SIX captains led from the front but only three ended up on the winning side in the opening week of the Swan Studley Skittles League.
Reigning champions Engineers moved straight to the top by defeating a Swan team shorn of two players through illness.
The champions registered a big total of 349 pins. Even allowing for discounting the scores of two players to match Swan’s eight players, Engineers still made 299 pins to easily overcome Swan.
Leading the way for the champions was captain Andy Clewlow whose first ball in leg one took all nine pins to set up a stack of 14 pins on the way to a total return of 45.
Meanwhile, Ian Greenway with 40 and Mark Ganderton’s 37 provided good support.
Swan’s Bob Haycock had two stacks, both 11 pins, in a total of 43. Captain Graham Howells made 38 and Dave Maule 34.
Alley Cats enjoyed getting their season off to a fine start as they comfortably beat last season’s bottom team Swingers.
Swingers only came to life in their last leg to collect a consolation point and deny Alley Cats a maximum points haul and a chance to be joint table-toppers.
For the winners, three players – Loz Gazeley (11-stack), Sue Sollis and Pete Sollis – all made 34, while debutant Sue Marthews had a first leg stack of 12 pins.
Swingers’ best came from Larry Hanks with 36, captain Brenda Morris with 32 and Christine Hallam with 31.
In a modest scoring game, Maudslay triumphed over Lodge Farmers who, having tied the first leg, dropped badly off the pace over the next three legs, before recovering for a consolation point by taking leg five.
Maudslay’s consistent leg scores were helped by another captain scoring well as Mark Sanseverino made 40, while team-mates Stu Griffiths made 36 and Dave Ford 34 (ten-stack).
The fifth captain, Glyn Morley for Lodge Farmers, was disappointed with his 36 after narrowly failing to take advantage of a stack chance and Chris Prichard and Richard Long chipped in with 34 and 33 respectively for the losers.
Despite being a player short, Alcester Nomads looked in charge against Team BG when overturning a 16-pin deficit to lead by three pins after leg three.
However, a poor fourth leg coupled with Team BG’s best leg score in the game effectively finished Nomads’ aspirations, although a late rally helped them to a share of the last leg.
For Team BG, Carl Baker scored 42 (11-stack), Sue Croton 36 (12-stack) and debutant John Croton and captain Gail Stringer scored 34 apiece.
In response for Nomads, best scores came from Gordon Povey 45 (16-stack), Bob Browning 37 and Geoff Lout 34.
Results: Engineers 10 (349 – ten players and 299 – eight players) Swan 1 (250 – eight players); Maudslay 8.5 (318) Lodge Farmers 2.5 (299); Alley Cats 9 (322) Swingers 2 (277); Team BG 8.5 (323 – ten players and 306 – nine players) Alcester Nomads 2.5 (298 – nine players).