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Romford boys snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in National Fours quarter-finals

PUBLISHED: 15:00 24 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:03 24 August 2017

Romford's winning fours team at county championship semi finals Richard Bolton, Nigel Smith, Steve Mitchinson and Scott Reading

Romford's winning fours team at county championship semi finals Richard Bolton, Nigel Smith, Steve Mitchinson and Scott Reading

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It’s agony for ‘gutted’ Smith and his boys up at Leamington

Romford fours champions with ECBA president Mark Cohen. Richard Bolton, Scott Reading, Nigel Smith and Steve Mitchinson Romford fours champions with ECBA president Mark Cohen. Richard Bolton, Scott Reading, Nigel Smith and Steve Mitchinson

Romford were left to think about what might have been after grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory in a dramatic National Fours quarter-final clash at Leamington.

Playing against Solihull Municipal Bowls Club in their last eight clash, the team of Steve Mitchinson, Richard Bolton, Scott Reading and skip Nigel Smith led by three shots going into the last end, only to drop a four and crash out.

“It was a horrible last end,” admitted a still gutted Smith on Thursday morning. “We were the better side and we had the game won, but we all had a terrible end and threw it away.”

The problem was with the green getting slightly heavy as Romford left their woods short.

“We needed a back wood, but Richard left his second ball well short and Scott couldn’t get there with his two either,” explained Smith.

“They trailed the jack back, but we just needed to get a wood in among them, but I couldn’t get the pace either and left mine short. It was just horrible.”

The Solihull skip added a fourth shot and that meant the Essex county champions were out of the competition in the last eight.

They had earlier had a close game with White Rock from Hastings, winning 22-20, although they led 20-8 at one stage.

Then comfortable victories over Loughborough Phoenix from Leicestershire by 24-11 and Ampthill from Bedfordshire by 29-11 to book that place in the last eight.

“Scott was very upset and I was gutted, but these things happen in sport. You have to open the door and we didn’t quite do that,” said a philosophical Nigel, a West Ham season ticket holder.

“We were doing all right and we were in a good half of the draw, so you never know what might have happened. Our expectations were high, but these things happen.”

Romford have another chance to return to Leamington in the Top Club competition if they can overcome Sandy in the inter-county final at Buntingford BC on September 10.

The winners go on to the Nationals, but Romford may have missed their big chance in the fours.

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