Northants’ hopes of reaching the final of the inter-county Derbyshire Trophy final at Newark in April were dashed when they were beaten by a youthful Norfolk Federation at Stamford.
Needing to win at least three of the four two-bowl triples rinks by an overall margin of 26 shots to prevent Hunts from taking the southern qualifying section, Northants lost the match 87-80 picking up only four points from two winning rinks.
Norfolk had a chance to qualify themselves if they could take maximum points but rinks skipped by Roger Martin and Tris Morton put paid to that!
Northants held a tidy lead overall in the early stages as Norfolk got used to the pace of the Stamford surface but by 20 ends, with only five to play, it was clear Northants – trailing by 11-23 alone on Simon Law’s rink – were not going to be able to salvage the points or shots they needed.
As expected there were fireworks in the match between Morton and Sam King – son of former world champion Mervyn. Both sent shudders through the foundations with heavy artillery to kill heads against them but in the end it was the accuracy of the respective drawing and converting of Howard Shipp and Joe Randall which carried the day in a 25-20 win for Morton.
Elsewhere Bob Warters, Neil Wright and Roger Martin always had the edge on their rink after leading 9-0 after six ends and eventually romped home 26-17. Sandwiched between Adam Warrington and Martyn Dolby, and with one eye on events going against them, Northants captain James Harford had to concede a 17-18 defeat.
Result (Northants names only):
Derbyshire Trophy. Northants 80 (4) Norfolk 87 (10). B Warters, N Wright, R Martin won 26-17; H Shipp, J Randall, T Morton won 25-20; P Dalliday, P Afford, S Law lost 12-32; A Warrington, J Harford, M Dolby lost 17-18