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Dorset’s nervous wait for Devon's final game
South West Counties League
CORNWALL 132 DORSET 100
THE 300-mile return trip to Carn-moggas Bowls Club in Cornwall for the penultimate South West Counties fixture – and the final one for Dorset – was a game where little went right for the county.
A team depleted by illness, non-availability of players on international duty and last-minute withdrawals, resulted in all available reserves being drafted into the team, including a travelling committee member – and the team was still one player short on arrival.
Leading the table by 12 points, a win would guarantee that Dorset would retain the title they won last season.
The bottom line of a win on three of the six rinks – irrespective of the overall victory – would give the county an 18-point advantage. Devon in second place would then play Cornwall with only a maximum of 17 points available.
As the game unfolded, it became clear that the outcome for Dorset was going to be in doubt and the destination of the Championship this season might depend more on what later happens off green, as opposed to what happens on the green for the critical Devon versus Cornwall game.
Having rearranged the team, Mar-garet Hooper, June Searle and Freda Yates had to play as a triple and performed heroically to record a 24-14 outcome, but had to concede 25 per cent of their shots for being a player short, and their win was reduced to 18-14 Rosie Beales, Ann Ankers, Mary Lucas and Ann White, the Moonfleet skipper, also played their part in a potential victory by consolidating their 10-8 lead and finished 21-14 to the good.
Two rinks had been won and one more success on any of the other four, would secure the prize.
Sally Williams, Cynthea Reed, Millie Meech and Jenny Trotman were soon in trouble and 17-3 down. They then staged a fighting comeback to close down their Cornwall opponents to 20-18, before losing agonisingly 24-21.
Sandra Hubbard, Angie Bertram, Sue Maggs, and Joan Halliwell hit stormy waters before finishing well beaten 30-12, and the companion Dorset four of Pat Cole, Jill Bonnett, Isabelle Addison and Linda Johnson fared no better as they slipped to a 30-9 defeat.
With the overall winning of the game beyond them the focus was now on the final clash to achieve the vital third rink win.
Julie Hudson, Sue Lawley, Wendy Brown and Sue Dadson led 6-4 and then trailed 11-6 before battling back to level at 12-12 after 13 ends.
With one end to play, the Dorset four were 19-18 ahead, but the gallant Dadson four were devastated as Cornwall stole two shots to deny Dorset the vital two points for the rink win. Cornwall gained 13 points for their overall win and Dorset picked up just four points.
The destination of the Champion-ship is now dependent upon the outcome of the one remaining fixture.
If Devon beat Cornwall on all of the six rinks they will snatch the title by a single point.
Anything less will enable Dorset to lift the trophy.
Under normal circumstances the odds would be heavily in favour of Dorset, but the Devon versus Corn-wall match is proving difficult to rearrange. The original was postponed earlier in the season due to the snow, and the counties cannot agree a date to replay the game.
Should the game not be played and the full 17 points be awarded to Devon, it would be a cruel way to lose the Championship after Dorset had completed their programme despite their last-minute problems.