BOTH the ladies and men of Gerrards Cross played at the home of English bowls in Leamington Spa last weekend after winning the regional finals of the National Top Club tournament.

This was the very first time that both men and women from The Cross had qualified for this blue ribbon bowls competition, with the ladies reaching this stage in only the second year of entry.

Saturday morning saw the Gerrards Cross ladies defeat a strong side from Gloucester with an unbelievable team performance across all rinks that saw progress to the semi-finals the following day.

The draw saw them up against the previous winners, Kings from Devon, who fielded a team containing many top internationals and Commonwealth Gold medallists.

This was totally new ground for the ladies but they were not overawed and pushed their opponents very hard, and although not quite getting over the line, it was an amazing performance.

The Devon Club went on to win and therefore the ladies can rightfully claim that their only defeat in the Top Club this year was against the eventual winners.

Manager Julie Skelly was full of praise, commenting: “This is a major achievement for the ladies. We played and matched the best teams in the country.

“I’m so proud of what has been achieved this season. the Gerrards Cross ladies are truly on the map.”

In the men’s quarter-final, playing Poole from Dorset and getting off to a quick start from Dave Simpson in the two woods, the Cross, playing with style and passion, also moved into the semi-finals with a strong win.

The semi-final saw them up against Huntingdonshire that included World indoor champion Nick Brett and saw one of the closest games witnessed at Leamington.

With the scores locked at 2-2, all eyes were on the triples game where just one point separated the two sides on the final end.

Responding to the large crowd, the triple of Kev Dwyer, George Reid and Drew Briden coped well under pressure, picking up the winning shots that saw the side win the final end to progress through to the final.

The final against Kings from Devon, a side that contains three England internationals, was always going to be a tough match and so it proved.

Despite strong performances from all rinks, the Devon side were just that little stronger and retained the title, with Gerrards Cross being the national Top Club runners-up.

Kirk Smith was a very proud President of the Club. He said: “This has been an amazing weekend for everyone connected with Gerrards Cross. The ladies last week won the Trundell and now they are in the top four team’ in the Country. The men have also had an incredible season and to finish as finalists in Top Club just proves how strong we are as a club.

"I’d also like to thank all the members of Gerrards Cross that came up to Leamington to support us”