Match report for week 14- Games played on 19 August, 2021 and Final positions

So, we come to the end of an odd year! No food after matches, no handshakes for much of the season and ladies playing… Which of these, if any, will still be happening this time next year?

Whilst this would usually be an ‘end of term’ report I must start with the excitement, for some clubs, of the last week of matches. Division 1 and 2  were already decided, as were the champions of Divisions 3 and 4 the final promotion places were up for grabs as was the last relegation spot it Division 3.

With Charlbury already promoted, Thame, West Oxford and Chipping Norton were all still in the hunt for promotion whilst Woodstock or City and County would join Bloxham in Division 4 next year. City and County were matched with Bloxham and took all the game points thus putting them above Woodstock, who played Chipping Norton knowing they needed at least one point to stay up. Chippy knew that they would only be promoted if they took four points more than Thame, who were hosting West Oxford. The match came down to the rink of Ray Plested v Alan Blackburn. At seventeen ends Alan held a four shot lead and Woodstock were safe! However, Ray and his four won the final end by those four shots to tie the game. The half point was enough, and Woodstock will play in division 3 next season with City and County relegated. So, to Thame! They knew that they needed to get more points than Chippy but they struggled… After three rinks were complete, they held a single point and trailed by four shots after seventeen ends on the fourth rink. Ray Plested and his men produced one of the comebacks of the season to tie the rink and give Thame 1.5 points from the game. Had that not happened, Chipping Norton and not Thame would have been promoted!

In Division 4, Burford hosted Hanborough knowing that they needed a 4 – 2 point win to be promoted. Anything less meant that their opponents triumphed! As it turned out, it was a bit of an anti-climax as Tim Stacey’s rink went 21 – 1 up after seven ends to almost guarantee Burford the match points and thus promotion!

The high spots of the season were the three games where teams scored over 100 shots, not easy to do in an eighteen end game. Congratulations to Headington A, Charlbury and Banbury Borough. Also, to the two rinks that scored 40 shots in a game, Brian Bloomfield (Witney Town) and Martin Acock (Chipping Norton).

Low spots: the rain,  late withdrawal of teams making it impossible to give Divisions 2 and 4 sensible fixture lists and, of course, Covid.

A reminder that the AGM is at the end of September and you need to come to give the committee some guidance about 2022 and the new features 2021 and Covid introduced.

I wish you a good winter and hope that you will all be bowling in 2022.

 

Match report for week 13 - Games played on 12 August, 2021 

A week of opposites! For some, the ‘end of term’ spirit had set in as both teams already knew their fate, others knew that the outcome of the game would determine what their season came to.

At the better end of the night, the top two in Division 2 met in their last matches of the season and with the title at stake! Fittingly, the outcome was close with Headington just edging Witney Mills. They will both meet again next year in Division 1. Of the four rinks played, two were close with Colin Whitehead’s Headington four snatching the two shots they needed on the final end to tie their game, whilst Chris Weller (Witney Mills) scored two on each of the last two ends to snatch a win.

In the division’s other game Bicester showed their class with a demolition of Banbury Central.

Division 3 - Champions elect, Charlbury, finally ended any lingering hope that Woodstock might have had of joining them in Division 2 next year, winning a close encounter. However, it could have been quite different as the visitors led on three rinks and by a total of nine shots after fourteen ends. Unfortunately for them they were unable to keep their lead and the points they did get means they cannot be promoted. Indeed, if they lose badly at Chipping Norton and City and County get their expected six points at home to Bloxham they could still be relegated.

Chipping Norton’s win, at home to West Oxford ,leaves both clubs in with a chance of promotion but the six points Thame get for their cancelled match with Bloxham, who were unable to raise a team, puts them in pole position.

We already knew that Banbury Borough are champions of Division 4, but the competition for the second promotion spot has gone down to the final match of the season. Burford and Hanborough can still be promoted and they meet, at Burford, next week!

For once, Division 1 come last in this report as all possible promotion and relegation issues had already been decided. Easy wins for Headington and Adderbury with City and County getting a good win against Carterton just cemented what we already knew.

