St Andrews bowlers looking to progress in national events

PUBLISHED: 09:57 16 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:57 16 February 2018

Bowls.

Bowls.

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St Andrews bowlers are looking to progress further in national competitions, with five members in action this weekend.

Five members of St Andrews will be bidding for places in the last 32 of national competitions this weekend, the club’s busiest spell of the season.

Firstly, on Saturday morning, Sam (17) and Lee Stocker and Craig Walker will be attempting to beat a team from Bridport in the area final of the EIBA men’s triples at Street. The winners will meet a Clarrie Dunbar trio in the regional play-offs.

Later on that day, Saints’ players Barrie Forse and Andrew Owens will both be taking on opponents from Weymouth-based Moonfleet in area singles finals.

Forse, Somerset county singles champion for the last two years, plays Darren Nutman in the men’s singles at Ilminster. At the same time and in the same place, Owens faces Martin Puckett at the equivalent stage of the men’s two-wood singles.

Puckett competed in the recent televised world indoor championships at Potters and will be a difficult opponent for Owens, a former national two-wood singles champion outdoors. Forse’s opponent Nutman beat Puckett to reach his area final.

Normally, loads of Saints’ members would be travelling to Street and Ilminster to support their players. But St Andrews have two four-rink matches on Saturday – the County League against Minehead in the morning and Weston Mixed League against Clarence in the afternoon – which will require 32 players.

Sunday is equally as busy, with the Somerset county two-rink against Ilminster and final Wessex League fixture of the season against Thornbury both being played in the morning. Saints’ resources will be stretched to the limit.

Last Sunday, for the third match running, a crushing defeat on one away rink proved costly for Saints as they lost by seven shots to Christie Miller in the Wessex League.

Lee Stocker, using bowls he had acquired only the day before, skipped his home rink to victory by 15 shots. Roger Brereton, making his Wessex debut, played a full part in the 15-shot win by Craig Walker’s home quartet, for whom Ken Curtis was also using shiny, new woods.

The away rinks found it much tougher on the fast surface at Christie Miller. Barrie Forse’s four limited the damage to a seven-shot defeat, but the other away rink were outplayed to lose by 30 shots, which undid the good work of the other Saints’ teams.

The nine shots that they conceded on the 20th and 21st ends proved ultimately decisive in the overall result.

St Andrews 81 (4), Christie Miller 88 (12) – home: T Hyde, R Venn, S Stocker, L Stocker 26-11; A Owens, R Brereton, K Curtis, C Walker 29-14. Away: G Cooper, A McMillan, D Johnston, B Forse 18-25; J Keay, G Webber, P Villis, M Stocker 8-38.

It was a quiet week in the individual competitions. However, Barrie Forse took a notable scalp when he travelled to Clarrie Dunbar and beat the formidable Keith Bailey 21-8 in the Somerset county singles championship.

Sam Stocker had a good victory in the county under-25 singles, beating Bristol’s Jordan Sparey 21-14 at home on Sunday evening.

Hannah Frye, who was deputising for Mo Millard, Jackie Pitman and Ann Campbell lost 8-25 in the national ladies’ triples away to a very strong Taunton Deane trio, skipped by England player Kirsty Hembrow.

Puriton 30, St Andrews 31 (mixed friendly): Jenny Webb, M Dew, Judy Forse, Wendy Weller 14-13; B Weller, D Reynolds, Jill Bishop, Adrian Cooper 17-17.

Isle of Wedmore 42, St Andrews 29 (ladies’ friendly): H Frye, J Webb, F Allen, S Sinclair 15-26; D Cooper, J Yeates, J Forse, I Cracknell 14-16.

Ladies’ friendly (Feb 5): Woodspring 28, St Andrews 44. J Webb, J Forse, A Campbell 29-8; J Yeates, B Mangan, R McMillan 15-20.

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