THE SWAN Studley Skittles League Triples Knockout competition was keenly contested as round one saw four groups of six teams do battle.
Only the top two in each group progress to the quarter-finals and after three legs only five pins separated all six teams in Group One.
It got even tighter after the next leg, as the top five teams found themselves within three pins of each other, leaving all to play for in the final leg.
Jumbo Jets A, after low scores in their first two legs, recovered well to post a winning 100-pin final total to just qualify.
Chris & Gerry Show A and Lodge Farmers C were close behind with 99-pin totals, meaning a single-player sudden-death leg to decide the second qualifier.
C&G A player Arthur Sears then scored an 11-stack which proved too good for Alan Rumble’s seven pins for Farmers C.
Group Two was more straightforward as Engineers A led throughout to qualify comfortably, with Luke Saunders making 43 (13-stack).
Alcester Nomads C also qualified having held second spot throughout but, when Nomads B made a good last leg score, it left the C team needing 19 pins to win and they squeezed home by two pins thanks to anchorman Tony Moore who finished with a 38-pin total to deny the B team.
In Group Three, after three legs, it was a close run competition as three teams had 58 pins, one 57 and another 54.
Alcester Nomads A and Lodge Farmers B then had good fourth legs to put pressure on the other teams. Nomads A, with an excellent last leg score, easily qualified in top spot and Farmers B also qualified despite nearly throwing away their advantage with a poor last leg score.
Fortunately for them other teams also made poor scores. Top scorer for Nomads A was Alan Cummings (38 pins) and for Farmers B Jason Kirk made 35.
Engineers D led all the way to qualify with 100 pins in Group Four, which saw only seven pins separate all the teams at the finish.
Engineers D, with a low last leg score, were grateful for Phil Jones’ 38-pin total and the fact other teams could not produce better finishes.
Second placed Engineers B flirted with elimination against the two Swan teams in the group but managed a good final leg to pip their rivals. John Bool for Engineers B made 36 and Helen Racki 36 for Swan A.
Quarter-final draw: Jumbos A v Nomads C; C&G Show A v Engineers A; Nomads A v Engineers B; Lodge Farmers B v Engineers D.