BOWLS: Play-off balancing act for Westlecot men

WESTLECOT men’s hopes of reaching the end of season Wessex League play-offs remain in the balance with just two rounds of east region matches to go in the next fortnight.

The Old Town club meet Oxford & District tomorrow (Littlemore, 10am) seeking a maximum 16 points to help their cause.

Then on Sunday February 23 they face fellow play-off hopefuls Carterton in a crucial game that will decide both clubs’ fate.

Currently four clubs in the nine-team east section all have a realistic chance of finishing in the top two and gaining an automatic play-off spot or grabbing one of the four wild card entries on offer to the best non-qualifiers.

Loddon Vale (Basingstoke) lead the east table on 83 points but have played seven matches and only have one game left.

Meanwhile, only one point separates the three chasing clubs - Carterton, West Berks and Westlecot - who have only played six matches and have two games remaining.

At present Loddon Vale lead by 17 points (+102 shots) from both Carterton (+107) and West Berks (+79) on 66 points while Westlecot lie in fourth spot just a point further back on 65, but with the best shots difference of +122.

Therefore it should be an extremely interesting tussle for the play-off spots with the outcome unlikely to be decided until the last wood is bowled in a fortnight’s time.

In their last east region match Westlecot thrashed Banbury Cross 101-55 but only won on two of the four rinks.

This meant they only collected 12 of the 16 points on offer.

The two home rinks came-up trumps with newcomer Dave Godwin (ex-Christie Miller) leading his four to an emphatic 42-8 success while Ian Jefferies’ quartet cruised to a 25 shots win.

The 59 shot aggregate success at home easily wiped out the 13 shots away loss in Banbury to ensure the eight points for overall victory came Westlecot’s way in a 101-55 victory.

The team to play Oxford & District tomorrow shows three changes to the one that beat Banbury - Paul Kistle, Dave Matthews and Kevin Lee being replaced by Kyle Anderson, Keith Williamson and Denis Holborow – while there are also numerous positional switches.

Team: Home - Rink 1: Keith Williamson, Mike Bowden, Kevin Embling & Ian Jefferies. Rink 2: John Anderson, Tom Pittuck, Dave Godwin & Kyle Anderson.

Away - Rink 1: Denis Holborow, Geoff Smith, Steve Remington & Chris Cheesley. Rink 2: Mike Titcombe Jnr, Josh Cottle, Mike Shawyer & James Nobbs.

Reserves (in alphabetical order): John Blake, Brian Coles, Kevin Lee, Jeff Nichols, Lawrence Smith, Terry Walton and John Wilson.

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