ROYAL Wootton Bassett foursome Kevin Embling, Graham Richards, Alan Small and skip Dave Snell have won the British Isles men’s senior fours championship.

They clinched the prestigious title last weekend at Ayr Northfield BC, Scotland, when defeating Scotland in the senior fours final 17-14.

The Bassett quartet had qualified to represent England at the British Isles Men’s Bowls Council Championships after winning the senior fours title at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa, last August.

In the final, Bassett made a good start and led 6-3 after five ends.

However, they were 10-6 down at 10 ends and 12-9 down at 13, but then turned the match around on the next two ends with a two and then a big count of five to move 16-12 up after 15 ends.

Snell and his rink kept things tight on the last three ends, only conceding two singles, to run out 17-14 winners.

The previous day, the team had beaten Wales 17-11 in a preliminary round and Ireland 20-19 in a cliff-hanger semi.

Despite leading the Irish 13-2 after only five ends and scoring a third end hotshot, they had been pulled back to 16-16 at the 11th end.

It was 18-18 at 15 and 19-19 after 17 ends but Snell drew game shot to progress Bassett to the final against Scotland.

The win by the Bassett quartet was the first by any male bowler or combination from Wiltshire in the British Isles Championships.

It was also the second year in a row that Wiltshire had tasted victory in the British Isles Championships as Purton ladies won the women’s triples in Belfast at Belmont BC 12 months ago.

The Bassett success helped England to win the Natwest Trophy for ending top of the points table.

Bassett also had representatives at Ayr competing in the men’s fours championship, but Kyle Anderson, Mike Snell, Dave Godwin and Steve Snell lost in the semi-finals to Guernsey 21-16.

Jubilant Bassett skip Dave Snell said: “What an amazing three days we had in Ayr, finishing as the senior fours British Isles Champions.

“Against Wales in our first game, I thought we always had the edge and finished up comfortable winners.

“The second game against Ireland was certainly a different story, getting off to a great start and getting a hot shot on the third end to lead 13-0. “Then the game changed dramatically from then on and we found ourselves 16-14 down after 11 ends. It was then nip and tuck, with both teams picking ones up until we got to the last end all-square on 19-19.

“With one bowl left, we were not sure who held shot and I was not 100 per cent sure who was holding and didn't want to go out on a measure, so I decided to play my last bowl and managed to draw the shot to the delight of my team and get us into the final.

“Again against Scotland, we got off to a nice start with a four on the first end and kept a small lead until the eighth end when we dropped a single to go behind for the first time and we stayed behind until the 15th end when we picked up five to retake the lead.

“The last three ends had all the tension of a great final. On the 16th end, we were four down, I ditched the jack, holding five and the Scottish skip drew the shot.

“So, going into the 17th end three-up again, we were in trouble and managed to draw the shot with my last bowl to go into the last end four shots up.

“I think nerves were affecting my team at this stage, and with both skips having one bowl each, to play we were down and somehow I kept my nerve and managed to draw second bowl in between three of the nearest bowls, their skip fired missed and we were champions.

“As a team, we would like to thank everybody that supported us in Scotland. They were tremendous and I personally would like to thank Kevin, Graham and Alan for their efforts during this fantastic journey.

“It was a great team performance and a superb bunch of lads to be with”.

  • CRUNCH day has arrived for Wiltshire men and their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals in the inter-county championship.

They face Cornwall at North Petherton, Bridgwater, in their must-win final Middleton Cup group match.

They must win the match overall and win on at least two of the six rinks to take a minimum of 14 points.

This would take them to 69 and top spot in the table above Cornwall. Anything worse would see them miss out on a quarter-finals place.

Currently Cornwall top the five counties West group B on 60 points, with Wiltshire on 55. Somerset lie third on 46 but they have played all four of their games.

Team manager Mike Jackson (Westlecot) has opted for almost the same team that beat Worcestershire 121-87 in the previous round of matches.

The 24 strong team is dominated with players from Royal Wootton Bassett (11) and Westlecot (6) as Tom Newman (Avon) and Tony Keating (Holt) return to replace David Murray (Highworth) and Chris Cheesley (Bassett).

  • WILTSHIRE men return to Clevedon on Sunday to contest the Balcomb Trophy double rinks West regional final.

The original staging a fortnight ago had to be abandoned when a Warwickshire player collapsed on the green during their semi-final with Gloucestershire.

Urgent medical assistance was required including an air ambulance and after a long delay, it was agreed by all teams to re-start the semi-finals again from scratch.

At the time of the stoppage, Wiltshire men had played 14 ends against Devon and were six shots down overall.