St Andrews quartet enjoy national fours victory

PUBLISHED: 12:57 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:57 12 December 2018




A quartet of bowlers from St Andrews defeated Ilminster in the EIBA national fours championship.

Craig Walker skipped his multi-talented quartet to a hard-fought home victory against a team from Ilminster in the EIBA national fours championship.

With Dave Alder ruled out after a finger operation, Walker, Lee and Sam Stocker were able to call on the considerable services of club champion Barrie Forse as a super sub.

Forse, who spent the spent the first 10 years of his long bowls career as a lead, slipped back seamlessly into his former role, as the team won 19-11.

The match hinged on a two-end spell with the score 5-5. The Saints’ team picked up nine shots in those ends and never looked in danger after that in a high-quality match.

Earlier the same day, Forse had been pipped 21-19 at home by Taunton’s formidable competitor Simon Barnard in the national singles.

There was further success for a Saints’ team in the national over-50 triples, when Ken Curtis, Mike Stocker and George Webber came from 2-6 down to beat a Taunton Deane quartet 17-9 at home.

St Andrews were forced to field a depleted team for their first Somerset County League match of the season and paid the penalty, losing by three shots.

The away rinks did their bit, winning by a total of 17. Mike Stocker’s rink led 16-4 after 10 of the 21 ends and, despite conceding a six, finished nine shots clear.

Barrie Forse’s quartet edged gradually ahead and, with two ends to go, led by 11. The three shots they dropped in the final ends proved ultimately decisive.

However, the real damage had been done at home. Although the four skipped by Brian Reeves never got going, they were level after 17 ends, then shipped eight shots to lose by that number.

Phil Villis’ team found their visitors in top form, but trailed by just five after 15 ends, at which point Saints led overall by eight shots.

Then a Taunton five, followed by three in the next two ends, swung the match their way, as Villis’ men lost by 12.

St Andrews 66 (4), Taunton 69 (12) – home: R Brereton, T Yeeles, T Ware, B Reeves 11-19; R Smith, T Bray, G Webber, P Villis 12-24. Away: G Millard, G Cooper, K Curtis, M Stocker 25-16; K Uglow, R Venn, S Davies, B Forse 18-10.

This Sunday, Saints bid for a place in the last 16 of the national Top Club competition when they are away to Taunton Deane (10am).

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