Leamington’s women and men can stand the heat

Margaret Stephenson in action for Lillington against Royal Leamington Spa. Picture: MOrris Troughton
Margaret Stephenson in action for Lillington against Royal Leamington Spa. Picture: MOrris Troughton

A busy Saturday afternoon at Victoria Park saw both Spa’s men and ladies in action and the home sides found the hot conditions to their liking.

Rugby Town provided the men’s opposition, but could only bring a team of two rinks and two triples.

Building a commanding 47-22 lead by the halfway point and ahead on all four rinks, Spa continued to thrive in the sun as they powered on to a final winning margin of 90-48.

In the two triples matches, Dick Allibon led David Payne and Mike Grundy to an emphatic 29-7 win and, thanks to a last-end four, Mike Wallace narrowly won 16-14 in the other.

It was a similar story in the two-rink matches where Roger Mann skipped Barry Dale, Dave Miller and George Fox to a convincing 27-9 win while two shots for Rugby on the last end saw Malcolm Wickens’ rink end all square at 18 shots apiece and Spa just miss out on a clean sweep.

Meanwhile, on the adjacent green, Spa’s ladies were engaged in a three-rink match against near-neighbours Lillington which was reduced to 18 ends due to the heat and strong sunshine.

Spa’s Jan Allibon, Enid Reece, Jenny Wickens and Donna Kerr got the home side off to a flying start as they opened up an early 9-0 lead over Val Joyce, Andrea Henderson, Rosemary Murphy and Pat Gagg.

However, Gagg then turned the tables for Lillington, taking 11 unanswered shots and briefly holding the lead.

The advantage was soon Spa’s again, though, as Kerr and company quickly responded and eventually ran out 22-16 winners.

On the other two rinks, Spa were also dominating as both Wyn Jackson and Elizabeth Glynne-Jones built up comfortable 11-4 leads against Chris Ward and Chris Richards, respectively.

Although Lillington had slightly the better of the latter stages of both matches, Spa held on to complete a whitewash with Glynne-Jones triumphing 16-11 and Jackson 15-12.

Two days earlier, Spa’s ladies travelled to Banbury Central for a four-triples match.

Once again Kerr showed the way for Spa in the early stages.

Playing this time with Pat Cooper and Chris Brayne, they stormed to a 15-0 lead at the halfway point.

With the other three rinks all very evenly balanced, another win looked on the cards.

However, Banbury fought back strongly in the second half and with Kerr only picking up shots on two more ends to finish 18-14 up and Jenny Wickens edging to a 14-13 success, losses for Wyn Jackson (19-12) and Cynthia Briggs (19-11) meant victory went to Banbury by 65 shots to 55.

Meanwhile, Lillington lost 123-75 in the second leg of the annual Jacob Plate match against Three Spires at Lime Avenue on Saturday.

Lillington lost all five rinks, with John Henfrey’s three-shot defeat the closest they came to staving off the whitewash.