THE cream of women’s bowls served up a mouthwatering regional final of the Walker Cup at Cotswold Bowls Club with Somerset winning the final 44-32 against Gloucestershire for the second consecutive season to take their place in the national finals at Leamington Spa.
The semi-finals saw Gloucestershire against Worcestershire with Iona Bird (Caer Glow), Chris Prosser (Gloucester Spa), Jacky Howes (Stroud) and Lindsay Collin (Page Ladies) being level against Amy Stanton 4-4 after six ends.
The rink then took a slender lead of 7-6 after 11 ends before it being level at 9-9 after 16 ends.
In the final run-in they picked up a two and a three to grab a 16-10 win.
The decisive rink was that of Val Molton (Kingswood & Hanham), Sue Latham (Olveston), Sue Osborne (Kingswood & Hanham) and Joy Sheward (Cheltenham Whaddon) who, up against Sue Davies, went into a 4-1 lead early on and then gained a six-shot advantage after 11 ends.
With the gap widening to 17-9 after 16 ends they won five consecutive ends finishing with a two and a four for a 26-9 win and a place in the final.
The other semi saw Somerset have a nail biting finish against Warwickshire that saw Jill Young edge out Maureen Edwards by two shots 23-21 and Stef Branfield just losing out 17-16 that took them into the final by just a single shot at 39-38.
The final was a close affair early on with Joy Sheward losing 8-7 to Jill Young, whilst Lindsay Collin was 9-8 up on Stef Branfield at the halfway stage.
Somerset upped their challenge and over the next five ends pulled ahead by seven shots with Sheward and Young all square at 12-12 and Branfield taking a 17-10 lead.
Not to be outdone, Collin pulled back to 17-15 and with the other rink all square the difference was just two shots in favour of Somerset.
Somerset then hit a purple patch that saw Branfield winning the last four ends to pick up 13 shots for a 30-15 win and, with Sheward edging past Young 17-14, the winning margin was 12 shots.