BOWLS: Crunch time for Westlecot

Swindon Advertiser: Neil Smith Neil Smith

CRUNCH-TIME has arrived for Westlecot men as they seek to clinch a place in the 2013/14 Wessex League play-offs.

They face Oxfordshire neighbours Carterton tomorrow (10am) in their final east region group match, which is a crucial top-of-the-table clash that will certainly settle each club’s fate.

Westlecot boosted their hopes of reaching the end of season play-offs with a 98-58 win a fortnight ago against Oxford & District and collected a maximum 16 points in their penultimate east region group match.

That result lifted Westlecot into second spot albeit on shots difference in the East Region table and into one of the two automatic play-off places. It also ensured with only one round of group matches to be played that the race for play-off spots would go right down to the wire.

The Old Town club know that their fate lies in their own hands and a win tomorrow against Carterton should ensure at worst a play-off wildcard, while a victory and a maximum 16 points would give them top spot above Loddon Vale.

Currently four clubs are vying for the automatic east region play-off places and the chance to claim one of four wildcards that are on offer at the finish of all six regional sections to the best four non-qualifiers on average points per game.

A grand finale is therefore step-up for tomorrow with several permutations possible involving all four clubs.

Westlecot make three changes to the side that beat Oxford & District in the last round of group matches.

Kyle Anderson is unavailable while away players Geoff and Lawrence Smith revert to the reserves bench.

At home, where Westlecot have an excellent winning record, Mike Titcombe Junior switches over to number three in place of Anderson in Dave Godwin’s rink, while Ian Jefferies rink that have recorded a few big wins since Christmas is unchanged.

Chris Cheesley’s away rink has a new front end consisting of the vastly experienced duo of John Thomas and Dave Matthews coming in for Mike Titcombe and Geoff Smith.

In the other way rink named at Carterton, England senior men’s triallist Neil Smith is available to play and comes in at skip resulting in James Nobbs and Mike Shawyer moving down to three and two respectively while Lawrence Smith reverts to the subs bench.

TEAM

Home - Rink 1: John Anderson, Tom Pittuck, Mike Titcombe Jnr & Dave Godwin. Rink 2: Keith Williamson, Mike Bowden, Kevin Embling & Ian Jefferies. Res: Terry Walton, Kevin Lee, John Blake, John Wilson and Brian Coles.

Away - Rink 1: John Thomas, Dave Matthews, Steve Remington & Chris Cheesley. Rink 2: Josh Cottle, Mike Shawyer, James Nobbs & Neil Smith. Res: Jeff Nichols, Lawrence Smith, Denis Holborow and Geoff Smith.

REMAINING FIXTURES

Sunday, Feb 23: Banbury v Rivermead (Reading); Oxford & District v West Berks (Newbury); Carterton v Westlecot; Chipping Norton v Oxford City & County.

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