Second placed Colliton Chimps won away by 41-pins to leaders Heathens on Friday evening to close the gap to 4 points at the top of the table, but a win this week away to Brewers Bees will see Heathens clinch promotion. The race for the second spot sees three teams left in with a chance, Colliton Chimps sit 2 points above third placed Swankers but Chimps have one more match to play. Hotshots lost last week and are now outsiders but could still make it if the two teams above them slip up. Royal Oak Country Boys defeat at home to Brewers Bees sees them drop out of the race.
Swankers – 26pts – Hartstoppers (H)
Royal Oak Country Boys (A) Brewers Bees (H) BYE
Hotshots – 25pts – Steamers (H)
Muckspreaders (A) Hartstoppers (H) Royal Oak Country Boys (A)
At the bottom Tom Browns Bullocks are relegated, while wins for Mrs Browns Boys and Brewers Bees mean no fewer than six teams could fill the second relegation spot. This week Brewers Bees play away to top team Heathens on Friday while Mrs Browns Boys play relegated Bullocks at Tom Browns on Thursday. Muckspreaders and Vic Reeves who have both been dragged into the relegation battle face each other, while the other two teams in the bunch both face tough games, Steamers away to Hotshots and Hartstoppers away to Swankers.
Wareham Legionaires won the league without playing on Thursday as Magpie Imps lost at home to Top Pins by 2-pins. Top Pins are 2 points ahead in second place but this week have a bye so Magpie Imps could draw back level if they beat BRK Yokels on Wednesday at the Colliton Club. Champions Legionaires hit 443 on alley two at the Trinity Club to celebrate their title. It’s back to back titles for the Wareham outfit after winning Section D last season which was their first success since joining the league in 2012. With the league won the Legionaires will be keen to go unbeaten throughout the season, and also have a cup semi final to look forward to.
At the bottom Untouchables had an important win at home to BRK Yokels winning by 60-pins, hitting 420. This puts them just 2pts behind Colliton Supertramps, and also brings BRK Yokels into the relegation battle. Misfits beat Colliton Flingers by 10-pins to move onto 14pts, while Flingers are now bottom 2pts behind Untouchables.
Swan Abbots moved joint top with Puddletown Nomads when the Abbotsbury outfit won the top of the table clash at the Goldies after trailing all evening. Going into the last hand Abbots were 9-pins behind but finished the match with a 68 hand to leave Nomads 60 to win, the home side’s 54 meant the points went back to Abbotsbury. Both Plodders and UnpredictableStrimmers won to keep up with the leaders. This week’s big match sees Swan Abbotts host Unpredictable Strimmers, the Strimmers have to play the three teams above them in their final games so any defeat would all but rule them out for promotion. Plodders are just a point behind the two leaders and crucially have an extra game to play.
All four teams at the top of the Ladies League won last week. Oakettes have a chance to close the gap on leaders Devils to 4 points when they play away to Breezers on Tuesday as Devils have their bye. Crackerjacs and Vixens both need to win to keep up their hopes of a second place finish.
Top score in the Ladies League was Jen Sims of Oakettes with 70 at the Royal Oak, Bere Regis. Oakettes team score of 439 equalled their previous best score from January which is the highest team score in the Ladies League this season. The Bere Regis outfit also hit the highest hand of the week with 78. The highest stick up was 18 hit by Jen Sims, it’s only the second 18 hit in the Ladies League this season.
Top score in the Open League was James Roe of Skimmers with 79 at the Bulls Head. The highest team score was 481 by Skimmers at he Bulls Head, and the Section A joint leaders also hit the highest hand of the week with 82 which was 1-pin more than the Section B leaders Heathens who started their match at the Royal Oak, Bere Regis with 81. The highest stick up was 18 hit by five players, Adrian Patterson of Hartstoppers on alley two at the Trinity Club, Chris Elliott of Untouchables at the Goldies, Charlie Clarke and Owen Etherington both of Unpredictable Strimmers at the Bulls Head, Jon Arnold of Swan Abbots at the Old Ship Inn, Upwey.
