A Successful year

Alton Social Ladies have been flying the Bowls Hampshire flag at the National championships held at Royal Leamington Spa Warwickshire over the last two weeks.

First up were Lesley Johnson & Margaret Holden attempting to defend their Senior Pairs title, a very rare achievement that very nearly became a reality with wins over Essex 29-11, Oxfordshire 21-11, Berkshire 24-15, Nottinghamshire 24-22 to reach the final against Durham where the game was in the balance for 19 ends with Social trailing by 2 shots the loss of 4 shots on the 20th end put the match out of the Social pairs reach with more shots lost trying to kill the end on the last gave the 12-21 score line a distorted view of the match.

In the Fours Alice Atwell, Brenda Plumpton, Hazel Marke & Margaret Holden were up against Norfolk in the first round and although Social Ladies gave a good account of their selves it would be Norfolk’s day.

There was more disappointment for Margaret Holden in the National singles against Leicestershire’s Carol Dixon in a very close match where Margaret held game shot twice but went down 20-21 losing out to slice of good fortune for the Leicestershire Lady.

In the National pairs Hazel Marke & Margaret Holden who have formed a very successful partnership over last few years, and back at nationals for the third time in four years, started their campaign with a 23-11 win over Essex, a tough match against Dorset followed winning 19-16, Bedfordshire provided another stiff test with the Social duo coming through 18-14, a slightly more comfortable match 18-7 against Durham saw the pair into the semi final against Lincolnshire skipped by England’s Amy Gowshall but in an excellent match it was the Social Ladies who progressed into the final 25shots to 22.

In the final Social were against Yorkshire’s Suzanne Cotton & Diana Jones who had defeated Devon’s international pairing in the semi final and it was the Yorkshire pair who started the stronger building a 17-4 advantage as the Social fought to get a foothold in the match, gradually the deficit was reduced and but for the Yorkshire skip could have evaporate but the last end arrived with Social still 5 shots adrift and Margaret with one wood left to convert 1 down to 5 up, we are sure the jack breathed in as the wood passed by with Social losing 16-22.

Lesley Johnson, Brenda Plumpton, Hazel Marke & Margaret Holden returned to Leamington on 22nd August to contest the Senior Fours. Their first match was an 18-16 win against Derbyshire. In the second round on Thursday morning they beat Nottinghamshire 29-6 and in the afternoon's Quarter Final match, the ladies had another convincing win against Cornwall 23 shots to 9. On Friday in heavy rain the ladies played magnificently in a hard fought match against Cumbria winning by 1 shot 22-21 earning themselves a place in the Final against a team from Norfolk led by Brenda Whitehead. It was here that Margaret, and her team finally got the win so richly deserved with a score of 18-6

We are extremely proud of all of their achievements!!! Congratulations to all of you. You have represented our small club splendidly!

Back home county competitions are at their latter stages in Mixed Top Club Social plucked victory from the jaws of defeat against Cove to reach the county semi final as ladies singles Hazel Marke recovered from 18-7 down to win 21-20, Men’s singles Adam White won 21 -14, Dick Holden & Brenda Plumpton turned a 10 shot deficit into a win in the pairs, the fours was a close encounter with John Kellow’s rink winning through and the triple losing when the match was conceded.

Margaret Holden is through to the county champion of champion’s semi-final with a win over Caz Harris from Basingstoke Town 21-14.

In the men’s county Two Wood Triples Reece Graham, Dick Holden & Adam White are through to the area final.

Marjorie Rowledge & Brenda Plumpton are through to the county Golden Girls semi final.

In the district competitions Marc Gorman & Adam White reached the final of the Basingstoke & District pairs.

In the North Hants Ladies competitions semi finals Social will be represented by

Triples Prue Pointer, Marjorie Rowledge & Caroline Goodeve.

Fours Alice Atwell, Flo Ward, Margaret Holden & Brenda Plumpton &

Lesley Johnson, Prue Pointer, Marjorie Rowledge & Caroline Goodeve.

Alton Social Men finished runners up in the Basingstoke & District fours league.

In the Whitchurch League 2 Social maintain a top half position.

Basingstoke men’s triples league team are fighting to stave off relegation.

In the Stan Hardman league Social finished top in their section.

In what could be a never to repeat season Alton Social Ladies completed their summer of bowls domination at the county finals last Saturday by carrying off the singles, pairs, fours and earlier in the season the senior four’s titles. Margaret Holden was up against Sue Brightman from Bedhampton BC in the singles final, the first few ends could be describe as a bit scratchy but then Margaret settled to the task and eventually ran out a comfortable 21 shots to 8 winner. In the pairs the highly successful combination of Hazel Marke & Margaret Holden were defending their 2017 title against a Bridgemary BC pairing Margaret Stray & Ann Cooper who were not afraid to attack the jack whatever the situation, but the Social Ladies stuck to the task to win by 24 shots 15. In the fours Hazel & Margaret were joined by seasoned campaigner Brenda Plumpton and Alice Atwell who was playing in her first county final to play old adversaries from Cove BC Jan Allen, Karen Cranham, Donna Taylor & Sarah Bowen in an all North Hants final, the Social ladies apart from losing the first end were rarely challenged for the rest of the match and after 18 ends and Social leading by 18 shots to 9 with the Banister Park gloom and cold settling in the Cove Ladies conceded completing a highly successful summer for Social Ladies.

On Sunday it was back to Banister Park for the semi-final and final of the Bowls Hampshire Mixed Top Club where the Social men help out the ladies. In morning Social were drawn against Pelham’s BC from the Bournemouth area. The early ends were competitive as the ladies singles and the triples fell behind and the men’s singles, pairs & fours were close, in the men’s singles Adam White gain a comfortable advantage to secure Social’s first point, Hazel Marke found herself trailing by 8 shots but not for the first time in this competition Hazel battled back to record Social’s second point and by this time the four Barry Smith, Caroline Goodeve, Brenda Plumpton & John Kellow were close to securing an unassailable third point.

In the final Social were against a strong looking Atherley BC side, but it was Social who were in dominant mood as Adam White made short work of defeating Leigh Allen in the Men’s singles and Hazel Marke recording an excellent win over Margaret Darkin, the Father/daughter Kate Fyfield & Dave Atwell combination had played well all day and opened up a large advantage over Jackie Farmer & Gary Carter and would be 8 shots up at the end, the four were also forging ahead and continued to hold large advantage when the concession came. This coming when Lesley Johnson, Margaret Holden & Mark Fyfield who had trailed for 16 ends levelled the scores on the seventeenth and a win on the last end and a great finish to Alton Social’s season.