Category Archives: Middleton Cup & Balcomb Trophy

Balcomb Trophy – Team Manager report

Balcomb Trophy Report
Dave Godwin, Team Manager

Well what a day that was. We had high hopes for a first final after a great achievement of qualifying for the first time in Wiltshire’s history, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. We got off to a great start picking up a 5 on 1 rink, but unfortunately the other rink found it hard to get on to the scoresheet for a number of ends. Although it was never out of sight we were always in the game right up to the last few ends and if Cumbria hadn’t got a little bit of luck on the penultimate end things could’ve been very different. To only lose by 6 shots to a very good Cumbria side, and I know that our side would say they could’ve bowled better, it was hard to take but a great achievement and another platform to build on for next year.

I would also like to thank all our reserves who attended the match and of course all our supporters, without you there would be no point I playing so thank you all again.

Roll on next season.

Balcomb Trophy Regional Finals 25/06/23 Report

Report by Mikey Titcombe


Following a tense 1 shot victory at Royal Wootton Bassett over Somerset, Wiltshire travelled to Ilminster for the regional finals of the Balcomb Trophy. Wiltshire faced Herefordshire in the morning session, with a win meaning they would move onto the afternoon session, where they would take on Gloucestershire or Devon for a place at the national finals at Leamington.

Wiltshire vs Herefordshire

The match started incredibly tightly, with neither side able to gain much of an advantage. Just 12 shots were scored across the two rinks in the first 5 ends of the game. Wiltshire led 7-5, with Russ Francis 5-2 ahead, and Graham Shadwell trailing by a single shot, 2-3.

At the 10 end mark there was still very little to split the two sides, and Herefordshire had moved in front by a single shot. Russ had been pegged back to 8-7 by Tom Holmes, whilst Graham trailed 7-9 to Shaun Jones.

The tide began to turn over the next 5 end spell, as Wiltshire moved into a 6 shot lead. Russ was now trailing 11-13, however a huge count of 6, followed by a 3 on the 13th and 14th ends meant Graham had now forged ahead at 18-10.

Across the next 3 ends, Wiltshire managed to extend their lead to 7 shots. Shaun Jones’s Herefordshire rink rallied against Graham, scoring 4 shots without reply to cut our lead to 18-14. However, in contrasting fashion, Russ & co scored 5 shots without reply and now led 16-13.

Graham’s rink finished strongly, winning the last 3 ends 5-1 to record a 23-15 victory. A fantastic bowl from Tom Holmes on the 19th end made a 4 for Herefordshire to reduce the deficit and with the two remaining ends both being on Russell’s rink against Tom, it was down to them to finish the job. Fortunately for us, with Herefordshire chasing shots, Wiltshire scored a 3 and the final end did not need to be played, with Wiltshire having an unassailable 10 shot lead, 42-32.

In the other semi-final, Gloucestershire recorded a convincing win over Devon. Therefore, the stage was set for the afternoon, as Wiltshire faced Gloucestershire with a place in the national finals at Leamington at stake.

Final Scores

Wiltshire beat Herefordshire 42-32

Kyle Anderson, Neil Yeoman, Steve Snell and Graham Shadwell beat Shaun Jones 23-15

Tom Warner, Mikey Titcombe, Neil Collett and Russ Francis beat Tom Holmes 19-17


Wiltshire vs Gloucestershire

With Gloucestershire on a high from a fantastic win in the morning session, this was never going to be an easy game for Wiltshire. Graham Shadwell’s rink took on Lee Williamson, and Russell Francis & co took on Nathan Kitchen.

At 5 ends, it was Gloucestershire who had the upper hand, and Wiltshire trailed 5-11. A tough first end for Wiltshire saw Russ drop a count of 3, and Graham drop a 4. After 5 ends, Graham had recovered slightly to 3-5, whilst Russ trailed 2-6.

However, over the next 5 ends, Wiltshire recovered strongly. Winning this spell of the game 7-3, helped by a count of 4, Russ recovered to even things up on his rink 9-9, whilst a count of 5 helped Graham to move into an 11-7 lead, meaning a 20-16 lead as we approached the halfway stage.

