Woolhope Win Eighth LEH Title As They Hold Off Gorsley Fightback in Tense Final

Woolhope have once again asserted themselves as the best of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire as they took an 44-40 victory over first time finalists Gorsley Chapel.

A fantastic crowd turned out to watch a final that pitted the vast experience of the defending champions against an up and coming Gorsley side who were looking to add to last season’s summer league final victory, the club’s first major honour.

The Singles promised a fascinating match as Anthony Rogers (Woolhope) faced Joe Loveys Gorsley Chapel). With five County Singles titles between them, a closely fought match started with Rogers racing into a 6-1 lead before a maximum four on the fifth end from Loveys turned the momentum in his favour. By the final end, Rogers had reclaimed an 11-9 lead. With Loveys holding one, Rogers looked to take the jack to his back bowl, narrowly missing out as Loveys drew with his final bowl to end the game 11-11.

Meanwhile, the pairs saw a complete performance from Woolhope’s Dawn Cox and John Mills as they beat Lynn Williams and Sophie Heather-Warner 15-4. Relentless drawing to the jack from Cox was dovetailed with some accurate firing from Mills throughout the match to limit the Gorsley duo’s opportunities and give the defending champions a commanding 11 shot lead at the halfway stage.

As the second half started, Gorsley knew they needed a fast start and that is exactly what they produced with the triples and fours leading 5-1 and 11-0 respectively by the third end of both matches, putting the underdogs a shot ahead. However, what could be argued to have been the inevitable Woolhope comeback saw the triple of Shirley Cox, Bryan & Graham Watkins fightback to a 14-6 win over Jason Chester, Chris Rudderham and Dean Rudman to leave Gorsley needing a 19 shot swing in the fours with three ends left. Having already produced an excellent performance, this proved to be a step too far for Gorsley’s Clive Matthews, Joe Taylor, Roy Millington and Bryan Hayward who ended 19-4 victors over Matt Baker, Steve Crisp, Dominic Rogers and Becci Cox as Woolhope claimed overall victory by 4 shots.

With the strange scenario of both club’s Captains being the HSMBA Chairman and Competition organiser respectively, Joe Loveys and Becci Cox congratulated Woolhope on their victory and both finalists on a very close and competitive final. Thanks also went to Fownhope for hosting and their club members for setting up the equipment and doing the catering as well as Ian Roe and Steve Kite for Umpiring. Final thanks went to those who came to watch in what was the highest attendance seen at an LEH final in several years.

Top Photo: Winners- Woolhope

Bottom Photo: Runners up- Gorsley Chapel