Hertfordshire edged out by Buckinghamshire in Inter County Championship opener

Hertfordshire short mat bowls
Hertfordshire short mat bowls

Hertfordshire opened their 2015-16 Inter County Championship campaign with a narrow loss to Buckinghamshire.

The first session of play returned just one win for the Hertfordshire. Michael West got the team off to a great start, dominating his game and winning 16-6. Tony Gayler was less successful, finishing 7-12.

Pauline Taylor and Jeanette Gayler slipped behind early, fought back to level their game but lost out 12-14. Audrey and Brian Fowler were well in contention for the first half of their game before the visiting pair dominated the home stretch and the game finished 9-19.

The second session of the morning followed a similar pattern to the first. Jill Oakes, Peter Griffiths and Liz Bradley raced away to a 9-0 lead and went on to win 15-9.

Rebecca Nightingale, Brian Hatherly and Brian McGivern scored a big count of 5 shots on the final end but lost 12-15.

Adrianne West, Graham Yates, John Taylor and Alan Hare had a very close encounter with their opponents. A final end 3 snatched the game points for the visitors 10-11.

Sue Murray, Eileen Prior, Margaret Regan and Darren Stanford were level at 7-7 after eight ends but ended on the wrong side of a 7-13 scoreline.

At the end of the morning sessions, Hertfordshire had scored only 4 points to Buckinghamshire’s 12. However, a positive shots difference in both the singles and triples made the home team favourites to take the bonus points in these disciplines.

Michael West continued his fine form, powering to a 14-9 win. Tony Gayler was level at 12-12 with one end to play. Tony couldn’t quite bring the game points home, losing 12-14 but that was good enough to secure the singles discipline bonus points.

Pauline Taylor and Jeanette Gayler put their morning session behind them for an 18-11 win. Audrey and Brian went into their final end just one shot behind but lost 12-14.

With the final session to play, Hertfordshire needed a maximum return from the last four games and, in a thrilling session, very nearly pulled it off, winning three of the games on the final end.

Rebecca Nightingale, Brian Hatherly and Brian McGivern came from behind to grab a 15-14 win. Jill Oakes, Peter Griffiths and Liz Bradley lost 13-16 but the two triples had done enough to take the triples discipline bonus points by a single shot.

Sue Murray, Eileen Prior, Margaret Regan and Darren Stanford started their last end locked at 9-9. The Hertfordshire quartet scored the single they needed and won 10-9.

Adrianne West, Graham Yates, John Taylor and Alan Hare were level with their opponents with the final end to play. In a thrilling end, the shot changed hands several times and the Hertfordshire rink finished with 3 shots to win 12-9.

Despite losing 18-22 to a strong Buckinghamshire team, Hertfordshire can take great heart from the fact that, in 11 of the 16 games, they entered the final ends in a position to win.

The discipline bonus points were shared and the two counties were so closely matched that the overall shots score was 194-195.

Hertfordshire team: Michael West (Cuffley Hall), Tony Gayler (St Margaret’s), Pauline Taylor (Harpenden), Jeanette Gayler (St Margaret’s), Audrey Fowler (Greenwood Park), Brian Fowler (Greenwood Park), Jill Oakes (Greenwood Park), Peter Griffiths (St Margaret’s), Liz Bradley (Harpenden), Rebecca Nightingale (St Margaret’s), Brian Hatherly (Cuffley Hall), Brian McGivern (Cuffley Hall), Adrianne West (Cuffley Hall), Graham Yates (St Margaret’s), John Taylor (Harpenden),Alan Hare (Letchworth), Sue Murray (Harpenden), Eileen Prior (Harpenden), Margaret Regan (St Margaret’s), Darren Stanford (St Margaret’s).