Oxfordshire travelled to Bristol St George BC to play City and County of Bristol on Tuesday 6th August. After a rain-swept start the weather improved and the match was completed in the dry. With the lead set by rink 1 who established a 15 shot lead by the 10th end the other rinks followed their lead and with only rink 4 surrendering their lead on end 20 Oxfordshire ended the match with their biggest win of the season. In the absence of the President Paul Demczak, Deputy President, lead the Oxfordshire men with style.
Oxfordshire 158 City and County of Bristol 90
C Lewis, J Hurren, J Lucas, A Wase won 30-7.
S Tolhurst, R Oliver, G Thompson, R Barnett won 24-20.
P Demczak, J Stephens, M Oliver, I Whelpton won 29-15.
M Jones, C Haley, P Warner, A Ley lost 21-22.
R Slater, B Ealey, A Fleming, B Bloomfield won 27-16.
B Willoughby, J McGeough, D Wedge, B Clarke won 27-10.
Oxfordshire returned to South Oxford BC on Saturday 3rd August for the Home Counties League match against Middlesex.
Hopes remained high until the 18th end when 5 of the rinks conceded 16 ends with only Kevin Alder’s 4 picking up a 2. This 14 shot deficit decided the match and Middlesex won by 13.
With only the away game against Buckinghamshire to play Oxfordshire’s hopes for 2019 were brought to a sad end.
Oxfordshire 112 and 4 points, Middlesex 125 and 18 points.
Henry Beall, Richard Green, Steve Aldren, Paul Robbins lost 14-23.
Bernie Ma,y Alan Ley, Chris Weller, Chris Charles lost 12-22.
Bradley Squires, Chris Lewis, Ade Kemish, Paul Sharman lost 17-21.
Paul Demczak, David Wedge, Sam Watts, Shane Cooper lost 16-23.
Brian Bloomfield, Mick Morris, Orren Bennett, Kevin Alder won 29-17.
Trevor Prew, Alan Wase, Brian Clarke, Paul Comley won 24-19.
Another season completed and, despite some occasionally awful weather, only one match was lost and that to an unplayable green rather than the weather on the Thursday night.
Division’s 1 and 2 were, to all intents and purposes, completed last week, thus this week’s matches were played in a much more relaxed way than they would normally be. (At least the one I was involved in was, I can only hope the others were also.) 
So, congratulations to Headington A, champions of Division 1, (again!) and City and County A who bounced straight back to the top division by winning the Division 2 title. 
Commiserations to Witney Mills and Witney Town who are relegated to Division 2 and Charlbury and Chipping Norton who will play in Division 3 next season.
The other two divisions were far from over with five teams in division 3 still able to be promoted along with, already Champions, Bicester, and any of three clubs from Division 4 who could join West Oxford in Division 3 next year.
In Division 4, fourth place Burford could finish second if they defeated a resurgent Blackbird Leys on all four rinks. In the event, they trailed on two rinks throughout the game which meant they could not go above City and County, who were not playing. Woodstock could gain promotion and the division title if they took at least five points from their match with Oxford University Press. They surpassed this winning a very one-sided match by 54 shots. That meant that they were promoted but West Oxford would still take the title if they took two points from their game at South Oxford. 
Win they did, and took five points to clinch the title, but it was closer than the final score suggests. Mike Bostock’s rink trailed 14-9 after fifteen ends as South Oxford looked to spoil West’s party. It took a five shot win on end sixteen and a final end three to clinch the game and the match for West Oxford.
Those of you following these reports will know that Division 3 has had a sometimes very weird season behind runaway champions Bicester. Indeed, Shiplake, in fifth place, could still be promoted on the final day. They played Hanborough at home and won comfortably on three rinks to take five points, which put them, momentarily, into second place on shot count.
Woodstock were most people’s favourites for promotion as they were playing at Chadlington, who, not surprisingly, were tipped to be relegated. However, Carl Smart and his men had other ideas winning their game by 14 shots to leave Woodstock short in the promotion race, though it proved insufficient to keep Chadlington up as Shiplake had won so well.
The final match was between the champions and Banbury Central. Central knew that five points would be enough to get them promoted, regardless of other results, or one point more than Woodstock or any two points would keep them above Shiplake and Bloxham. Across the match Central led by five shots at nine and fifteen ends, and were always ahead on two rinks, but Tom McKenna’s rink picked up fourteen shots between ends 11 and 16, only dropping one in the process. Despite Bicester’s efforts over the last two ends, Central emerged match winners by a single shot thus taking four points and the final promotion place.
