WILTSHIRE’S men’s team produced their best set of results indoors since the mid-1990s last season when they reached the semi-finals in the inter-county championship for the Liberty Trophy.

However, they were denied a place in the final at Nottingham and the possibility of emulating their previous wins in 1984 and 1996 when losing to Kent.

Although the new indoor season has only just started, Wiltshire have held a Liberty trial already in preparation for the 2018-19 competition that commences on October 27 with an away first-round match against Gloucestershire at Cotswold IBC (Stroud).

The county men’s team, containing 14 players from the Westlecot indoor club, played Surrey in a full scale six-rink match at Westlecot last week and came out on top 131-114.

They took the honours on three rinks, drew on another and only suffered a reverse on two rinks.

Wiltshire made all of the running leading from start to finish.

Across the board they led 38-31 after five ends and were 71-66 up at 10.

The advantage was increased to eight shots 98-90 at 15 ends and 112-101 at 18.

A final flurry saw Wiltshire increase the winning margin at 21 ends to 17 shots.

Top rink honours went to the foursome of newcomer Gary Fountain (Five Rivers), Dave Williams (North Wilts) and Westlecot duo Mel Biggs and Neil Smith, who stormed to a 35-9 success.

Next best was the rink skipped by Westlecot’s Kyle Anderson with a fine 26-20 victory.

The other winning rink saw Andy Moore (North Wilts) come from 15-9 down to win 16-15.

The draw came on the all-Westlecot rink skipped by Mike Titcombe of Paul Kistle, Barry Sictorness and Andy McIntyre.

  • THE Wessex League, which underwent a big re-vamp in the summer, is up and running already, albeit the new indoor season has only just started.

The 10-team East region, in which local clubs Swindon Manor and Westlecot competed last season, has been replaced by a smaller seven-team Thames region for the new campaign.

The new region consists of Banbury, Oxford City & County; Oxford & District; Rivermead (Reading); Swindon Manor; West Berks (Newbury) and Westlecot.

Six regions have been replaced in 2018-19 by eight, which now means the top two in each of the eight regions at the end of the campaign will compete in the last 16 of the play-offs commencing next March for the overall Wessex League title.

The result of this change from six to eight regions means that the four wildcard entrants into the play-offs has been scrapped.

Westlecot do not start their campaign until December 16 when they face West Berks (Newbury), whereas Swindon Manor have already contested their opening fixture, although it was not a very happy start against Banbury.

Manor went down narrowly 74-72, although the rink honours were shared 2-2.

The Rodbourne-based club won both of their matches at home, with Richard Young’s foursome winning 20-10 and Carl Fernandes’ rink taking the spoils 22-18.

However, Manor lost both away games as Stuart Murray’s rink went down 19-16-19 and Shaun Hicks’ foursome were beaten 27-14.

Manor only collected four of the 16 points on offer for two rink victories.

Their next match is against West Berks on November 11.

  • WESTLECOT IBC have made a bright start in their hunt for glory in a national indoor team competition this season.

In the mixed competition for the Egham Trophy, two rinks home and two away, they thumped MidGlos (Brockworth, Gloucester) 76-43 in a preliminary round tie.

Westlecot won on three of the four rinks, with top honours going to the foursome of Ginny Nash, Jenny Vowles, Denis Holborow and Terry Walton, who won 23-7.

Close behind were the away rink of Jayne Croston, Judy Hallard, Kevin Embling and Chris Cheesley with a 24-11 success.

The other away quartet of Rachel McIntyre, Isobel Jenner, Tom Pittuck and Andy McIntyre completed the hat-trick of successes with a 17-7.

The only reverse was suffered at home by the rink of Sue Fletcher, Yvette Maxwell Darkes, Olly Moody and Mikey Titcombe, who lost 18-12.

In the Egham Trophy first round on October 28, Westlecot face North Wilts (Chippenham).

A busy weekend is in store in national team competitions, with Westlecot men facing Desborough (Maidenhead) in the Denny Cup on Saturday, while Westlecot ladies look to repel the challenge of Rivermead (Reading) in the Yetton Trophy.

Westlecot also travel to Ashton Vale, Somerset, to play Bristol City and County in the mixed Top Club competition.

  • SWINDON Manor have only entered a limited number of national team and championship competitions this season.

But they take to the green on Saturday to face Whiteknights (Reading) in the top ladies team event for the Yetton Cup.