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BOWLS: Heartbreak for Wiltshire junior men
6:00am Saturday 24th August 2013 in Sport
WILTSHIRE junior men were beaten at the semi-final stage in the national championships for the second time in three seasons last weekend.
The west regional champions had led Surrey in their inter-county two fours match and were on course for a place in the final.
Wiltshire were 21-11 up at 10 ends, but eventually lost 39-32 as their White Rose Trophy campaign was brought to an close.
After a fine start to the national championships with victory in the over 55 pairs, it all went flat for Wiltshire bowlers at Worthing.
The Wootton Bassett rink of Kyle Anderson, Lawrence Smith, Tom Walkley and Dave Snell went out in the fours quarter-finals, losing 20-19 on the last end to Sawston.
Wootton Bassett’s beaten triples finalists from last year - James Nobbs, Neil Smith and Gary Morphet - went out 23-6 to Tilehurst in the last 16.
Morphet lost 21-12 in the champion of champions quarter-finals to Surrey’s Duncan Heard.
In week two, no local bowlers went past the second-round stage in the pairs and two wood singles championships, those who missed out being Westlecot’s Mike Jackson and Biggs (pairs), and Westlecot’s Graham Hatherall and Bassett’s Snell (two wood singles).
Hatherall also went out early in the first round of the singles while Jackson had a good run winning three matches 21-18 each, but went out in the quarter-finals.
He led Ryan Prince (Whitehaven, Cumbria) 17-11 at one stage but finally lost 21-17.
The men’s and mixed national championships conclude this weekend.
Meanwhile, Highworth, West End and Westlecot have made the quarter-finals of the Wiltshire men’s Four Rink League play-offs that begin at neutral venues tomorrow.
Qualifying in the top two from Area A were Highworth and West End, while Westlecot were runners-up in Area B as Wootton Bassett just missed out in third.
Westlecot have a magnificent record in this competition since the turn of the century, having won it from 2002-2004 and then from 2006-2011.
Meanwhile, former winners Purton and Swindon missed out in the annual Wiltshire mixed gala at Swindon Bowls Club last weekend.
Purton finished second in Section A while Swindon, who won the tournament last year, could only finish third in the same section.
Spencer Moulton took the honours with a 32-30 victory over Wiltshire Youth in the final.
Elsewhere, Wootton Bassett men will today bid to reach the last eight of the National Men’s Top Club competition for the first time.
They have enjoyed a fine run in the competition this season having beaten Wanborough, Westlecot B, Purton, Chippenham Town and Holt in the Dorset and Wilts section.
Bassett then produced a majestic performance in the area final to whitewash Weymouth-based side Greenhill 5-0.
Following that success, Bassett now face Southsea Waverley, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight area winners, in the inter-area final today at Southampton (2.30pm).
The winners move forward to the quarter-finals of the national competition at Leamington in mid-September.
Team manager and skipper Neil Smith is forced into one change as Hedley Bowen is unavailable due to England juniors team management duty at Worthing.
He is replaced at number three in the rinks by John Williamson.
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