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Defeat of Norfolk aids Northants A’s cause


Trevor Collins and Nick Wilkie

Martyn Dolby and Tony Scarr in anticipation of an approaching bowl

James Harford and Paul Dalliday

Jeff Newson

Roger Martin

Tristan Morton (images courtesy of Stamford Mercury and Alan Walters)

BOWLERS representing Northants A have given themselves a fighting chance of reaching the finals of the indoor inter-county Derbyshire Trophy championship for the first time since 2006.

They beat Norfolk, one of their closest rivals, 105-70 at Stamford IBC picking up 12 vital points which takes them 10 clear of league leaders Linccolnshire whom they beat 11-3 last week.

However, Lincs have a superior shots difference and need just 10 of the 14 points at stake next weekend when they host Norfolk at Lincoln IBC.

An added twist to the plot reveals that several of their leading contenders will be missing, already committed to the EIBA code’s semi-final of the mixed Egham Trophy against Norwich IBC at Peterborough.

Says Northants A captain James Harford: “We played well to win on three out of four rinks and take 12 points from a strong Norfolk side. We have 52 points which we would have taken at the start of the campaign; we have done all we can but it is out of our hands now. We can only hope the result at Lincoln goes our way.”

After the initial exchanges, Northants, who included all but one in their side who play their indoor competitions at Stamford – Nick Wilkie (Spalding) was the only exception – took control as Norfolk players, more used to slower surfaces, took more time to adapt.

Particularly pleasing in the two-bowl triples format over 25 ends, was the new combination of experienced singles player Martyn Dolby leading on a rink skipped by talented left-hander Tristan Morton with Tony Scarr playing a key supporting role, tidying up heads and drawing strategic bowls as required.

They allowed Danny Mills’ trio few opportunities and after surging into a 17-7 lead with an excellent four count eventually ran out 29-13 winners.

On the adjoining rink, the tried and tested combination of Paul Dalliday, Harford and Simon Law were having similar success against Sam King, son of former world singles champion Mervyn. Ten shots in eight ends took them into a 24-9 lead from which they were never threatened.

When Adam Warrington switched roles with Roger Martin from lead to skip on the 14th end, as Federation roles allow, they trailed 12-15 but the transition – with Mick Humphreys at No.2 – quickly worked and they pick up seven shots in five ends. And with seven more in the last four they claimed more vital points in a 26-22 victory.

Northants’ only disappointment was 25-17 defeat of the experienced Wilkie, Trevor Collins and Jeff Newson whom, despite shuffling roles at 15 ends, couldn’t cope with a late surge of 12 shots in the last eight ends by Danny Cawthorne’s young trio after leading 15-13.

Results (Northants A names only):

Derbyshire Trophy ( at Stamford): Northants A 105 (12pts) Norfolk 70 (2). a Warrington,M Humphreys, Roger Martin won 26-22; N Wilkie, T Collins, J Newson lost 17-25; P Dalliday, J Harford, S Law win 33-10; M Do.by, T Scarr, T Morton won 29-13.

End by end: 19-18 (5 ends), 36-34 (10), 61-43 (15), 83-52 (20), 105- 70 (25).

It’s crunch time for the Stamford Men’s A team competing in the first division of the Lincolnshire League – a title they won two years ago and are aiming to regain at the expenses of the current holders Lincoln IBC.

They head to the city for the final game of the season on Saturday (March 2) with what looks on paper to be an unassailable 36-point lead over their rivals. But defeat could make it extremely fragile, especially as Lincoln have two games in hand – albeit away to Sleaford and Boston – and exactly those precious points at stake.

Stamford captain Paul Bailey has the opportunity to draft in a handful of experienced players waiting on the sidelines but in the sporting tradition of the club has decided to maintain faith in those who have been available with their support throughout the season.

However, it will mean a couple of tweaks with the return of Neil Wright and Peter Edwards both with experience of the Lincoln surface.

Stamford A: Richard Allam, Mick Linnell, Trevor Collins, Jon Earl; Mick Humphreys, Neil Wright, Adam Warrington, Paul Bailey; Mike Ramsden, Jay Travis-Jenner, John Holroyd, Jeff Newson; Wayne Aspinall, Chris Ballard, Bob Warters, Roger Martin; Dave Hudson, Mal Smith, Peter Edwards, Martyn Dolby. Res: aOwen Aspinall, Tony Barwell.

FEDERATION COMPETITIONS LATEST

The final of the Northants Bowling Federation’s Blue Riband event, the four-bowl singles – will be between players who all play their indoor competitions on the Stamford IBC surface.

This was confirmed when Martyn Dolby beat new England Under 25 international Stephen Harris in a high quality match to earn a semi-final tie with former England EBA outdoor triples champion James Harford.

In the other semi-final Paul Dalliday, who only converted fully from carpet bowls a couple of seasons ago and who beat Mike Ramsden 21-11, will play Richard Allam, a 21-20 victor over Tony Barwell.

The veteran singles semi-final matches two former winners Bob Warters against Martyn Dolby and Dick Noble, the county president, against Alan Romaine.

In the women’s four-bowl singles final Louise Harris – a 21-15 winner at Peterborough against Sheila Craig plays pairs partner Helen Holroyd. In the seniors, Chris Ford, who beat Joan Robinson 21-5, plays Craig.

The county finals will be at Stamford on March 17.