NORTH WILTS Indoor Bowls Club will be holding their fifth Open Singles Tournament next weekend (March 17-18).

This tournament is part of the Open Singles Circuit (OSC) series of similar events, which culminate with the top 32 players from all the national tournaments playing in a grand final later in the year.

Entries have been accepted from 72 of the top players in the United Kingdom to compete in the singles knock-out stages on Saturday and Sunday, with the final expected at around 6.30pm on day two.

Total prize money on offer for the North Wilts Open is £2300, with the top prize of £1000 going to the winner.

A number of North Wilts members will be taking part as well as last year’s winner, Ian Jenkins (Egham), who returns to defend his title.

Top ranked player in the field is England’s Mark Royal (Risbygate, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk) the world number 13.

There are also 10 of the top 32 in the OSC rankings taking part.

Admission to the tournament is free with the club restaurant open throughout and bar facilities available both days from 10am.

The Gazette & Herald is among the sponsors of the event, along with Beazer Electrics, Bowlamania, Corsham Print, F W Jones & Son (Funeral Directors), Matthew Clarke (Drinks Wholesaler) and McCarthy & Stone (Retirement Homes).

Bowls fixtures were badly hit by the artic conditions at the weekend, with North Wilts ladies' Over 60s double rinks, fifth round (last 16) Mason Trophy tie against Thornbury planned for last Friday, one of the first to fall foul of the weather.

The game has been re-scheduled for Friday, March 16 (10am) with one rink at home at North Wilts and the other way in Thornbury.

The winners will face Plymouth in the quarter-finals on March 23. Plymouth beat Isca 43-23.

WILTSHIRE men’s biggest game in the inter-county championship Liberty Trophy for 21 years at Whiteknights IBC, Reading on Saturday morning against Kent in the semi-finals was also postponed.

The English Bowling Association (EIBA) have decided to incorporate the two semis into the programme of events planned at the block of competitions being held at Nottingham from April 7-16.

The two semi-finals will be held on April 14 with the final the following morning (9.30am).

Some of the planned finals in Area 16 which incorporates the indoor clubs at North Wilts (Chippenham), Christie Miller (Melksham) and Clarrie Dunbar (Standerwick) in both the men's and ladies sections of the competitions were postponed.

In matches that were played, Marcia Hartley’s Clarrie Dunbar team lost the Area 16 fours final 16-14 to Pye (MidGlos).

The main national championships will be held at Melton & District at the end of March 23-31 and Nottingham (age groups) from April 7-16.

GRAHAM Shadwell, from the Clarrie Dunbar club, has won three Area 16 main men’s titles in the singles, pairs and triples, but has not gained a place at Melton & District yet.

All male area 16 winners have to progress into an inter-area final against the winners from area 17 in order to claim a last 16 berth at the end of March.

The Dunbar ace was due to meet Area 17 winner Darren Nutman (Moonfleet, Weymouth) in the inter-area singles final at Victoria, Street on Wednesday evening with the victor claiming a last 16 place at Melton.

Shadwell together with Russell Francis have won the area 16 men’s pairs and will face Doug Rumble and Martin Puckett (Moonfleet) in the inter-area final on Friday at Street.

Shadwell and Francis are joined in the triples by Clarrie teammate Craig Hadfield-Doughty. They won the Area 16 title with a 20-12 victory over a Malvern Hills trio led by Neil Smith.

Shadwell & co are now due to face Area 17 winners St Andrews (Weston SM) Lee and Sam Stocker and led by Craig Walker in the re-arranged inter-area final at Victoria, Street on March 17 (4.15pm) bidding for a place at Melton in the triples last 16.

However, in all the other men’s championship events and competitions in Area 16 Clarrie Dunbar bowlers had to give send best to players from the Malvern Hills club.

A John Freeman quartet lost in the area fours final to Neil Smith, Keith Bailey lost 24-8 in the O60s area singles final to Marcus Smith while John Freeman and partner lost in the O60 pairs 18-15.

Lastly the Moore’s from Christie Miller, Chris, Steve and Andy went down in the O50s area 16 triples final 20-11 to Malvern Hills.