Balcomb Trophy vs Somerset 11/06/23 Match Report
Report by Mikey Titcombe
Following a great win in the Middleton Cup on Saturday, it was now the turn of our Balcomb Trophy team to take to the Bassett green, as they hosted Somerset in their opening game of the campaign, looking to secure a place at the regional finals on 25th June.
As the trial ends were drawing to a close, rain threatened to play havoc with proceedings in a similar fashion to Saturday, with a heavy downpour taking players off the green once again. However, this settled down fairly quickly and play resumed.
After 5 ends, Wiltshire held a narrow lead with the rink skipped by Russell Francis leading James Amery 5-2, and Graham Shadwell’s rink being level at 3-3 with Nick Pearce. It truly was shaping up to go down to the wire, as Wiltshire still managed to hold a slender lead at 10 ends, Russell’s rink still 9-7 ahead, and Graham still level at 7-7.
Things were even tighter at 15 ends, as Somerset managed to draw level at 24-24 overall. Russell was still holding onto a 2 shot advantage at 13-11, whilst Graham fell marginally behind at 11-13. At 18 ends, Wiltshire had just about wrestled back their slim lead, Russell leading 14-13, and Graham turning things around to lead 15-14.
A huge finish from Graham’s rink, scoring 5 shots without reply in their last 3 ends, left Russell’s rink to finish the job, 5 shots up with 2 ends to play. Only dropping a 1 meant Wiltshire held a 4 shot advantage going into the last end, but some great bowling at the front end from Somerset left Russell in trouble, 5 shots and game down.
A superb effort with Russell’s first bowl cut 1 of Somerset’s bowls out, meaning should nothing else change an extra end would be required. James Amery just slipped through with his last bowl of the match, meaning it was now down to Russell to secure the match for Wiltshire. Seemingly slightly on the high side, a fortunate glide off a front bowl meant Russell’s bowl coming into the head and disrupting it just enough to secure 4th, meaning only 3 shots were dropped and Wiltshire managed to sneak through to the next round by a single shot, 34-33.
After a late scare, Wiltshire can now look forward to the regional finals, where they will face either Cornwall or Herefordshire. Should they be successful, they will play a second game later on the same day, with a place in the national finals at Leamington at stake.
Kyle Anderson, Neil Yeoman, Steve Snell and Graham Shadwell beat Nick Pearce 20-14.
Tom Warner, Mikey Titcombe, Neil Collett and Russell Francis lost to James Amery 14-19.
Wiltshire beat Somerset 34-33