THE MEN triumphed in the annual showdown between the men’s and women’s county indoor bowling associations.

Despite rink honours being shared 3-3, it was the men who came out on top by eight shots in a 117-109 victory at North Wilts.

With the closure of Christie Miller Sports Centre and its bowling club, and Swindon Manor IBC at Rodbourne Cheney not affiliated to the county indoor associations, the majority of the players in both of the teams were members of Chippenham-based North Wilts.

The men led throughout almost the entire match. Across the board they were tied 19 shots each after three ends, but had taken the lead 32-29 after five and increased their advantage to 68-45 after 10.

The women managed to cut the lead from 23 to 17 shots at 15 ends, but still trailed 90-73 and cut the men’s lead further to 104-93 after 18 but finally ran out of ends to lose 117-109 after 21 ends.

Top rink honours for the men went to the foursome of Bob Walton, David Nunn, Roger Cater and Clive Swift (skip), who beat Joan Coleman’s quartet 24-11, while there were wins also for rinks skipped by Ashley Ponting and Maurice Byron.

Women’s top rink honours went to the foursome of Margaret Walker, Catherine Pike, Lyn Brown and skip Marguerite Alexander, who beat Dave Richards four 25-14.

Next best was women’s president Fizz Mace (North Wilts), who won the battle of the presidents by comfortably defeating Peter Sanders 25-18.

The other women’s victor was the foursome led by Isobel Jenner.

  • NORTH Wilts men’s fate and final finishing position in this year’s Central region of the Wessex League lies firmly in their own hands despite Bristol knocking them off second spot last weekend when defeating Thornbury.

Currently, Clarrie Dunbar have won the Central title and qualified for the end-of-season play-offs for the overall Wessex League title.

However, like Dunbar, Bristol have completed their fixtures and stand on 70 points, which is only two clear of North Wilts on 68, while fourth-placed St Andrews (Weston-super-Mare) are eight points further back.

The final finishing positions will be settled this Sunday on the last day of the regular season when North Wilts and St Andrews face each other.

North Wilts can actually lose against St Andrews overall as long as they win on two of the four rinks and draw on another to collect the five points they need to finish as runners-up to Clarrie.

  • SEVERAL dates involving North Wilts and Clarrie Dunbar players have been announced for Area 16 championship finals – one step away from securing a place in the national finals and a last-16 place at Nottingham at the end of next month or early April.

Bidding for a place in Nottingham in the ladies’ national finals are the foursome of Irene Button, Jean Collier, Sue Cooke and Alex Jacobs (North Wilts), who face Midglos quartet Joan Surman, Maryann Pye, Margaret McColl and Pauline Gunn on Ferbruary 24 at Bristol City & County.

Button and Collier play Clevedon’s Laura Holden and Stefanie Branfield in the area pairs final on March 3 at Bristol City & County.

Two days later, Teresa King (Clarrie Dunbar) meets Holden in the area singles final on March 5 at Bristol City & County.

The area triples final, featuring Clarrie’s Thelma Bailey, Debbie Shadwell and Jeanette Wheeler versus a trio from Midglos led by Maryann Pye, has still to be arranged.

While Alex Jacobs (NW) will meet Bristol’s Ros Constant in the ladies’ area two bowl singles on March 10 at Swindon Westlecot.

In the men’s national championship events in Area 16, bidding for a place at Nottingham is Andy Colebrooke (Clarrie Dunbar), who faces Shaun Jones (Malvern Hills) at MidGlos on March 2 in the area singles final.

The following day, Geoff and Andy Moore (North Wilts) play Jones and Tom Holmes (M Hills) at Midglos in the area pairs final.

Clarrie’s Wayne Snook, Dale Taylor and Colebrooke have battled their way through to the area triples final and meet a Malvern trio of Harry Griffiths, Holmes and Jones at Bristol C&C on March 7.

All other ladies and men’s championship and age group events have only reached the semi-final stages or the area finals still need to be arranged.

  • CLARRIE Dunbar stage their fifth annual Open Singles Tournament this weekend at their indoor club in Standerwick.

The event has attracted a top class field, with £1,000 going to the winner and £400 to the runner-up.

It is the fifth OSC tournament to be held at Clarrie since the inaugural tournament in 2014.

It will also be the first of four tournaments over a five-week period on the west swing, with Five Rivers (Salisbury) next on March 10/11 followed by North Wilts (March 16/17) and Bristol the weekend after.

Clarrie Open Singles is the 19th out 28 open singles events on the nationwide circuit, with points from the tournament contributing to the national ranking list.

The top 32 ranked players will then compete in the Grand Final for the overall OSC title at Potters Leisure Resort, Norfolk in late November, with over £3,000 in prize money to be won.

The Clarrie Dunbar Open carries a prize pot totalling £2,200 this season thanks to sponsorship from local firm Race At Your Pace and Jumping Jacks Bowls Shop, located on site at Clarrie.

The Open Singles Circuit attracts some of the best bowlers in the country and the tournament this weekend at Clarrie is no exception.

Three of the previous four Clarrie Open winners return. They are headed by home player Andy Colebrooke, the inaugural winner in 2014, Devon’s Jamie Chestney, who beat Colebrooke in a tight 2016 final, and last year’s winner Mike Titcombe (Swindon Westlecot), who accounted in the final for Scott Edwards (Oxford City & County) narrowly.

Chestney and Edwards competed in this year’s world championships at Potters Leisure Resort in late January and are ranked seventh and 18th in the world rankings respectively.

Local players taking part this weekend include Clarrie’s Graham Shadwell, Keith Bailey, Andy and Dale Taylor, Wayne and Steve Snook, plus North Wilts’ Andy, Geoff and Jordan Moore.

Play begins at 8.40 am on Saturday and 9am on Sunday.

Entry is free and full catering and bar facilities will be in operation.