 

Match Report for week 12 - Games played on 5 August, 2021

First my congratulations to all those teams who actually played on a very wet night! Second, I wonder about those who think bowls matches should be played at all costs as I have a sneaky suspicion that we all wish we had followed Bloxham and Hanborough and called the games off!

As it was, many promotion and relegation issues were finalised, and I would like to congratulate Headington for winning Division 1; Charlbury who have won Division 3 and Banbury Borough who are confirmed champions of Division 4.

My commiserations go to: Witney Mills and City and County A who will play in Division 2 next season, Central B and Witney Town who are relegated from Division 2 and either or both of Bloxham and City and County B who will be relegated from Division 3.

The events of the night itself were:

Division 1  Headington’s seemingly comprehensive defeat of City and County was a much closer affair on two rinks than the final score suggests. Alan Ley’s rink led that of Jason King by six shots after fifteen ends only to lose the final three ends by a total of seven shots! Marcus Bunning’s rink were leading Mark Charlett’s men after twelve ends, but the Headington four took the next five ends, including a six shot sixteenth, to run out comfortable winners.

Carterton were the only club left who could challenge Headington for the title. Unfortunately, they lost a very wet match against Banbury Central to end what hope they had of doing so. With two rinks always under Central control and one going to the visitors the match and points hinged on the game between Nigel Galletly’s four and that of Dan Wakeman. Dan’s men led early on, in the rain, but as the weather improved Nigel’s four pulled back winning the last four ends to snatch victory on their rink and for the club.

At the halfway point in the game at West Witney visitors Adderbury led on all four rinks. The home side staged a great comeback to take three of these including Kevin Alder’s rink which scored five shots on the last end to snatch a win.

In Division 2, Headington B and Witney Mills stay inseparable! To add to the tension, they play each other next week in their final game of the season! With Headington not playing this week, Mills had a chance to put daylight between themselves and their rivals. Unfortunately, they met a Kidlington team needing to win to guarantee staying up! Les Days dropped a five on the first end but then fought back to level at sixteen ends but Alan Rowe’s four were determined and took the last two ends to win. Mills only win came from Allan Wiggins whose four won all but four of the eighteen ends.

The other match succeeded in confirming what we already knew that Banbury Central’s B team are not good enough for the division! Needing to beat closest rivals Witney Town, Central lost on three rinks, including a thirty five shot defeat to Brian Bloomfield’s men, and will now play in Division 3 next year.

In that Division, standings are much more uncertain! Charlbury look to be heading for the title but could still be caught by the clubs behind them whilst Bloxham and City and County B can overtake Woodstock and West Oxford!

In this week’s game, (only one has been played to date!), Thame had an easy win at home to City and County though Keith Croxton's rink for the visitors must have thought they were heading for an easy win when they led 16 – 4 after eight ends. Ray Plested’s team had different ideas and they won the last ten ends for the win.

With Banbury Borough’s match at Hanborough being called off, the three points they took means that they cannot be caught at the top and will therefore be champions in their first season in the league. Again, only one match was played and Burford kept themselves in the promotion hunt with a win at Oxford University Press. The only close rink saw Paul Tweddle’s team win the final end for his sides only point.

 

Intriguingly, Burford meet Hanborough in the final match of the season and it looks as though the winner of that will earn promotion!

 

Match Report for week 11 - Games played on 29 July, 2021

As the season draws towards its finish, promotion and relegation become forefront in the planning of many sides. With two teams to be promoted in all divisions, clubs in Division 2 are the most likely to play in a different division next year.

In Division 1, Headington still look to be heading for another title, despite slipping up again against Adderbury! Bryan Ogilvie’s team demolished Mark Charlett’s men in the second half of their game to win comfortably and Chris Skidmore’s four went 16 – 6 up after thirteen ends. For Headington, Nathan Lewis was always ahead, and it took Jason King’s demolition of Darren Sharpe’s rink to get the scores back to level. However, Headington still have three games to play whilst chasers, Carterton only have two.

Carterton’s demolition of South Oxford leaves the latter looking relegation in the mouth as their two remaining fixtures involve trips to both Adderbury and Headington.

