BOWLS: Unstoppable Sykes seals hat-trick on day of drama

Mark Sykes has won all three two wood titles since the competition began in 2012

Mark Sykes has won all three two wood titles since the competition began in 2012

First published in Sport

MARK Sykes continued his impressive run in the two wood final to complete a hat-trick of titles.

The Banbury Borough player has not lost a game in the championship since its inception in 2012.

His run was under threat early on in Sunday’s final, played at Banbury Chestnuts BC, as Headington’s Nathan Lewis took a 5-4 lead after six ends.

But Sykes showed his class to take the next nine ends and retain the title with a 20-5 victory.

There was also a one-sided result in the fours final, between two Headington rinks.

John Nicholls, Ian Henwood, Jason King and skip Mark Charlett fell behind early on, before a blistering spell which yielded 18 shots from nine ends.

After struggling to make inroads, the four of Mick Nash, Norman Rae, Paul Mabbutt and skip Nick Rae-Welsh conceded after 17 ends with the score at 27-5.

The competition was as hot as the weather in the triples, pairs and singles finals.

Ex-England international Greg Moon won the singles, but was pushed all the way by Dean May.

Twice the experienced Banbury Borough man opened up a five-shot lead, but May (Headington) fought back.

The match was decided on a measure, giving Moon his first title since 2006.

The pairs final was an all-Banbury Borough affair, with defending champions AJ Docherty and Calvin Carpenter up against George Schwab and Sykes.

It see-sawed throughout, with neither team able to take a decisive lead.

Schwab and Sykes opened with a five, but Docherty and Carpenter responded to lead 19-17.

Again the balance changed, as Schwab and Sykes went into the final end one shot ahead.

But the nerve-racking finale went the way of Docherty and Carpenter, who picked up a three to come out on top.

The triples final was even more tense, as Shiplake Village’s Francis Benham, David Bullock and Graham Kennedy went up against David Clanfield, Paul Sharman and another ex-England international, Alan Prew from Carterton.

After a low-scoring start, Carterton’s trio led 10-7 at the halfway stage.

It was wiped out by a run of six singles and a pair from Shiplake, giving them a 15-10 lead with two ends remaining.

But after dropping a two on the 17th end, the Shiplake trio found themselves five shots down at one stage of the last end.

Skip Kennedy dug deep and limited the damage to three, forcing an extra end.

A thrilling finish saw Shiplake triumph 16-15, meaining they will head to the nationals at Leamington Spa next month as Oxfordshire champions.

The drama was in contrast to the under 25 singles in the morning, which was won by Watlington’s Sam Watts by default after his opponent, Schwab, failed to arrive in time.

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