BOWLS: WARWICKSHIRE started their Middleton Cup campaign with the long journey to the neutral venue of North Petherton BC to face Cornwall.
On a sunny but windy afternoon the Bears won 120-100 gaining 19 out of the available 22 points.
Mark Smith (Avenue Leamington), Neil Brereton (Welford), Steve Merrett (Avenue Coventry) and Dan Box (Little Compton) and their Cornish opponents scored just a single on 17 out of 21 ends in a gripping encounter.
At the midway point Box and co were three shots ahead, a good second half saw the Bears nearly treble their lead to win 17-9.
A strong start saw Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington), Jordan Merrett (Avenue Coventry), Craig Carter (Rugby) and Andy Smith (Avenue Leamington) 10-6 up after six ends but Cornwall reached parity six ends later.
Heading into the final five the sides were still level but seven unanswered shots gave Smith’s rink a 23-16 victory.
Martin Hammond (Three Spires), Steve Taylor (Avenue Coventry), Neil Hancock (Little Compton) and Colin Jacox (Avenue Coventry) raced to an early 10-1 lead but saw their advantage cut to two after ten ends.
Jacox and co steadily increased their lead and even dropping a four on the final end couldn’t take away from a good 21-15 win.
Matt Wells (Rugby), Chris Barton (Kings Heath), Keith Wooding (Avenue Coventry) and Tom Millership (Rugby) had to come from behind to reach the midway point 11-9 in front.
Eight shots in six ends helped Millership and co open up a nine shot lead, Cornwall fought back in the final four ends but couldn’t deny the Bears a 21-16 victory.
A five in the third end helped keep Liam Pearcey, Brian Boardman (both Rugby), Martin Timms (Welford) and Calvin Wells (Rugby) in touch with their Cornish opponents.
Nothing could separate the side after fifteen ends but with two ends to go Wells and co lead by one, heading into the final end they trailed by one but took a single on the final end to win a share of the spoils, 20-20 the final score.
Martyn Murley (Avenue Coventry), Rob Robinson, Richard Brittan (both Erdington Court) and Alan Apsey (Welford) trailed by three after nine ends but Cornwall doubled their tally over the next five ends.
Apsey and co managed to half the deficit in the remaining ends, finishing up 18-24 down.