City and County can feel let down by their absentee player! Forced to play a triple on one rink, this meant that they dropped 4.5 shots on that rink at the end of the match, to lose it by 0.5 shots! Worse, in a close game, they lost the overall match by a single shot! Had they put anyone on the rink they could have taken the match 4 – 2, as it was they lost 5 – 1 and, probable, guaranteed their relegation as a result!

Congratulations to Headington B and Witney Mills who will be playing in Division 1 next season as neither can now be caught by their closest chasers Bicester.

Headington played as though they knew this as they lost at home to Kidlington in a close match but one where the visitors had the upper hand from the start. Indeed, Steve Gould’s rink pulled back from 7 -  12 after fourteen ends to force a draw with Paul McGrath’s rink for Headington’s half point!

Allan Wigging’s rink proved the difference in the match at Witney Mills, their eleven shot victory giving the home side the match points and, crucially at this point in the season, widening the gap to opponents, Bicester, in the race for promotion.

Kidlington now need two points from their remaining games to ensure their safety and relegate Witney Town and Banbury Central B.

In Division 3, Charlbury’s whitewash of Bloxham ensures their promotion as their chasing rivals cannot overtake their points total, so I add my congratulations to them.

Elsewhere in the division, almost anything is possible with three clubs within half a point of each other. but it will take a perfect set of results to stop Bloxham being relegated. Of the three clubs most likely to be promoted, West Oxford still have fixtures against both Thame and Chipping Norton!

In this week’s matches the best performance came from Gary Richardson’s West Oxford rink who trailed 6 – 12 after twelve ends against Woodstock to then score thirteen unanswered shots over the last six ends!

Chipping Norton moved to second spot with a comprehensive victory over City and County.

Division 4 looks almost as enticing with our clubs still in the promotion race. Banbury Borough’s defeat of close rivals Chestnuts saw the absolute comeback of the week from AJ Docherty’s rink as they scored five shots in the last two ends, including a final end four, to tie with Richard Morris men!

 

Burford’s home win over Blackbird Leys was guaranteed by Doug Mustoe’s rink which won by nineteen shots to ensure the home side points.

 

 

Match Report for week 10 - Games played on 22 July, 2021

On yet another very good evening for bowling, Carterton closed the points gap to Headington in Division 1 with a comprehensive defeat of close rivals West Witney. It could, in fact, have been an even more emphatic victory as Tim Warner’s rink led 16 – 11 at fourteen ends only to lose the last four ends, and the game, to Witney’s Will Parker.

The other two fixtures provided slightly unexpected results! Central travelled to South Oxford with expectations of a fine win. Keith Mobley had other ideas! After losing the first two ends to Central’s Keith McNeil and dropping five shots on the sixth end, he and his team won nine of the final twelve ends to win by 18 shots. Central were unable to close the gap and South Oxford ended the night with a good win.

The game at City and County was equally unexpected and indeed looked to be close until the twelfth end with each club winning two rinks at that point. Unfortunately, for the home team, Alan Ley’s rink, who were winning 12 – 6 at that time dropped five on the fifteenth end and two on the last to lose their game whilst Chris Lewis, who had led 15 – 7 after eleven ends lost the next six to Darren Sharpe’s men to trail 15 – 18 at seventeen ends and failed to score enough on the last.

Little of note to report from Division 2 where Whitney Mills and Headington have now moved clear of the rest and look set for the top division next year. Indeed, only Brian Bloomfield’s men were able to put up much resistance, but even they, whilst leading 14 – 10 after fifteen ends, dropped a five on the next to trail but bounced back to win the final two ends and the game for Town’s single point.

Tightest game of the week was at City and County in Division 3 where the home side fought out a draw with runaway leaders Charlbury. One easy win apiece meant the match hinged on the rinks between Dennis Richens and Mark East; and Bob Heavens and Eddie Abbey. Mark’s men lead until fifteenth end then trailed after seventeen only to take two on the last to grab back the lead for Charlbury. Bob’s men led 17 – 6 after thirteen ends only to find their lead cut to 17 – 14 after sixteen ends. A two on the penultimate end proved enough though Eddie’s final end two saw the match tied!