This means the division 2 will have two B teams playing in it next year for the first time in the league’s history!
Burford Town Bowling Club was the venue of this year’s domestic cup finals day. With the Allison, Longford and Officers cups all contested.
The first semi-final in the Allison cup see South Oxford’s Vic Depaauw against Burford Town’s John Hurren. John got off to a good start on his own turf, going 12-4 up after 10 ends. Vic then battled back well to be within two shots at 16 ends, 14-12. John then went onto to pick up 7 shots over the next 4 ends to take the victory and the first place in the afternoons final.
The other Allison semi-final was between Banbury Central’s Ian Gilbert and Thame’s Paul Costin. A close game see no clear favourite after 9 ends, with the score at 7-6 in Ian’s favour. Again, there was no clear leader after 15 ends, with the score only 1 shot difference, this time in favour of Paul, 12-11. Ian then won the next 5 consecutive ends scoring 6 shots to see the lead stretch for the first time. After 27 ends it was 19-19 before enough was enough and Ian picked up the double he required to see him over the line and face John Hurren in the afternoon final.
The first Longford cup semi-final see Carterton’s Roger Thomas against another Thame player, this time Chris Shannon. A good start for Roger see him take the lead 10-4 after 8 ends. Chris then fought back to be within one shot at 14 ends, 12-11. 5 shots over the next 2 ends to Roger see his lead increase once more to 17-11. Chris then scored a single before Roger scored the 4 he needed to book his place in the final, 21-12 victor.
The other Longford semi-final see another Banbury Central competitor, Nigel Galletly up against Adderbury’s Dave Allington. Dave found himself 9-4 up after 7 ends before Nigel kicked into gear and 10 unanswered shots to see him take the lead 14-9 after 11. Dave then scored a single before Nigel surged once more scoring 6 shots, leaving him just needing one shot to win. Dave then battled hard and pegged the score back to 19-20 and holding game on the 22nd end, with just one bowl left to deliver by Nigel. Nigel, cool as you like drew a front toucher to book his final spot against Roger in the final.
The first officers cup semi-final was between Shiplake’s David Bullock and Carterton’s Tim Jupp. Tim got off to a good start finding himself 10-5 up at 7 ends. 7 shots to 2 in favour of Tim see him extend his lead to 17-7 after 12 ends. Dave then scored 3 shots to get to 10 before Tim finished the game off with 2 double pickups. Tim booked the first place into the officer’s final, 21-10 victor.
The other officer’s semi-final was between another Adderbury player, this time Mick Jelfs, against last year’s winner, West Witney’s David Leighfield. A close start see the score at 7-5 in Dave’s favour after 7 ends. Dave then scored 10 unanswered shots over the next 5 ends to see him take the lead 17-5. Mick then fought back and scored 4 shots to reduce the deficit before Dave scored the remaining shots he required to take him over the line, 21-9 winner and facing Tim in the afternoon’s final.
After an excellent lunch the finals were underway, with Banbury Central’s Ian Gilbert against Burford Town’s John Hurren fighting for the Allison Cup, Banbury Central’s Nigel Galletly and Carterton’s Roger Thomas contesting the Longford Cup and Carterton’s Tim Jupp facing West Witney’s David Leighfield for the Officer’s Cup.
Allison Cup winner 2019
In the Allison, a strong start from Ian see him take an early 11-4 lead. John then scored a 3 shot pickup on the 12th end before Ian scored 6 shots in 2 to see him only needing 4 shots. John had other ideas and closed the gap by scoring 8 unanswered shots taking the board to 17-15 after 18 ends. The next three ends see John Hurren take the lead for the first time in the game, 20-19 up, only needing a single to claim the title. A class end from Ian see him pickup the double that he required to claim the game and the title, 21-19 victor. Congratulations Ian and commiserations John, a very good game of bowls.
Longford Cup winner 2019
The Longford started well for Nigel, finding the score at 9-2 in his favour after 8 ends. Nigel then continued to increase his lead picking up 2 doubles and a triple against Rogers 2 shot pickup, scoreboard read 16-6 after 14. A single for each competitor left Nigel needing 4 to claim the title. A late surge from Roger see him win 4 ends unanswered, scoring 6 shots in the process. Nigel then scored 3 singles to take him only needing 1 to win after 23 ends, 20-13. Roger picked up one last double before Nigel got over the line, 21-15 victor. Congratulations to Nigel on winning the Longford Cup.  
