THIRTY-TWO of the best skittlers from the Swan Studley Skittles League contested the first round of the 2015 singles knockout competition and there will be a new name on the trophy as all the champions from previous years were eliminated.
Three-time winner – including triumphs in the last two years – Alan Cummings (Alcester Nomads) went down 43-37 to John Bool (Engineers).
This was a close game which saw the players go into the last leg level and Bool then scored a stack of 13 to finally see off Cummings.
Mac Eaton (Alcester Nomads) beat 2011 winner Glyn Morley (Lodge Farmers) in another close game and it took a good last leg score from Eaton to take the game 35-31.
Another previous winner, from 2006, Mick Stanton (Jumbo Jet Set) could not maintain his early advantage against John Hedges (Chris & Gerry Show) who bowled well to win 32-28.
Sadly, there will be no ladies either in the second round.
Angela Guest (Chris & Gerry Show) can be forgiven for thinking she was going through as she won each of the first four legs and finally left opponent Rob Baker to score an unlikely 15 in his fifth and last leg to win.
However, Baker had other ideas, scored 15 and won the game 38-37.
Only a single pin finally separated Gail Stringer (Team BG) and Pete Sollis (Alley Cats) in the closest game of the round. Two pins was the biggest lead either player enjoyed during the game and Stringer could not quite score eight pins to win the match and lost 34-33.
An intriguing encounter was a family affair between father and son Arthur and Craig Sears from Chris & Gerry Show.
Experience triumphed as Arthur opened a four-pin advantage after three legs, reduced to two after leg four, but he then left Craig to make 11 to win which proved too much, so Sears Snr won 38-36.
There was a see-saw game between Ray Cartwright (Team BG) and Tony O’Connor (Alley Cats) with first one then the other in the lead and it took an 11-stack from Cartwright in the last leg to swing the game in his favour 36-33.
Dave Maule (Swan) comfortably won the first leg against Bob Browning (Alcester Nomads), only for Browning to whittle the advantage away over the remaining four legs and win the game 36-32.
Alan Spreckley (Alcester Nomads) also came from behind to beat Len Quartly (Jumbo Jet Set) 30-27, while Bob Haycock (Swan) did the same against Alan Rumble (Lodge Farmers) to win 31-30.
Other results: Ian Greenway 38-30 Anne O’Connor; Tim Jones 38-30 Jim Child; Andy Reynolds 37-28 Dave Charlesworth; Eddie Upright 33-28 Loz Gazeley; Maurice Wroe 33-23 Mark Ganderton; Andy Clewlow 40-33 Margaret Povey.