County Finals Day 2023 at Royal Leamington Spa BC

Royal Leamington Spa hosted this years County Finals with all but the County Singles (both players in three finals) and Mixed Pairs (to be held at the Warwickshire Womens BA finals this year) being played. Even the poor weather couldn’t disrupt an excellent day of bowls.

The Two Woods Singles Final was Avenue v Avenue, Mark Ireland (Avenue Coventry) and Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington). Ireland took the first four ends to lead by five, Smith levelled the scores three ends later. Ireland responded with a single but a brace of doubles and five singles saw Smith open up an eight shot advantage with six ends to go, the players exchanged singles leaving Ireland needing to take four doubles to force an extra end, Adam Smith took the next end with a single to secure his first Two Woods Singles title 17-8.

The Pairs final was a rerun of last years final which saw Nuneaton duo Scott and Graham Ashby win to deny Andy Walters (Welford) a clean sweep in the finals. Walters was joined again by Dan Box and they started well go seven up after three ends. Both sides picked up four shots to reach the midway stage with Walters and co still up by seven, a thirteenth end four took Walters’ lead to double figures. The sides exchanged singles then the Ashby’s took a couple to trail by nine with two ends to go, a penultimate end single took Box and Walters into an unbeatable lead, the Welford pair winning 19-9.

In another Avenue Coventry v Avenue Leamington encounter Richard Lewis, Greg Sampson and Stuart Davis (Coventry) took on Mark Smith, Luke Horne and Adam Smith (Leamington) in the County Triples. An early five gave the Leamington trio a good start but they only led by two after ten ends. Davis and co levelled the scores with fourteen ends gone and they were still level heading into the final two. Smith and co went into the last end with a two shot lead and they held on to complete a 15-12 victory.

Richard Lewis was also in action in the County Fours, joined by fellow Avenue Coventry colleagues Ray Coles, Steve Taylor and Paul Taylor, their opponents were the Welford quartet of Andy Prickett, Martin Timms, Dan Box and Andy Walters. Taylor and co took the early lead but the scores were all square after ten ends. The next six ends were all decided by singles, though five were scored by Walters’ rink, giving them a four shot advantage with two ends left. The Avenue four won both ends but only with singles, leaving Welford 16-14 winners.

The Senior Fours final saw Sherwood Park’s Hugh Dunache, Mal Evans, Paul Finch and Gary Langford take on Andy Prickett, Simon Davies, Mick Hawkins and Martin Timms (Welford). It was the Welford four that made a good start with a series of singles and doubles to lead by nine after six ends, a brace of doubles nearly cut the deficit in half for Langford and co but Timms’ rink replied with a five to take the lead to ten. The sides exchanged singles before Welford completed their win with four more singles and a treble, final score 22-5.

In the Junior Singles last year Avenue Leamington’s Dan Ellicott had to settle for runner up though he went on to win the National Junior Singles title during the Nationals. This year he was again facing another Avenue Leamington junior in Aiden Maries. A series of doubles helped Ellicott into an 8-4 lead, which he turned into a 14-4 advantage. Maries halved the deficit before Ellicott edged five singles between the pair, his score now 17-11. The youngsters exchanged singles before Ellicott got the three shots he needed to clinch the title 21-12.

Tom Wheeler & Ewan Mason (Rugby) stood between Harry Smith (Nuneaton) & Jordan Ward’s (Rugby) attempt to win back to back Junior Pairs crowns. Wheeler & Mason made the early running to reach nine ends three shots up, Smith & Ward levelled the score with thirteen ends played and opened up their own four shot advantage with two ends to go. Wheeler & Mason halved the deficit but Smith & Ward took the last end with a double to retain the title 16-12.

Despite winning the first end Roger Hill (Sherwood Park) struggled to make any headway in his Unbadged Singles final against Paul Sharp (Thornfield). Sharp took the score to 20-1, Hill scored a double but Sharp secured the single he needed to win 21-3.

The Ivens Cup final was between Royal Leamington Spa “B” and Rugby, Leamington went six up after two ends but twelve shots including a six saw Rugby build their own six shot lead. With fourteen ends played the scores were level, Leamington took control scoring a double, brace of singles and a last end four to win 23-15.

Due to both players qualifying for three finals the County Singles Final between Andy Walters (Welford) and Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington) was delayed until after the Nationals had been completed. The pair faced off at Royal Leamington Spa BC and the final was well worth the wait. Adam Smith got off to a flying start, quickly building a 13-3 lead, Andy Walters then fired into action wiping out the deficit to level the score 15-15. Smith took a single but Walters moved ahead for the first time in the clash with three singles, Walters now leading 18-16. Smith then scored a treble to move within two shots of victory only for Andy Walters to respond with a treble of his own to retain his title 21-19.

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