WILTSHIRE’S men and women’s bowls teams were both beaten last weekend in their respective inter-county championship matches.

The men, although sharing rink honours 3-3, lost their second-round Liberty Trophy clash against Somerset 138-118 away at Bristol City & County IBC on Saturday.

While the ladies also won three of the six rinks contested, they agonisingly lost 115-112 away to Dorset in their second-round Atherley Trophy tie played at Dorchester.

The county men’s side, containing 14 players from Westlecot IBC, trailed throughout their match with Somerset but kept matters tight in the first half of the game before slipping behind.

They were 29-27 down after five ends, 62-57 down at 10 and fell 97-88 adrift at 15. Wiltshire cut the gap to 116-109 at 18 ends but Somerset upped their to claim a 138-118 success.

The all-Westlecot rink of Andy McIntyre, George Twine, Phil Gregory and skip Mike Titcombe collected the top Wiltshire honours with a 26-15 victory.

The all-Royal Wootton Bassett outdoor rink but Westlecot indoor players, led by Kyle Anderson, edged home 20-17, while the Five Rivers (Salisbury) four won 27-18.

However, the Andy Moore (North Wilts) rink lost 21-15, the Peter Ward (Salisbury) rink lost 30-18, and Neil Smith’s quartet went down 37-12 to Somerset’s top man Graham Shadwell, who ironically plays outdoor for Wiltshire.

Somerset progress to the Liberty Trophy quarter-finals and face Devon at home on January 11.

The Wiltshire ladies’ team that was loaded with North Wilts (Chippenham) players and only contained four from Westlecot went even closer than the men to victory against Dorset, only losing by three shots.

They trailed 26-23 at five ends, 59-54 at 10 and were 81-73 down across the board at 15 ends but then fought back to cut the gap to 98-96 at 18.

Despite their valiant efforts, they could not close the gap any further and finally lost 115-112.

Wiltshire won on three rinks, with the all-North Wilts four skipped by Bev Lilley recording a 27-11 victory.

There were also wins for the rinks skipped by Westlecot’s former multi-national champion Wendy Anderson that also contained Sue Reeve at lead (25-15) and North Wilts’ Jean Collier (23-18).

However, this was not quite enough to wipe out the losses suffered by Irene Button’s North Wilts rink (27-7), Fizz Mace’s quartet (22-14) and Sheila Garlick’s rink (22-16).

  • MIKE Titcombe, from the Westlecot indoor club, missed out in his bid for a last-16 place and the final stages of the men’s U25s singles championship at Spalding at the end of January.

In the Area 14 section of the competition, he had a first-round bye and in round two beat Joe Glenn (Oxford City & County) 2-0 in sets.

The quarter-finals saw Titcombe eliminate Westlecot team-mate Phil Gregory 2-1 in a tie-break and he clinched his place in the Area 14 final with a 2-0 semi-final victory against another Westlecot colleague Craig Hatherall.

The area final on Monday played at the neutral venue of Oxford City & County was a topsy-turvy affair against Whiteknights Reading’s England junior international Lloyd Sabatini.

Sabatini settled the quickest and raced to an 11-2 win in the first set.

However, Titcombe fought back to take the second set 12-0 and force a three-end tie-break, which he lost 2-0.

Despite Titcombe’s loss, the Westlecot club will still be represented in the U25s finals.

Katy Smith qualified for a last-16 place at Spalding in the ladies finals when successful in the West regional finals played at Bristol City & County in November.

She plays Hannah Smith (Welford-on-Avon, Warks) in the last 16 on January 25.

  • SWINDON’S two indoor bowls clubs, Old Town-based Westlecot and Rodbourne Cheney-based Swindon Manor, go into the Christmas break after enduring contrasting first halves to their 2019/20 campaigns in the Thames region of the Wessex League.

Westlecot bounced back from their loss to Loddon Vale (Basingstoke) to beat last season’s Thames runners-up Oxford City & County 84-63 and are currently third in the table.

West Berks (Newbury) lead the table on 46 points, with Loddon Vale second on 40. Below Westlecot, Oxford C&C sit fourth on 32 points.

These four clubs have played three matches each and will certainly contest for a top-two spot and an automatic place in the end-of-season play-offs for the overall Wessex League title.

Westlecot still have to play Rivermead (Reading) on January 5 and Oxford & District a fortnight later. Their last match with West Berks looks to be a crucial to decide a top-two finish on the last day of the regular season on February 23.

Swindon Manor felt the full force of the strong Loddon Vale, Hampshire, side last weekend as they crashed to their fourth defeat of the season.

They went down 82-64 and only collected two of the 16 points on offer.

Barry Romain was the man to grab those, skipping his rink to a 25-16 away success in Basingstoke.

It doubled Manor’s overall points total to four but could not lift them off the foot of the table.

Manor have every chance to avoid the Thames region wooden spoon as their last two games are against the two sides just above them in the league table – Oxford & District and Rivermead (Reading).