Derbyshire Trophy hopes dashed by Norfolk

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

Points dropped in Derbyshire Trophy against Lincs

Northants Federation’s hopes of reaching the final of the indoor inter-county Derbyshire Trophy will go down to the wire on Sunday after they conceded vital points against Lincolnshire at Peterborough IBC.

Ideally they needed a maximum 14 points against the southern section holders to make the task against Norfolk (at Stamford IBC) a little less stressful but had to settle for two out of four winning rinks and the overall points to take 10 points.

It still gives them a chance to overhaul local rivals Hunts at the top of the table but only at least 12 points and a winning margin of 29 shots will do.

Stars of the win against Lincs were Howard Shipp, captain James Harford and the recalled Tris Morton who rarely looked in any danger and ran out comfortable 27-15 winners.

And with Stephen Harris drafted in to lead for Neil Wright and Roger Martin against Trevor Bannister they finished in style with six shots in the last two ends to win 22-12.

Elsewhere, Simon Law’s rink kept George Draper’s in check but couldn’t quite prevent a 22-23 deficit, while Joe Randall’s trio found their Lincoln IBC opposition, used to a similar pace of green, to tough to handle and went down by eight shots.


Derbyshire Trophy: Northants 86 (10 pts) Lincs 73 (4). Northants names first. B Martin, B Warters, J Randall lost to S Ashton, M Smith, T Gilroy 15-23; H Shipp, J Harford, T Morton bt K Tointon, M Thompson, P Flatters 27-15; S Harris, N Wright, Roger Martin bt A Field, I Clark, T Bannister 22-12; P Dalliday, P Afford, S Law lost to D Skayman, R Ashton, G Draper 22-23.

For Sunday’s visit of Norfolk to Stamford (10am), Northants captain James Harford has drafted in two Stamford-based players – Adam Warrington and Martyn Dolby – as replacements for Stephen Harris, who is competing in the Lincs IBA Sets Singles qualifiers at Grantham and Brian Martin (Huntingdon).

Team: Adam Warrington, Martyn Dolby, Bob Warters, Roger Martin ( all Stamford), Howard Shipp, Joe Randall, Tris Morton (Huntingdon), Paul Dalliday, James Harford, Neil Wright, Phil Afford, Simon Law ( Peterborough).

Tris Morton back for Lincs visit

England international Tris Morton (City of Ely) has been drafted into the Northants Federation’s inter-county Derbyshire Trophy side as they bid to reach the national finals at Newark in April.

In one other change, the in-form Stephen Harris (Stamford) replaces Nick Wilkie, who has withdrawn.

Northants host last year’s runners-up Lincolnshire at Peterborough IBC on Sunday, February 19 (10am) aiming to close the gap on local rivals Hunts who have completed their four fixtures with a points total of 43 – three wins against North Cambs (14-0), Norfolk (12-2) and Lincs (10-4) – and a draw against Northants (7-7).

With 28 points at stake from their two remaining home matches (the second is at Stamford against Norfolk on Feb 27), Northants need 23 more to secure a place in the final.

Says captain James Harford: “With two home games to come, this leaves us with the best chance we have had in recent years to qualify. And keeping the team relatively the same after picking up maximum points from North Cambs, I feel confident that we have the quality to achieve our goal.

“Throughout the team we have players who can make a difference and play decisive bowls at the required times, to get the results we need.”

Certainly Harford has engendered a significant spirit in the team and is confident this will continue throughout the campaign, though he is aware that both Lincs and Norfolk still and have an outside chances of qualifying.

Northants Derbyshire Trophy team v Lincs at Peterborough on Feb 19, 10am. (Peterborough IBC players unless stated): Brian Martin (Huntingdon), Bob Warters (Stamford), Joe Randall (Huntingham); Howard Shipp (Huntingdon), James Harford, Tristan Morton (City of Ely); Paul Dalliday, Phil Afford, Simon Law; Stephen Harris (Stamford), Neil Wright, Roger Martin (Stamford).

Hunts keep up Derbyshire Trophy pressure on Northants

Hunts Federation kept up the pressure on Northants in their third Derbyshire Trophy round with a 94-72 defeat of Norfolk at Gallow IBC on Sunday.

The 12-2 points victory they picked up – from three winning rinks ( two points each rink) and the overall aggregate (six points) – keeps them 12 ahead of Northants and much will depend on their result at home to Southern Section holders Lincs at the weekend.