Elsewhere, Thame’s Chris Shannon just failed to close a six shot gap at sixteen ends losing to Chipping Norton’s Keith Field’s team, whilst the game at Bloxham saw the home side do just  enough to get match points from visitors Woodstock.

Banbury Borough have found a way to win in Division 4 and used it to good effect again this week defeating Oxford University Press very comfortably going clear at the top of the division in the process.

The final match of the week saw Banbury Chestnuts grab the match points in a close encounter with Hanborough. Richard Morris and his team’s eleven shots win proved enough to give Chestnuts the match points.

 

Match Report for week 9 - Games played on 15 July, 2021

Normal service was resumed this week, at least in Division 1 if nowhere else, with Headington and West Witney winning away from home.

Headington’s game at Carterton was notable on two rinks. Ray Gaskins rink went 19 – 0 up after seven ends(!) whilst Nick Rae-Welsh’s scored three on the last end to snatch a victory.

At Central, Kevin Alder found himself 7 – 18 down after fourteen ends and, despite winning last four was unable to close the gap. Likewise, Nigel Galletly was 2 – 16 down at the halfway point thanks to some superb bowling by Will Parker and Andy McIntyre, a gap that proved to big to close in the second half of the game. David Leighfield’s demolition of his opponents meant that the match points were always going to the visitors.

The bottom two met at City and County with the points, just, going to the home side. Alan Ley’s rink took the three shots they needed on the final two ends to draw their match after Richard Green’s rink had won the last end, and his rink, for South Oxford.

In Division 2, Headington’s comprehensive defeat of Witney Town saw them move closer to the top division. Only Brian Bloomfield’s rink was able to put up any real resistance finally losing on the last end.

Banbury remain rooted at the foot of the table though Eric Trinder’s rink salvage some pride with a big win. Of the other three skip’s only Tom McKenna manged some respectability as Witney Mills near promotion back to the top division.

Bicester, the third side left in the promotion battle, maintained their hopes with an away win at Kidlington in a match of four hard earned victories, three of which went to the visitors.

Runaway leaders in Division 3, Charlbury, finally overcame the seventeen shot deficit they accrued with Bill Giles big win for Thame. Eric Abbey and Mike Smith won by a total of 23 shots to put the home side ahead whilst Mark East came from 9 – 17 after thirteen ends to tie with a two shot final end.

West Oxford and Bloxham each won two rinks but Dave Morse’s (12) and Alan Miles (8) for Bloxham outscored John Parker (11) and Gary Richardson (6) for West to give Bloxham the match points. However, they still remain in the bottom spot.

Best match, for the spectator if not all the players, came at Woodstock. While Paul Stevens was winning comfortably for the home side, the other three rinks were the stuff made of legend! Bob Heavens(C&C) was 15 – 10 down after fifteen ends but fought back with six shots over the final three ends to snatch a point; Eddie Stevens (W) trailed by six shots after twelve ends only to snatch a win with two shots on the final end; not to be outdone, Brian Clark(W) trailing by six shots at fifteen ends took the required six on the next end and went on to win the game!

Division 4 would have had to be outstanding to match the higher ones. Try as they might, it proved impossible! Banbury Borough continued to show just how strong they can be with a comprehensive demolition of Blackbird Leys. Indeed, only Roy Brain survived the onslaught and then only for twelve ends with Borough’s John Brooks winning the next five ends to clinch the win.

In the final match, Geoff Jordan’s rink managed to give me something to write about! Trailing by eight shots after eight ends, he skipped his rink to victory as they won the next ten ends, each by a single shot! Elsewhere the rinks were very one sided with Hanborough taking match points to maintain their push for promotion.

 
Match Report for week 8 - Games played on 8 July, 2021
 

Wow!

Division 1 re-wrote the script this week! Leaders Headington and second placed Carterton were both beaten while third placed West Witney were held to a draw.

Headington were at home to Banbury Central, the club they had scored over 100 shots against at the start of the season. From the off, Will Campion’s rink dominated Mark Charley’s four with a star performance from teenager Luke Gilbert, called in to replace his father who was away on business! Try as they may, Mark’s men could not get into the game.

