SEVERAL local players from Westlecot Indoor Bowls Club are on the brink of clinching a place in the last 16 of the national championships that are being staged at Hartlepool at the end of February or Nottingham later in the spring.

They have reached the Area 16 finals in the mixed pairs and fours or one of the five main events in the ladies or men’s singles – pairs, triples, fours and two bowl singles or the age group competitions.

First up are Neil Smith and his two daughters Lucy, 23 and Katy 22, plus Westlecot colleague Ian Jefferies in the national mixed fours.

They were due to play Julia Hiley, Anne Marie-Murray, Andy Knapper and Rob Newman (Whiteknights, Reading) in the Area 14 final at Loddon Vale IBC (Basingstoke) last night, seeking a place at Hartlepool.

The quartet finished as runners-up in the national final held at Lincoln in 2016, beaten 21-20 by Blackpool Newton Hall on the last end.

Then Neil and Katy Smith are due to face at Loddon Vale Rob Newman and his partner Cheryl Colby in the Area 14 mixed pairs final tonight at Loddon Vale, with the winner again booking a place at Hartlepool.

In the men’s national championship events, Neil Smith is still deeply involved in the pairs, triples, fours and over 50s triples.

Together with Chris Cheesley, the duo play Michael Knight and Newman (Whiteknights) in the Area 14 pairs final on February 28 at Oxford City & County.

Smith, together with Mel Biggs (lead) and number two Jefferies, have reached the Area 14 triples final and will meet Reading’s Newman, plus Michael Knight and Simon Jones, in the area national final at Oxford City & County on February 19.

The same three Westlecot players, plus Cheesley, are through to the Area 14 national fours final at Oxford City & County on March 1 where they will play Duncan Christie, Alan Symondson, Lloyd Sabatini and Andy Knapper (Whiteknights).

Meanwhile, Smith (skip) Biggs (lead) and Jefferies have reached the semi-final stages in the Area 14 O50s triples.

Biggs, along with Dave Snell, Barry Sictorness and Terry Walton, are through to the semi-finals in the O60s fours after a tough battle against Westlecot colleagues Dave Matthews, Mike Shawyer, Ian Farragher and John Thomas, edging home 17-15.

Biggs, along with Snell, have also reached the over 60s pairs semi-finals.

In the ladies’ national championship events in Area 14, Lucy and Katy Smith have reached the area pairs final following a narrow 20-19 victory over England international Donna Knight and partner from West Berks.

But the Smiths, plus Jayne Croston, bowed out of the area triples, beaten in the semi-finals 17-14 by Westlecot colleagues Wendy Anderson, Ginny Nash and Janet Willis.

They will now face a trio from Whiteknights in the Area 14 final, which has to be arranged.

  • A FINE run by the Westlecot mixed team in the national Top Club competition came to an abrupt end last Sunday in Bristol.

And with it went the last hope this season of the Old Town club landing a national team title for the first time since 2003.

Westlecot lost 14-2 on points to top Devon indoor club Exonia in the Top Club quarter-finals that were held at Bristol City & County IBC.

They only collected two points in the ladies two wood singles, courtesy of Lucy Smith’s 21-10 victory.

Mike Titcombe lost 21-16 in the other two wood singles game.

While Westlecot went down 19-8 to Ian Lesley in the mixed fours, lost 25-15 in the mixed triples to Sam Tolchard and to round-off a bad day at the office, they lost the mixed pairs 24-16 to Louis Ridout.