The Fours are heading West.

At last evenings Four’s Quarter-finals it was the four entries from the west of the county who came out on top, qualifying for the Semi-finals to be played at the South Oxford bowls club on July 18th.

After last season’s wipe out of the National Championships, it was good to see bowlers back in action on the Oxford City & County green and a good following of spectators.

Defending champions, Sam Watts, Ian Henwood, Jason King and Mark Charlett found the Burford rink of John Hurren, Tim Ryan, Tim Stacey and Jack Lafford too hot to handle. After dropping a 3 on the first end, the Burford quartet collected 9 shots over the next four ends and never looked back, closing the game 17-9 with an end to spare.

The game at the other end of the green on rink 6 produced the same scoreline 17-9, also finishing after 14 ends. Although the ends were shared it was a 7 on the sixth end that put Carterton’s Rob Turley, Sammy Timms, Rob Clanfield and Baden Sparkes in command against Adderbury’s Mick Jelfs, Brian Ray, Ted Eley and Phil Gladden. The rink from the north of the county drew within three shots of levelling the game at eleven ends but six shots against over the next three ends proved too large a deficit to make up.

West Witney foursome of Bradley Squires, Will Parker, Kevin Alder and David Leighfield went off on a flier against their South Oxford opponents, Tony Lynch, Nigel Cattell, Dave Lyne and Dave Tidball, starting with a 7 on the first end on their way to a 12-0 scoreline after four ends. Then the wheels came off.

The South Oxford boys picked up seven of the next eight ends to close the gap to just two shots before the Witney four took two of the last three ends to move into the semi’s with a 17-13 win.

The final game of the evening was a nail biter with Carterton’s Joe Justin, Steve Aldren, Tim Jupp and Paul Sharman up against Banbury Central’s Chick Boyd, Ian Gilbert, Andy Wilkin and Keith McNeil. After 9 ends the scores were level at 8 all, five ends to Central and four, including two three’s, to Carterton.

Three shots each over the next five ends left them level 11-11 with one end to go. There was not going to be a crazy penalty shoot-out in this game.

McNeil’s last wood left Central holding three with Sharman having the last bowl. Three quarters of the way down the green it looked as if it was going to hit short woods before a fine glance brought it to a position requiring a measure by the umpire before the shot was shown to be in Carterton’s favour.

Thanks go to the Oxford City & County Bowls Club for the use of their facilities and to the lady members who ensured that the Covid guidelines were adhered to and also to the players and spectators who complied with them.

Excitement, Surprises, Happiness and Sadness, we are back bowling again.

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