Fast-starting Leamington too strong for The Grange

Action from Royal Leamington Spa's six-rink friendly at home to The Grange. Pictures: Morris Troughton
Action from Royal Leamington Spa's six-rink friendly at home to The Grange. Pictures: Morris Troughton

Royal Leamington Spa’s men welcomed visitors from The Grange in Rugby last Saturday to play a six-rink friendly match.

Reviving a fixture that was last played some ten years ago, Spa started on the front foot with home skips Dave Gardner (12-1), Ray White (10-1) Malcolm Wickens (9-1) and Dick Allibon (10-3) all building commanding leads in the early stages.

With Spa ahead on all six rinks and holding a 60-34 lead at the halfway point, the final outcome was never really in doubt.

Although the second half of the match was more evenly balanced, Royal Leamington Spa eventually ran out winners by 116 shots to 80.

Dave Miller, George Fox, Jerry Horne and Wickens (18-7) just held off Keith Young, John Murray, Dave Turner and White (21-11) to be top rink for Spa.

There were also wins for Gardner (25-17), John Rheams (19-13) and Allibon (18-14), while Jim Tighe lost 18-14.

On Sunday, Spa survived a late scare to win 39-34 at Welford in an over-60s’ national mixed double rink competition.

Having already come through two earlier rounds, Spa were looking to avenge Welford’s win against the club’s second team in the previous round.

For the second time in two days, Spa hit the ground running and by the half-way point, the rink of Bonny Claridge, Sue Deavall, John Rheams and Dave Gardner held a 14-2 advantage while on the other rink, Cynthia Briggs, Sheena Harris, Trevor Briggs and Jim Tighe led 14-5.

Despite still holding a seemingly comfortable 37-20 lead after 18 ends, Spa were forced to endure a very nervy finish as Welford suddenly found their form.

The hosts picked up ten shots on the last three ends to earn a 19-19 draw against Dave Gardner.

Fortunately, for Spa, the foursome skipped by Jim Tighe held on to their lead to finish 20-15 winners.

Both Spa’s ladies’ matches last week were cancelled because of poor weather.

n Leamington Home Guard lost 47-40 in a five- rink triples match at Kineton which was foreshortened due to heavy rain.

There was one winning rink and one drawn rink, with Denis Crossfield skipping the victorious rink assisted by captain Les Woodfield and Keith Lemmon.