This truly was proving to be a see-saw battle, as at 15 ends it was Gloucestershire who had their noses in front once again. Both our rinks were narrowly trailing, with Russ scoring a 4 on the 11th end but unfortunately losing the next 4 ends to trail 13-14. It was a tough spell for Graham’s rink who lost this period of the game 1-7 to trail 12-14.

Not wanting to be denied, the momentum once again turned in Wiltshire’s favour. A huge moment in the match saw Graham score a 7 on the 16th end, followed by a 3 on the 18th end to now lead his rink 22-16. Things were still incredibly tight next-door on Russ’s rink, as they trailed by a single shot 15-16. This meant a 37-32 lead for Wiltshire heading into the final stages of the match.

Scores of 2 from Graham’s rink and 4 from Russell’s rink seemed to have put one foot into the national semi-finals at Leamington for Wiltshire, but Gloucestershire were not ready to give up the fight, and both their rinks scored counts of 4 on the 20th end to reduce the gap to just 3 shots. Graham dropped a 1 on his final end, meaning Russell’s rink needed to defend Wiltshire’s 2 shot advantage on his last end.

After the front ends had bowled, Wiltshire held the winning shot, and the bowl looked difficult to move. Following some very close attempts from Gloucestershire and some good cover bowls from the Wiltshire backend, it was down to Nathan Kitchen to bowl his last bowl and attempt to make 2 shots for Gloucestershire and force Russ to play his last bowl. A super effort sliced the jack, but not quite far enough, meaning 1 shot to Wiltshire and our place at Leamington officially secured!

A great battle with Gloucestershire with us just edging it to advance to the national semi-finals. We now face Cumbria at Leamington on Sunday 20th August, with a place in the final later that same day at stake, taking on either Essex or Buckinghamshire.

Final Scores

Wiltshire beat Gloucestershire 44-41

Tom Warner, Mikey Titcombe, Neil Collett and Russ Francis drew with Nathan Kitchen 20-20

Kyle Anderson, Neil Yeoman, Steve Snell and Graham Shadwell beat Lee Williamson 24-21

Middleton Cup vs Dorset 24/06/23 Match Report

Report by Mikey Titcombe

Following a disappointing defeat away to Devon last week, but with the consolation of collecting 5 points, Wiltshire hosted Dorset in the final game of the group stage campaign. The aim was to pile the pressure on Devon before they travel to Gloucestershire for their final match on 8th July.

Wiltshire came out of the blocks flying, with all rinks scoring on their first ends to build a 10 shot lead instantly. However, Dorset rallied and moved ahead by 1 shot overall at the 5 end mark. Mikey Titcombe’s rink led 6-3, with Russ Francis and Steve Snell’s rinks also holding narrow advantages at 6-5 and 4-2 respectively. Graham Shadwell and Neil Collett were both level with their oppositions at this point, whilst Neil Yeoman was trailing 2-9.

At the 10 end stage, Wiltshire moved in front overall 56-51. Steve Snell’s rink were slowly starting to pull away from their opposition at 9-4 ahead, whilst Neil Collett broke the deadlock on his rink and moved into a 10-6 lead. Russ Francis and Mikey Titcombe maintained small advantages at 10-8 and 9-8 respectively. Graham Shadwell was still locked level with his opposition at 12-12, whilst Neil Yeoman’s rink, although trailing 6-13, seemed to be building some momentum.

Knowing a strong win was required, a huge effort from Wiltshire over the next 5 ends saw them remarkably increase their lead from 5 shots overall to 37 shots. Mikey Titcombe’s rink had moved 10 shots ahead, scoring a 6 and a 4 in the process. Neil Collett also led by the same margin, scoring 7 shots with no reply in ends 12-15. Back to back 2’s followed by a huge count of 7 brought Graham Shadwell from 12-14 behind to 23-14 in front, whilst Steve Snell won this period of the game 4 shots to 1 to extend his lead to 13-5. Neil Yeoman’s rink came roaring back from their 7 shot deficit and now led 16-14, whilst Russ Francis was still involved in a tight battle and trailed 12-14.

