5:00pm Wednesday 4th June 2014
By Dave Eaton
THE COUNTY men’s national fours and triples championship semi-finals will be played at Chippenham Town on Saturday.
They have had to be re-arranged for 2pm and 6pm on Saturday so as not to clash with the inter-county men’s national top fours competition game being staged on Sunday at Rugby between Wiltshire and Warwickshire.
West Wilts club Holt have a strong hand in the fours semi-finals with one team in each of the semis.
Wiltshire newcomer Craig Doughty’s four face Graham Shadwell’s rink from Spencer Moulton while Ben Gadd’s quartet play surprise package Westlecot, a foursome of senior players led by Mike Titcombe Senior.
The two winners of the fours semis will represent Wiltshire at the men’s national championships due to be held in August at Leamington Spa for the first time in their history.
The triples competition semi-finals at Chippenham is not as clear cut because two quarter-final matches featuring Holt teams against Westlecot trios were delayed and are not due to be resolved until this Friday evening owing to weather problems last week.
The teams for one of the triples semi-finals is known and that will feature previous holders Wootton Bassett, who finished as runners-up in the nationals at Worthing in 2012 against Shadwell’s trio from Bradford-on-Avon.
The other could possibly be an all-Holt affair.
Fours Semi-finals (2pm): Rod Summers, Tony Keating, Kevin Rowdon & Craig Doughty (Holt) v Russell Francis, Gary Fippen, Andy Colebrooke & Graham Shadwell (Spencer Moulton). Wayne Simmonds, Justin Davis, Wayne Snook & Ben Gadd (Holt) v Joe Mazzotta, Mike Titcombe Snr, Mike Bowden & Mike Hall (Westlecot).
Triples Semi-finals (6pm): James Nobbs, Gary Morphet & Neil Smith (Wootton Bassett) v Russell Francis, Andy Colebrooke & Graham Shadwell (Spencer Moulton). Paul Sloman (Westlecot) or Ben Gadd (Holt) v Ray Sowden (Westlecot) or Craig Doughty (Holt).
The second semi-final is dependent on the results of the two delayed quarter-finals being played at Westlecot on Friday evening.
Meanwhile, a busy weekend is in store for Spencer Moulton duo Russell Francis and Graham Shadwell as well as Holt’s Wayne Simmonds.
All three feature in the Wiltshire national fours and triples championship semi-finals being staged at Chippenham Town on Saturday.
Then on Sunday the trio have been named in the Wiltshire side to play Warwickshire away at Rugby in the opening round of the Balcombe Trophy, national county top fours competition.
A place in the regional final at Cotswold (Stroud) on June 22 awaits the first round winner.
Wiltshire team manager Dave Snell and his fellow Middleton Cup selectors have named a side packed with experience and only drawn from four clubs Wootton Bassett, Holt, Spencer Moulton and Westlecot for the Balcombe Trophy tie.
Rink 1: Wayne Simmonds (Holt), Steve Snell, Neil Smith (both Wootton Bassett) & Graham Shadwell (Spencer Moulton).
Rink 2: Graham Hatherall (Westlecot), Russell Francis (S Moulton), Mike Jackson & Mel Biggs (both W’lecot).
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