BOWLS: Wiltshire open their cup campaign with a fine win

First published in Sport by

WILTSHIRE men opened their 2014 campaign in the inter-county championship in fine style with a victory.

They came from behind at halfway in their opening Middleton Cup west group match against Gloucestershire to record a 32 shots success as they ran-out 135-103 victors at home at Wootton Bassett.

Wiltshire took the honours on four of the six rinks to collect 18 of the 22 points on offer and top their group.

“Well that was just the start in this season’s MC campaign that we were looking for,” said team manager Dave Snell.

“We had a team discussion in the changing rooms prior to the match targeting 18 points from this game and the lads went out and secured exactly that.

“Having said that we knew it would be a tough game against Gloucestershire as it was last year and this proved to be the case.”

Wiltshire made a slow start against Gloucestershire and were 41-28 down across the board at six ends, 58-55 at 10 and 72-71 at 13, but then the Moonrakers got a big lift on the 14th end.

Mel Biggs’ rink notched a big count of seven and this seemed to finally spark the Wiltshire team who had been subdued into life.

They went 90-80 up at 15 ends, 116-94 clear at 18 and finally won 135-103, a comfortable 32 shots success.

Biggs’ rink who were 9-8 down at 13 ends following the seven on the next pulled away to win by 12 shots.

But the biggest winning margin came from Graham Shadwell’s four who were 12-11 down at 13 ends. They then roared away to a comfortable 30-14 win.

Other rink wins were recorded by Wootton Bassett skip Neil Smith (four shots) and Holt’s Ben Gadd (seven shots).

Wiltshire have named an unchanged team for the next group match at home at Wootton Bassett to Worcestershire on Saturday, June 14.

Meanwhile, five local players have been selected to represent Wiltshire in the opening round of the Balcombe Trophy tomorrow away to Warwickshire.

Westlecot trio Graham Hatherall, Mike Jackson and Mel Biggs, along with Wootton Bassett’s Steve Snell and Neil Smith, have been chosen for the top two fours tie.

The Westlecot players all feature in rink two along with Spencer Moulton’s Russell Francis.

The Wootton Bassett duo of Snell and Smith are in rink one which will be skipped by former England international Graham Shadwell.

A place in the regional final at Cotswold (Stroud) on June 22 awaits the first round winner.

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