LADIES national championship events have started in earnest with the first three rounds in the county fours event being played around the county in an eight-day period.

Barbara Land’s Chippenham Town have reached the quarters-finals after gaining revenge for last year’s defeat at the hands of Wanborough.

However, they appear to have drawn the short-straw as they are paired with last season’s winners, Alex Jacobs’ quartet from Box, in the last eight on Saturday at Royal Wootton Bassett.

The prize on offer for the two ladies fours semi-final winners at Bassett is the right to become the first men or women in the county to qualify for the nationals and to represent Wiltshire at Royal Leamington Spa in the 2017 national championships in early August.

Also through to the last eight in the north section are rinks from Purton, Wroughton and Westlecot.

In the south section besides Box, two quartets from Amesbury have reached the last eight, while there is a rare appearance in the quarter-finals for a foursome from Broughton Gifford led by Marion Davis.

They had a first round bye then beat Bradford-on-Avon in round two and Devizes in the third to qualify for the last eight. Their next game on this fine run is against Wroughton.

  • WILTSHIRE Ladies, led by county president Mo Woolley (Alderbury), made a winning start in their opening county women’s friendly of the 2017 season at home at Box against West Glamorgan.

They won by 36 shots, taking the honours on five of the six rinks as they ran out 130-94 winners.

Leading the charge were the foursome of Viv Baskerville (Chippenham T), Mary Jenkins (Spencer Melksham), Janice Bull (Amesbury) and skip Delia Godwin (Spencer Melk), who beat their Welsh opponents 34-11.

Across the board, Wiltshire only led 31-29 at five ends but were 61-47 ahead at ten and then just pulled away. They went 93-69 up at 15 ends, 120-76 at 18 before finally recording an Impressive 130-94 victory.

County ladies next scheduled friendly match is later this week away at Wellesbourne against Warwickshire.

  • BOX Ladies feature prominently in the Wiltshire Women’s teams chosen for the first national inter-county championship matches in the Walker Cup double rinks and Johns Trophy inter-county west group games.

Seven from Box - Carol Grenfell, Jean Collier, Debbie Shadwell, Sue Cooke, Alex Jacobs, Kathryn Yeoman and Kara Little - are all selected for the Johns home tie at Devizes on June 3 against Dorset.

The trio of Grenfell, Jacobs and Yeoman are chosen also for the Walker Cup away double rinks match a week earlier versus Warwickshire at Welford-on-Avon on May 28.

The remaining five Walker Cup players picked are Avon’ s Georgina Newman and Marcia Hartley, Purton’s Chris Mitchell and Alison Fail plus Royal Wootton Bassett’s Katy Smith.

Bassett have three players named in the Johns Trophy tie against Dorset a week later. They are the Smith sisters Lucy and Katy plus Charlotte Daniell.

Avon’s Georgina Newman and Marcia Hartley also feature in the Johns Trophy side as do the trio of Rosemary Fitzpatrick (Chippenham Town), Delia Godwin (Spencer Melksham) and Ann Roberts-Phare (N Wilts).

  • ROYAL Wootton Bassett are one of only seven clubs around the county who have players named to take part in the final trial for the men’s Middleton Cup side, national inter-counties championship.

Wiltshire will face Hampshire in a full scale trial match this Saturday at Atherley BC, Southampton.

The septet are Gary and Craig Morphet, Mel Biggs, Chris Cheesley, Dave Godwin, Kevin Embling and Neil Smith. Holt supply five players Wayne Simmonds, Wayne Snook, Ben Gadd, Craig Hadfield-Doughty and Justin Davis, Spencer Moulton have Graham Shadwell and Russell Francis chosen, while Avon’s sole representative is Colin Easton.

Seven of the remaining nine players selected are from Swindon Old Town club Westlecot, while neighbours Amesbury and Salisbury have a single representative each.