St Andrews ready to take on two big national competitions

PUBLISHED: 14:22 01 November 2017

Wedmore Bowls Club.

Wedmore Bowls Club.


Bowlers from St Andrews are ready to take on the challenge of two big national competitions.

After a rare blank weekend, St Andrews face two big national competition tests on Saturday.

The ladies begin their Yetton Trophy inter-club quest in the morning against their Isle of Wedmore counterparts.

At the same time, two of the men’s team’s four rinks will be in action away to Clarrie Dunbar in the second round of the Denny Cup inter-club championship. Saints’ two home rinks will be playing against Clarrie in the afternoon.

There were notable performances by Saints’ members last week in the individual national competitions.

Pride of place must go to Barrie Forse, the club and Somerset county indoor singles champion, who faced a daunting first-round test against world No 6 Rob Paxton in the men’s Champion of Champions.

Paxton, well known from many TV matches, attracted a sizeable crowd of Saints’ members and other spectators, who they were enthralled by a terrific match lasting nearly three hours.

Forse, in top form, was ahead for most of the game, at one point 17-10 up, just four shots from victory. Then he dropped seven shots in successive ends to some world-class play from Paxton, who went on to win 21-19.

Some consolation for Forse came on Saturday, when he won by 21-10 away to Ilminster’s Chris Robinson in the national singles.

Two teams from St Andrews progressed in the national men’s pairs. Sixteen-year-old Sam Stocker and Andrew Owens beat the strong Watchet duo Jack Groves and Sam Steel 15-14 at home.

Lee Stocker and Craig Walker had a more comfortable victory, beating a team from Minehead 16-5, also at Thirlmere Road.

Saints’ England under-18 player Imogen Cracknell, who has just turned 16, has been selected for England indoor under-25 trials at City of Ely on November 11.

Family bragging rights were at stake in the Friday-night triples league at St Andrews when Odds On, skipped by Lee Stocker, met Yankees, skipped by his dad Mike.

One shot on the last end decided the match in favour of Lee, Hannah Frye and Malcolm Campbell against Mike, Carolina Venn and Richard Venn.

Wedmore played against Clevedon in the preliminary round of the Egham Cup, which is for mixed teams on a home and away basis.

The away rinks put in a good performance with a win and a tie. Steve Heeley’s rink started slowly but were then involved in lead switches, seizing the lead again on end 16, kept their noses in front to win 19-17.

Colin Moss’ side were in a closely-fought game when taking the lead with a three shot on end 19 looked timely, but two singletons from Clevedon tied the game.

At home was a different story with a double loss. Dave Nicholls’ rink were 11 shots down at end 16, but a strong surge of 10 shots on the last five ends almost pulled off a tie but lost 19-20.

Ray Newell’s team went down heavily and doubtless would prefer to draw a veil over the experience as Wedmore exited The Egham.

The men played 2+2 in the first round of the Denny Cup against Clarrie Dunbar. The rink score was even, but that hides some wild divergence in rink scores such that Wedmore lost overall on shots by 71-99.

At home, Ray Newell’s men got off to a cracking start and by end 11 were 20 shots to 3 up. The second half was almost as good, triumphing 32-9, winning 15 of the 21 ends.

By contrast, Ron Barron’s group struggled to make an impact and went down heavily. Away Colin Moss and co trailed early on and drew level on end 19. Scoring two on the last end gave them an 18-17 victory. Dave Nicholls crew could only score on five ends and so lost by a big score.

In a mixed friendly at home to Burnham, Wedmore won on both rinks. Skippers Don Trow and Roger McHale both led their teams to big score victories, but considering Burnham have no indoor rinks they made a good effort.

On the social front, the club had an annual luncheon when 27 presentations were made to winners in the outdoor competitions.

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