WILTSHIRE men’s U25 side’s fine start to the 2019 outdoor season continued last weekend when they extended their unbeaten run.

They followed up a three-rink home win over Somerset and retaining the annual Four Counties May Bank Holiday tournament with an away draw on overall scores against Oxfordshire at Kidlington last Sunday.

Wiltshire lost narrowly on the James Vincent (18-17) and Adam Bolwell rink (23-21) rinks but were victorious on the rink skipped by Westlecot’s Mike Titcombe 19-16 to tie the scores overall on 57-57.

Wiltshire made a slow start and took several ends to adjust to a slow green but persevered well and gradually grew into the match.

They were 18-17 down across the board after five ends and 33-23 down at 10, while they trailed 49-35 overall after 15 ends.

But the young Moonrakers then hit back, producing a fine recovery and flourish of shots to cut the deficit to 56-44 at 18 ends, 56-50 at 19 and only trail 57-53 at 20.

One last push saw Wiltshire score on all three rinks on the 21st and final end to snatch a last-gasp 57-57 draw.

Titcombe’s rink of himself, Tom Newman (Avon), Hayden Daniell and Craig Hatherall (both Royal Wootton Bassett) won 19-16.

The Bolwell (Spencer Moulton) rink that included James Richman (Westlecot) at lead and George Twine (RWB) at two rallied well in the second half of their match to only lose 23-21.

While the Vincent (Salisbury) rink with Jake Webster (Westlecot), David Murray (Highworth) and Josh Fail (Purton) fought back extremely well before losing 18-17 on a last-end decider.

THE county men’s national fours championship has reached the quarter-finals stage and were due to be played at Holt last night.

Local clubs from the Swindon area featured prominently in the draw, with three of them from Royal Wootton Bassett, plus one from Westlecot.

The other four qualifiers were Holt, Chippenham Town, Amesbury and Salisbury.

Reigning national fours champions, Bassett’s Kyle Anderson, Mike Snell, Dave Godwin and Steve Snell – who won the title at Royal Leamington Spa last August – were due to face a quartet from Holt.

The other two Bassett fours led by Mel Biggs and Craig Morphet were drawn against each other.

In the other two ties, Westlecot skip Mike Titcombe and his side were due to face Jeremy Haselton’s Chippenham Town team, and Amesbury skip Micky Crook played neighbours Salisbury, skipped by Jamie Reynolds.

The four winning combinations progress to the semi-finals scheduled to be played at Devizes on June 16.

THE second and final Middleton Cup/Balcomb Trophy trial will be staged at Royal Wootton Bassett tomorrow from 10am.

A total of 23 local players are involved, with 15 from host club Bassett. The remainder are six from Westlecot and one each from Swindon Town Gardens and Highworth.

Wiltshire’s opening Middleton Cup group match in the inter-county championship is away to Somerset at Victoria BC (Weston-super-Mare) on June 1.

They face Somerset again, although this time at home at Bassett, on June 8 in the Balcomb Trophy – the national county top to fours competition.