THE SWAN Studley Skittles League representative team, Renegades, got off to a poor start as they began their quest for a place in the Gasket Guy British Skittles Championships finals in Torquay in September.
The Renegades’ first fixture pitted them against former championship winners Cotswold Cavaliers. Renegades are in a qualifying group of four teams of eight players, with games played on a home and away basis.
Having reached the finals in previous years, Renegades travelled to Bibury, Gloucestershire, for their first game with high hopes and this optimism looked justified when Cotswold Cavaliers started slowly, scoring only 51 pins in the opening leg.
However, on what was an unusually and unsettling short alley for the Renegades team, the response was only a disappointing 41 pins.
Cavaliers extended their lead by a further six pins after leg two before Renegades hit back to take the third leg by two pins.
However, any hopes of a Renegades revival were dashed when Cavaliers took legs four and five comfortably as home player Dave Williams made a 16-stack on his way to the evening’s top score of 56.
Although Renegades took the sixth and final leg, this was scant consolation for the visitors as they slipped to a 346-320 defeat despite good scores of 43 each from Tim Jones (11-stack in leg five) and Glyn Morley (13-stack in leg six).
Renegades captain Andy Clewlow nevertheless remained upbeat and is hoping home advantage on the much longer alley at the HDA club in Batchley will unsettle Cavaliers and enable the opening result to be reversed.
Before then though, Renegades have an important home game when they entertain Reckers from Evesham and a close encounter is expected as both teams push for automatic qualification for the finals by topping the group.