WILTSHIRE Ladies’ brilliant winning run in inter-county team events continued last weekend as they recorded a magnificent double in the Johns Trophy and Walker Cup.

They held their nerve to edge past Somerset 121-119 in the Johns quarter-finals at Cotswold (Stroud, Gloucestershire) before winning the West region final of the double rinks Walker Cup at Box.

The victories earned Wiltshire a semi-final place in both events at the national championships at Royal Leamington Spa next month.

Last season, Wiltshire represented the West at Leamington in the Johns Trophy but lost in the final to Surrey – their best effort since winning the title in 1995.

An appearance at Leamington in the Walker Cup semis will be a first for the county as they have never progressed this far before.

Against Somerset in the Johns Trophy West quarter-final, Wiltshire made a confident start and led across the board 34-24 after five ends and 62-44 after 10.

However, Somerset rallied and fought back to cut the gap to only 82-80 after 15.

Wiltshire moved 111-96 up after 18, but Somerset hit back once more to tie the game at 119-119 with four of the six matches completed.

The two rinks left on the green were skipped by Box’s Alex Jacobs and Purton’s Alison Fail.

Team captain Jacobs was 24-13 down at 20 ends but grabbed a shot with her last wood to put her side one shot up overall at 120-119.

The attention then turned to Fail, whose rink were leading 19-14 but had dropped a three on the penultimate end. They were one shot

down with one wood left but Fail was able to draw shot to give Wiltshire a hard fought 121-119 win and a place in the Johns semis.

Wiltshire won on three rinks, drew on another and lost two.

Other rink winners alongside Fail were led by Susan Griffith and Sue Bird, with

Linda Young earned a draw, while Jacobs and Marcia Hartley’s rinks were beaten.

Meanwhile, Wiltshire ladies had never managed to get past the regional final stage in the Walker Cup before.

But 24 hours after their Johns Trophy success, they recorded another first.

Wiltshire capitalised on home advantage at Box to win the West regional final and book a semi-final place at Leamington by coming from behind to beat Worcestershire 36-29 in the semis and then Warwickshire 41-36 in the final.

County ladies were 8-6 down to Worcestershire after five ends and 16-13 adrift after 10 but fought back to roar ahead 30-19 at 15 and win 36-29 after 21.

The all Box foursome of Debbie Shadwell, Kathryn Yeoman, Sue Cooke and skip Alex Jacobs drew their match 15-15, while the other rink of Chris Mitchell (Purton), Deanne Davis and Linda Young (both Highworth) and skip Alison Fail (Purton) won 21-14.

The same Wiltshire rinks lined-up against Warwickshire in the regional final where they made a slow start to trail 9-4 after four ends before turning the match on its head.

Wiltshire were 12-9 up overall at five ends, 26-16 at 10 and 34-22 at 15, and although Warwickshire rallied, Wiltshire finished as 41-36 winners.

Fail’s quartet again led the way with a 20-13 victory but Jacobs’ rink went down 23-21.

  • EARLIER in the week, Wiltshire ladies had also enhanced their chances of retaining the South West Counties League title after making it three successive wins with a 116-101 victory over Herefordshire at Brimfield (Ludlow).

They won on three of the six rinks and drew on another for a 17-5 success on points.

  • NATIONAL championship places in the ladies’ county finals day and spots representing Wiltshire at Royal Leamington Spa take centre stage this weekend.

The quarter and semi-finals in the two-wood singles competition will be staged at Avon on Friday.

Helen Ellis (Box) faces Janice Bull (Amesbury) and Ann Roberts-Phare (North Wilts) meets Chris Mitchell (Purton) in the top half of the draw.

In the bottom half, Chippenham Town’s Irene Button plays Emma Maslen (Avon), while Karen Kirby (Blue Circle, Westbury) meets Jo Hicks (Highworth).

The attention then switches to another Melksham venue on Saturday when Spencer Melksham hosts the senior fours semi-finals and junior pairs and singles competitions.

In the senior fours, Box (Carol Grenfell, Jean Collier, Sue Cooke and Alex Jacobs) play a Supermarine side led by Susan Griffiths, while Trowbridge Town (Dorothy McNeish, Christine Smith, Sue and Barbara Barrett) meet a North Wilts quartet skipped by Fizz Mace.

A large part of the U25s competition is not known at present, although scheduled in the singles are the semi-finals between Katy Smith (Westlecot) and Maisie Daniell (Royal Wootton Bassett), plus Charlotte Daniell (RWB) versus Lisa Rose (Rodbourne Cheney).

  • COUNTY men’s national championships in six events will be staged at Devizes this Sunday.

They are the semi-finals in the singles, junior singles, pairs, junior pairs and senior fours as well as the quarter-finals and semi-finals in the two-wood singles.

All winning semi-finalist will book a place at Royal Leamington Spa in the national championships in August as well as a place in the men’s county finals at Devizes in late July.

There is one exception to this as only the winner in the senior fours will progresses to represent Wiltshire.