ROYAL Wootton Bassett have won the Bowls England men’s senior fours championship once again.

The foursome of Kevin Embling, Graham Richards, Alan Small and Dave Snell (skip) won the senior fours (Over 55s) title at Bowls England Headquarters at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa on Thursday afternoon when beating New Lount (Leics) 24-13 in the final.

It was the second year in a row that Bassett had supplied the winner of this competition and lifted the trophy after the foursome of Barry Sictorness, Terry Walton, Chris Cheesley and Mel Biggs (skip) were victorious in 2017 at the inaugural staging of the senior fours (over 55s) competition.

Skip Snell, Wiltshire’s former men’s Middleton Cup player-manager, led his team to a comfortable victory. They led throughout against Leicestershire side New Lount going 6-0 up after four ends and leading 11-7 at 10.

They stretched the advantage with counts of 1-2-3-3 to 16-7 at 13 ends and were 22-9 up after 17 ends before finally winning 24-13 at 20 ends.

Earlier in the day Snell’s foursome had beaten Lancashire side Heaton Hall, Manchester, comfortably 25-11 in the semi-final to book their place in the final against New Lount.

They made a lively start and led 6-0 after two ends but pegged back to 6-6 at five and 8-8 at nine ends.

But then they moved up a couple of gears pulling right away winning 10 of the next 11 ends and only dropping a three on end 14.

They were 17-11 clear at 15 ends, 21-11 at 18 and finally won 25-11 when Heaton Hall conceded after 20 ends.

Bassett played five rounds to win the county title and earn the right to represent Wiltshire at Royal Leamington Spa in the senior fours championship staged this week.

In the first round they accounted for Danny Russell (Salisbury) and then Colin Baker (Purton) and followed up with a crushing 28-8 success over Chippenham Park led by Allan Roberts.

In the county semi-final they were 24-20 victors over Holt’s Malcolm Barker and booked their Leamington place with a comfortable 21-14 win in the county final played at Devizes over Westlecot, skipped by Ian Jefferies, who had knocked out the reigning national champions Wootton Bassett 21-12, skipped by Biggs, in the other semi-final.

Bassett beat Walt Winsor (Wellingborough, Northants) in a tight game 17-15 on Tuesday evening in the last 32.

The following day they recorded two wins accounting for Dave Mason 21-13 (Combe Martin, Devon) in the last 16 (round two) and followed it up later in the day with a comfortable 24-17 quarter-final success over Bromley, Kent led by Chris Smith to qualify for the semi-finals.

It is a first national title for Embling, Richards and Small but for Snell it was his third, having won the senior pairs title twice with former England international Mel Biggs in 2013 and 2015.


Senior Fours semi-finals: Kevin Embling, Graham Richards, Alan Small and Dave Snell (Royal Wootton Bassett BC) beat Duncan Wilson, Martin Gale, David Lockhart and Alec Atkinson (Heaton Hall, Manchester, Lancashire) 25-11; Ron Mayne, Ross Newman, Reg Burton and Dave Simpson (New Lount, Coalville, Leics) beat Mike Cox, Steve Crockett, John Crews and Martin Butchers (Plessey, Cowes, Isle of Wight) 23-17.

FINAL: Royal Wootton Bassett, Wilts (Dave Snell) beat New Lount BC, Leics (Dave Simpson) 24-13.

A MIXED set of results have been recorded so far by Bassett and Wiltshire bowlers on the first week of the national championships at Royal Leamington Spa.

The Bassett father and son partnership of Gary and Craig Morphet failed in their bid to add another family pairs title to the one they lifted two years ago in 2016.

They went out in the quarter-finals (last eight) to locals Mark and Andy Smith (Avenue BC Leamington) 23-12, who went on to win the family pairs title beating Adam and Jamie Barker (Cambridgeshire) 23-18.

Bassett’s Katy Smith lost in the opening round of the junior (U25) singles 21-10 to Jasmine Wilson while her elder sister Lucy won her first match 21-16 with Eloise Collins (Long Eaton, Derbys) but lost narrowly in round two 21-20 on the last end to Courtney Harvey (Gerrards Cross) Bucks.

And in the senior (O55s) pairs Box duo Sue Cooke and Alex Jacobs were surprisingly beaten 17-16 by Carol Templeman and Linda Stanley (Eastbourne, Sussex). Last year Cooke and Jacobs were losing finalists in the ladies pairs championship and are back again later this month representing Wiltshire.

Box did have some joy in the preliminary round of the fours.

The foursome of Carol Grenfell, Kathryn Yeoman, Sue Cooke and Alex Jacobs beat Dukeries, Notts led by Ann Redford 26-15.

But Supermarine foursome of Ann Andrews, Cheryl Walker, Nikki Kemble-Young and Susan Griffiths crashed out losing 22-14 to Kings (Torquay, Devon) skipped by England international Natalie Chestney who went on to win the ladies fours crown on Thursday.

Then on Tuesday morning Box, led by Jacobs, thrashed Ingatestone, Essex, 26-9 to set-up a second round tie with Parkway, Huntingdon but lost that match.

The new Bassett pairing of Phil Gregory and Craig Hatherall lost in the semi-finals of the junior (U25) pairs championship to arch rivals Devon.

They had received a walkover on Wednesday against Isle of Wight and followed it up with a last 16 success over Dorset’s Tom Poore and Ollie Thake 19-12.

And on Thursday morning they won narrowly in the quarter-finals 17-16 against Middlesex duo Alfie Hill and Grant Aldridge.

But the fine run ended as they went out in the semi-finals to the powerful Devon duo of Zach Kidd (Plymouth) and Harry Goodwin (Kings, Torquay) 21-7 who then beat Cambridgeshire brothers Adam and Jamie Barker 17-10 in thefinal.

The ladies four wood singles was due to swing into full action on Friday morning even though Highworth’s Linda Young had won a preliminary round match 17-2 the previous evening against Karen Galloway (Oxford City and County).

Bassett’s Lucy Smith was due to compete in round one on Friday morning. The semi-finals and final are scheduled to be decided on Sunday.

Next week sees the ladies triples, two wood singles and pairs being contested as well as the junior (U25) pairs.

Next weekend sees the men’s championship events begin in earnest with the senior (O55) pairs and junior (U25) singles being contested.