Northants host Lincs at Peterborough on February 19 and Norfolk at Stamford on February 26. BW.

Northants take maximum Derbyshire points

At the halfway stage of the four-match Derbyshire Trophy Series, Hunts Federation lead Northants on shots difference in the chase for the southern section title and a place in the national final.

Having drawn their opening match at Huntingdon and shared the 14 points available, both counties took maximum points from their respective visits to North Cambs’ new Long Sutton IBC home with Hunts edging the shots difference.

Hunts won 131-60, while Northants won 118-62 meaning both can ill afford to drop points from their remaining matches against Lincs and Norfolk.

Against North Cambs, three Northants rinks of two-bowl triples started hesitatingly on the unfamiliar surface while Nick Wilkie, Neil Wright and Roger Martin raced into an 11-0 lead after six ends.

Soon, however, the rest followed suit and although Simon Law’s trio trailed Nigel Eagle’s rink by eight shots after eight of the 25 ends, 14 shots in five ends put them in the driving seat and they finally ran out 28-17 winners.

Elsewhere Howard Shipp, Adam Warrington (making a welcome return) and James Harford took the last eight ends to win 28-13, while the recall of Joe Randall was significant in his trio taking the rink honours 31-14 after dropping five shots on the opening end.

Hunts visit Norfolk at Gallow IBC on Sunday, January 29 and entertain Lincs at Huntingdon on February 5, by which time they will have set a target for Northants who host Lincs at Peterborough on February 19 and Norfolk at Stamford on February 26.

Result (Northants names only):

Derbyshire Trophy: North Cambs 62 (0) Northants 118 (14). N Wilkie, N Wright, R Martin won 31-18; H Shipp, A Warrington, J Harford won 28-13; P Dalliday, P Afford, S Law won 28-17; B Martin, B Warters, J Randall won 31-14.

Parkway starts Adams defence at Ketton

Parkway Bowls Club in Peterborough will begin their defence of the Northants Federation Adams Cup – a three-rink two-bowl triples team event – away to village side Ketton on June 22.

The competition had hoped to attract more local clubs, both inside and outside the Federation in a bid to bring them into ‘the family’ but several invitations were declined.

The rest of the draw is: City of Peterborough B v Yaxley Kites, CoP A v Langtoft, Whittlesey Town v Whittlesey Manor, Crowland B v CoP C, Crowland A v West Ward B, West Ward A v Yaxley Falcons, Ryhall v Peterborough and District.

In the Dan Duffy Trophy, defending champions Blackstones will entertain City of Peterborough B in the first round.

First round draw: Parkway v West Ward A or Yaxley, Co P A v P & D or Crowland, Ketton v Whittlesey Manor or West Ward B.

Preliminary round on June 15, first round on June 29.

Derbyshire team to face North Cambs

Northants Federation’s Derbyshire captain James Harford has named his team to face North Cambs on January 22 at Long Sutton (10 am).

It follows Northants’drawn match against Hunts in December.

Team (from): Howard Shipp, James Harford, Adam Warrington, Paul Dalliday, Phil Afford, Brian Martin, Simon Law, Bob Warters, Joe Randall, Nick Wilkie, Roger Martin, Neil Wright.


Northants Bowling Federation will host a Race Night at Whittlesey Manor Bowls Club on March 10. Tickets are £7 (including a fish supper). First race 7.30pm.


North Cambs Federation has withdrawn from the Newton Trophy competition, unable to raise a team or a captain. They will continue to contest the Adams Trophy.

Northants fixtures are as follows:

May 27 away to Norfolk, Adams Trophy Team at Holt BC, Playing, Field, Holt NR 25 6TX; Newton Trophy team at RG Carters, King George Recreation Ground,Drayton NR8 6BA.

June 3 home to North Cambs, Adams only at Whittlesey Manor.

June 10 home to Suffolk, Adams at Whittlesey Manor, Newton at City of Peterborough BC.

June 17 away to Lincs, Adams at Burton House, Wainfleet Road, Boston PE21 9RW, Newton at Castle BC! Albion Street,Spalding PE 11 2RJ.

July 1 home to Hunts, Adams at Whittlesey Manor, Newton at City of Peterborough.

