Leamington suffer double Top Club disappointment

Two shots on the final end from Fran Parkers rink secured Avenue's National Top Club progress at the expense of Royal Leamington Spa.
Two shots on the final end from Fran Parkers rink secured Avenue's National Top Club progress at the expense of Royal Leamington Spa.
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There was disappointment for Royal Leamington Spa as both their ladies’ and men’s teams were knocked out of their respective National Top Club competitions.

Spa ladies bowed out to neighbours Avenue in a tight contest.

Although Avenue took an early 1-0 lead when Lynn Houghton defeated Bonny Claridge 21-5 in the singles, with Spa’s Dawn Horne and Janice White 12-1 up in the pairs and little to separate the two sides in the triples and fours, the match was still in the balance.

For Spa, both the triples and fours pulled out commanding leads, helped by a 13th-end seven for Spa’s Mavis Dale, Jenny Wickens and Donna Kerr, but the pendulum swung Avenue’s way in the pairs, where Bernadette McDonnell and Yvonne Pick recovered from their disastrous start to win ten consecutive ends and take a slender 13-12 lead.

With honours eventually going to McDonnell and Pick in the pairs (18-15) and to Spa in the triples (19-15), all eyes turned to the fours where Spa’s Jan Allibon, Cherry Plant, Lyn Williams and Cynthia Briggs held an unassailable lead.

With the match score guaranteed to be 2-2, a tense final end saw the Avenue quartet of Fran Parker, Hazel Higgins, Pat Harris and Margaret Lawson pick up two shots to cut their deficit to 25-14.

That secured a 68-64 shot win for Avenue and a tie against Lillington in the next round.

In the men’s Top Club competition, despite taking first blood when club captain Malcolm Wickens beat Martin Timms 15-10 in the two-wood singles, Spa were always playing catch-up against Welford.

The chances of a second point for Spa looked good when Bill Claridge began strongly in his four-wood singles match against Simon Davies, opening up a 14-7 lead.

However, Davies came back strongly, taking a single on the last end to seal a 21-20 win.

And, with a narrow defeat for Dave Gardner in the fours (21-17) and losses for Ray White (18-11) in the pairs and Dick Allibon (21-9) in the triples, Welford progressed to the next round with a 4-1 win.

Things were no better for Spa’s men in their six-rink friendly against Bidford.

Trailing by more than 20 shots at the mid-match tea interval, Spa’s second-half recovery came just too late as they fell to a 114-110 defeat.

There were three rink wins apiece in the match, with John Rheams (23-11), Dick Allibon (18-15) and Malcolm Wickens (19-17) taking the honours for Spa.

In a two-rink encounter at Coventry Highway, it was left to Spa’s ladies to restore some pride for the club.

Scoring freely, it was a tussle between Spa skips Jenny Wickens and Lyn Williams as to who would be top rink.

In the end, a 27-7 win by the Spa foursome of Jean Leyland, Pat Cooper, Vi Palmer and Williams just edged out Wickens (27-8) as Spa won comprehensively by 54 shots to 15.