By the 18 end mark, it was clear that the overall win was secure, with Wiltshire leading 127-77. All that was left now was to see how many rink wins Wiltshire could secure. Four rinks were seemingly already safe, with Neil Collett’s rink continuing their charge, adding another 6 shots with no reply to lead 23-7. In similar fashion, Steve Snell’s rink had not conceded a shot since the 11th end, and now led 20-5. Mikey Titcombe’s rink maintained their 10 shot advantage at 25-15, whilst Graham Shadwell was still leading by 9 shots, 26-17.

The rinks still up for grabs were Neil Yeoman’s rink who were holding onto a 1 shot lead at 19-18, and Russ Francis’s rink who had reduced the gap of 2 shots at 15 ends to just a single shot at 18 ends, 14-15.

As the match drew to a close, the 4 rinks that were winning strongly did indeed win as expected. Neil Collett’s rink won 27-10, whilst Mikey Titcombe recorded a 14 shot victory, 30-16. Graham Shadwell in usual high scoring fashion won 30-19, whilst a late flurry from Steve Snell’s opposition reduced their deficit very slightly to 10 shots, 20-10.

Neil Yeoman’s rink went into the last end all square at 20-20 and a fortunate result from the opposing skip made it incredibly difficult for us to secure the winning shot. A superb effort from Neil narrowly missed the target, meaning a 1 shot loss and 2 points to Dorset.

Russ Francis trailed by 1 shot going into the last end and unfortunately when looking to make the 2 required to secure the 2 points for Wiltshire, things didn’t quite fall our way and Russ dropped 2 shots, meaning a 15-18 loss and the rink points to Dorset.

The final score of 18 points to 4 and a 142 shots to 94 victory means Devon will require 9 points when they face Gloucestershire to guarantee their spot in the quarter-finals. Gloucestershire also retain marginal hopes, as they must beat Devon on all rinks by a very convincing margin to take themselves through to the quarter-finals. All Wiltshire could do this weekend was apply pressure and this has been achieved, so a successful Saturday all in all. We now sit tight and await the results from the final week of fixtures on 8th July.


Final Score – Wiltshire beat Dorset 18 points to 4, 142 shots to 92.

Alfie Holland, Jake Webster, Dave Godwin and Graham Shadwell beat W Garnett 30-19

Barry Sictorness, Dave Snell, Andy Moore and Neil Yeoman lost to C Stephens 20-21

Tom Warner, Fraser Boynton, Craig Hatherall and Mikey Titcombe beat M Pavey 30-16

Andy Blake, James Richman, Tom Pittuck and Russ Francis lost to C Kane 15-18

Jordan Moody, James Nobbs, Graham Hatherall and Neil Collett beat G Young 27-10

Kyle Anderson, Shaun Hicks, Tom Walkley and Steve Snell beat C Thorne 20-10

BW Men beat Gloucestershire in Balcomb Trophy to reach Leamington

BW Men this afternoon beat Gloucestershire 44 shots to 41 in the West Regional Final of the Balcomb Trophy at Ilminster BC.

Rink Scores

Kyle Anderson, Neil Yeoman, Steve Snell & Graham Shadwell beat Lee Williamson 24 – 21

Tom Warner, Mikey Titcombe, Neil Collett & Russell Francis drew 20 -20 with Nathan Kitchen

They will now play either Cumbria or Derbyshire in the semi Final on Sunday 20th August at the National Finals at Leamington.

BW Men into West Regional Final of the Balcomb Trophy

BW Men this morning took on Herefordshire in the West Regional Final of the Balcomb Trophy which was played at Ilminster BC winning on both rinks to move into this afternoons final where they will take Gloucestershire who beat Devon.

Rink Scores

Russell Francis won 19 – 17 against Tom Holmes

Graham Shadwell won 23 – 15 against Shaun Jones.

