2 singles followed for the Witney pair before a 7-shot pickup was produced in the 13th end by the Watlington Pairing, taking the score to 13-10 in Watlington’s favour, for the first time in the game. 4 shots over the next 3 ends see the Witney pair regain the lead 14-13 before 10 shots were scored across the last 5 ends, unanswered, by the Watlington pair see them progress to the semi-final, 23-14 victors and facing West Witney.
The third match was between Headington’s Paul Comley and Colin Whitehead against West Witney’s Andy McIntyre and David Leighfield. The first half of the game was close with only 3 shots between them after 11 ends, 11-8 to the Witney pair. The next 3 ends see the Witney partnership increase their lead to 10 shots, 18-8 up at 14 ends. The next 5 ends see the gap close to 7 shots with 2 ends to play. The Headington pair scored 2 on the 20th leaving them with a 5 required to force an extra end, however they could not achieve this, only able to pick up another 2. This see the Witney Pair progress to the semi-final, 20-15 victors. 
The last game of the evening was between Headington’s Ian Henwood and Mark Charlett against West Witney’s Bradley Squires and Kevin Alder. The first 9 ends see no difference in score between the two pairs, 6-6. This closeness continued to 14 ends where the score was still equal at 9 shots apiece. After the 16th end the score was 11-10 in Headington’s favour and this was all the Witney pair could score. The Headington pair won the last 4 ends, picking 8 shots in the process to see them secure the last place in the semi-finals, being 19-10 winners. 
The County Semi-Finals day will be at Carterton BC on Sunday 14th July.
The ladies senior fours final will be played on Thursday 4th July at 2pm at South Oxford Bowls Club.
Jacky Gray, Sue Mayo, Carol Gaskins and Jeanette Berry (Oxford City & County) v Margaret Haley, Anne Hale, Val Wakefield and Pauline Williams (Long Hanborough)
Bowls Oxfordshire ladies had a resounding win over Surrey at Banbury Chestnuts on Sunday 23rd June 2019 with a score of 53 – 32 on two rinks.  
Skipped by Caroline Campion, Carole Galletly, Caroline Bloomfield and Helen Young got off to a good start with 8 shots to nil on the first two ends. Their final result after 20 ends and game conceded was 34 to Oxfordshire and Surrey 18.  
The rink skipped by Katherine Hawes with Karen Galloway, Carol Gaskins and Donna Knight also came out with a good start being 12 – 3 up after 8 ends. Their final result after ends and game conceded by Surrey was 19 – 14.
Oxon ladies hosted Sussex in the Johns Trophy on a neutral green at Suttons BC, in Reading on Saturday.
Unfortunately Sussex were too strong for Oxon ladies. Oxon did have one winning rink skipped by Jeanette Berry but lost overall. This means that Oxon will be unable to progress in the competition any further and the game against Isle of Wight tomorrow is cancelled.
Oxon 69, Sussex 154
J Berry 24, A Truran 19
D Jacob 9, P Escott 21
D Knight 14, L Kuhler 24
C Gaskins 10, D Hoon 30
B Havard 7, R Mackriel 32
W Cross 5, B Davies 28
Regional Finals of Balcomb Trophy played at Old Coulsdon BC Surrey on Sunday 23rd June 2019 at 10.00 am.
Oxfordshire played Buckinghamshire in a match that started very evenly with Oxfordshire ahead by 2 shots after 10 ends and still 2 ahead after 15 ends. With both rinks struggling for shots in the concluding ends Oxfordshire went down to defeat by 12 shots.
Oxfordshire 30 Buckinghamshire 42
Sam Watts, Shane Cooper, Chris Gilkes, Paul Sharman lost 12 -26
Joe Abercrombie, Keith Holloway, Mark Sykes, A J Docherty won 18-16
Oxfordshire hosted 2 more home friendlies in the last 8 days. On Tuesday 18th June Herefordshire were the visitors to Witney Town and a week later Surrey came to South Oxford.
With the President playing on rink 2 on both occasions he provided the impetus to 2 wins by somewhat differing margins. The Herefordshire game saw Oxfordshire win by 49 shots with the President supplying 26 of them and the surrey game 7 shots with the President this time playing at 3 to Brian Bloomfield providing a plus score of 20 shots
Oxfordshire 139 Herefordshire 90.
P Demczak, J Timms, A Fleming, A Ley won 18 -17.
