Review of 2022 season

Review of 2022 season

As the 2022 year draws to a close, and the end of the 2022 bowling season becomes a distant memory, it gives a chance to reflect on what a great season we had.

Wiltshire Four Rink League

Following the Covid pandemic, 2022 saw the first year of the new premier league for the men’s four rink county league. The premier league consists of 10 teams and a total of 18 games are played with each team being played twice (once home and once away).

I have had the pleasure in captaining the four rink league team and my thanks goes out to my selection committee – James Vincent, Bob Armstrong, Graham House and Jamie Reynolds (ex officio) for their invaluable input throughout the season.

Overall, Salisbury had a tremendous year in the league finishing tied 3rd with Spencer Moulton out of the 10 teams with a total of 156 points (second place on 196 points and the winner on 205 points). We had some terrific wins during the season exceeding 100 shots in our home match against Marlborough (103-47).

We had a number of games called off during the season with all bar two being rearranged in the correct time frame. The results of the two outstanding matches (home to Royal Wootton Bassett and home to Purton) were therefore decided by the league committee upon presentation of my arguments for a certain result given the circumstances surrounding the original cancellations. We were awarded a 10-4 win against Royal Wootton Bassett and a 13-1 win against Purton.

During the season one of the major decisions taken by the selection committee was to try and keep teams together as often as possible. This allows players to get to know each other’s playing styles and build up a team spirit across the green. Looking ahead to 2023 it will be even more important to build on this success with personnel changes expected across the team with leaving and returning members on the cards.

National Competitions – Club Double Rink

Unfortunately, this was a short-lived affair with a home draw against Pewsey Vale early in the season. Both rinks ended up losing by a single shot each 15-16 and 12-13. A disappointing start to the season, but plenty to build on for 2023.

Looking ahead to 2023 we will be entering two teams into the Double Rink competition. As a selection committee we find ourselves in the fortunate position of having an abundance of members wanting to play in this competition. We have tried this approach in previous years and ended up having to give away one of the team’s matches due to lack of player availability. However, we are encouraged on availability and the development opportunities this will provide to the club, especially with 16 players being required for the county four rink league but only 8 being able to play in the top tier double rink competition.

National Competitions – Top Club

Our first round match was away to local rivals Amesbury. On a tricky green early in the season this could be a very real banana skin match. The two wood singles was first to finish, as expected, and despite a good run of ends early doors the Amesbury player proved too strong and recorded a 15-8 victory.

Next to finish, slightly earlier than expected, was the triples team recording an 18-4 in 13 ends. This levelled the points one apiece. The pairs was next to finish with a decisive 18-15 victory dropping a 3 on the final end in the name of damage limitation. This saw Salisbury take a 2-1 lead with the fours and four wood singles left to finish.

Both remaining matches were incredibly close with the fours leading 16-15 into the last end and the singles trailing 16-18. With the singles dropping a one to trail by 3, the fours luckily collected a 1 and took the match 17-15 resulting in an overall 3-2 victory.

Next up was another away trip, this time to Spencer Moulton on what can only be described as a dirt patch. With some changes in personnel in different disciplines the match started well with the two wood singles recording a convincing win. The pairs was next to finish narrowly losing with the four wood singles also losing. This left the triples and fours still in play.

A decision by the skip in the triples to drive halfway through the game saw all the Salisbury bowls disappear from the head and a 7 dropped. This proved too much in the end with the triples losing by 3 shots with the fours leading by 1 shot with 2 ends to play. A disappointing 2-3 loss overall on points, but plenty to build on for 2023.

Wiltshire Men’s County Competitions – Tourist Trophy

For the third consecutive season Salisbury reached the county final of this competition (double rink) which is a great achievement in itself. This season we saw a repeat of the 2021 final facing Royal Wootton Bassett.

Unfortunately, a repeat of 2021 was on the cards with a strong Bassett contingent out in force. One rink losing 18-23 and the other conceding at 12-26, it was a resounding victory for the Bassett boys.

It is no mean feat for the same team to reach three consecutive finals in as many years, however having won it in 2019 and losing 2021 and 2022, it would be good to see the trophy return to the club in 2023.

Wiltshire Mixed County Competitions – Double Rink

Salisbury once again entered the mixed county double rink featuring 8 men and 8 ladies – the only real opportunity for the men and ladies to play together competitively outside of national competitions.

Salisbury had a great run in the competition collecting a number of victories against tough opposition. Unfortunately, the run came to an end in the semi final against a tough Royal Wootton Bassett side with the away team losing 10-23 and the home team losing 10-18.

Wiltshire Men’s Competitions – Unbadged Singles

This was a really pleasing competition to witness this year with the eventual final being contested by two Salisbury players – Fraser Boynton and Jamie Reynolds.

In their run to the final both players went all the way to the wire in their respective semi finals. Fraser played Keith Williamson from Westlecot and at 18-15 up and holding a single the match looked to be in control, however some great bowls from Keith saw a number of consecutive singles scored and Fraser found himself trailing 18-20. A fantastic final end from Fraser saw him collect three shots and claim the 21-20 victory.

In Jamie’s semi final against James Bryant from Stratton Churchway a closely fought match went bowl-for-bowl for most of the match. Jamie found himself 16-20 down through a combination of good bowls from James. After picking up a single, Jamie proceeded to change the length and after a fantastic display of draw bowling found him collecting three shots and taking the match into a one end shoot out. Jamie collected the shot and match 21-20.

The final proved no different with there never being more than two shots in the match for most of the game. At 20 ends Fraser held a 14-13 lead and a great end saw him collect a three and take a 17-13 lead. Back-to-back doubles and a single for Jamie saw him regain the lead at 18-17. After another three close ends (taking the match to an extraordinary 27 ends) saw Fraser collect two singles and a double to take the match 21-18 (a reversal of his 18-21 defeat in the 2017 final at the hands of another now-Salisbury player Ashley Plumb).

Men’s National Competitions – Individuals

Salisbury’s only contender at the National Finals at Leamington was Tom Warner in the two wood singles. Having lost the county final to Dave Godwin from Royal Wootton Bassett 15-12 Tom was looking for a good run at Leamington.

Tom reached the national quarter final playing Leo May from Hampshire. At 13-14 down on the last end Tom found himself holding one with four foot to draw a second shot for the match. Unfortunately he was slightly short and an extra end was played with Leo taking the end and the match.

Overall a brilliant season for the Salisbury Men and something to build on for 2023.

Tom Warner
Captain – Four Rink and Nationals
Salisbury BC