On Monday 10 July Royal Wootton Bassett hosted the quarter finals of the men’s four wood singles to see who would attend the county semi-finals this coming Sunday at Devizes BC.
Mike Titcombe (Westlecot) vs Danny Russell (Salisbury)
On paper this match should have been a cracker for players and spectators alike. However, young Mike Titcombe came out of the blocks flying! Despite dropping a single on the first end, Mike picked up 9 shots over the next 5 ends to take a 9-1 lead at 6 ends. Danny then got a deserved single shot, before dropping a 2 from good bowls by Mike, before then picking up a further one. This left the scores at 11-3 to Mike after 9 ends. Unfortunately for Danny, with the opportunity of reaching the semi-finals beckoning for Mike, he cranked up the gears and picked up the 10 shots he needed in just 6 ends running out a 21-3 winner. Mike then eagerly awaited to see who he would play on Sunday.
Graham Shadwell (Spencer Moulton) vs Justin Davis (Holt)
Another cracking game on the cards involved long-time Middleton skip and England International Graham Shadwell playing newly-promoted Middleton skip Justin Davis. Unfortunately for Justin, Graham arrived with keen intent and took an early 11-1 lead after just 6 ends. A superb three shots for Justin on the 7th end brought the game closer and it looked like the comeback might be on. Unfortunately for Justin a string of singles and doubles meant Graham took a 19-7 lead after 15 ends. Justin tried to rally and picked up 5 shots over the next three ends to bring the scoreline to 19-12 to Graham. However, Graham then picked up the two shots he needed and ran out a 21-12 winner. Graham will now play Mike in the semi final.
Graham Hatherall (Westlecot) vs Ben Gadd (Holt)
The next match saw two first-class players doing battle and the second contingent from Westlecot and Holt in the quarter-finals. Graham started well taking an early 5-0 lead after 3 ends before Ben caught the weight and ramped up the pressure taking 7 shots without reply to even the scores at 7-5 to Ben after 7 ends. Despite a couple of singles from Graham over the next few ends, Ben started playing really well and picked up a number of shots to take a 15-8 lead after 15 ends. Ben then played a brilliant end to take three shots on the next end to take an 18-8 lead at 16 ends. Despite this setup Graham’s experience and calm demeanor shone through and he picked up 10 unanswered shots over the five ends to even the scores at 18-18 at 21 ends! Unfortunately for Graham Ben then picked up a single and a double to take the match 21-18 and book his place in the semi-finals.
Tom Pittuck (Swindon Town Gardens) vs Russell Francis (Spencer Moulton)
This match was one to watch with the young, enigmatic Tom playing the experienced Middleton Cup skip and National Triples winner Russell (Spencer’s second contingent in the quarter-finals with his club mate already securing his place in the semis). The game started very closely with neither player giving anything away and the score line of 10-8 to Tom at 13 ends showed the low-scoring taking place. This fashion continued until the 21st end when the scores were tied at 14-14 (after Russell had played a fantastic end to secure three shots). The next couple ends proved to be difficult for Tom in which Russell picked up two doubles back-to-back to take an 18-15 lead after 24 ends. However, not to be undone the youngster dug in and picked up a treble on end 25 to level the field. The game then swung in Tom’s favour with a brilliant single and double on ends 26 and 27 to win the match 21-18 after 2 hours and 10 minutes!
Semi Final line up (approx 12.30pm Sunday 16 July at Devizes BC)
Mike Titcombe vs Graham Shadwell
Ben Gadd vs Tom Pittuck