THE county men’s national fours championship quarter-finals held at Holt last Friday threw up several shock results.

Two Royal Wootton Bassett quartets bit the dust, while another qualified for the semi-finals, as did a rink from Westlecot.

The first surprise came when last season’s men’s national championships-winning foursome – Bassett’s Kyle Anderson, Mike Snell, Dave Godwin and Steve Snell – bowed out of this year’s competition after being beaten 17-15 by Holt’s Tony Keating, Chris Poole, Matt Tucker and skip Ben Gadd.

Snell’s rink led 5-2 after five ends but struggled after that, trailing 9-5 at 10, and 16-8 at 16 ends.

Bassett rallied and won four of the last five ends, but Holt held and a crucial single on end 19 to kill their opponents’ hopes and win the match 17-15 and book a semi-final slot.

Also, Bassett’s county men’s fours championship holders – Andy Blake, Anthony Spruels, Craig and Gary Morphett – lost out to club-mates Dave Snell, Chris Cheesley, Neil Smith and skip Mel Biggs 23-15.

Morphet’s four made a flying start and led 9-4 at five ends but were pulled back to 10-8 at 10 ends, while the scores were tied 13-13 at 15.

Morphet’s rink briefly led 15-13 after 16 ends but lost the remaining five ends to fall 23-15 and surrender their county title.

The other local winning foursome was a youthful trio of Westlecot U25 players, Ben Choules, Phil Gregory and skip Mike Titcombe, plus the experienced Paul Kistle, who had to come from behind to take victory.

They trailed to the vastly experienced rink from Chippenham Town of Willie Jones, Mike Travers, Steve Heseltine and Jeremy Haselton 7-6 after five ends but had drawn level at 10-10 after 10.

They then powered away from Chippenham on the next five ends to score 10 unanswered shots and finally win 23-14 to book their semi-place.

In the fourth quarter-final, Amesbury beat Salisbury 22-15.

In the semi-finals due to be played at Devizes on June 16, Holt will face Titcombe’s Westlecot rink, while Biggs’ rink from Bassett meet Amesbury.

The two winners will meet in the men’s fours championship final at Devizes on the weekend of July 27-28, while both will represent Wiltshire at the national championships in August.

The men’s county national triples championship now takes centre stage.

The second round was due to be played last night and round three is scheduled for next May 28, producing the last 16 to be contested on May 31.

The quarter-finals are then set to be played at Westlecot on June 3.

WILTSHIRE men were beaten in their annual friendly against West Wilts Bowls Association played last weekend at Avon (Melksham).

Under the stewardship of county men’s president Dave Williams (Chippenham Park), they lost 138-99.

Wiltshire men only took the honours on one of the six rinks as senior vice-president John Crowder (Avon) beat Chippenham Town’s Roger Button’s rink 24-6.

Bowls Wiltshire administrator Gerald Webb (Devizes) lost narrowly 20-19 to Colin Stockley (Spencer Melksham).

Only one local player, namely Wroughton’s Martin Salter, played in the match but he suffered a 29-16 loss to Danny Holland’s quartet when skipping on rink five.

In the top match on rink three, Wiltshire men’s president Dave Williams lost 25-13 to the rink skipped by West Wilts captain Colin Easton (Avon).

Wiltshire men’s next friendly match was against Gloucestershire at home earlier this week at Chippenham Park.