ALTON Social ladies, after experiencing the joy/disappointment of reaching a national final and falling at the final hurdle, bounced back to claim the National Senior Fours title at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa.

Lesley Johnson, Hazel Marke and Margaret Holden were joined by Brenda Plumpton, a former national pairs winner, in the fours team that represented Hampshire.

Derbyshire were first up on the notoriously tricky rink C1. Social’s patience and skill were tested to the limit as the rink lived up to its reputation, but they came through 18-16 winners.

Alton Social were comfortable winners in the next two rounds, defeating Nottinghamshire 29-6 and Cornwall 23-9 to earn a meeting with Cumbria – the Wigton BC team of Jeanette Bell, Angela Hayton, Penny Peile and Kath Baxter – in the semi-finals.

The next three hours were not for the faint-hearted as the match ebbed and flowed, continuing in heavy rain at times. Social lost five on the first end and subsequently two fours and two threes during the contest. But they fought back each time and carried a two-shot advantage into the final end, dropping one to secure a hard-fought 22-21 victory.

The weather was again not good for the final against Norfolk and the players had to leave the green at one time.

Alton Social coped better with the conditions and apart from one or two tricky situations, were generally in control against Carole Baker, Joyce Webster, Jackie Devitt and Brenda White of Norfolk BC.

Such was the Alton team’s dominance that, at 18 ends, with Social leading 18-6, the Norfolk ladies conceded, thus completing a triumphant campaign for Alton Social ladies under the Bowls Hampshire flag.

The Sutton Winston Trophy, a mixed competition for under-18s, is run during the senior championships and Alton Social’s Reece Graham was competing in his first national event. The 12-year-old, after a nervous start, played some excellent bowls, but failed to qualify in the singles. All non-qualifiers were paired up and Reece, playing with Emma Crouch from Devon, came through three rounds to reach the semi-final and were only denied a place in the final by the opposing skip who won the match with his last wood, a feat he then repeated in the final.

Social Ladies lost to Hyde Abbey (Winchester) in the Hampshire Thornbery Trophy semi-finals.

In the County Champion of Champions, Margaret Holden defeated Lorraine Slater (Loxwood BC) to reach the final, but then lost a very close match, 19-21, to Liz Russell of Lyndhurst BC.

Marjorie Rowledge and Brenda Plumpton lost out by just one shot, 18-19, to Sandy McAfee and Lesley Howell (Bridgemary BC) in the Golden Girls semi- finals.

In the Hampshire men’s two-wood triples area final, Reece Graham, Dick Holden and Adam White were outbowled by Cove’s Jim Marsland, Wayne Reed and Terry Hart at a very heavy Oakley BC green.