Due to changes caused by the current restrictions this years Middleton Cup is being played as a straight knockout rather than groups. Warwickshire were drawn against Herefordshire with three rinks due to be played at Nuneaton and three at Ross-on-Wye. A strong Bears performance saw them get revenge for being knocked out of the Balcomb Trophy by Herefordshire, winning 141-99.
Mark Smith (Avenue Leamington), Gary Langford (Sherwood Park), Steve Smith (Nuneaton) and Alan Apsey (Welford) got off to a strong start, 7-1 up after five ends but had their lead reduced to two after ten ends. A very strong finish which saw Apsey and co limit their opponents to three shots gave the Bears a 29-9 victory. Ewan Mason, Jordan Ward (both Rugby), Adam Smith (Avenue Leamington) and Craig Carter (Rugby) raced to a ten shot lead after six ends and extended that to thirteen at the halfway mark. Herefordshire knocked seven off the lead only for Carter and co to instantly replace it, final score 28-17 to Warwickshire.
Graham Box, Neil Hancock (both Little Compton), Dave Fallon (Nuneaton) and Dan Box (Little Compton) trailed by three after ten ends and five with six ends to play. The Bears finished well, three twos, a four and a five gave Box and co a comeback 24-15 win. Luke Horne (Avenue Leamington), Scott Ashby (Nuneaton), Keith Wooding (Avenue Coventry) and Graham Ashby (Nuneaton) needed a fifth end five to trail by two after nine ends. Thirteen shots in the next four ends swung the game in the Bears favour, even a late rally by their opponents could deny Ashby’s rink a 27-20 win.
Andy Prickett (Welford), Darren Ward (Rugby), Richard Brittan and Mark Ireland (both Erdington Court) and their opponents could only pick up singles for the first eleven ends, the Bears three shots up. A trio of threes and a double gave Herefordshire an eight shot lead going into the final six ends. Three singles and a three cut the deficit to two with two ends left and Ireland and co completed the fightback with a treble and double to win 18-15. Andy Manning (Nuneaton), Martin Timms (Welford), Matt and Calvin Wells (both Nuneaton) trailed by fourteen after six ends but reduced that to eight in the next three ends. Herefordshire slowly increased their lead to ten with four ends left before Wells’ rink reduced the deficit by four, though they couldn’t deny their opponents a 23-15 victory.