'The first matches for the 2014 Whitchurch and District Bowling Leagues were played last Wednesday.

There are only eight local teams this year, three from Andover, three from St Mary Bourne and two from Whitchurch, who withdrew their Blue team this year due to player shortage.

It has not been a good start for the local teams.

In Division 1 St Mary Bourne Hawks lost at home to Hyde Abbey 41-56 (0-5) and Andover B lost at home to Alton 40-49 (1-4).

In Division 2 newly promoted Whitchurch Blacks beat St Mary Bourne Eagles 59-41 to pick up 4.5 points.

The highest winning rink margin (24-11) was achieved in this match by Fred Judd, John Licence and Steve Smith of Whitchurch.

Andover A suffered a loss in their first game by the narrowest of margins going down 45-46 at home to Hook Hares but only picked up 1.5 points.

Both local teams lost their Div 4 matches.

Andover C lost 45-57 (1-4) away to Old Basing Royalists and St Mary Bourne Merlins were thrashed 35-78 (0-5) at Hyde Abbey B.