DORSET County Ladies took a successful first step in their attempt to retain the South West Counties League title.

The county side overcame Cornwall by a healthy margin of 48 shots, which coincidentally was the identical difference in the corresponding fixture last season.

In the six-rink encounter, Dorset gained the upper hand on four rinks, drew on one and conceded just one rink.

Top performance for Dorset came from the strong Atherley Trophy quartet of Sally Williams, Wendy Brown, Sue Dadson and international trialist skip Penny Cresswell.

Although dropping three shots on the first end, to the Cornwall rink skipped by Christine Johnstone, the Dorset four soon cleared the arrears, and stormed ahead to be 20-8 clear at the midway stage.

At 30-13, the Cornwall rink appeared devoid of any resistance and failed to score again, as Cresswell collected a further 11 shots over the final five ends to record a thumping 41-13 win.

Another fine county win was achieved by Carol Baker (Dorchester), June Searle and Kath Desmond (Moonfleet) and their Bournemouth skip Viv Mansell.

Scoring consistently against the Cornwall rink skipped by Cynthea Perrin, Dorset eased past the winning post with a convincing 31-16 tally.

The composite Dorset rink of Irene Martindill (Moonfleet), Kay Johns (Dorchester), Lyn Howard (Dolphin) and Jill Bryant (Bournemouth) also won against the rink skipped by Cornwall’s Rosalind Redfern.

Taking a brace of shots on the opening three ends gave the Dorset rink a cushion which they gradually imp-roved upon, to come home untroubled at 28-17.

Although Joan Halliwell steered her rink comprising fellow Bournemouth bowlers Mary Lucas and Brenda Streater, plus Shirley Bowley (Moon-fleet), to victory the manner of the win was somewhat topsy-turvy.

Conceding a single on the first three ends, Halliwell then trawled a six and was totally in charge at 26-7, and even at the reduced margin of 30-17, before tumbling away to play the ultimate end just three shots ahead.

A nervous final end saw another shot go to Cornwall (skip Pat Brooks), leaving Dorset just two shots to the good at 30-28.

Another close encounter took place between the Cornwall rink headed by Connie Ellery and the Dorset rink of Rosie Beales, Margaret Crawford, Sheila Baker, and Freda Yates.

Although rarely headed in the whole match, the Dorset contingent were only marginally ahead 11-10 after 13 of the 21 ends had been completed.

Yates and co then pulled clear to lead 21-16, and with two ends remaining and victory in sight, a dropped six threw the outcome into doubt, as Cornwall started the final end with a one-shot lead.

A single count saved Dorset some embarrassment, for Yates to finish all square at 22-22.

Elizabeth Bray gained Cornwall their only winning rink, when getting the better of Marion Greenman, Pat Cornick, Margaret Clapp and Annette Hallett who were 8-5 up at 10 ends, but then dropped a five to fall behind and eventually trail 22-14 at the finish. Dorset, who gained a 14-3 overall result, now face a South West Counties double-header against Devon and Somerset this month before embarking on their Atherley Trophy campaign against Wiltshire on December 9.