It was more than just a competition for two Exeter skittles teams. With husbands on the Saints team and wives playing as the Sinners, the men were expected to triumph as usual. But in a shock turnaround, it was the women who put their triumph down to singing. The strategy clearly worked as they beat their nearest rivals, the Outcasts from Bristol by an astonishing 446 points to 408. In the event, the Saints came in third with 392.
Sixteen teams from Gloucestershire, Wales, Bath, Bristol, Gloucestershire, South and East Devon travelled to the tournament, one of the Serious About Weekends Series, staged in Bournemouth.
The Saints and the Sinners play out of St Thomas Social Club in Exeter and both have quite a pedigree on the national skittles stage. The Sinners won the British ladies title back in 2011 whilst the Saints were runners-up in the men’s event in 2015.
Sinners’ Captain Joan Kennard put it all down to brilliant team work, support, encouragement, oh and singing.
‘We do sing a lot, ‘ she said. ‘We have songs for every player and on the finals day we were pretty loud. Then we just got louder and louder and then lots of people joined in our songs so we got louder still.
’It was one of those days when everything came good particularly in the final. Clare Northern got a flopper and a score of 22 half way through the final and that really set us on our way to winning.
‘We love playing in these tournaments. We do it every year. It’s all husbands and wives on the two teams but the husbands usually win. I will merely say that the men were gracious in defeat.’
Joan’s husband Paul who captained the Saints, had to admit they’d played well.
‘You can imagine the atmosphere on the coach going on home,’ he said.
Serious About Events who organise the competitions, also stage the British Skittles Championship. Entries are still open for the competition which kicks off next month with the regional rounds and play offs.
Pictured above left to right: Joan Kennard (Captain), Sue Irwin, Carolyn Letheren, Beth Ricketts, Debbie Alford, Michelle Jordan, Karen Burwood, Clare Northam, Tracey Miller and Sally Ricketts.