Elsewhere, it still looked to be Headington's match. Nigel Galletly’s four were ten shots adrift with two to play, but scored seven shots over those ends to get within two. Keith McNeil trailing by eight shots at twelve ends, won five of the last six to move into the lead. The fourth rink had become a real battle! Nick Rae-Welsh led  8 – 4 for Headington after six ends, only for Lee Young’s men to lead 14 – 9 after twelve! The home rink then won the final six ends to win 24 – 14!

The match at West Witney was almost as big an epic! Neil Whiting’s rink scored seven shots in the final two ends to come from  13 – 16 down; Dave Tidball scored four to come from behind while Keith Mobley scored four on the seventeenth end to retake the lead. Mention must be made of the fourth rink, which West Witney won comfortably. However, David Leighfield and his team must regret the two shots dropped on their final end as it, ultimately, cost the club a share of the match points!

At Adderbury, three ends were very one sided, going 2 –  1 to the home team, the final rink saw Chris Skidmore’s men take seven of eight ends in the middle of the game for a lead that the opposition could not recover from.

Division 2 was much less spectacular. Highlights were Kidlington’s James Feeley’s rink scoring a seven shot end in a one sided game and Central’s Tom McKenna outscoring Colin Whitehead’s team 9 – 1 over the final six ends in an ultimately futile attempt to close a big gap.

Division 3 produced a cracker and two damp squibs! Easy away wins for Charlbury and Woodstock were offset by the game at City and County. One easy win apiece meant that the match was close with the home side one shot Infront on total score. John Parker’s rink took seven shots over the final three ends of their game to give West Oxford a two shot advantage. Keith Crox0n led Chris Sherwood by one shot after 17 ends, rink and match points depended on the last end, which went to Keith’s men by two shots so match points to City and County.

Division 4 saw all three away sides win easily. Best result was at Burford where Banbury Borough finally showed what we had all believed possible; winning on two ends and drawing the other two in a match against their promotion rivals. Dougie Mustoe must have thought that his rink was in a winning position with a five shot lead with three ends to play but John Brooks’ men had other ideas taking the needed five to tie. Better came from Derek Lafford’s men who, in the comeback of the season,  came from 4 – 16 down to AJ Docherty after ten ends to tie the game by winning the remaining eight ends!

The other two games were anything but spectacular, even the tied ends were single shots on the last end of close games.

 
Match Report for week 7 - Games played on 1 July, 2021
 

The halfway point in the season is normally my chance to give my opinions as to who could win promotion and who may be relegated. However, this week’s report must start with the most outstanding final end of bowls I have had the pleasure of reporting on!

In the game between Blackbird Leys and Banbury Chestnuts in Division 4, home skip Steve O’Keefe’s rink, facing Alan Wase’s four, had trailed throughout the match and werebehind by six shots after 17 ends.Needing to achieve the seemingly impossible he and his four did just that to draw and earn a well-deserved pat on the back!

The rest of the rinks were not so exciting though Dai Evans clawed back most of a thirteen shot deficit, scoring eleven unanswered shots over the final five ends, but just failed to snatch anything from the game.

The other game in the division featured four comfortable wins as the home side, Hanborough, took the spoils against promotion rivals Burford to leave them top of the table but in a three way promotion battle.

Back in the top division, Headington seem to be taking their foot off the accelerator! Bottom team South Oxford entertained their near neighbours and took more points off them than most others have achieved. Keith Mobley’s rink led for sixteen ends only to have Nick Rae-Welsh creep into the lead on end seventeen. A single shot on the last was enough for the home side to tie. Better still, Dave Tidball’s rink led from the start, but Jason King scored eleven shots in seven ends to lead for the only time in the game after seventeen ends. Dave had other ideas and his rink scored the two they needed on the last to regain the lead.

City and County would have hoped for more than a single point from their match with West Witney and Adderbury went to local club Banbury Central aiming to come away with a win but had to be satisfied with two points.

