The Men’s Fours is now underway, with the competition reaching the last 16 stage. This week the remaining teams will battle it out to secure their places in the all-important Semi-Final at Devizes later in the season, where a place at the end of season National Finals at Leamington will be on the line.
The first of the eight last 16 ties sees P Lucas and his Malmesbury rink taking on Colin Easton’s Avon side. They have had contrasting runs so far, as Colin & co eased through their previous round away at Spencer Melksham 28-1, whilst the Malmesbury quartet have been pushed hard in their opening fixtures, edging past four of their clubmates 17-16 in round 1, before securing their last 16 place with a 16-12 victory over Dave Johns and his Calne teammates.
In the same quarter of the draw, Jeremy Haselton’s Chippenham Town combination will face a home tie against Chris Cheesley’s Wootton Bassett Four. Both rinks were pushed hard in their previous encounters, with Chris emerging victorious over Richard Young’s Highworth rink on an extra end, and Jeremy edging past clubmate Neil Connor 16-14.
Adam Bolwell’s Spencer Moulton quartet have also made the last 16 of the competition. They went to the wire with Holt’s Tony Keating in the opening round, winning 15-14, but obviously built some confidence from this, as they enjoyed a more comfortable victory in their next fixture, recording an 18-7 win over another Holt rink led by Graham Archard. They will take on Danny Harvey’s Rodbourne side, who emerged victorious over D McLurgh of Stratton, 20-15.
Bob Armstrong’s quartet’s reward for winning through their opening two fixtures is a last 16 tie at home, taking on M Griffiths of Spencer Moulton. After a strong 23-3 victory at home over Steve Mitchell, they followed this up by securing their place in the last 16 away at Wilton against M Crane, recording a 26-22 win in a high-scoring affair. The Griffiths rink has also recorded two strong wins, a 23-16 win away at Devizes was followed up with another strong showing at home, securing a victory over T Riccio’s Holt combination.
Over to the bottom half of the draw now, and in the first of two matches at Wootton Bassett in the last 16, Andy Crump’s side will take on a tough test against last year’s winner, Wayne Simmonds and his quartet. It hasn’t been plain sailing for either side, as both survived tough away tests in their opening match. Andy Crump travelled to Swindon and came away with a good win over Carl Fernandes, whilst Wayne & co were pushed all the way at Spencer Moulton by Duncan McGovern, prevailing 16 shots to 15.
In the other match at Wootton Bassett, two strong fours collide when Graham Hatherall’s rink take on Tom Warner’s rink. To make it to the last 16, Graham’s four were pushed all the way away at Supermarine, just narrowly edging past Mick Kilburn, the game going down to the last few bowls. They followed this up with an excellent performance at home, recording an emphatic 23-3 win over Mikey Titcombe’s Westlecot side.
Graham Shadwell’s quartet, after receiving a walkover in their opening round, will travel to Stratton Churchways to take on James Bryant’s rink. James has recorded two strong wins to reach the last 16 stage, with a 21-11 away win over John Thomas & co, followed up by a 15-12 home win over K Latimer’s Highworth combination.
At Wroughton, Ollie Moody’s Wroughton rink will take on Brian Whittingham’s Westlecot foursome, after both sides produced impressive displays in their opening matches against tough opposition. Ollie’s side produced some great bowling to record a 24-14 win away at Wootton Bassett over Dave Snell’s rink, whilst Brian advanced with a very impressive 19-10 win over clubmate Neil Smith’s strong four.
Victory in the last 16 matches would secure a place in the Quarter Finals at Chippenham Town later in the week and put the remaining rinks within just two matches of national final qualification. Good luck to all involved!