SWINDON’S two indoor clubs had much to celebrate last Sunday after the final group games of the regular campaign in the newly-created Thames Region of the Wessex League were completed.

Old Town-based Westlecot won their crucial final game of the 2018/19 season against Oxford City & County 77-71 to top the Thames table.

This was despite being depleted from their normal line-up owing to national championships in Hartlepool and Bowls England men's dinner and prize giving in Coventry where several of their Royal Wootton Bassett outdoor players had national awards to receive.

However, although the rink honours were shared 2-2, Westlecot won by six shots to collect 12 of the 16 points on offer and claim a seeded spot as a regional winner in the end of season play-offs for the overall Wessex League crown.

Meanwhile, Rodbourne Cheney-based Swindon Manor had lost their opening five matches but recorded their second win in a row in eight days in the basement clash with Rivermead (Reading) to haul themselves off the foot of the seven-team Thames table that they had occupied all season and avoid the wooden spoon.

Westlecot’s match was a close affair as expected between two clubs locked together at the top of the Thames table on 70 points each.

Across the board in the crucial clash the advantage switched from one side to the other and produced a nail biting rousing finale.

Westlecot led the Oxford side 17-15 after five ends but had slipped behind 29-32 after 10 ends but fought back to lead 52-47 at 15.

They held a 63-59 advantage at 18 ends, however, Oxford City and County hit back to lead 67-63 at 19 and 70-66 after 20 ends.

Westlecot were staring defeat in the face but the two home rinks came to the rescue to ease the team over the line in a dramatic finish.

The quartet of Denis Holborow, Huw Dawson, Barry Sictorness and Mikey Titcombe picked up a four on the 21st and last end to win their match 24-14.

While alongside the foursome of Dave Matthews, Joe Mazzotta, John Thomas and skip Tom Pittuck went one better recording a count of five to win their game 20-16 at 21 ends.

The plus 10 shots from Titcombe and plus four from Pittuck cancelled out the five shots loss suffered away by Terry Walton’s rink and the three shots reverse of Andy McIntyre’s foursome.

Westlecot with the 12 points for the overall win finish on 82 points to top the Thames Region table with Oxford City & County second on 74.

West Berks just missed -out on a play-offs spot ending in third place on 69 points.

Swindon Manor have endured a struggle for practically the whole of the 2018/19 season losing their first five games and only collecting 20 points from ten rink wins.

But they broke their duck on Sunday, February 17 with a 80-69 (14-2pts win) over Oxford & District but were still rooted at the foot of the table alongside Rivermead on a far inferior shots difference.

But Manor rose to the occasion last Sunday with their second win in eight days defeating Rivermead in a tense basement battle 74-73 but shared the rink honours 2-2.

However, the one shot victory was vital as Manor collected eight points for it coupled with the four for two rink wins to come out of the game with 12 of the 16 points on offer.

This lifted them off the bottom of the Thames table to leap above Rivermead (24pts), Banbury (27pts) and Oxford & District (28pts) and into fourth place on 32 points - a superb ending to the season for them.

The draw for the play-offs involving Westlecot, who are seeded as a regional winner and will meet a regional runner-up will be made at Westlecot tomorrow morning (Sunday) immediately following the Wessex League AGM.

The play-offs commence on Sunday March 10 with the quarter-finals the following Sunday.

The semi-finals at the two venues of Rugby Thornfield or Dolphin (Poole) will be held on March 31 with the final for the overall Wessex League crown allocated to Atherley (Southampton) on April 14.