WILTSHIRE men have reached the semi-finals in the inter-county indoor championship for the first time in 21 years.

The 24-strong Moonrakers side, containing 14 players from Westlecot, booked their place in the last four of the Liberty Trophy alongside Kent, Norfolk and Lincolnshire with a superb performance against Devon last Saturday at Isca IBC (Exeter).

They toppled the holders 126-108 after taking the spoils on three of the six rinks and draw on another.

The foursome of Jordan Moody (Five Rivers, Salisbury) and Westlecot trio Tom Pittuck, Phil Gregory and team manager Neil Smith recorded Wiltshire’s highest winning margin in a 33-12 success.

The all-Westlecot rink of Barry Sictorness, Chris Cheesley Mel Biggs and skipped by Mike Titcombe carded the next best winning margin of six shots, as did the rink led by Christie Miller stalwart Andy Moore.

The foursome of Tom Newman (Christie Miller) plus Westlecot trio Terry Walton, Dave Godwin and skip Kyle Anderson drew 20-20, while the other all-Westlecot rink skipped by Ian Jefferies and the rink led by Tom Warner went down by 11 and four shots respectively.

The game was a rip-roaring contest, with the lead changing hands on several occasions.

Devon made the best start across the board, leading overall 30-22 after five ends but Wiltshire upped the pace to wipe out the deficit and move ahead 63-58 at halfway.

Wiltshire extended this advantage to 86-80 at 15 ends and were still up 104-98 at 18 ends.

Moonrakers then sealed the victory with a strong finish, scoring 22 shots and only conceding 10 for a final scoreline of 126-108.

Player/manager Smith said: “It was a brilliant performance from everyone. This has been coming for the last few seasons.

“We have rebuilt the team and instilled the belief in them that we are good enough to go all the way.

“I have always believed that, now the team are believing and enjoying it.

“This is Wiltshire’s best run (in the Liberty Trophy) since the three glory years of the 90s - runner-up, winner and semi-finalist - three years on the trot.”

Wiltshire will face Kent in the semi-finals on March 3 on a neutral green.

  • COUNTY men saw victory slip over Gloucestershire in their latest friendly slip away as they were beaten 118-116-118 at North Wilts.

Wiltshire led 115-106 with only the final end to play. However, they only scored a single on Dave Richards’ rink and dropped a four on Clive Swift’s rink, a three on Martin Salter’s rink and two counts of two and a single to concede 12 shots and lose by two shots overall.

Wiltshire trailed 25-35 at five ends and 56-57 at 10 but then turned things around to move ahead 84-82 after 15 and 103-98 after 18 ends only to collapse on the run-in to the finishing line, only taking the honours on two of the six rinks.

President Ashley Ponting claimed the top rink award, while Martin Salter (Westlecot) was also victorious.

The county men’s next friendly match is on Saturday away against Dorset at Dolphin IBC (Poole).