C Lewis, J Hicks, M Petersen, M Morris won 37-11
M Jones, D Lafford, D Bullock, M Andrew won 22-12
R Radband, C Haley, L days, I Whelpton drew 17-17
A Hunt, N Satchell, A Wase, B Bloomfield won20-13
B Willoughby, J Hurren, P Warner, R Barnett won 25-20
Oxfordshire 110 Surrey 103
Surrey match scores:-
R Radband, B Ealey, G Hooker, M Andrew lost 16-25
P Demczak, J Hurren, M Morris, B Bloomfield won 28—8
B Jarvie, D Lafford, J Hicks, I Whelpton lost 16-19
D Byers, J McGeough, K Williams, B Clarke won 17-16
C Lewis, C Haley, P warner, L Days drew 19-19
T Gripe, J Stephens, C Cox, A Ley lost 14-16
The halfway point is reached!
Division 1 reached this point with a week with some surprises. The leaders, and defending champions, Headington travelled to Banbury Central having only dropped half a point in competitive league matches so far. Central almost pulled off the shock of the season as the match went to the final end of the final game! Nick Rae-Walsh’s rink trailed by ten shots and Central were three behind in the match. Fortunately, for Headington, Nick’s front pair ended holding shots and Nigel Galletly was unable to convert for the required three.
Relegation troubled Watlington hosted fellow strugglers Witney Town. Watlington eased their worries, but probably condemned Town to division 2 in the process. Two comfortable wins and a third much closer one giving them five points.
The final match saw an unusual result with both clubs scoring an identical number of shots. Witney Mills might have thought that they were going to beat close neighbours Carterton once Les Days’ men had scored seven shots on the fifth end of the match. However, as the game headed to a finish with the teams very closely matched, and only the last three bowls to be played, Paul Sharman trailed by four shots on the end and Mills were winning the match. Not to be, Paul drew shot with his last bowl, giving Carterton the lead by two shots. Mills needed two shots to tie and three to win from the remaining two rinks, both rinks took a final end shot to level the game at sixty-two shots each.
With leaders City and County not playing, Adderbury had the chance to be top of Division 2 at the halfway stage. Unfortunately, Headington refused to see it Adderbury’s way and finished with a comfortable win. At halfway, Adderbury lead on three rinks and were six shots clear overall, at fourteen ends they were still six shots clear but losing two rinks then Colin Whitehead’s rink changed the game Headington’s way taking the fifteenth end with a seven shot score. Come the final end, again more drama from the same rink as they picked up the jack, from a losing position, and ran it into the ditch before scoring a second shot to tie their game and ensure match points for Headington.
The win does not put Headington into the promotion race but it does lift them out of the relegation places as Chipping Norton were beaten by Kidlington in a game won for the home team by Paul McGrath’s rink which trailed by one shot after nine ends but ran out with a seven shot advantage.
The third match in the division saw South Oxford pull back into the promotion race with a comfortable win at home to struggles Charlbury who have much to do in their next six matches if they are to remain in the division.
Another topsy-turvy week in Division 3 with last weeks big winners, Shiplake and Banbury Central both crashing to heavy defeats. Shiplake travelled to Hanborough and were well beaten on three rinks but looked to be heading for a win on the fourth until Martin Oliver’s rink scored a five on the fifteenth end to sweep into a lead that the visitors were unable to claw back. 
Central travelled to, in bowls terms, close neighbours Bicester with aspirations of moving into the top two. Bicester proved too strong winning comfortably on three rinks and only losing the fourth thanks to an exceptional comeback by Eric Trinder’s rink which came from nine behind at ten ends to win, winning seven of the remaining ends.
The third match in the division showed just how competitive it is, erstwhile second place Chadlington travelled to relegation candidates Thame and were well beaten! Indeed, Thame were forty-three shots ahead at halfway and only conceded twenty-five more over all four rinks in the second half of the match. 
The majority of the points on offer were split between the top three teams in Division 4 to leave the two promotion places as close as they were. 
Burford tried to lose the, seemingly very safe, match points to James Baldwin’s Blackbird Leys rink. Easy wins on three rinks, including one against a weak Leys triple, should have ensured match points but the fourth rink was lost by twenty-seven shots and this should have been sufficient for Leys to take match points but Steve Gould’s men took six shots from the last two ends, having only score a single shot in the whole game to that points. Those shots swung the overall score to Burford!
Wins for John Parker and Mick Bostock’s rinks ensured that West Oxford triumphed at home to South Oxford though they could easily have had three wins as West’s David Lyne’s rink only snatched victory on the last end of their game.
I can vouch that the stories of London Transport buses arriving in waves after hours of no buses at all were all based on the truth having spent my childhood in North London. I never thought that I would be using the expression in a bowls report! However, we have waited some time for a tied game in the league and this week provided not one but two! Not to be upstaged by Division one, Oxford University Press and Woodstock fought out a second tied match. Unfortunately, I have no rink cards or other details for this match!