The Division seems to have split into two with three teams pulling away from the others, who are themselves involved in a relegation fight, but nothing has yet been decided though few would bet on Headington retaining their title!

Division 2 featured two one sided matches, but the single rinks won by the visitors deserve mention. Central’s Dave Davies’ men won a close game on the last end while Tim Ludlow winning rink scored a seven shot sixth end, having scored three on each of the previous two ends to lead by seven after six ends, a gap his opponents were unable to close.

As the top division, this one is now a division of two halves with the top three teams vying for promotion and the bottom three trying to avoid relegation.

The Bloxham v City and County game in Division 3 was one of those where a single rink swung the game. Andy Crawley’s twenty-two shot winning margin gave the visitors an equal share of the points, as the other three rinks, although close, went to the home side. However, Bloxham remain rooted to the foot of the table and will have to beat the odds, and more of their opponents, to stave off relegation.

The game between Chipping Norton and Woodstock was as one sided as the result show whilst that at West Oxford was remarkable not for the result but for the run of winning ends produced by both teams. Chris Studds four took the first six and last six ends in their game but won only one of the middle six. Ray Plested took the last six of their game to come from behind while Graham Watson’s men won ends ten to sixteen! 
 
Match Report for week 6 - Games played on 24 June, 2021
 
The top clash this week was at West Witney where the home team came close against leaders Headington but were eventually, like all others so far, worn down by the opposition. They came away with two tied rinks; Will Parker’s rink swapped the lead through much of their game with N Rae-Welsh’s rink winning the final end by a single shot to force a tie; David Leighfield’s rink led Howard Watts by four shots with three ends to play but the Headington skip forced a draw in the game.

Rob Clanfield led 15-5 at ten ends in the match at Carterton but his rival from City and County won the next seven ends to tie the game only for the home rink to snatch victory on the last end.

The final match in Division 1 saw Adderbury win comfortably at South Oxford leaving the home side looking favourites for relegation even at this stage of the season.

Division 2 only featured two games this week and Banbury Central were unable to repeat their feat of the previous week and reverted to their early season form losing to leaders Bicester. Indeed, only Dave Davies’ rink put up a fight, leading by four after 15 ends only to see their lead whittled away to lose the game on the final end.

Comeback of the week was by Witney Mills’ Les Days’ rink which trailed by six shots after 14 ends but snatched a draw on the last whist Steve Claridge won the last two ends to snatch victory for Headington B in the same match.

In Division 3, Chris Studds’ West Oxford rink scored three on the final end to tie their game, whilst Chipping Norton’s Percy Hickman skipped his four back from a five shot deficit after fourteen ends to have a chance of a win but …

However, almost comeback of the week was in Division 4, where Derek Lafford’s rink which trailed by ten shots after twelve ends in Burford’s match to draw level at seventeen ends only to lose the last and the game to Chestnut’s Alan Wase.

Though Blackbird Leys’ Roy Brain’s men trailed by five shots at thirteen ends against OUP’s Roger Cann they took the lead after seventeen ends only to lose the last and have to settle for a draw.

The next set of fixtures will bring the league to its halfway point for the season and should demonstrate who might win and lose most divisions.

 
Match Report for week 5 - Games played on 17 June, 2021

As the league approaches the halfway point in the season, league positions begin to matter as clubs consider either winning divisions or relegation from them!

Congratulations to City and County’s M Clarkes’ rink as they became the first this season to defeat a Headington rink in Division 1. However, Headington still won the other three rinks to maintain their grip on the division.

Banbury Central’s Keith McNeilshowed real determination to come from 10-14 down after 14 ends and snatch the game on the final end. The other three rinks were one sided affairs, especially as the games progressed with Carterton scoring enough shots to get match points.

West Witney proved too strong for Adderbury although David Leighfield’s rink had to win the final end of their game to ensure the sixth point for his club.

Central’s B team roared back from early season disappointments in Division 2 to defeat Witney Town with Dave Davies’ men scoring seven shots over the final four ends to grab their win.

