WILTSHIRE'S men failed to keep their recent run of good performances over Devon going when they lost to their west country rivals in the opening match of the 2018 Middleton Cup (inter-county championship.

Seven days earlier Wiltshire had travelled down to Topsham (Exeter) to face Devon in the Balcomb Trophy men’s county two fours competition and left triumphant, winning 34-27, but they could not repeat the performance last Saturday.

Moonrakers had to give second best to the Middleton Cup holders, going down by 23 shots at Topsham as they lost 128-105.

Wiltshire only took the honours on two rinks, went close on two others but lost heavily on the other two. Devon’s seven current England internationals on display against Wiltshire’s none proving decisive.

The top Moonraker rink honours went to the foursome of Bassett newcomer Phil Gregory, Tom Warner (Salisbury) and Bassett duo Graham Hatherall and Neil Collett who beat England’s Jamie Chestney 26-17.

The other success came on a rejigged rink as Graham Shadwell never recovered from his shoulder injury. The all-Royal Wootton Bassett rink of reserve Andy Blake, Craig Morphett, Kyle Anderson and promoted skip Steve Snell beat England’s Rob Paxton 22-15.

Player-manager Neil Smith (RWB) went close, losing by one shot and Spencer Moulton’s Russell Francis by four shots, but Bassett’s Mel Biggs crashed 14-26 and Holt’s Ben Gadd by 22 shots.

Wiltshire face Worcestershire away in their second Middleton Cup game at Stourport on Saturday, June 16. The team is still to be announced.

RESULTS v Devon (Middleton Cup) at Topsham (Exeter), Rink 1: Andy Blake, Craig Morphet, Kyle Anderson & Steve Snell (all Royal Wootton Bassett) beat Robert Paxton 22-15. Rink 2: Wayne Simmonds (Holt), Craig Hatherall (RWB), Wayne Snook & Ben Gadd (both Holt) lost to Louis Ridout 11-33. Rink 3: James Nobbs (RWB), Mike Titcombe, Ian Jefferies (both Westlecot) & Neil Smith (player/manager, RWB) lost to Griff Sanders 19-20. Rink 4: Phil Gregory (RWB), Tom Warner (Salisbury), Graham Hatherall & Neil Collett (both RWB) beat Jamie Chestney 26-17. Rink 5: Gary Jackson, Mike Jackson (both West), Gary Morphet & Mel Biggs (both RWB) lost to Ian Lesley 14-26. Rink 6: Paul Kistle (West), Chris Cheesley, Dave Godwin (RWB) & Russell Francis (Spencer Moulton) lost to James Webber 13-17.


v Worcestershire (Middleton Cup) at Stourport, June 16 (2pm)

Rink 1: Andy Blake, Craig Morphet, Kyle Anderson & Steve Snell (all Royal Wootton Bassett). Rink 2: Phil Gregory (RWB), Tom Warner (Salisbury), Graham Hatherall & Neil Collett (both RWB). Rink 3: James Richman (Westlecot), Wayne Snook (Holt), Graham Shadwell (Spencer Moulton) & Ben Gadd (Holt). Rink 4: Paul Kistle, Mike Jackson (both West), Dave Godwin (RWB) & Russell Francis (S Moulton). Rink 5: Gary Jackson (West), Chris Cheesley, Gary Morphet & Mel Biggs (all RWB). Rink 6: James Nobbs (RWB), Mike Titcombe, Ian Jefferies (both West) & Neil Smith (player/manager, RWB). Res: Wayne Simmonds, Tom Keating (both Holt), Craig Hatherall and Mike Snell (both RWB).

WILTSHIRE'S Balcomb Trophy side to face Gloucestershire in round one of the inter-county national event this Sunday at Bassett is unchanged.

Despite being forced into a late change by Graham Shadwell’s shoulder injury, Wiltshire selectors have named the same eight players that beat Devon away 34-27 to set up the first round home clash with Gloucestershire in the national top two fours competition.


Rink 1: P Kistle (West), G Hatherall (RWB), R Francis (S Moulton) & N Collett (RWB). Rink 2: G Jackson (West), T Warner (Salisbury), W Snook & B Gadd (both Holt).

Res (to attend): K Anderson (RWB) and M Titcombe (West).

THE men's quarter-finals in the national county triples championships produced some interesting results on Monday evening at Westlecot.

Royal Wootton Bassett fielded four triples teams in the quarter-finals but only one were successful while Holt who have dominated the county triples championships with five victories in the past eight seasons from two separate trios will not be represented at all in this season’s final stages of the competition.

The Holt team skipped by Justin Davis were beaten 20-17 by Salisbury led by Jamie Reynolds in the last eight.

While Bassett’s only victors were Graham Hatherall’s triple of son Craig, Graham and skip Neil Collett who came from 14-7 down at 11 ends to beat fellow Bassett trio Andy Blake, James Nobbs and Anthony Spruells 20-16 after winning four of the last five ends 12-1.

Bassett’s other losers were Dave Godwin’s triple edged out on a last end decider 17-16 despite leading 14-7 after 13 of the 18 ends by the other Salisbury representatives skipped by Danny Russell.

The other Bassett triple skipped by Mike Snell were 11-6 up at 10 ends, 13-11 down at 14 ends and edged out 16-14 by a trio from Chippenham Town of Jeremy Haselton, Willie Jones and Steve Heseltine.

However, in the county men's fours championship held a couple of weeks ago at Bassett two of the four host clubs teams reached the semi-finals.

Dave Godwin’s foursome beat fellow Bassett team skipped by Graham Hatherall 23-14 while Gary Morphet’s four blitzed Salisbury 34-3.

In the other two fours quarter-finals Colin Easton’s rink from Melksham (Avon) beat Andy Crump’s Bassett team 25-18 while former winners Holt led by Ben Gadd edged past Corsham ’s Paul Beazer 18-16.

The men’s county triples and fours semi-finals will be played at Devizes on Sunday, June 17. The programme for the day has yet to be released but play is due to commence at 10.30am

Men’s Fours semi-finals @ Devizes June 17: Dave Godwin (RWB) v Ben Gadd (Holt), Colin Easton (Avon) v Gary Morphet (RWB)

Men’s Triples semi-finals @ Devizes June 17: Barry Folland, John Heenan and Danny Russell (Salisbury) v Ashley Plumb, Bob Armstrong and Jamie Reynolds (Salisbury), Craig, Graham Hatherall and Neil Collett (RWB) v Jeremy Haselton, Willie Jones and Steve Heseltine (Chippenham Town).