DEVON'S men have come away empty-handed from this year's Bowls England National Finals in Worthing after missing out on the Middleton Cup on Saturday.
Defeat to Berkshire in the final of the inter-county team event, on a rain-interrupted penultimate day of the championships, means that the county did not win a single trophy at Beach House Park.
Devon missed out on the Middleton Cup last year after a shock defeat to Norfolk, but won a handful of other titles including the Triples, Mixed Fours and White Rose Trophy.
Devon defeated Cumbria by 100-84 in a shortened Middleton Cup semi-final on Saturday morning to mean the final was a repeat of 2011 – which was won by the South West side.
But they were unable to repeat their victory over Berkshire, losing 105-115.
Bowls Devon's Dave Counter said there were slower greens, due to heavy rain in the morning, which would not have suited the Devonians.
"The weather was atrocious up there," he said. "We beat Cumbria in the morning in a shortened game reduced to 18 ends, but then lost by 10 shots to Berkshire in the afternoon.
"We've always said that Devon boys like a fast green, but there was a thunderstorm in the morning which kept them off the green for a good deal of time."
Among other disciplines at Worthing, Kings BC quartet of Sophie Tolchard, Lorraine Hackett, Phil Hackett and Sam Tolchard were unable to retain their Mixed Fours crown, losing 5-22 in the final to Cambridgeshire.
But there was no shame in defeat for the Devon four, as their opponents included England internationals Ellen Falkner and Nick Brett.
Elsewhere in the latter stages of the men's finals fortnight:
Sam Tolchard was knocked out of the singles in the second round versus Sussex bowler Ollie Ovett (19-21);
Shaldon's Steve Davies and Ryan Whitlock lost in the first round of the pairs against the eventual winners, Essex duo Lloyd Sabatini and Ed Morris (15-23);
Lee Haywood was knocked out in the first round of the two-wood singles;
Representatives of Bowls Devon were unable to say when was the last year that Devon failed to win a trophy at Worthing. They will be hoping for better luck next year, when the men's finals are held at Leamington Spa, the same venue as the women's finals.
Bowls Devon administrator Harry Riley said: "Ten shots over six rinks is not a disaster, and come next year when we go to Leamington Spa, we could find ourselves first on the honours board.
"If you look at the Middleton Cup that's a bit of a surprise because we've done well in recent years. But when you come down to individual competitions, all counties are able to put good teams together so anyone can win it. It's a disappointment – but not really a surprise."
He added: "The women have outshone the men this year, which I'm sure they are delighted about!"