After a good start in the Midland Counties League the Bears turned their attention to the Middleton Cup with a trip to the neutral venue of Westlecot BC to face Dorset. The afternoon started with Colin Jacox (Avenue Coventry) becoming the latest centurion, Martyn Murley (Nuneaton) reaching 50 caps and Mark Smith (Avenue Leamington) being named in the Bowls England Junior International team. A hot day didn’t hamper the Bears as they completed a 125-112 victory, gaining 18 out of 22 points.
Andy Prickett (Norgren), Darren Ward (Rugby), Richard Brittan and Mark Ireland (both Erdington Court) started well, leading by eight at the halfway stage. A four on the eighteenth end saw Dorset cut the deficit to three but Ireland and co closed out the game with a treble and brace of singles to win 24-16. Mark Smith (Avenue Leamington), Neil Hancock (Little Compton), Alan Apsey (Welford) and Dan Box (Little Compton) raced away, turning a seven shot advantage after five ends into a fifteen shot lead with six ends to play. Dorset shut the Bears out for the remaining ends but couldn’t deny Box’s rink a 25-19 victory.
Adam Smith, Rob Maries, Martin Heitzman and Andy Smith (all Avenue Leamington) had a slender shot lead midway through but opened it up to six with five ends to play. A brace of trebles levelled the tie for Dorset, Smith and co replied with a four and the sides exchanged doubles, the Bears winning 24-20. Martyn Murley (Nuneaton), Brian Boardman, Matt Wells (both Rugby) and Martin Timms (Welford) had their eight shot lead cut down to four with four ends left. Both teams added a double and single, final score 17-13 to Timms’ rink.
Andy Manning, Dave Fallon (both Nuneaton), Colin Jacox (Avenue Coventry) and Calvin Wells (Nuneaton) trailed by three at the midway point but five ends later led by two. With three ends to play the scores were level, Wells and co scored a double to move ahead again, Dorset replied with a treble to lead by one heading into the final end. A double for Dorset saw the Bears fall 21-18. Jordan Ward (Rugby), Lee Rowland (Avenue Leamington), Keith Wooding (Avenue Coventry) and Tom Millership (Rugby) were all square with four ends left and took the lead the next end with a single. A five for Dorset turned the game on its head, final score 23-17 to Dorset.