The delayed regional final of the Balcomb Trophy against Devon started in bright sunlight at Royal Leamington Spa BC, with the sun setting the last dramatic ends took place in a thrilling encounter.
Representing Warwickshire were the rink consisting of Mark Smith (Avenue Leamington), Dan Box (Little Compton), Calvin Wells (Nuneaton) and Tom Millership (Rugby). The other rink was made up of Matt Wells (Rugby), Martin Heitzman (Avenue Leamington), Martin Timms (Welford) and Mark Ireland (Erdington Court). Both rinks made a slow start, six ends played and both trailed by three shots. A four for Ireland and co put them ahead but Devon replied with a single and treble to restore their lead, Ireland’s response was a five end run, taking them eight shots in front. On Millership’s rink Devon were still in charge, leading by nine making them one up overall.
A good spell for the Bears saw Millership reduce the deficit to five with Ireland maintaining his eight shot advantage, Warwickshire three shots ahead overall. With one end left to go on both rinks Millership trailed by six but Devon had reduced Ireland’s advantage to three shots, an overall three shot advantage for Devon. A good final end saw Ireland and co take a three, winning 23-17 but more importantly levelling the encounter. In very dim light the Devon skip stepped up to bowl his final wood, two shots down, he fired, the jack ended up in the ditch, the watching crowd fell silent as it was hard to tell who held shot. To the relief of the large Warwickshire support, Tom Millership turned to the bank and raised his fist in success, while he’d lost 20-15 his rink had picked up the all important shot needed to send the Bears into the Balcomb Semi Finals to be played during the Nationals, overall score 38-37 to Warwickshire.