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Melksham skittlers really are Wiltshire Wonders!

Back row left to right: Chris Waylen, Russell Collins, Luke Rudman, Rich Hemmings and Andy Watts. Front row left to right: Mark Wiltshire, Dave Richards, John Wiltshire (captain), Kevin Wiltshire and Kevin Waylen.

A MELKSHAM skittles team  – the Wiltshire Wonders – have reclaimed their British men’s title with one of the most convincing performances in the championship’s history.

They lifted the coveted trophy, beating Exeter’s Loungers by 16 points, with a final score of 357.  Their long journey to the podium involved winning all six of their matches on the finals day of the British Skittles Championship in Torquay.

The team, who play out of Melksham Liberal Club, won their first British title back in 2014 and were runners-up in 2011.

The team quickly found their form and stormed through  all three of their matches in the initial league round, booking their place in the quarter-finals.  There they demolished Worcester’s Dirty Freshmen by 284 points to 260.  It was closer in the semis, where they faced another Worcester team, the Numpty Dumptys ,but defeated them by 288 points to 281.  That set them up as hot favourites in the finals, playing Exeter’s Loungers team, who were first-time finalists.  In the event, the Wonders’ experience and stamina paid off.  Both teams had begun playing in the finals 12 hours previously.

“We’re tired now, but so happy to win,” said a clearly exhausted John Wiltshire.  “The lads played so well.  It’s a long haul, but we were so determined to win.  There were some great teams here as always.  But on the day we were the best.”

The competition, organised by the Serious About Events company based in Torquay, began in April with 150 teams from all over the UK and Wales involved in a series of group rounds and play offs to determine the final 64 finalists.  The championship is in its 14th year.