ROYAL WOOTTON BASSETT men’s section have won another fours title at the Bowls England national championships currently being staged at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa.

Just over a fortnight ago early into the championships, Dave Snell skipped a veteran foursome of Kevin Embling, Graham Richards, Alan Small and himself to a 24-13 victory over New Lount (Leicestershire) in the senior (O55s) fours championship.

Now his son, Steve, has added to the family trophy cabinet by skipping another Bassett foursome, including Kyle Anderson, brother Michael Snell and Dave Godwin, to a dramatic extra-end 17-15 victory over Heaton Hall, Manchester, in one of the five main men’s events – the national fours championships.

And they had to do it the hard way in a closely-fought encounter as they trailed for most of the match.

Bassett were 5-2 down at five ends but had restored parity at 10 when tied 6-6.

However, the Heaton Hall foursome of Jason Parkinson, David Lockhart, Ian Mayne and Chris Gayle edged away again to move 10-6 up at 13 ends and 11-8 at 16.

A Bassett single followed, but everything changed on the crucial 18th end. Bassett scored a big count of five to move ahead for the first time in the game 14-11, and going into the last end, led 15-12 after 20 ends.

The drama was not over as Heaton Hall had a measure for four shots, but the umpire deemed it only to be three, meaning the scores were tied 15-15, forcing an extra end.

Godwin, the Bassett number three, sprang the jack and Steve Snell drew in a second shot. Heaton Hall skip Gale fired and missed, giving Bassett a second men’s 2018 national title at Leamington.

The victory over Heaton Hall ensures Bassett a place in the British Isles men’s championships in Ayr, Scotland, next year, and all three Snells will be there representing England.

Dave Snell said: “It is unbelievable and a very proud time for me. You coach the boys from an early age, but to see both of them win a national title is incredible.

“And for us all to be going to Ayr together in June next year representing England in fours competitions is brilliant.

“It is really hard to comprehend as Michael has been away abroad for several years and only started playing bowls again this season.

“He stepped in at Leamington to replace Tom Walkley, who played in the earlier Wiltshire rounds but was unable to play in the nationals as the dates of the fours clashed with his holiday dates.”

Bassett had to play seven matches at Leamington in order to win the fours title.

In the preliminary round, they beat Norfolk B (Shouldham, Kings Lynn) 27-10 and accounted in round one for Eastleigh Rail (Hampshire) 21-18.

Round two saw them beat Greenhill (Weymouth) 19-14, and then Hendon (Middlesex) 23-15, and Cornish side Kensey Vale (Launceston) in the quarter-finals 18-14.

And despite conceding a five on the last end but one, still beat Wellingborough (Northamptonshire) 23-16 to book their place in the final with Heaton Hall.


National Fours semi-finals: Heaton Hall, Manchester, Lancs (Chris Gale) beat Silksworth, Sunderland Durham (David Bolt) 25-13; Royal Wootton Bassett, Wilts (Steve Snell) beat Wellingborough, Northants (Neil Corbyn) 23-16.

Final: Royal Wootton Bassett, Wilts (Kyle Anderson, Mike Snell, Dave Godwin and Steve Snell) beat Heaton Hall, Lancs (Chris Gale) 17-15 (after an extra 22nd end).