Oxfordshire played Hampshire in the second round of this year’s Middleton Cup campaign. With both sides coming to the game with convincing wins in the first round pressure was on for a good performance. The weather suited Oxfordshire for the first ten ends and they established a lead of 47 shots with only one rink trailing. With the rain disappearing the next 5 ends were more even but the lead was still 38 shots. With the lead disappearing quickly by the 18th end the lead was down to 16 and Hampshire were winning most of the ends. With the final end of the match being played by ray Gaskins rink the sides were difference was down to a single shot with Hampshire needing to win the end to take the tie. All members of Ray’s rink bowled with confidence and despite the jack frequently changing position Oxfordshire detained control to win the end by 4 shots and the match by 5 shots. With 3 rinks each Oxfordshire won by 16-6 points.
With the last match of the campaign against Isle of Wight on t6th July at Kidlington Oxfordshire need to gain 14 points to guarantee going forward to the regional final.
Oxfordshire 125 shots Hampshire 120.
Oxfordshire 16 points Hampshire 6.
Rink scores
Joe Abercrombie, Keith Holloway, Mark Sykes, A J Docherty won 21-18.
Sam Watts, James Gaskins, Remy Clanfield, Chris Gilkes won 36-14.
Jim Bland, Lee Young, Paul Comley, Ray Gaskins lost 18-27.
Bradley Squires, Andy McIntyre, Shane Cooper, Paul Sharman lost 14-19.
Ade Kemish, Orren Bennett, Will Campion, David Leighfield lost 13-29.
Joe Justin Paul Skidmore Kevin Alder Baden Sparkes won 23-13.
Driving back from Birmingham at 16.00 on Thursday, as the wall of water continued to fall, I doubted that any matches would be played to a finish that evening. As it transpired, only the match between Carterton and Headington fell foul to the water, with Carterton’s green being deemed unfit for play.
Kevin Alder’s rink has obviously paid the correct homage to the goddess of bowls as, for the first nine ends of their Division 1 match they both bowled well and took advantage of all the wicks! At sixteen zero up, with two other rinks being close, it looked like a good win for West Witney over close rivals Banbury Central. However, the Central rinks came good, especially Keith McNeil’s which scored seven unanswered shots over the last four ends to give Central a five point win.
With Watlington on a bye week, the other two clubs vying to climb out of the relegation zone met at Witney Town. At fifteen ends, the match seeming to be going to Witney Mills, as a six point victory was on the cards. However, the Witney Town rinks skipped by Alan Scholan and Brian Bloomfield both fought back to snatch victories on the last end, indeed, Brian moved the jack back to get the shots he needed on that end.
Division 2 saw the first two move further clear of the pack.  City and County won a close encounter with South Oxford thanks to the six and five score by Omar Sharif’s rink on ends sixteen and eighteen.
Adderbury had a much more comfortable win at home to Kidlington. The highlight of which was David Sharp’s rink which came from six shots down at ten ends to score twenty-three unanswered shots over the last seven ends.
The third match in the division saw Chipping Norton dramatically improve the chances for the season with a whitewash of visitors Charlbury. The best performance came from Alex Fleming’s rink that came from seven shots down at thirteen ends to snatch victory with three shots on the last end.
Division 3 has new leaders as Shiplake continued their impressive home form, this time at Chadlington’s expense. Indeed, the visitor’s only win came from the triple of Peter Madeley which outscored the opponents by enough to be able to lose twenty-five percent of the total and still win.
Thame travelled to Bloxham and returned with four points thank, in large, to Bill Giles' rink which never allowed their opponents a toe hold in the game. Tony Gardner’s rink scored six on the last end to cement their victory in what was a generally low scoring match.
Banbury Central’s heavy defeat of Hanborough moves them into the promotion race, in a close division, whilst leaving their opponents staring relegation in the face before the season reaches the halfway point. Eric Trinder’s rink were the outstanding four, losing only one end in the second half of their game.
Woodstock still top Division 4 despite not playing. Burford, who had the chance to catch them, were beaten by West Oxford whose two winning rinks were won by surprisingly large margins. Tim Stacey’s rink dominated the second half of their game to run out fourteen shot winners and Mick Bostock’s men were equally dominant in their thirteen shot victory.
Oxford University Press would have come away from Blackbird Leys with a share of the points but Dave Barlow’s ‘rink’ was a triple and forfeited shots, and the game point, whilst James Baldwin was ruthless skipping his four to a twenty shot win, allowing his opponents four ends in total in the match.
City and County returned from the deep south of the City having comprehensively defeated South Oxford. Their three winning rinks dominated from the start whilst Keith Clarke’s men were almost as dominant for South’s single win.