Officers cup winner 2019
The last final of the day was the officers cup, after 7 ends the game was almost even at 6-5 in Dave’s favour. 8 shots to Tim’s 2 see Dave increase his lead to 14-7 after 12 ends. Tim was certainly out leading Dave in the second half of the game, but Dave proved too strong with his third and fourth bowls, converting heads and changing the game in his favour again and again. This enabled him to keep Tim supressed on 7 shots and score the remaining 7 shots that he needed over the 5 ends. Congratulations to Dave for retaining the officers cup title.
A big thank you to the following people who carried out marking duties throughout the day:
Mick Morris (Banbury Borough)
Paul Demczak (Witney Town)
Ian Whelpton (Banbury Central)
Alex Fleming (Chipping Norton)
Harvey Alder (West Witney)
Orren Bennett (Carterton)
A big thank you also to Iain, the umpire from Swindon who was efficient and helpful all day.
That concluded a splendid day of bowling at Burford Town, a big thanks to all the club members for supplying us with a delicious lunch and fantastic facilities all day.
Oxfordshire Bowling Association celebrated Alan Ley playing his 900th game for the County in last Tuesday’s friendly fixture against Hertfordshire at his home club, Oxford City and County BC.
71 year-old Alan began his career with Oxfordshire in 1966 playing for the old Blue Circle club at Bunkers Hill near Kidlington. He was awarded a full county badge 12 months later. Success in the County Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours championships has put him in the small group of Oxfordshire bowlers to achieve such a record. For many decades Alan skipped a rink for Oxfordshire in the Middleton Cup.
He was an England Trialist is 1980 & 1981.
Since his start at Blue Circle, Alan moved between Oxford City & County and Summertown clubs, finally returning to City & County after the closure of the Summertown club.
His most recent appearance at the National Championships was at Leamington in 2014, partnering Mike Petersen in the Senior Pairs where they were somewhat unfortunate to lose on the last end in the final.
Alan’s 35 years working for Blackwell’s bookshop in Oxford enabled him to take time off for midweek friendly games, a practice which continued as a porter at the Bodleian library. Retirement allows him to play for the various Associations that he his also a member of.
Oxfordshire Bowling Association and Bowls Oxfordshire wish Alan future success with them and look forward to his 1000 game celebration which could be in as little as 5-6 years time.
Oxfordshire hosted Hertfordshire at Oxford City and County on 30th July and for the second week running the game was curtailed to 18 ends by the weather, this time by rain. Starting slowly Oxfordshire trailed by 6 shots after 10 ends and were 9 behind after 15.  By close of play the deficit was down to 3 shots and Oxfordshire had gained the upper hand only for the rain to halt proceedings.
The highlight of the after-game meal was the celebration of Alan Ley’s 900th game for Oxfordshire (see separate tribute) as well as the 100th game for City and Count’s Vice President Chris Lewis and a colts badge for South Oxford’s David Tidball
Oxfordshire 97 Hertfordshire 100.
B Jarvie A Smith K Buckle B Clarke won 16-14.
P Hickman T Gripe M Oliver I Whelpton lost 11-18.
C Lewis n Satchell D Bullock B Bloomfield won 20-17.
S Tolhurst K Williams D Tidball M Morris lost 17-19.
P Demczak J Hurren G Thompson A Wase lost 16-20.
R Green b Ealey D Wedge A Ley won 17-12.
With a final week of matches still to come, the top two divisions are already over, as far as promotion and relegation are concerned.
Champions elect, Headington, won a very tight match with their only real rivals, Carterton and cannot now be caught, so my first congratulation goes to them for retaining their title.
Behind them, in Division 1, the other issue was who joined Witney Town in division 2 next year. Witney Mills needed to beat Town and hope that Banbury Central slipped up against West Witney. In the event neither happened. Surprisingly, Mills lost at home, Town outperformed them on three rinks, the final scores looking closer as Mills made a late flurry of shots but to no avail.
Banbury Central had a convincing win at home to a weakened West Witney side. Will Campion’s rink bounced back from a heavy defeat last week to inflict one of their own and any hope that West had of getting two points was lost when Shane Cooper’s attempted drive for five shots move the jack off the rink and Lee Young’s rink won the replayed end.
Division 2 is also now settled. Adderbury’s win at Kidlington and, already champions, City and County’s defeat of South Oxford mean that Adderbury will play in the top division for the first time next season.
Relegation was also settled as already relegated Charlbury registered a rare victory and with it ensured that the opposition, Chipping Norton, are relegated as well. 
