On the 14th July, the BUCS representative squad took part in the first challenge match of the year against county teams for Buckinghamshire, Bedforshire and Oxfordshire at GoBowling Dunstable. In total, each squad put out 2 mixed teams of 5 and bowled 4 games on singles and subsequently 3 games of fives.
The teams were as follows:
Team A – Michael Hurst, Jon Atkins, Antony Lakey, Aiden Wright and Rachael Sargent
Team B – Darren Ellis, Jon Spivey, Hannah Bratton-Smith, Chloe Wright and Richard Balaam
To begin, all ten bowlers bowled 4 games of singles. The scoring was immediately impressive with all 7 of the male BUCS bowlers starting with 200+ games. Darren Ellis was remarkably low male of the BUCS squad with a 215 and Jon Atkins high scored with a 235. Hannah Bratton Smith was the top scoring lady just missing out on a 200 game with a 199.
Going into the second game saw Jon Atkins firm up his position with a 258 and taking 2nd position after 2 games. The top 2 males at this rate due to their spectacular scoring rate had established a gap between themselves and the rest of the pack. Of the other bowlers, other notable mentions go to Mike Hurst and Darren Ellis bowling a 223 and a 221 respectively. In the female category, the three female BUCS bowlers all were in the middle of the pack with Chloe, Hannah and Rachael bowling a 145, 158 and 161 respectively.
The third game saw some spectacular scores being bowled by those looking to put some pressure on the top 2. Anthony Lakey managed to achieve a 289 after starting with a 10 bagger. This was followed closely by Darren Ellis with a huge 269, and Mike Hurst with a 255. Rachael Sargent managed to climb the table in the females category with an equally impressive 234 game. Incredibly Team A in this game managed to bowl 1204 (241 average) of which the highest score so far (Jon Atkins was low man).
With only one game to go in the singles competition, both the male and female categories were on a knife edge. In the male category, Andy Giles (Bucks) was leading with a 728 followed closely by Lakey (712), Darren (705), Mike (700) Jon Atkins (695) and Jon Spivey (668). In the female category, Kate Wicklow was leading (581) with Rachael (558) and Hannah (530) in 4th and 6th respectively.
In the final game, in the male category, the top 10 knew that to be in with a chance of winning would require a big game to be bowled. Jon Atkins put the disappointment of his previous game behind him opening with 8 strikes in a row and posting a 263 game. This put him in front of Darren (233) and Lakey (193) and current leader Andy Giles (226). Challenging Jon for the men’s singles title was Mike Hurst who went front 7 and subsequently posted a 257 game. However, this was not enough and after bowling a 958 (239.5 average), Jon Atkins took the win by the smallest of margins (1 pin). The male classifications were as follows:
1. Jon Atkins (BUCS) = 958
2. Mike Hurst (BUCS) = 957
3. Andy Giles (Bucks)= 954
4. Darren Ellis (BUCS) = 938
5. Jon Spivey (BUCS) = 915
6. Anthony Lakey (BUCS) = 905
7. Aiden Wright (BUCS) = 882
18. Rich Ballam (BUCS) = 798
In the female category, Hannah and Rachael put themselves in contention for the ladies title with a 224 and a 195 respectively. However, they both just missed out on the title by less than 20 pins. The female classifications were as follows:
1. Kate Wicklow (Beds) = 772
2. Cheryl Hoare (Bucks) = 767
3. Hannah Bratton Smith (BUCS) = 754
4. Rachael Sargent (BUCS) = 753
9. Chloe Wright (BUCS) = 587
After a quick break and a re-oil everyone in both BUCS teams was quietly confident after the mornings performance. However, it soon became apparent a change in condition laid from the house pattern in the morning to the Atlanta sports pattern meant that the challenge to match the performances in the morning was going to be extra difficult.
The first game saw a tentative start by both teams. In the BUCS A team, Jon Atkins re-affirmed his position opening with a 223 game followed closely by Rich Ballam. Even though a 223 would have been below par in the morning, this was the highest score bowled by any bowler in the first game of the team event which shows you the challenge that everyone was facing. A combination of struggling to string strikes together as well as facing splits at bad times, meant that targets were quickly re-evaluated. After 1 game, BUCS A and BUCS B were both in the pack chasing down Bucks Ducks who opened with a 950 game.
The second game was much of the same. However, those that did well in the first game started to struggle with the breakdown and those that struggled rose to the occasion. The top scorer in both teams was Mike Hurst with a 211 game (the only bowler to bowl a 200+ game). Even though both teams posted disaapointing scores, all teams were struggling with the top 5 teams within 100 pins of each other (including BUCS A)
With the small margin to make up, there was a collection of teams that knew that a team performance would propel them into the coveted top spot. However, neither of the BUCS team could live up to the challenge. BUCS B put in a good performance with help from Jon Spivey and (232) and Hannah Bratton Smith (236) but they were too far behind to make up the deficit. BUCS A saw Aiden Wright top score with a 203 but as a team, they posted a sub-par score. The final classifications for the team event were as follows:
1. Beds Men = 2732
2. Bucks Ducks = 2726
3. Bucks Broncos = 2715
4. BUCS A = 2640
5. BUCS B = 2567
After all seven games had been bowled, both Jon Atkins and Hannah Bratton-Smith topped the male and female tables respectively with a 1538 and a 1329 respectively even though their team events series’ were onlu 580 and 575 respectively. The male and female classifications were as follows:
1. Jon Atkins (BUCS) = 1538
2. Andy Giles (Bucks) = 1501
3. Jon Spivey (BUCS) = 1495
4. Mike Hurst (BUCS) = 1480
5. Aiden Wright (BUCS) = 1464
10. Anthony Lakey (BUCS) = 1394
16. Darren Ellis (BUCS) = 1361
19. Rich Ballam (BUCS) = 1347
1. Hannah Bratton Smith (BUCS) = 1329)
2. Cheryl Hoare (Bucks) = 1279
3. Kate Wicklow (Beds) = 1270
4. Rachael Sargent (BUCS) = 1219
9. Chloe Wright (BUCS) = 1027
All in all the BUCS teams took home a whole host of awards including High Male (All Events, Singles and Game) and High Female (All Events and Game). It was a very successful day out and the squad is looking forward to the next fixture.
Full results can be found here.