THE MOTLEY Crew are up and running in this year’s Butcombe British Skittles Championship.

All four Crew teams – men’s, ladies’, mixed A and mixed B – will be fighting for a place at the Grand Finals in Torquay in September alongside local rivals including Pinups and One Step Beyond.

This year the Crew’s sides are expected to travel to Dorchester, Chard, Exeter, Paignton and Weston-super-Mare in their bid to reach the final stages.

First to kick off their campaign were the men at their home alley, the Chapelhay Tavern, where they faced the Breakaways from Wool.

The hosts took a 10-pin lead on the first hand helped by a stickup from Gavin Candy (14), and further stickups in the second from Andie Rosewell (14) and Steve Gould (11) gave them a hand of 67.

The Breakaways fought back with a stickup of (15) by M Green, a score which saw the visitors equal the hand.

The third hand brought yet more stickups for the home side, with Andy Mowlam (17) and Chris Saddlington (10) taking the Crew to a 30-pin lead.

Breakaways were no match for the Crew and by the end of the fifth hand the visitors trailed by 64 pins, thanks to stickups from Dave Maloney (15), Gould (15) and Paul Perren (18).

The final hand of the match saw the Motley men total 78 with stickups provided again from Mowlam (14), Maloney (12) and Gould (14).

The visitors dug deep and amassed 88, their best score of the night, helped by stickups from J Akers (15), Green (14) and G Churchill (16), but unfortunately this was still not enough to recover and the Crew took the win by 54 pins.

Motley Crew’s ladies travel to Dorchester to meet local side Shot 'o' Clocks, mixed B welcome the Two Tribes from St Thomas’s in Exeter, and the mixed A visit the Rebels from Wyke Regis, all hoping to mirror the men’s success.