LAST season’s top three were all in action in the first week of the Swan Studley Skittles League and, whilst there were wins for champions Alcester Nomads and third placed Engineers, runners-up Maudslay suffered a first game defeat for the second successive year.
Engineers were in the most impressive form as they scored a massive 351 pins, helped in no small way by Mark Ganderton making 52 (two stacks of 16 and 11), Ian Greenway 43 (14-stack) and Pete Clewlow 38.
After two legs, opponents Chris & Gerry Show were already 37 pins adrift as Engineers made 81 in leg two. C&G Show then lost a further 22 pins in leg four but fought back to narrowly win legs three and five and gain valuable consolation points.
Leading the way for C&G Show were Craig Sears 36, John Hall 34 and Rita Passey and Angela Guest with 32 each.
Champions Alcester Nomads also started well and had opened up a big lead of 25 pins after two legs after scoring 71 and 70, before opponents Well Developed retaliated in leg three by making 73 to reduce the deficit to 14.
However, that was the end of their resistance as Nomads ran out comfortable winners. Mac Eaton made 44 and Alan Cummings and Geoff Lout 37 each for Nomads, while Well Developed had Dave Bevan scoring 35 and Janina Brennan and Ros Pottinger 34 each.
In scoring their highest total for two years, Lodge Farmers upset an out of sorts Maudslay. It started well for Maudslay, who bowled first and scored 69 to narrowly take the first leg by two pins, but then Lodge Farmers made a morale-boosting 69 themselves in leg two and built on this with scores of 64 and 69 in legs three and four.
Maudslay finally left their opponents only 44 to win and Lodge Farmers eased to victory. Captain Glyn Morley made 39, Jason Kirk 36 and there was 34 each for Alex Cull and Roger Powell for the winners.
Best replies for Maudslay came from Mark Sanseverino and Geoff Mayneord with 37 each and Paul Matthews and Keith Fryer with 34 each.
The game between Alley Cats and last season’s fourth placed team Jumbo Jet Set was a close, low-scoring affair.
Alley Cats were always ahead in the game, although never by more than seven pins, and needed a last leg total of only 57 to win.
Alley Cats’ last bowler finally wanted just four pins for victory and took out the middle three pins with the first ball to tie the score and then put the remaining two balls through the gap created by the first ball.
For unlucky Alley Cats, who won three of the five legs to edge the game, Moira Gazeley had a 13-stack in a 38 total and Pete Sollis 32.
Replies for Jumbos came from Dan Hill and Len Quartly with 33 each and Ben Jones and Mick Stanton with 32 each.
Results: Engineers 8 points (351 pins) Chris & Gerry Show 3 (292); Well Developed 2 (295) Alcester Nomads 9 (328); Maudslay 3 (312) Lodge Farmers 8 (328); Jumbo Jet Set 5 (300) Alley Cats 6 (300).