Skittles: Skimmers reach Butcombe finals

RUNNERS-UP: Dorchester-based Skimmers at the 2013 competition, left to right: Tim Reed, Darryl Burt, Sean Baker, Matt Burt, Darryl Burt, Del Knight, Derek Burt, Graham Rose and Tony Clark

RUNNERS-UP: Dorchester-based Skimmers at the 2013 competition, left to right: Tim Reed, Darryl Burt, Sean Baker, Matt Burt, Darryl Burt, Del Knight, Derek Burt, Graham Rose and Tony Clark

First published in Sport

SKIMMERS are once again planning their annual trip to Torquay for the Butcombe British Championship, after completing a crushing 89-pin victory over Weymouth rivals Motley Crew.

The Dorchester-based team certainly made hard work of qualifying, as they squeezed through the regional qualifying group stages.

Drawn in a tough group, the former competition winners struggled to show any consistent form in their early matches.

A shock opening away defeat by Unstoppables of Yeovil was only just recovered by a last-hand victory back at home in the Bull’s Head Inn.

Next up was a trip to Chard which saw the Skimmers win easily against Dynamite Dolphins, despite playing on an unfamiliar ‘pitching board’ alley format.

However. the poor form returned again when Skimmers were easily beaten in successive home and away fixtures by Weymouth champions Pinups.

The group stages finished with Pinups on top and Unstoppables in second, leaving Skimmers to scrape though to the knockout round stage by virtue of achieving the ‘best’ third-place in region.

Here they were drawn against another Torquay regular, Motley Crew of Weymouth.

Motley had cruised through their group without defeat, therefore it looked a tough ask on paper for Skimmers.

However, as many BBSC ‘experienced’ campaigners will testify, the knockout stage is commonly the most challenging and where upsets most often occur.

Hosting the first leg, Skimmers set about their task with earnest, forging into a 22-pin lead after just two hands.

Stickups from Del Knight (12) and Jeff Brown (14) set the tone, followed by two more from Matt Burt (10) and Darryl Burt (15), meant Skimmers were well on their way to victory with a massive 46-pin advantage at the halfway point in the first leg.

The Motley Crew looked shell-shocked, and it showed, as their lacklustre performance continued through the game.

There was no let-up by the home side in remaining hands, with two stickups from James Baker (15, 12) and another from Darryl Burt (14) pushed the first leg lead to an unthinkable 69 pins. Burt took the top score honours with a pair of stickups for 63.

Two weeks later a large crowd of both home and away supporters gathered at the Chapelhay Tavern, to see if Motley could produce what would have been an astonishing comeback.

However, for the Weymouth Crew and their fans, the unlikely revival never got started as Skimmers increased their aggregate lead by a further 22 in the first three hands.

Early stickups from Baker (11, 15), Steve Wilsher (14) and Brown (13), dampened any hopes the Weymouth side harboured right from the off.

By the halfway point in the second leg, the Dorchester side had an incredible 88-pin aggregate lead.

As Skimmers’ focus understandably started to drift, Motley looked to regain some respec-tability in the scoreline, but despite briefly pulling back eight pins they still ended the night 20 behind and a staggering 89-pin overall.

In the end, the only real competition on the night was for Skim-mers top score, anchorman Knight striking an unlikely winning 18 on the last ball to steal the honours from Wilsher with a 61 total.

* Skimmers will now join several other Dorset teams at Torquay on September 20.

Here the 2013 runners-up and former champions from 2003 will complete against 31 other men’s teams from across the West of England

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