NATIONAL championship places in the ladies county finals day and the opportunity to represent Wiltshire at Royal Leamington Spa in August take centre stage this weekend.

The quarter and semi-finals in the two wood singles competition will be staged at Avon on Friday evening (5.45pm).

Two local players, Chris Mitchell (Purton) and Jo Hicks (Highworth), were competing but kept apart in the quarter-finals draw.

In the top half of the draw, Mitchell, a former four wood singles runner-up in 2015 faces Ann Roberts Phare (North Wilts), while Helen Ellis (Box) plays Janice Bull (Amesbury).

In the bottom half of the draw, Hicks faces Karen Kirby (Blue Circle, Westbury) and Chippenham Town’s Irene Button plays Emma Maslen (Avon).

The attention then switches to another Melksham venue today at Beanacre Road when Spencer Melksham host the senior fours (Over 55s) semi-finals and the junior (U25) pairs and singles competitions.

In the senior fours semi-finals, Supermarine’s Ann Andrews, Cheryl Walker, Nikki Kemble-Young and Susan Griffiths, winners of the county national fours in 2018 face senior fours holders Box (Carol Grenfell, Jean Collier, Sue Cooke and Alex Jacobs).

A tough battle is expected as Supermarine beat a slightly different Box quartet to win the fours title last year on the 21st and last end 20-15.

While Trowbridge Town meet North Wilts, skipped by Fizz Mace, in the other semi-final, the two winners play-off in the final in the afternoon with the victorious foursome earning a place at Leamington.

While in the U25s singles and pairs it is unknown at present who is actually playing as there has been several walkovers awarded owing to withdrawals and concessions through exams, college and studies.

Scheduled is the U25 singles semi-finals between Katy Smith (Westlecot) and Maisie Daniell (Royal Wootton Bassett).

Katy, 22, ended her elder sister Lucy, 24, domination of this event over the past eight years knocking her out 21-10 in the first round.

And in the other semi-final, Maisie’s sister Charlotte Daniell (RWB) plays teenager Lisa Rose (Rodbourne Cheney).

The junior (U25) pairs sees holders Lucy and Katy Smith go straight through to the final they have won for the past six years as their semis opponents who they beat last season in the final have pulled out.

And there is a doubt in the other semi-final as one of the players from Avon has pulled out of the junior singles matches.

THIS WEEKEND is an extremely busy period in the men’s national championships with six events being staged at Devizes this Sunday.

They are the semi-finals in the singles, junior (U25) singles, pairs, junior (U25) pairs and senior fours (over 55s) as well as the quarter-finals and semi-finals in the two wood singles.

All winning semi-finalists will book a place at Royal Leamington Spa in the national championships in August as well as a place in the men’s county finals at Devizes at the emd of this month.

There is one exception to this - only the winner at county finals day at Devizes at the end of July progresses to represent Wiltshire in the senior fours - Royal Wootton Bassett have provided both of the national winners twice since the event was introduced in the 2017 season.

Numerous players from Royal Wootton Bassett and Westlecot feature in several events  - Bassett’s Dave Godwin, holder Neil Smith and Andy Blake compete in two wood singles as well as Gary Jackson (Westlecot).

A foursome from Westlecot led by Brian Whittingham compete in the senior (O55) fours.

While in the men’s singles Bassett duo Kyle Anderson and Chris Cheesley contest the semi-finals while it is the Westlecot duo of Nathan Richards and Phil Gregory who play in the junior singles along with Purton’s Josh Fail.

Bassett’s Andy Blake and Dave Snell face Westlecot’s Paul Kistle and James Richman in the men’s pairs semi-finals.

And finally Highworth’s Sean Etherington and David Murray play a duo from Avon (Melksham) in the junior pairs semi-finals.

MIKE TITCOMBE (Westlecot) and Shrivenham’s Scott Winskill have been drafted into the England U25 squad for the first time.

Both are named as the only two travelling reserves for the England junior men’s team due to compete in the British Isles Bowls Championships home junior (U25) international series to be played at Essex County Bowls Club (Westcliffe-on-Sea) over the weekend of September 14-15.