HOLDERS Royal Wootton Bassett surprisingly missed out on qualifying for the men’s county four-rink league play-offs final staged at Devizes last Sunday.

They failed to book a place in the final against Chippenham Town when losing to Holt 89-80 in the delayed semi-final played under the floodlights at Avon (Melksham).

Bassett, who were comfortable winners of the northern section of the four-rink league, were adrift for most of the match to Holt, who were southern section runners-up to Chippenham Town.

Bassett made a slow start and trailed 22-10 after five ends across the board, 38-30 at 10, 68-58 after 15, but upped their game and fought back to wipe out the 10-shots deficit and draw level at 74-74 after 18 ends.

However, it was Holt who produced the stronger finish. They scored 15 shots to Bassett’s six across the final three ends to seal victory and the opportunity to bid for only a third play-offs final victory on Sunday.

Bassett shared the rink honours 2-2, but the big 25-10 loss recorded by Gary Morphet’s foursome was decisive in the final analysis.

  • BASSETT'S men, who won two titles at the recent Bowls England national championships at Royal Leamington Spa in the senior fours and national fours skipped by father and son David and Stephen Snell, will be looking to add to their tally this weekend.

They will be seeking to complete a hat-trick of national crowns when they contest the final stages of the men’s Top Club competition.

Bassett qualified for the Top Club last eight for the third year in a row by winning the Dorset & Wiltshire section (Area 9) with a 3-2 victory over Wellworthy (Weymouth, Dorset) and then winning the inter-area final.

They defeated Area 11 (Hampshire & Isle of Wight) champions Boscombe Cliff by three disciplines to two, but it was a closely-fought contest that went down to the wire.

Bassett men won the two-wood and four-wood singles but lost the triples and then the fours on an extra end.

The overall outcome of the match had to be decided on another extra end, but in this case in the pairs, with Bassett duo Graham Hatherall and Neil Collett taking the spoils with a score of two to win their match 18-16.

It sealed Bassett’s place in the last eight at Leamington once again.

The men’s quarter-finals will be played on Saturday morning and the ladies' last-eight contests in the afternoon, which features Wiltshire side Box ladies.

  • THE ANNUAL county men’s fund-raising bowls tour in mid-September will be a presidential tour to the Isle of Wight under the stewardship of the 2018 president Stewart Allison (Chippenham Park). It commences on Friday with a match against Isle of Wight at Shanklin.

The touring party of 33 will be based in Shanklin. They move on to play Ventnor on Saturday and Sandown on Sunday.

The tour concludes on Monday when they cross back over the Solent to play a match at Hyde Abbey BC, Winchester on the way home to Wiltshire.

The chosen fund-raising charity this year is Wiltshire Air Ambulance.