There are just 4 points between the top seven teams in Section A and with five games left there has never been so many teams still in with the chance of winning the title. Skimmers have emerged as many people’s favourites to land what would be their third straight Section A triumph. But there are six other teams that will be doing their utmost to stop them. No more so than Breakaways who sit level on points with Skimmers and are having a great season. In third place just 2 points behind are last season’s Section B champions Essentials who have impressed in their first season in Section A and could still produce a fairy-tale finish. Jolly GreenGiants who led the way for much of the season are fourth joint with Royal Oak Wanderers and Half Pints all just 3 points off of the top two, while in seventh place Colliton Imps are 4 points behind the leading two. It will be an interesting few weeks to see who remains in the hunt for the top prize.
At the bottom there are four teams who could still go down with only 2 points between bottom team Alcotops and the three teams above them, Hammers, Colliton Wide Boys and Patriots. While only two teams are scheduled to go down there is always a chance that three may get relegated when it comes to forming the new sections for next season depending on any teams withdrawing from the league so that third from bottom spot is always a danger to finish in. The big game at the bottom this week sees Patriots host the Wide Boys on Thursday at the Goldies.
Games to play
Patriots – 14pts – Colliton Wide Boys (H) Royal Oak Wanderers (A) Hammers (A) Puddletown Wanderers (H) Alcotops (A)
Colliton Wide Boys – 14pts – Patriots (A) Puddletown Wanderers (H) Alcotops (A) Half Pints (H) Barmy Army (A)
Hammers –14pts – Royal Oak Wanderers (H) Dewlish Monsters (A) Patriots (H) Essentials (A) Puddletown Wanderers (H)
Alcotops – 12pts – Jolly Green Giants (H) Skimmers (A) Colliton Wide Boys (H) Royal Oak Wanderers (A) Patriots (H)
Heathens are 6 points clear at the top of the table and look certain to be going back to Section A at the first attempt after last season’s relegation. The chase for the runners up spot is between four teams but importantly Colliton Chimps and Hotshots have played a game less than Swankers and Royal Oak Country Boys which may make all the difference in the coming weeks. The big match this week sees Heathens host Colliton Chimps.
Hotshots – 25pts – Mrs Browns Boys (A) Steamers (H) Muckspreaders (A) Hartstoppers (H) Royal Oak Country Boys (A)
Swankers – 24pts – Muckspreaders (A) Hartstoppers (H) Royal Oak Country Boys (A) Brewers Bees (H) BYE
Royal Oak Country Boys – 22pts – Brewers Bees (H) BYE Swankers (H) Vic Reeves (A) Hotshots (H)
At the bottom Tom Browns Bullocks are as good as relegated as they are 7 points adrift at the foot of the table, the two teams above them could be the two that fight it out to avoid finishing in the bottom two, Mrs Browns Boys are on 14 points and Brewers Bees are on 13 points, and Bees still have a bye, while both teams face a tough run in of fixtures. Steamers and Muckspreaders sit 2 points above Mrs Browns Boys on 16 points and could be dragged into the relegation battle over the coming weeks but one win would probably be good enough to see both teams survive.
Wareham Legionaires have already clinched promotion and will be crowned as champions, either without playing on Thursday if Magpie Imps lose or on Friday by avoiding defeat away to Villains. The Wareham outfit who have four games left to play could become the first team to go unbeaten for the whole season since Oakettes in Ladies Section A in 2009 when they won all of their 20 games. The only other two teams in recent history to achieve the feet were Marco Wanderers in 1998 winning 24 games in Section F, and Liverbirds in Ladies Section B in 1988 winning 26 games.
With the top spot as good as done attention turns to the runners up spot where two teams are currently tying on 30 points and this week the two meet when Magpie Imps host Top Pins at Dorchester Town Football Club, the following week Top Pins have their bye so it could still be close going into the final three matches.
At the bottom of Section C both Untouchables and Colliton Flingers are 4 points adrift and with the two yet to meet in the second half of the season one of them looks certain for the drop. Misfits are 4 points above the bottom pair and this week host Colliton Flingers so a victory for the Wool outfit will almost insure safety from the drop. Colliton Supertramps are the other team that are 4 points clear of relegation zone.