Herefordshire launched the 2023-24 County season in strong fashion, recording a convincing victory over opponents Avon at Bristol Indoor Bowling Club on Sunday 24th September.
Herefordshire travelled South with a number of players unavailable, providing opportunity for several squad players and County debuts for Dave Rush, Paul Nicholls and Gary Peachey all of Ross Bowling Club. The first session of the day saw a strong showing from Herefordshire, with both Joe Loveys and Tony Vitale picking up wins in the singles whilst the all Ross pairings of Claire Herbert and Peter Wright and Dave Watkins and Ian Roe fought through incredibly close games to both take victory on the final end, with Herbert and Wright notably coming back from a 10-4 deficit to win 12-11.
The second session saw the points shared across the board with the triple of Dave Rush, Richard Bemand and Jim Knowles and the four of David Millington Jones, Gary Peachey, Bryan Watkins and John Mills picking up the points in each discipline, putting Herefordshire 12-4 up at the halfway stage, with the bonuses very finely balanced, particularly in the pairs, triples and fours.
Session three saw a strong start from Avon, with the hosts taking 5 of the 8 points on offer across the games. In the singles, Joe Loveys’ victory in addition to Tony Vitale’s strong shots difference secured the bonus points whilst the pairs had nothing between them once again, with a draw for Wright and Herbert in addition to a very narrow loss for Watkins and Roe enough to take the bonus by only 2 shots.
Herefordshire went into the final session on 19 points, knowing that one win would be enough to take overall victory. A strong start by the triple of Dean Rudman, Merion Attwood and Steve Kite put any fears of an Avon comeback to rest, with them eventually riding out 27-4 winners to take the triples bonus points. The fours ended the day in equally strong fashion, with Millington, Nicholls, Heather-Warner and Captain Cox recording a 18-7 victory whilst Millington Jones, Peachey, Watkins and Mills took their second win of the day 16-4.
The day ended with both captains praising the spirit in which the game had been played with new faces on both sides enjoying their first experience of County bowls. The overall score saw Herefordshire win 29-11, 220 shots to 152.