The other match in the division saw Witney Mills triumph but Kidlington pushed them close on three rinks. Alan Rowe’s rink pulled five shots back on Paul Robbins over the final few ends to lose by a single shot, Paul McGrath won the final end of his game to tie, and Chris Cox’s rink won the last end by three shots to snatch victory!

Charlbury came close to getting all six points at home to West Oxford in Division 3 but both Chris Sherwood and John Parker’s rinks proved just too strong for the visitors, winning final ends in their games which could easily have gone to their home side.

Bloxham’s Alan Miles was six adrift at 13 ends but came back to tie the game, but this proved the only ray of sunshine for the club as Chipping Norton proved far too strong on the other three rinks which included a 35 shot winning margin on one.

Thame’s Ray Plested’s rink rubbed salt into City and Counties wounds scoring three shots on the final end to snatch a win.

Whilst the Burford/OUP clash in Division 4 saw four very one-sided rinks the top of the table clash between Banbury Borough and Hanborough was different! At first sight, Keith Holloway’s win looks one sided but Ken William’s men scored eight shots without reply at the start of the game only for the home side to win the next ten ends! At 12 – 6 after 13 ends AJ Docherty must have thought the game over but his rink only won one more end to hang on for victory while John Brooks was in a similar position at 15 – 7 at 13 ends but hanging on for the win!

 
Match report for week 4 - Games played on June 10, 2021

First an apology! Given the busy weekend, football, family, garden, good weather … the need to do this completely slipped my mind. As it is, there was little to report from last weeks fixtures that cannot be gleaned from the results so here is a brief synopsis of the events that cannot.

In Division 1 the game at Headington was as comfortably one sided as the results imply, other than the game between Howard Watts and Ted Ely where the latter pulled back from an eight shot deficit after eleven ends to level at seventeen ends only for the home rink to snatch the last end for a one shot win.

Carterton’s away win at South Oxford was a closer affair, especially for Paul Sharman’s rink who dropped a five on the final end to see their comfortable lead cut to a single shot!

Chris Lewis’s triple always held a comfortable lead in their game, but Will Campion needed two shots on the last end to win but was held to a single shot to give City and County the win by half a shot!

Headington continued the clubs’ winning ways in Division 2 but only because Kelvin Woodward’s rink won the final end of their game by a single shot. Had Kidlington’s James Feeley won the end then they would have taken match honours!

Witney Mills won, comfortably, on three of the four rinks to give them their win in the other game in the division.

For Woodstock, Tim Stevens rink took four shots in the final two ends to tie their game, but it was not enough for the club as they lost a tight match at West Oxford in Division 3.

Elsewhere, Percy Hickman’s team came from behind over the last two ends to snatch victory for Chipping Norton whilst Charlbury’s win at Bloxham was one of the biggest in the league this year.

The two new teams met at Banbury Chestnuts in Division 4 with the home side coming out on top, to many people’s surprise! Although Banbury Borough’s AJ Docherty won his rink comfortably, the home side were able to snatch a win by a single shot!

The Final match saw Burford beat Blackbird Leys comfortably.

 
Match report for week 3 - Games played on June 3, 2021

Week three of this season’s league was, for the first time, played in conditions suitable for good bowling!

With Headington having a bye, Division one’s big game was at Carterton where the home team had a seemingly comfortable victory. However, close neighbours, West Wintney, almost won a second game with Brandon Sparkes needing to win the final end against Kevin Alder as they were tied going into it.

Adderbury’s Darren Sharpe’srink scored eight shots over the final three ends of theirgame to snatch victory, not only on their rink but also in the match points for their club.

Nigel Galletly’s rink won five of the last six ends to grab a point from South Oxford’s Richard Green and give Banbury Central all six points from an otherwise very one-sided game.

Kevin Taylor snatched a point for Bicester by winning the final end of his rink but that was all Bicester could muster as opponents Headington continue their quest for promotion from Division two and so become the first club with two teams in Division one.

The other match in the division saw Witney Mills triumph in a local derby with Witney Town. Only Tim Ludlow’s rink were able to save face for the visitors having dropped ten shots in two ends to Les Day’s men they won the last three ends to grab a point.