The best rink of this week’s games came from Dave Tidball, of South Oxford, whose rink had trailed for much of the game before taking six shots in the last two ends to grab the point.
Little has changed in Division 3; Bicester were crowned champions last week, but the second place appears wide open. I say appears as in real terms Bloxham, currently second, have completed their matches, Central, currently third, host champions Bicester, whilst Thame, currently fourth, travel to Chadlington, who will be desperate to avoid relegation! Shiplake are in an even odder position! Currently fifth, they host relegated Hanborough. Were they to take all six available points and the clubs above them lose, they would finish second. However, if they dropped all six and Chadlington won, they would be relegated! 
In this week’s fixtures, mention should be made of Ed Creed’s rink for Central which took twelve unanswered shots between ends eleven and seventeen to go from six behind to six ahead in the fixture against Hanborough. 
Division 4 results mean that West Oxford are promoted. Second place, City and County have completed their fixtures and Burford are unable to overtake them whatever their result. The other promotion place is still up for grabs, with the money going on Woodstock as their last fixture is at Oxford University Press and they need four points from it to guarantee second place. Burford can only win big at Blackbird Leys and hope that Woodstock trip up. 
In this week’s matches, the highlight was John Hurren’s win for Burford as they came from nine behind after twelve ends to win by taking the last six ends of the match.
The ladies county finals were held at Oxford City & County.
The first game if the finals were the triples and the U25 singles. City & County trio Sue Mayo, Jacky Gray and Jeanette Berry claimed victory over Carole Galletly, Helen Young and Caroline Campion 23 – 16. The U25’s saw Katie Glenn lift the trophy with a 21 – 10 victory over Jazz Alder.
In the afternoon saw the final of the fours take place between Karen Galloway, Carol Gaskins, Donna Knight and Katherine Hawes against Carole Galletly, Pam Shepherd, Helen Young and Caroline Campion. Banbury Central had a convincing 23 – 10 over the Oxford City and County side.
The next day, the remainder of the finals took place. Caroline Campion (Banbury Central) played a very thrilling 4 Wood Singles against her team mate Carole Galletly. Nip and tuck all the way with Caroline finally winning 21 – 20.  
Carole then faced Katherine Hawes (City and County) in the 2 Wood Singles, with Katherine settling very quickly and despite some telling woods from Carole, Katherine was the winner over 21 ends by 17 shots to 6.  
During these games the Unbadged Pairs was taking place between Joy Williams with Veta Bennett of Kidlington BC, and Margie Ferguson with Wendy Sandy of Carterton BC. Margie and Wendy took the lead and seemed on target for a rapid conclusion but Joy and Veta dug in and brought the score to a thrilling finale over 18 ends to a win for Ferguson and Sandy by just one shot, 14 – 13.  
The afternoon was brought to a close with a thrilling pairs match between Campion and Galletly (Banbury Central) versus Hawes and Knight (City and County).   With some amazing shots and wonderful bowling, the victors were the Banbury Cental pair with 20 shots to 11 for the City and County pair.
Banbury Borough Bowls Club was the host for this year’s men’s county finals day, hosted by this year’s OBA President, Mick Morris.
Three games started the day off, junior singles, 4 wood singles and triples.
Men's singles Champion 2019 
On his home green, Keith Holloway faced Headington’s Nick Rae-Welsh in the final of the men’s singles. Nick got off to a strong start finding himself 8-2 up after 7 ends. The next 6 ends see Keith win 5 of them to take the score level at 11 shots apiece. Nick then progressed to score 4 more shots in 3 ends to take the lead 15-11. Keith then rallied back and continued on to progress to become the victor, scoring 10 unanswered shots over the last 6 ends. The final was of extreme quality with heads consistently changing, so commendations to both players for that. Keith has now completed the “Quad” by winning all four of the men’s main events, congratulations.
Men's pairs winners 2019 
The last game of the morning was a West Witney duel between Nigel Siford and Paul Skidmore against Andy McIntyre and David Leighfield. After 8 ends Andy and David found themselves in a comfortable position, being 12-5 up. The game was then battled well with consistent head being built by both leads which enabled no more than doubles to be scored for the remaining of the game. The game finished with Andy and David retaining the pairs title, 21-10 victors.
After a splendid lunch two games were contested in the early afternoon session, the 2 wood singles and the triples. 
Men's 2 wood singles champion 2019 
Shiplake’s Jim Bland was up against Adderbury’s Darren Sharpe. A game of 21 ends see them level after 7 ends, 4-4. A couple of 2’s over the next 6, see Darren able to extend his lead to 10-7 after 13 ends. Jim then fought back to come within 1 shot at 16 ends before Darren scored 4 shots over the final 4 ends to make it mathematically impossible for Jim to win, Darren was crowned the newest 2 wood singles champion. Congratulations Darren. 
