NINE players from the west of the county are named in the Wiltshire men’s side for the opening Middleton Cup game of the season against Gloucestershire, writes Dave Eaton.

Seven are from Holt - Wayne Simmonds, Wayne Snook, Ben Gadd, Keith Bailey, Justin Davis, Craig Doughty and Kevin Oliver - while Spencer Moulton’s Graham Shadwell and Russell Francis return again.

Last year Holt only provided four players but Oliver, Davis and Doughty are newcomers this season.

Oliver has made 28 previous Cup appearances but has not played for the county in Middleton games since 2001 while Davis (17 appearances) has not played in the inter-county championship for Wiltshire since 1999.

On the other hand Doughty who lives in Trowbridge but has played for many years for Bath and Somerset has opted to move back over the border into his home county and play bowls for both Holt and Wiltshire.

The first Cup side is only drawn from five clubs - Holt and Westlecot (seven players each), Wootton Bassett six while Spencer Moulton and Amesbury have two each.

In the group stages Wiltshire will also face Worcestershire at home at Bassett on June 14 while their last group game is away to Warwickshire on July 5.

Only the group winner progresses to the quarter-finals.

Quarter final losses

WINSLEY and Avon players both missed-out on becoming the first from Wiltshire to qualify for the 2014 Ladies National Championships at Royal Leamington Spa in early August.

They were both beaten in the quarter-finals of the county ladies national fours held at Amesbury last Saturday.

Winsley lost out in a remarkable quarter-final tie against Highworth in an extra end 24-23.

Avon were always playing catch-up to Wootton Bassett, finding themselves 14-3 at ten ends and 19-8 at 15 and eventually went down 23-11.