TWENTY-SIX teams of three players each contested the first round of the Swan Studley Skittles League Triples Knockout, from which only the top two teams in each of four groups could qualify for the quarter-finals.
Group One saw Swan A of Dave Maule (39, ten-stack), Bob Haycock (38) and Graham Howells (36) comfortably finish top with 113 pins.
Jumbo Jet Set A (110) also qualified thanks to Mick Stanton’s score of 40, including a last leg stack of 15. It was enough to see off a spirited Alley Cats C for which Moira Gazeley totalled 39 of her team’s 102-pin total.
In Group Two, Alcester Nomads B with 105 pins narrowly beat Engineers C by two pins as both teams progressed.
Neither could relax, however, with Team BG B pushing hard throughout but falling short with 98 pins, of which Ray Cartwright made 39 including two stacks of 14 and ten.
Nomads B had Mac Eaton leading the way with 39, Bob Browning 35 and Alan Cummings 31, while Brandon Kelso and Andy Clewlow both scored 35 for Engineers B.
Although Engineers D easily won Group Three with 107 pins, only four pins separated the next three teams with Jumbo Jet Set B (99 pins), just edging through to the quarter-finals.
Engineers D had George Bird (45, 16-stack) to thank for qualifying as team-mates Pete Clewlow and Mark Ganderton were below their usual form, making just 31 pins each.
Jumbos B and Team BG B were level going into the last leg and the former produced a good finish which Team BG B only failed to match by a single pin.
Dan Hill (38) top scored for Jumbos B and Alex Beard topped for Team BG B.
The closest finish was in Group Four with just two pins between first placed Chris & Gerry Show A (102), second placed Engineers B (101) and unlucky third placed Chris & Gerry Show C (100).
C&G Show A needed Dave Orton’s two stacks of 12 each in a total of 45 to get through as team-mates Angela Guest (30) and Paul Hollis (27) both struggled.
Ian Greenway for Engineers B was his side’s top scorer with 35.
Other scores: Group One – Lodge Farmers B 94; Well Developed A 90; Lodge Farmers C and Maudslay A 87.
Group Two – Chris & Gerry Show B 89; Alcester Nomads B 86; Engineers A 84.
Group Three – Team BG A 95; Jumbo Jet Set C 88; Lodge Farmers D 82.
Group Four – Alcester Nomads A 96; Lodge Farmers A 94; Alley Cats A 89.