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Committed Northants score double win over Norfolk

With the distraction of England’s World Cup match with Sweden clashing with their Adams Trophy fixture against Norfolk, Northants Federation’s bowlers’ allegiance to country or county was always going to be tested.

And so it proved, particularly with the Adams team where, beleaguered captain Jonathan Earl was faced with late withdrawals from a match scheduled to take place at his home club an hour before the televised kick-off in Russia and then having to drop out himself to take his daughter to hospital with a broken arm!

However, three of his own Blackstones club players – Peter Linnell, Sam Downs and Dusty Miller – came to the rescue by stepping up and helping Northants to an outstanding 59-shot victory, claiming 20 of the 22 points at stake.

It was an impressive finish to a season that had promised so much at the start but flattered to deceive when victory at North Cambs was followed by defeats against Suffolk, Lincolnshire and Hunts.

To their credit Norfolk sportingly battled hard but with an ear to the nation’s fortunes in the background – a packed Blackstones social club watching England on TV just yards from the green – never came to terms with the heat and conditions which favoured the home side.

For Northants, Stephen Harris, Miller and Martyn Dolby took the rink honours with a 47-22 victory including three five-counts while Bob Warters, president Tony Mace and Mick Duell (earning his Adams flash badge for his sixth appearance) included a full house of six shots on the ninth end to transform an early deficit.

There were also wins for rinks skipped by Paul Buckley, Adam Warrington and John Holroyd.

Commented Earl: “I am really grateful to those who stepped up to play for me at late notice. The county needs commitment from its bowlers and that showed from all those who played.”

Results (Northants names only):

Adams Trophy (at Blackstones): Northants 203 (20pts) Norfolk 144 (2). S Roden, G Agger, M Welsford lost 27-32; M Humphreys, P Linnell, P Buckley won 32-21; H Shipp, P Bailey, A Warrington won 33-26; S Harris, D Miller, M Dolby won 47-22; W Morris, S Downs, J Holroyd won 34-21; B Warters, T Mace, M Duell won 30-22.

There were no such problem in terms of dedication and devotion to the Federation cause from the Northants Newton Trophy bowlers who rallied round to squeeze a five shot win against Norfolk at City of Peterborough BC, picking up 16-6 points win.

Only the new combination of Dave Corney, Mick Greaves and Brian Bassam – all from the Peterborough & District club – won convincingly over the punishing 31-end format (37-13) while Fred Richardson’s rink won by eight and Malcolm Squires by three.

For the rest it was a case of keep it tight to clinch the overall shots and points.

Commented captain Cliff Watson : ” The team performed well and gave me food for thought for next season. It was very competitive to the very last end. I commended the squad for their total commitment to the NBF and myself, including the attendance of the reserve.

Result (Northants names only):

Newton Trophy (at City of Peterborough BC) :Northants 163 (16) Norfolk 158 (6). Martin Stokes, Richard Allam and Malc Squires won 25-22; Dave Corney, Mick Greaves and Brian Bassam won37-13; Les Sharp, Zac Brown and Dick Noble lost 23-37; Peter Cox, Cliff Watson and Peter Jessop lost 23-30; Sean Fenlon, Jeff Clipston and Fred Richardson won 31-23; Fred Addy, Tony Kemp and Barry Lawrence lost 24-33.