NO less than four teams are flying the flag for Dorset in the forthcoming Blackthorn British Championships.
Weymouth-based Motley Crew’s men’s and mixed teams are safely through to the finals but their women’s team lost their place by just five pins.
Two years ago, the Motley Crew mixed team lifted the trophy for the first time together with £1,200 prize money but lost out last year to the Misalots of Devon.
“We want our trophy back,” said mixed team secretary Paul Perren. “We’ve been inspired by the Olympics in Weymouth and we want to be champions again. We are going for gold.”
The teams even went on a ‘boot camp’ in Spain earlier this year where captain Sue Pering said there was quite a lot of ‘arm training’ and team talk.
At the time, she said their aim was to get at least one team through to the finals. Now it looks as though the training has paid off.
Meanwhile, the Oakettes women’s team from Dewlish near Dorchester , are through to the women’s finals.
The team, who play at the Royal Oak, were semi-finalists in 2006 and 2007, reaching the quarter-finals in 2008 and again last year.
Team secretary Jennifer Sims said hopes are high for lifting the trophy. “Everyone’s saying this will be our year,” she said. “We’re certainly playing a lot in preparation. We have a few superstitions like not touching a ball that’s missed the pins. We try to avoid that one.”
And new to the competition for the first time is One Step Beyond from Wyke Social Club.
The Blackthorn finals take place at the Riviera International Conference Centre on Saturday, organised by the Shoot Out Club.
It is the largest individual tournament of its kind in the UK and nearly 1,000 skittlers and supporters are expected to attend.
Shoot Out’s co-director Rachel Bourke said: “This year’s prize money is almost £6,000 thanks to the generosity of Blackthorn, alongside the much coveted trophies.
“This is up there with the Olympics in skittling terms. The atmosphere is always electric with 64 teams competing on 16 alleys. It’s quite a sight with colourful team shirts, chanting and then the build up to the finals and awards ceremony.”
Registration for next year’s event has already opened. Teams can apply by calling 01803 210210 or visiting shootoutclub.co.uk