BOTH teams with Swan Studley Skittles League title aspirations ended their season with defeats but Maudslay were celebrating nevertheless after receiving a huge favour from Lodge Farmers.
Maudslay came unstuck against Swan but earned bonus points to open a 4.5-point lead over second-placed Engineers. It meant Maudslay had an anxious wait for Engineers’ result against Lodge Farmers when a win for Engineers would secure them the championship.
Maudslay need not have worried though, as in-form Lodge Farmers upset Engineers’ applecart.
Maudslay were initially on track for a win to settle their nerves when leading narrowly after two legs, only for opponents Swan to level the game after leg three. Maudslay then had a poor fourth leg score and Swan capitalised immediately by opening a 16-pin advantage.
Swan finally left a target of 80 pins for Maudslay who, despite some good bowling, were never quite up with the required scoring rate.
Swan’s Roy Salmon made 38, Brandon Reynolds 36 (11-stack) and Dan Albut, Kevin Masters and Andy Reynolds 35 each. Maudslay’s best were Dennis Compton with 36, Paul Matthews and Jack Watson 35 each and Keith Fryer 34.
With a 13-pin lead after two legs, Engineers looked odds-on to become champions, only for the wheels to come off and after leg three find themselves suddenly four pins adrift.
Opponents Lodge Farmers then returned good scores in their remaining two legs and finally left Engineers needing 76 pins to win and retain their title.
They started well but, like Maudslay, were never up with the required rate and drifted to a disappointing loss.
Lodge Farmers’ top-scorers were Lynne Long with 41 (14-stack), Alex Cull 39 and Tim Jones 37 (14-stack). In reply, Brandon Kelso, Andy Clewlow and Mark Ganderton made 37 each for Engineers.
At the bottom, Swingers avoided finishing last with a narrow two-pin win over Team BG. After facing a 17-pin deficit after leg three, Team BG fought back to be only one pin behind after leg four, but then lost the last leg by just a single pin.
Swingers had Christine Hallam and John Marsh making 35 each and Paul Clifton 34. For Team BG, Ray Cartwright scored 39 (13-stack), Alex Beard 37 and Gail Stringer 34.
The result left Team BG, perilously close to the bottom, with a 24-hour anxious wait, this time for the result of the Well Developed versus Jumbo Jets game.
Team BG were relieved Jumbos completed a comfortable win over depleted opponents Well Developed, who remain bottom and cannot catch Team BG.
Jumbos had scores of 35 from Darren Summers and Mick Stanton and 34 from Rich Johnston and Len Quartly. Well Developed had Martin Brennan with 38 (11-stack), Liz Hindson 34 (12-stack) and Sheila Ramage and Ros Pottinger with 33 each.
To avoid the wooden spoon, Well Developed will need to take maximum points from their last game and hope Alley Cats fail to pick up even one bonus point for a leg win in their last game.
Alley Cats remain in danger of finishing bottom following a heavy points defeat to Alcester Nomads. Alley Cats were unlucky that, despite making one of their best team totals of the season, Nomads also bowled well.
For Nomads, Alan Cummings again top-scored with 46 (15-stack) and Bob Browning and Mac Eaton made 37 and 36 respectively. Struggling Alley Cats had Malcolm Batchelor with 46 (two 14-stacks), Loz Gazeley 39 and Steve Williams 35.
Results: Maudslay 3 (319) Swan 8 (329); Engineers 2.5 (323) Lodge Farmers 8.5 (336); Team BG 2 (315) Swingers 9 (317); Jumbo Jet Set 9 (320 – ten players and 303 – nine players) Well Developed 2 (267 – nine players); Alcester Nomads 8.5 (332) Alley Cats 2.5 (323).
NEWLY-CROWNED champions Maudslay have decided – in their 50th anniversary year – to bow out at the top.
This season’s success is dedicated to captain Carlo Sanseverino who has been skipper for all 50 years. With Carlo retiring from duty, the team announced at the start of this season this was going to be the final year playing together.
Thanks go to captain Carlo Sanseverino, vice-captain Mark Sanseverino, Geoff Mayneord, Lynn Fryer, Stuart Griffiths, Dennis Compton, Paul Matthews, Jack Watson, Tom Roberts, Dick Walters, Dean Watson, Dave Ford, Keith Fryer, team scorer and stalwart Danish and all Maudslay players past and present.