Comfortable win for BW Men in Middleton Cup

BW Men had a convincing win in this afternoons Middleton Cup match against Dorset at Royal Wootton Bassett.

Rink scores

Rink 1 Graham Shadwell won 30 – 19 against W Garnett

Rink 2 Neil Yeoman lost 20 – 21 to C Stephens

Rink 3 Mikey Titcombe won 30 – 16 against M Pavey

Rink 4 Russell Francis lost 15 – 18 to C Kane

Rink 5 Neil Collett won 27 – 10 against G Young

Rink 6 Steve Snell won 20 – 10 against C Thorne

So 142 shots to 94 in favour of Bowls Wiltshire and 18 points to 4

BW Men have now completed their Round Robin matches and must now wait until July 8th to see if Gloucestershire can beat Devon.

Balcomb Trophy Regional Finals 25.06.23 team announced

Please see team sheet followed by player information

Wiltshire Balcomb Trophy Regional Final Players  & Guests
Bowls England – Regional Finals
Player Information Regarding Balcomb Trophy on 25 June 2023

Ilminster Bowling & Tennis Club are delighted to welcome you to the Bowls England Regional Final in the Balcomb Trophy which will be held on Sunday 25th June. Players are requested to arrive by 9:30 am with play commencing at 10 am .


The address of the club is Ilminster Bowling & Tennis Club , Shudrick Lane , Ilminster , Somerset , TA19 0BN . The best place to park is See attached information sheet.

Car Parking

Ilminster Bowling Club has space for 50 car parking spaces available to all players, visitors, and officials, this is the club carpark – no charge. If these spaces are all filled, you have the following options to park –

  • Tesco – This has a 3-hour time limit on parking, however Ilminster can request space for the club if needed.
  • Free Public Car Park Shudrick Lane – There is also a public car park which has spaces for 100 cars if need (This is free on a Sunday)

Format of Day

  • 9:30am – All players/teams to have arrived
  • 9:45am – Bowls on the Green for inspection
  • 10:00am – Regional Semi-Final Commences
  • 2:00pm (Approx.) – Regional Final commences
  • 5:30/6:00pm – Play concludes and players/teams depart


Food Availability
Ilminster Bowling Club are supplying tea & coffee for free for all players and officials, for all players when arriving at the venue on the Sunday 25th June.

Please see below attached lunch menu option for the day. We do also offer Sunday Lunch ( this is pre bookings only ) Please contact the club if you wish to pre book Sunday lunch or off the standard menu Email-  email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 01460 52268 to book.

The club bar will be open all day and supported by the club steward and team of staff. The club accepts card and contactless. If you wish to just pay in cash this is fine as well.


Ilminster would like to encourage you to bring guest to the event , we will of course love to welcome spectators , if you would like to learn more about the club before attending go to our website




Middleton Cup vs Dorset 24.06.23 team announced

The selectors have had a really tough decision to make for selecting the final game given our result against Devon last weekend. A number of variations have been tabled and numerous discussions have been had, however we are confident that we have picked a strong team with the right balance of rewarding those committed to this year’s campaign and also playing well. We need a good result against Dorset and the rest is up to Gloucestershire doing the business against Devon to see if we can qualify. Any issues please do let me know as soon as possible.

Dave Godwin
Middleton Cup Team Manager

Defeat for BW Men in the Middleton Cup

BW Men suffered their first defeat in this Middleton Cup campaign against Devon at Topsham BC.

Rink Scores

Rink 1 Steve Snell lost 15 – 17 to R Whitlock

Rink 2 Mikey Titcombe lost 18 – 25 to J Webber

Rink 3 Neil Yeoman 10 – 26 to A Southgate

Rink 4 Dave Godwin won 17 – 13 against L Rideout

Rink 5 Neil Collett drew 19 – 19 with G Sanders

Rink 6 Russell Francis won 17 – 16 against J Hampton

A 116 shots to 96 shots meaning a 17 points to 5 points defeat.

Next Saturday BW Wiltshire Men take on Dorset at Royal Wootton Bassett starting at 2.00pm