THE ANDY WHEELER FISHERIES Championship saw all first round fixtures completed, with Dorset leading the charge at the top of the table on leg-difference following a 21-15 over Sussex.
Strong performances from Dorset’s Women saw both the A and the B roll out 5-1 winners, with Suzy Trickett (19.78) providing the highest Women’s average of the meeting.
Sussex’s Men’s B won 8-4 and the side were trailing 14-10 going into the Men’s A match. Dorset held the visitors at bay, with a 7-5 win to take the weekend, which included the highest average of the fixture, provided by Tommy Morris (30.83).
Recently promoted Gwynedd secured the same result 21-15 as they hosted Gwent in their opener. Just two point separated the teams after day one as Gwent’s Women’s B won 4-2, followed by an 8-4 win for Gwynedd’s Men’s B.
A 5-1 victory for Gwynedd’s Women’s A, which saw county stalwart Gaynor Williams produce the performance od the fixture with a 19.84 average, saw the home side move into a 15-9 lead. A 6-6 draw between the Men’s A completed the weekend, with the top men’s average coming via Gwent’s Nick Kenny.
Oxfordshire, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, made a strong start as they beat Cambridgeshire 20-16. Oxfordshire’s Women’s B kicked off with a 4-2 win followed by an 8-4 win for the Men’s B to lead 12 – 6 going into Sunday.
Stand-out performances of the weekend came via Oxfordshire’s Deta Hedman (24.24) in a fixture which saw their Women’s A beaten 4-2 by Cambridgeshire and Shane Turner (29.24), where a 6-all draw between the Men’s A teams was enough to seal the win.
It went to the penultimate game in the match between Berkshire and Cleveland, with the Southern side just edging out the opposition 19-17 to claim those all-important win-bonus points.
Cleveland, who gained promotion to the Championship this season, had the early edge despite their Women’s B losing 4-2, due to an 8-4 win for their Men’s B.
After a 3-3 draw for the Women’s A, during which Claire Stamper hit the highest average of the meeting (20.62), there were just two points separating the teams overall. Despite Cleveland’s Rob Grundy achieving the weekends player of the match (29.50), it was Berkshire who avoided defeat with an 8-4 win in the Men’s A.
Devon were the only home team in the Championship who weren’t able to take full advantage, narrowly losing 19-17 to Humberside. The home side lead after day 1 following a 4-2 win for the Women’s B and the Men’s B teams both holding out for a draw.
Come Sunday, both matches went the way of the visitors, with Humberside’s Women’s A winning 4-2 and Men’s A claiming a 7-5 victory. Paul Milford carried on his impressive form from last season with a 31.31 average, whilst the highest Women’s average cam via Humberside’s Jessica Shakesby (19.20).
The final match resulted in the only tie in the division, as Hertfordshire made the short trip up to Northamptonshire, fresh to the Championship following relegation from the Premier Division last season.
The Women’s B match went the way of Hertfordshire 4-2 whilst the Men’s B ended in a 6-all draw. Sunday’s A matches produced the highest averages of the entire Championship, with Rebecca Rose’s 24.64 average taking top honours for Northamptonshire, as the Women’s A ended in a 3-3 draw. Hertfordshire’s Thomas Banks (pictured) secured the highest Men’s average of the division (31.38), however the team were unable to take the advantage and Northant’s Men’s A won 7-5.