July 8 away to North Essex, Adams at Sudbury BC, Quay Lane, Sudbury CO10 2AN, Newton at Haverhill BC, Manor Road, Haverhill C89 0EP

Northants in tied thriller with Hunts

One hundred ends of two-bowl triples and after 1200 bowls had been delivered over four rinks with 166 shots scored, there was nothing to choose between Hunts and Northants (pictured above) in this Derbyshire Trophy thriller at Huntingdon IBC.

Northants captain James Harford, making his 50th appearance for the county, had a chance to clinch it for his team with the last bowl of the match in his hand. But after opening a head in which he was three shots down to spring the jack, he had four feet to draw to for a decisive second shot but fractionally overplayed it.

His rink’s 21-19 win was enough to secure two vital rink points but he was disappointed he was unable to snatch for Northants a share of the overall match points which were tied 7-7, the result of an 83-83 overall scoreline.

Said Harford: “I’m kicking myself that I was unable to draw in that last shot when we had the chance to win it overall but a tie is better than a defeat and we will look forward to our next match in the New Year with confidence.”

With Phil Afford featuring in Simon Law’s rink alongside lead Paul Dalliday and making an impressive Derbyshire debut, Northants held leads of 16-15, 33-30 and 55-47 after five, ten and 15 ends and with five ends to play led by four overall.

Roger Martin, returning to the side looked to have the beating of Lynsey Swannell’s trio but the Hunts man converted the last end to pinch three vital shots while Neil Wright’s rink, which trailed 1-12 at one stage, weren’t quite able to get the better of England international Lewis Baker.

Results (Northants names first):

Derbyshire Trophy (at Huntingdon IBC): Hunts 82 (7 pts) Northants 82 (7).P Dalliday, P Afford, S Law beat J Hignett, P AcWhinney, R Elmore 21-17; H Shipp, N Wilkie, J Harford beat S Farrant, R Greenwood, R Jepson 21-19; B Martin, B Warters, N Wright lost to Lee Swannell, T Swannell, L Baker 20-24; J Holroyd, G Agger, R Martin lost to D Peak, R Stevens, Linsey Swannell 21-23

Northants Derbyshire Trophy squad named

Northants Bowling Federation begin their campaign to qualify for the final stages of the inter-county Derbyshire Trophy on Sunday December 4 when they play Hunts at the Huntingdon Indoor stadium (10am).

Sadly they will be without two of their key young players – Joe Randall and Stephen Harris – both of whom have been called up for the final England Under 25 trial at Northampton on the same day.

However, captain James Harford is quietly confident that his team – which includes Brian Martin and Howard Shipp, both of whom play their winter competitions out of the Huntingdon club – will have enough in their locker to cope with their local rivals, who also have Ed Elmore on duty at Northampton.

Though he hasn’t yet finalised his team, it will include England outdoor international Tris Morton (City of Ely) who won all his Derbyshire Trophy matches with Martin and Stamford’s Bob Warters in the last campaign.

The match will be played as four rinks over 25 ends of two-bowl triples.

Northants squad: (from) : H. Shipp, P. Dalliday, B.Martin, J.Holroyd, N.Wilkie, P.Afford, B. Warters, N. Wright, J. Harford, S.Law, T Morton, M. Dolby.

Dick Noble elected NBF deputy president


Dick Noble (68) has been elected deputy president of the Northants Bowling Federation. The West Ward BC bowler will succeed current president Tony Mace (Whittlesey Manor) in October 2018.

A bricklayer by trade, Noble has been a multi-county champion for the Northants Federation over many years, both indoors and outdoors, and has been a qualified level two bowls coach.

He returned to the county after a spell as bowls manager at a hotel on the Isle of Wight and is determined to encourage more youngsters to take up the game.

Northants are currently the national under 25 pairs champions but are unable to muster enough players to field a team in the Reg Wright inter-county championship.

“It would be great if we can re-establish a team in the Under 25 team competition and I will do all I can to make that happen, ” he said.

“I have always been a big supporter of the Federation and I am looking forward to serving the county as Tony’s deputy and putting something back into the game.”

At its monthly meeting, the Federation heard that indoor competition entries had increased, chiefly due to the affiliation of the new Vanguard club, and that outdoor entries had stayed the same as the previous year, generating a total revenue of more than £4,200.

A race night will be held at Whittlesey Manor on March 10 to raise funds for the Federation and the opening match of the outdoor season will be between a Whittlesey Manor select team and the county’s Newton Trophy squad on May 6.

Indoor finals will be staged at Stamford IBC on March 19 and the outdoor finals at Wnittlesey Manor on July 23.

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