Division three is, once again, proving the tightest of the divisions. Erstwhile leaders, Charlbury, lost at home to City and County in a game they were winning comfortably after fourteen ends only to have their opponents dominate the final four ends and snatch victory.

Thame’s defeat of Chipping Norton could have been a much tighter affair, but G Watson’s rink came from behind to win on the last end to make the club’s win more comfortable.

Tim Steven’s men guaranteed Woodstock the match points with a comfortable nineteen shot win, handing Bloxham their first defeat.

Hanborough continued their winning season in Division four, this week defeating ‘new boys’ Banbury Chestnuts, whilst the other new club, Banbury Borough, seem to have found their form producing the second ton plus of match shots in the league this season at home to Oxford University Press. Keith Holloway’s thirty-two shot win being the largest in the league this week.

 
 
Match report for week 2 - Games played on May 27th 2021
 
 The new bowls season continues, despite covid restrictions, although the pandemic still has effects. South Oxford are unable to raise a B team and have pulled this team out of the league, meaning that division 4 now only has six teams.
 
Headington continue to dominate Division One, this week they overwhelmed Carterton for their second maximum points score. Banbury Central’s struggles continue, losing for the second week, this time away at West Whitney. Two close rinks in the match resulted in one victory apiece with Shane Cooper's men getting the better of the later stages in their game whilst Will Campion’s rink gave Central their first points in what was probably the tightest match in league history with only twenty shots being scored in eighteen ends of bowls.
 
The final match in the division saw Dave Tidball’s rink go thirteen shots clear at the halfway point, a lead they maintained to the end of the game, giving South Oxford the match by a single shot.
 
Division 2 saw comfortable victories for both Headington B and Bicester. Russell Edward’s rink scored four on the sixteenth end to sneak a lead that their opponents were unable to pull back, to ensure Headington’s win whilst James Feeley was just unable to catch Kevin Taylor and grab Kidlington a point and Bicester got maximum points.
 
In Division 3, Chris Sherwood and Tim Stevens provided their respective clubs with their only winning rinks but, in both cases, winning by such large margins that their clubs outscored their opponents overall to take the match points giving us the unusual occurrence of two tied games in the same division in the same week.
 
With South Oxford’s withdrawal there were only two games in Division 4. James Baldwin’s twenty-three shot win proved enough to give Blackbird Leys victory at home to Banbury Borough, whilst Hanborough won a tight game at home to Oxford University Press to go top of the league in this very early stage of the season.

 

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Match report for week 1 of the OBL - games played on 20 May 2021 

Well! We waited 20 months to get a nice warm game of outdoor bowls and ended up playing in what can best be described as a November storm!

The pandemic cost the league three long standing members with Shiplake, Watlington and Chadlington unable to field side this season. These withdrawals were off set by the addition of the returning Banbury Chestnuts and, new arrivals, Banbury Borough.

In Division One, Headington resumed where they left off with an emphatic victory away at Banbury Central. The highlight of this game was the match between Lee Young of Central and Mark Charlett with the latter snatching victory on the final end.

Elsewhere in the division, newly promoted Adderbury and South Oxford learned just how difficult it is to win in the top division. Both losing away from home to established Division 1 sides.

Division two only consists of six teams and, with Shiplake’s late withdrawal making it impossible to reorganise fixtures, some weeks, like this one, will only have two games. This week’s matches were both one sided, though James Feeley’s Kidlington rink looked well set for victory against Witney Town only to see their twelve shot lead after ten ends dwindle to a single shot at the end of the game.

Brian Clarke’s men were the difference between Woodstock and Thame in Division 3; their fifteen shot winning margin giving the home side the win in a close encounter.

Death bowlers of the week were the Charlbury side which, collectively, came from six shots back at fifteen ends to win by thirteen shots against Chipping Norton.

The other new team, Banbury Borough, made their intentions known with a hard fought victory against Burford in a match that included the first ‘hot shot’ of the season for John Hurren’s men in scoring the maximum eight shots on the fifth end of a game they eventually hung on to, to win by two shots.

Hopefully, normal service will return this week with the weather forecast seeming to conform to a more summer like service.

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