REIGNING national ladies triples champions Purton are out of this year’s Wiltshire county competition.

The trio of Chris Mitchell, Julie Jones and Alison Fail fell at the last hurdle in their bid to reach July’s Wiltshire final as well as book a place at the nationals at Royal Leamington Spa in August.

Purton safely negotiated the quarter-finals of the county championship at Box last weekend by defeating Chippenham Town 16-13, but came unstuck in the semis when facing a trio from Spencer Melksham.

Purton were 5-1 down after five ends but won the next two ends to lead 6-5 at seven. They failed to score on ends eight to 12 and trailed 13-6, but rallied to tie the match at 14-14 after 16 ends.

However, they dropped a four on end 17 and could only claw back a two on the final end to lose 18-16 and surrender their grip on the national crown.

In the bottom half of the draw, Highworth beat Wilton 20-16 in the quarter-finals despite conceding a five on the last end to book a semi-final against hosts Box.

The Highworth trio of Maggie Jordan, Joanna Hicks and Linda Young won the first seven ends of the semi to lead 10-0, but then lost the next eight to trail 13-10 after 15.

They bounced back to score a single and a two to tie the match at 13-13 and set up a last-end decider, which Box duly claimed with a count of two to deny Highworth a place in the county final and a berth at Leamington for the nationals.

Attentions now turns to the county pairs championship, with second and third round matches due to be played next Monday and Friday.

  • THIS season, Wiltshire Ladies will play in a four-county group in the West section A of the Johns Trophy, inter-county championship.

They will face both Dorset and Cornwall away before ending the group stages with a home match against Somerset. Only the group winner will then progress to the quarter-finals.

Wiltshire begin their campaign this Saturday when they travel to Sherborne to face Dorset.

They follow this with another away match against Cornwall at the neutral venue of Tiverton West End on June 23.

The Moonraker ladies end their group matches with a home game against Somerset at Devizes on July 7.

The selection committee have named a 24-player team with five reserves drawn from no fewer than 16 clubs around Wiltshire for the match against Dorset this weekend.

Box have the largest representation with five players chosen. Next best are Purton (Chris Mitchell, Julie Jones and Alison Fail) and Highworth (Maggie Jordan, Joanna Hicks and Linda Young) both with three each.

Also selected from the Swindon area are Stratton Churchway duo Wendy Anderson and Janet Willis, Deanne Davis (Wanborough), Charlie Godwin (Royal Wootton Bassett), while Supermarine’s Susan Griffiths and Wroughton’s Babs Salter are listed as reserves.