NO MORE NOVICES, from the host club, returned to the winners' circle to lift the trophy and top prize at the annual Swindon Bowls Club Floodlight Tournament played all last week on their Shrivenham Road green.

Winners in 2016, the team of Graham Scott, Will Glass, Carl Fernandes and Mickey Pearce (skip) beat Highworth B, a late entrant, comfortably 18-5 in the 13 ends final last Friday evening.

No More Novices had only qualified for the semi-finals in fourth place after Shrivenham (Odd Fellows) had beaten holders Westlecot in their last game to turn the round-robin table on its head.

Swindon's Yardsticks had topped the table with 12 points with four wins out of four, the only unbeaten side in the qualifiers.

Highworth A had finished second on nine points with three wins but with a plus shots difference of 31 followed by Highworth B on nine points but with a shots difference of only + 4.

But No More Novices with three wins and nine points edged into fourth spot despite a shot difference of minus four (-4).

The loss to Shrivenham saw holders Westlecot slip down and out of the semi-final places into sixth spot despite a plus shots difference of + 37.

The semi-finals saw both Swindon teams drawn against each other as were both of the Highworth teams A and B.

In the semi-finals No More Novices overturned the previously unbeaten Yardsticks 10-6, boosted by a decisive count of four on the eighth end to move from 4-3 up to 8-3 ahead and virtually seal victory.

The other semi-final saw Highworth B overcome Highworth A 12-4 to set-up a final with No More Novices.

The final turned out to be a very one-sided affair as Highworth B were hit by a count of five on the sixth end to go from 4-2 down to trail by seven shots 9-2.

From then on they tried to play catch-up however No More Novices team kept matters tight and froze Highworth out to finally win 18-5.

But the Highworth B side had the consolation of picking up the runners-up prize of £100 in the competition, sponsored by A C Watson & Son, Building Contractors .

No More Novices came from behind on day four to snatch a place in the semi-finals and capped it by going on to win the tournament, lift the trophy and collect the £200 handsome first prize.

Fourteen teams entered the event and played four matches over 18 ends or two hours from Monday to Thursday.

Three points were awarded for a win and one for a draw with shot difference if necessary deciding the final league table positions with the top four teams advancing to the Friday night semi-finals.

Sponsor Andy Watson, presented the winners' cheques for £200 to No More Novices and the runners-up prize of £100 to Highworth B while the two losing semi-finalists Yardsticks (Swindon) and Highworth A each received £50.

Swindon club president Bob Hiles presented the perpetual trophy to No More Novices (Swindon) skip Mickey Pearce.

“It was another very successful and well supported tournament,” said organiser Jim O’Leary. “We had a scare with a late pull-out but we managed to still track an entry of 14 teams this year and enjoyed reasonable weather also.

“This floodlight tournament has become an established date in the local bowls calendar in late September and we will certainly be back again next year running it once more.”

Sponsor Andy Watson also confirmed he would back the tournament again next season.


League Table

1 Yardsticks (Swindon) 12pts (+47 shots); 2 Highworth A 9pts (+31); 3 Highworth B 9pts (+4); 4 No More Novices 9pts (-4); 5 West End 7pts (-3); 6 Westlecot 6pts (+37); 7 The Ciderheads (Rodbourne Cheney) 6pts (+6); 8 Odd Fellows (Shrivenham) 6pts (-19); 9 Deck Stackers (Garrards) 4pts (-9); 10 Be-Up (Swindon) 3pts (-4); 11 Penhill Boys (Supermarine) 3pts (-15); 12 North End 3pts (-19); 13 Malmesbury BC 3pts (-20); 14 Barbarians 3pts (-32).

Semi-finals (12 ends), Rink 3: Yardsticks Swindon (Richard Woollard, Steve Doyle, Terry Plumb & Geoff Porte) lost to No More Novices Swindon (Graham Scott, Will Glass, Carl Fernandes & Mickey Pearce) 6-10. Rink 2: Highworth A (Robbie Ferguson, David Murray, Dave Terry & Stuart Murray) lost to Highworth B (Gary Willis, Dan Harvey, Chris Davis & Sean Hicks) 4-12.

FINAL (13 ends)

Rink 2: No More Novices Swindon (G Scott, W Glass, C Fernandes & M Pearce) beat Highworth B (G Willis, D Harvey, C Davis & S Hicks) 18-5 (12 ends only).