Hopes of Northants players featuring in the finals of the English Women’s Bowling Federation finals were dashed in a gloomy ten minutes at Newark IBC.
After an exciting first round win, Fiona Richardson and Julie Masters were aiming to keep county hopes alive in the pairs. But the draw was cruel to them and after dispatching Durham, came up against Derbyshire’s Karen Chapman and Pauline Marples in devastating form.
They trailed 2-19 at 12 ends and finally conceded at 2-25 three ends later.
Meanwhile on the tricky rink four Joan Robinson had her hands full against Melanie Haylett from Norfolk but was hanging on at 13-14 until her opponent grabbed five shots in three ends and finally ended it with a killer bowl drawn within inches of the jack.
In the Under 25 two bowl singles, Stephen Harris lost a thrilling encounter with his good friend Jonathan West from Boston 21-20.
Both bowled superbly and Harris led 16-14, 18-17 and 20-19 but when holding a single shot advantage going into the 27th end, he he failed to nail the jack and let his Lincs rival in for two vital shots.
His consolation was winning the Lincs IBA county Under 18 (Senior) title at Boston the previous night – 21-5 against Ruby Hill from Spalding.
A late surge of form by Nottingham’s Dave Adams robbed Martyn Dolby of a place in the final of the Veteran singles this morning, drawing three bowls within inches on the 22nd end to win 21-17, writes Bob Warters.
Earlier the Stamford bowler, seeking his fourth singles title of the indoor season, having already won the Northants Federation, Lincs EIBA and club titles had led 8-2 and 16-11 using unfamiliar Tiger Pro bowls which reacted better on the end rink.
But when holding shot for a 17-11 lead, he saw Adams fire his bowl out of the head for a three count and never looked back.
In a thrilling finish to their women’s pairs, Fiona Richardson and Julie Masters picked up three shots on the last end when trailing 11-13 to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Durham.
They had led Jean Chapman and her young Thai-born lead Nina Riches throughout until dropping three shots in two ends, they went behind by two shots going into the last.
Riches dropped her first bowl on the jack but Masters removed it aggressively and drew a wide counter to claim three on a measure.
Sadly no such fortune for Northants’ other pairs.
Nick Wilkie and Joe Randall were also up against it against Lindsay Swannell and world indoor singles champion Nicky Brett who quickly raced into 20-8 lead after 16 ends with superb drawing skills. Though bowling tidily, the Peterborough pair had only limited responses to their Hunts opponents, eventually needing a maximum eight off the last two ends when Brett fired their nearest bowls off the rink.
For Martyn Dolby and Christine Ford, they were unlucky to come up against a Derbyshire pair of Pauline Marples and Russell Robinson in excellent form. The Stamford pair were never in front and despite switching positions on 11 ends with the score at 8-13 they were only able to pick up scraps before eventually losing 12-21.
County president Joan Robinson lifted some of the gloom with a decisive 21-6 defeat of North Cambs J Warren in the senior singles late in the day. Her next opponent has had to withdraw from the quarter finals so Joan gets a bye direct into the semi-final.
With Northants bowlers failing to shine in the early rounds of the triples events it was up to the veterans to show their talents as Martyn Dolby and women’s president Joan Robinson took to the carpet in their respective singles.
For Dolby, chasing his fourth singles title in as many weeks, it was an end rink challenge against Derbyshire’s Brian Shepperson. He took command early on with an 8-1 lead, only to drop a maximum four count. But he immediately hit back with four of his own and added steady counts before nailing the jack twice to settled it 21-5.
Knowing he would face Nottingham legend Dave Adams on Rink 8 in the morning, he was keen to see how Robinson was coping on one of the trickiest rinks with her tight-running bowls against another Notts play Jenny Humphries.
She held a 10-7 lead at one stage but at 15 apiece, Humphries began to find her line and length to stretch to a 19-15 lead and eventually ran out a deserving 21-17 winner.
Robinson has a second chance to shine in the Senior singles at 5pm on Thursday when the highlight of the day will be the men’s pairs clash at high noon between Northants’ Nick Wilkie and Joe Randall against Lindsay Swannell and world singles No.1 Nicky Brett, representing Hunts.
At the same time Dolby will link up with Stamford clubmate Christine Ford in the iced pairs Derbyshire’s Russell Robinson and P Marples.
An amazing comeback by the Northants’s women’s triple of Jan Want, Shirley Suffling and Christine Ford saw them storm into the second round at the national Federation championships at Newark IBC, writes Bob Warters.
Trailing Humberside 2-12 at the 10-end mark, Ford and Suffling switched positions, as the Federation rules allow, and it transformed the game. Still behind by two at 15 ends they scored three successive five counts to lead 27-14 and earn a second round tie with Derbyshire who beat Cleveland 27-11.
Sadly, no such fortune for fellow Stamford bowlers Stephen Harris, Cliff Watson and Peter Edwards who came up against one of the pre-tournament triples favourites from Derbyshire – Gary Shepperson, England international Ashley Clipston and skip Russell Robinson, all of whom drew superbly to win 29-6.
Stamford’s mixed triple – Adam Warrington, Chris Ford and Martyn Dolby – never came to grips with the sluggish rink against Northumberland couple Bill and Annie Lennie and Herbie Blacklock and tumbled out 13-19.
They held a slender 12-10 lead after 15 ends but when Mrs Lennie moved to skip it was finally put beyond reach with counts on five successive ends.
There was more disappointing news when Northants’s women’s triple failed to reproduce the form that had earn them a second round spot. In energy-sapping conditions, they were soundly beaten by Derbyshire 5-28 when they conceded with still six ends to play.
To end a less than satisfactory day for Northants, Stamford’s Derek King was matched against one of the region’s most talented performers – Jonathan West from Boston, representing Lincs in the four-bowl singles.
Both players found the early ends a struggle before West found his line and length and stretched a narrow 6-5 lead to an eventual 21-7 runaway victory.
One of the surprises of the day was the defeat of last year’s men’s rinks runners-up from Hunts by a young Durham trio.
Further reports on www.stamfordindoorbowls.co.uk