WILTSHIRE men were in superb form last weekend, completing a double in inter-counties competitions at home at Royal Wootton Bassett.

On Saturday, they recorded a big 135-93 success when defeating Herefordshire in the Middleton Cup, and followed that up the next day by beating Somerset 40-32 in the Balcomb Trophy.

Moonrakers’ victory over Herefordshire earned them 20 out of the 22 points on offer and added to the 16 points collected seven days earlier against Somerset to move them into second spot in the west B group table.

Wiltshire stand on 36 points, only two points behind Cornwall but 28 ahead of third-placed Somerset, with all having played two matches.

It is already looking likely that their July 6 clash against Cornwall at the neutral venue of North Petherton (Somerset) will decide the group winners and the county to progress to the inter-county championship quarter-finals on July20.

A Wiltshire side containing 19 locals in the 24-man side – 13 from Royal Wootton Bassett and six from Westlecot – were in dominant form against Herefordshire at Bassett despite having to make several team changes owing to unavailability and illness.

They stamped their authority on the match early, leading 37-20 across the board at five ends and 57-48 at 10. They then pulled away to lead 96-62 at 15 and 116-42 at 18, before finally winning 135-93.

Moonrakers took the honours on five of the six rinks, with the foursomes of Paul Kistle (Westlecot), Russell Francis (Spencer Moulton), Mike Titcombe (Westlecot) and skip Dave Godwin (Royal Wootton Bassett), as well as Tony Keating (Holt), Westlecot duo Gary and Mike Jackson and Mike Snell (RWB) both tied for top honours on 20-shot winning margins.

Team manager Mike Jackson said: “I am very pleased with the overall win and delighted that we picked up 20 points.

“Mike Snell and Dave Godwin’s rinks had great wins that set foundations and some tense last end finishes from Steve Snell, Wayne Snook and Neil Collett enabled us to register an excellent win.”

Wiltshire completed an inter-counties weekend double at Bassett on Sunday when beating Somerset 40-32 in the Balcomb Trophy second round to progress to the west regional finals of the double rinks competition at Clevedon on June 23.

They face Devon in the semi-finals, with the other semi between Warwickshire and Gloucestershire.

Jackson said: “There were some great bowls played by both sides in a close match, with never more than five shots overall between the two sides.

“The turning point came on the 20th end. We were five shots up on the game but picked up three shots on both rinks, so went into the last end 11 up across the two rinks.

“Both rinks saw the game out for an excellent eight-shot victory. Well done to all involved.”

The foursome of Gary Jackson (Westlecot), Wayne Snook (Holt), Graham Shadwell (Spencer Moulton) and skip Neil Collett won their game against Somerset 24-16, but the other all-Bassett rink of Kyle Anderson, Mike Snell, Dave Godwin and Steve Snell drew 16-16.

A BUSY weekend is in store for both the Wiltshire men’s senior and junior (U25) teams.

The seniors face Worcestershire at home at Bassett today seeking a third Middleton Cup success, while the U25 men’s side contest the regional finals of the revamped White Rose Trophy away at West Backwell (Somerset) on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the men’s semi-finals in the national county fours and triples championships will be staged at Devizes on Sunday.

In the fours, Holt’s clash against Westlecot has to be re-arranged as it clashes with the U25 White Rose regional finals, but the other match between Amesbury and Royal Wootton Bassett (Dave Snell, Chris Cheesley, Neil Smith and Mel Biggs) goes ahead.

And in the triples semis, a Bassett team of Kyle Anderson, Dave Godwin and Steve Snell face Salisbury.

In the other semi, another Bassett trio of Lawrence Smith, Craig and Gary Morphet play Spencer Moulton (Ashley Kierl, Russell Francis and Graham Shadwell).