Men's triples winners 2019
The other game was the triples between Headington’s Sam Watts, Ray Gaskins and Nick Rae-Welsh against West Witney’s Andy McIntyre, David Leighfield and Kevin Alder. A strong start for the Witney trio see them 7-2 up after 6 ends. Good bowling from the Headington triple see them bring the score back to within 1 shot after 11 ends, 10-9. 5 shots in Witney’s favour to Headington’s single see the board at 15-10 at 15 ends. 1 shot apiece in the next 2 ends see the Headington trip requiring 5 to force an extra end however they were unable to do so, picking up 2 shots. Congratulations to Andy, David and Kevin. 
Men's fours winners 2019
After a short break, and yet another timely fly past from the RAF Red Arrows, the last game of the day got underway, the men’s fours. This was contested by Headington’s Sam Watts, Ian Henwood, Jason King and Mark Charlett against a Borough rink on their own turf, comprising of Keith Holloway, Alan Prew, Mark Sykes and A.J Docherty. Another class quality game see tight heads and the score at a close 5-3 in Headington’s favour after 7. The borough rink then battled back strong to bring them level again, this time after 15 ends. Headington then won the next 3 out of 4 ends to stretch their lead once more to 5 shots with 2 to play. A.J’s rink then picked up 2 on the penultimate end to see the score at 19-16. Headington then claimed the last end and won 20-16 victors. Congratulations to Mark, Jason, Ian and Sam. 
All I can say is thank you to Banbury Brough for hosting such an excellent days’ worth of bowling with good weather, good surface and good facilities. Thank you to Mick Morris and Paul Demczak for marking the singles games during the day and my thanks extends to Mick Morris for his support throughout the competitions this season. 
The men’s National Finals at Leamington Spa take place from Tuesday 6th August – Thursday 8th August and Saturday 17th August – Friday 30th August. Please take the opportunity, if you can, to go up and support all of this year’s qualifiers and I hope Oxfordshire can continue on its impressive form of late.
Oxfordshire hosted Essex at Thame BC on 16th July and only managed to win on 1 rink, albeit by 26 shots thanks to the efforts of Paul Demczak, John McGeough, Martin Oliver and Brian Clarke. The 5 lost rinks meant that Oxfordshire lost the match by 5 shots.
Oxfordshire 109 Essex 114.
R Slater, C Haley, B Ray, K Williams lost 11-19.
S Tolhurst, T Gripe, G Hooker, M Andrew lost 13-25.
R Radband, B Ealey, L Days, M Morris lost 17-18.
P Demczak, J McGeough, M Oliver, and B Clarke won 35-9.
M Jones, G Thompson, P Warner, P Robbins lost 15-16.
B Willoughby, R Oliver, D Wedge, A Ley lost 18-27.
A week later the scene move to the north west of the county for the visit of Wiltshire for the visit of Wiltshire to West Witney BC.  Wins on 4 rinks were insufficient to counteract the two defeats on rinks 5 and 6 and Oxfordshire lost by 2 shots.
Oxfordshire 105 Wiltshire 107.
P Hickman, J Stephens, M Oliver, L Days won 21-16.
M Jones, T Gripe, J Lucas, P Robbins won 21-14.
S Tolhurst, N Satchell, B Ray, A Ley won 24-19.
D Wright, B Ealey, I Whelpton, B Clarke won 15-11.
J Timms, J Hurren, M Morris, B Bloomfield lost 8-25.
P Demczak, G Thompson, P Warner, M Andrew lost 16-22.
The following annual match against the Isle of Wight at neutral green Three Mile Cross BC in Berkshire resulted in another close match. With three wins to each side the result was a draw, thanks to wins for Oxfordshire on the last end of 5 of the rinks. A colts badge was awarded to Shiplake’s John Gutteridge.
Oxfordshire 107 Isle of Wight 107.
Paul Demczak John Gutteridge J Lucas K Williams lost 10-25.
R Slater, J McGeough, T Gripe, B Bloomfield won 21-12.
C Lewis, C Hale, A Fleming, M Morris won 25-14.
B Jarvie, J Timms, G Thompson, A Ley won 22-16.
P Christmas, R Oliver, D Bullock, C Cox lost 11-18.
D Byers, J Hurren, D Wedge, I Whelpton lost 18-22.