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Helen causes upset in Under 25 singles final and goes on to win four titles

If further evidence was needed that bowls is that rare phenomenon where the game can be played on equal terms by both men and women, the final of the Northants Federation Under 25 singles proved it beyond doubt.

Recently capped England Under 25 international Stephen Harris (21) representing the Blackstones club, was matched against Stamford Town’s Helen Holroyd (23) and though a young player with great potential she was not expected to trouble a bowler who has held this county title both indoors and outdoors for several years.

How wrong the assembled spectators at Stamford IBC were. Helen, who is currently qualifying for her coaching badges, was outstanding against an adversary recently named England player of the series on his recent debut in Aberdeen.

In the two-bowl singles contest, she trailed 6-8 at nine ends and 9-10 (12) before asserting her authority on longer jacks to lead 13-10 and 19-13 before conceding the 23rd send to a single.

Helen finally clinched it with an unbeatable front bowl to win 21-14 and went on to win three more titles, including the women’s pairs with Louise Harris, whom she beat in the women’s singles 21-18 after trailing 6-16.

At the other end of the age scale, playing on their home indoor rinks were Martyn Dolby (Blackstones) celebrating his birthday, and Christine Ford (Ketton) in their respective Veterans and Senior singles.

Dolby saw off the keen challenge of Northants president Dick Noble (West Ward) with a 21-9 victory, while Ford beat Conservative’s Sheila Craig 21-13. Turning point came on the 13th end when Ford picked up a maximum to stretch clear 19-10.

Both Dolby and Ford also went on to win a second title each in their respective men’s and women’s two-bowl triples.

Dolby joined with Blackstones colleague Adam Warrington and Jon Earl to defeat Peter Edwards rink – who had taken a 12-0 lead – in a thriller that went to an extra end.

For Ford, June Brennan and Jan Want, it was far more straight-forward against Hazel Bass, Marlene Osborne and Penny Hart – and 15 shots in an eight end spell soon took them out of reach.

But a Dolby/Ford combination came unstuck against brother and sister Stephen and Louise Harris in the mixed pairs, conceding eight shots in the last four ends.

The men’s blue riband event – the 4-bowl singles – went to former carpet bowler Paul Dalliday who just had the edge over Parkway clubmate James Harford. The duo also opposed each other in the two-bowl pairs where Harford gained revenge with partner Simon Law.

FULL RESULTS

Men’s veteran 4-bowl singles – Dick Noble (West Ward) lost to Martyn Dolby (Blackstones) 9-21; women’s senior 4-bowl singles – Sheila Craig (Conservative) lost to Christine Ford (Ketton) 13-21; Under 25 Open singles – Stephen Harris (Blackstones) lost to Helen Holroyd (Stamford Town) 14-21.

Women’s 2-bowl pairs – Marlene Osbourne & Hazel Bass (Yaxley) lost to Louise Harris (Blackstones) & Helen Holroyd (Stamford Town) 6-28; men’s 4-bowl singles – Paul Dalliday (Parkway) beat James Harford (Parkway) 21-17.

Mixed 2-bowl Triples – Alan Romaine (Vanguard) Carol and Bob Warters (Ketton) lost to Moira, Helen & John Holroyd (Stamford Town) 14-20 ; men’s 2-bowl pairs – Dalliday & Tristan Morton (Parkway) lost to Harford & Simon Law (Parkway) 14-16 ; mixed 2-bowl pairs – Ford (Ketton) & Dolby (Blackstones) lost to S & L Harris (Blackstones) 12-20.

Women’s 4-bowl singles – L Harris lost H Holroyd 18-21; men’s 2-bowl triples – Adam Warrington, Jon Earl and Dolby (Blackstones) beat S Harris (Blackstones), Cliff Watson (Peterborough & District) & Peter Edwards (Ketton) 21-19 (after extra end); women’s 2-bowl triples – June Brennan (Ketton), Jan Want (Ryhall), Chris Ford (Ketton) beat Penny Hart (Whittlesey Town), Marlene Osbourne & Hazel Bass (Yaxley) 21-7.

Mixed 2-bowl Triples – Alan Romaine (Vanguard) Carol and Bob Warters (Ketton) lost to Moira, Helen & John Holroyd (Stamford Town) 20-14; men’s 2-bowl pairs – Dalliday & Tristan Morton (Parkway)lost to Harford & Simon Law (Parkway) 16-14; mixed 2-bowl pairs – Ford (Ketton) & Dolby (Blackstones) lost to S & L Harris (Blackstones) 12-20.

4-bowl singles – L Harris lost to H Holroyd 18-21; men’s 2-bowl triples – Adam Warrington, Jon Earl and Dolby (Blackstones) beat S Harris (Blackstones), Cliff Watson (Peterborough & District) & Peter Edwards (Ketton) 21-19 on extra end; women’s 2-bowl triples – June Brennan (Ketton), Jan Want (Ryhall), Chris Ford (Ketton) beat Penny Hart (Whittlesey Town), Marlene Osbourne & Hazel Bass (Yaxley) 21-7.

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LAST CHANCE TO ENTER

There are still a handful of places left to fill for the Stamford Indoor Bowls Club’s Presidents gala tournament on Sunday, April 7 (starting times at 9.30 and 10.30 am).

It is a three-bowl triples event, each team playing four 8-end matches, also scoring points for matches and ends won.

Entry is £18 for a team of three with big cash prizes available. Entry forms from Stamford IBC (01780 756452); closing date March 29.