Four matches a close run thing as just one shot separates the sides
IT was a night for close results in the Hinckley Air Rifle League with four of the five matches finishing with no more than one shot between the teams.
Probably the most significant of these was held at the Greyhound Inn where the unbeaten Trojans played host to Bedworth Ex Servicemen’s Club. Bedworth had struggled in their previous two matches but the return of Bill and Jackie Bend revitalised the team, and seemingly Bill and Jackie themselves as they, together with son James, scored 30s which, together with Andrew Cryer’s 29, the 27s of Mick Cryer and Robert Wagstaff, and Klaus Baker’s 26, took them to an excellent 199 total. The Trojans reply started well thanks to Nigel Jackson’s 28 and continued reasonably strongly with Dave Brown’s 26, Phil Hood’s 27, Rob Forman’s 28, Leigh Hall’s 29 and Mark Smith’s 30. This left the remaining home shooters with needing to drop no more than two shots if they were to retain their unbeaten record. Sadly subsequent scores of 25 and 23 meant that despite a closing 30 from Chris Sills they finished one behind their guests on 198.
The Sporting Lions took advantage of the slip-up from the Trojans to move to the top of the table thanks to their one shot home win over Ashby Road. The visitors did reasonably well in their first half with Alison Finney’s opening 28 being followed by Bertie Bugden’s 26 and Richard White’s 27 but the Lions did better thanks to Karl Bunting’s 27, Lee Johnson’s 28, and Glen Dainter’s 29. However Ashby Road’s second half did well throughout with the 26s of Neil Smith and Chris Rose discarded for Lorraine White’s 27, the 28s of David White and Seamus Moore, and Pete Finney’s 29. The resulting 193 looked like it might be enough until successive 30s from Todd Astill and Melanie Jenkins left the Lions’ last three shooters needing a solitary 25 to take the victory. The three had a little bit of trouble but Taryn Cockerill, despite being under the weather, managed to score the vital 25 that took their total to 194.
The third one shot victory of the night went to Hinckley Phoenix who just managed to outscore their New Plough Inn hosts. The two teams both showed admirable consistency with Phoenix’s scores ranging from the 26s of Karen Bown and Colin Rusted’s to the 28s of Barry Wright and Luke Bown via the 27s of Samantha Haskins, Barry Robinson and Ian Ratheram, whilst for the Ploughmen there was a Nigel Hill 29; 28s from John Bray and Tom Bray; and 26s from Daniel Lakin, Paul Barwell and Mick Stocker, but also a 25 that left them on the wrong end of a 189-188 result.
The meeting between Ashby Road ‘B’ and the travelling Smallshaws ended even closer, with the teams tied on 184 apiece. Jon Storer top scored for the home side with his 28, Jeff Goodyer added a 27, and there were 26s from Craig Shuttleworth, Kim Baker, Mike Sansome and Alf Shore whilst for Smallshaws Chris Slimm and Jackie West scored 26s, Jamie Slimm managed a 27, and Tom Williams top scored with a 28. However the most memorable effort came from last man on, Bob West, who, when his team looked to be heading towards defeat, scored fives with his final two shots to score the 27 that gave them a share of the points.
The only match to buck the trend of close results took place in Barwell where Taylor & Ayre were visited by the Hounds. The visitors won the toss and elected to shoot first but unfortunately their first half couldn’t take advantage with their best individual offering being the 26 of Claire Barnes. This was soon shown to be grossly inadequate by a T&A first half that include Jim Gibney’s 27, the 28s of Aly Steele and John Orton, and a 30 from Giles Headley. The Hounds did better after the break with the 26s of Roy Pritchard and Richard Allen topped by Paul Huddlestone’s 30 but the resulting 183 was nowhere near good enough as T&A reached 195 thanks to the 26s of Phil Steele and Norman Hall, and the 28s of Paul Griffin and Matt Hall.