Sidmouth ladies play big part in Devon’s historic league success

Sidmouth lady bowlers Jill Bishop and Carol Smith, who were part of the successful Devon ladies leag

Sidmouth lady bowlers Jill Bishop and Carol Smith, who were part of the successful Devon ladies league winning side. - Credit: Archant

The Devon ladies played their final league match against Somerset.

The league comprises of Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Cornwall, with each county playing the others in the league on a home and away basis.

With these league matches played over six rinks, the only clubs large enough to accommodate matches are either in Exeter or Plymouth and the Devon versus Somerset match was played at Exeter’s Isca Bowls Club.

Devon, who have been runners-up in this league competition, have never previously won it and went into the final game in the knowledge that if they were to win on five of the six rinks and by an overall margin of at least 37 shots, then the title would be theirs!

Given the enormity of the challenge, the meeting with Somerset was always going to be a nervy one – and the contest lived up to all the hype!

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At one stage, four of the Devon rinks were ahead and the remaining two were trailing – but well within reach of the opposition scores.

It all came down to the final two rinks. One of them was lost and defeated by a margin of six shots – so the focus of attention all switched to the final ‘in-play’ rink – and the pressure was intense!

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The last end was reached with the score 21-all; it really could not have been closer with the match set to go ‘either way’.

The Devon lead played an excellent wood close to the jack and there was good position with the other woods. The opposition skip, who had spent much of the contest taking shots away from Devon, sent her wood down, but, to the majority of those watching (supporting Devon), there was sincere relief as this time the shot was not as the player would have wished and Devon took the rink – and the match – by a single shot!

East Devon was represented by two ladies of the four in that final rink. They were Madeira’s Christine Macaulay and Sidmouth’s Carol Smith with the other two players involved being Mid Devon’s Maureen Robertson and Plymouth’s Hilary Avent, who was the rink skip.

Sidmouth bowlers Jill Bishop and Carol Smith were ever-present in the successful Devon team that has now been crowned league champions for the first time!

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