Harford names his first Derbyshire Trophy squad

New Derbyshire captain James Harford has selected his first preferred Northants Federation team for the home match v Hunts at Peterborough IBC on December 6 (10am) – featuring four rinks playing two-bowl triples.

He is reluctant to reveal the line-up in rink order but the team includes two Stamford IBC players new to the squad from last season – Jonathan Earl (Blackstones) and the experienced Tony Scarr (Parkway) who has returned after a break from competing in this indoor inter-county championship.

Says Harford: ” We went very close to qualifying last time, beating all the main challengers but losing a key first match at Huntingdon. It was a very hard selection when we have a huge amount of players with the capability to play. But nevertheless these are the 12 players I have selected to do a job against Hunts.”

The players are: Brian Martin, Nick Wilkie, Stephen Harris, John Holroyd, Joe Randall, Neil Wright, Tony Scarr, Jonathan Earl, Tris Morton, James Harford, Roger Martin, Simon Law.

Watson makes way for Richardson as Adams captain

Having guided the Northants Bowling Federation county team to Adams Trophy glory for the first time in their 71-year history, it was not a total surprise when it was revealed at the annual meeting that team captain Cliff Watson had decided to stand down.
There’s certainly nothing like going out at the top, although in fairness he had said when originally elected that he would take the reins for three years during which time he hoped he would lead the team to the English Bowling Federation’s inter-county championship final for the first time since 1959.
That was achieved in the third year of his tenure and for good measure the team went one better by defeating Northumberland in the final at Skegness.e

The outgoing captain will now resume playing duties in the Newton Trophy under the captaincy of Peterborough & District clubmate Brian Bassam, who was re-elected to the post, while the new Adams Trophy captain, with perhaps the most difficult challenge in local bowls next season, is experienced county player Fred Richardson from Whittlesey Manor.

James Harford has taken over the captaincy of the Derbyshire Trophy, the indoor inter-county championship, following Howard Shipp’s decision not to stand for re-election.
There was a special honour for immediate past president Malcolm Squires who received a life membership in recognition of many years of dedicated service to the NBF which has included two terms as county president.
Having spent the first year of his two-year presidency without a deputy, Bob Warters will have Tony Mace at his side this coming year following the election of the Whittlesey Manor stalwart as deputy president.
One key change on the administrative side of the county was the appointment of Melvyn Beck as county secretary following the decision of Mike Ramsden to stand down. Both Ramsden and Watson were elected to fill the two vacancies on the management committee.
The county have been forced to withdraw their under 25 team from the Reg Wright Trophy because they are unable to recruit enough players to compensate for the loss of several key personnel who are now ineligible.
The president said it was a major disappointment that the county had to make this decision, but there was no real option at this stage, although he hoped the situation might improve in the near future to enable the county to return to the competition.
Market Deeping have affiliated for the first time, but following the resignations of Wittering and Werrington, the county is now down to just 17 clubs.
It was announced that the county indoor finals would be hosted by Peterborough & District on Sunday, March 13, while the outdoor finals will be staged at the recently-opened City of Peterborough green on Sunday, July 17, when it is also hoped to stage the final of the Dan Duffy Trophy.

If it’s not possible to include the Dan Duffy Trophy final that day, it will be held at the same venue on Thursday, July 28, with the Adams Cup decider the following Thursday (August 4), also at City of Peterborough.
Treasurer Les Sharp reported a loss on the year of £926.17, but an increase in competition entry fees from £2.00 to £2.50 and a reduction in travel costs next season should make up that shortfall.

Officers elected: Deputy president, Tony Mace; Secretary, Melvyn Beck; Treasurer, Les Sharp; Match secretary, Graham Agger; Competitions & results secretary, Barry Lawrence; Minutes’ secretary, Linda Toms; National delegate, Alan Croxford; Press officer, Melvyn Beck.

Team captains: Adams Trophy, Fred Richardson; Newton Trophy, Brian Bassam; Derbyshire Trophy, James Harford.

Management committee: Peter Brown, Alan Croxford, John Dickenson, Mick Greaves, Mick Linnell, Steve Roden, Martin Welsford, Neil Wright, Cliff Watson, Mike Ramsden.
Derbyshire Trophy fixtures: Sunday, December 6 v Hunts (Peterborough, 10.0am); Sunday, January 10 v Lincs (away); Sunday, January 24 v North Cambs (Peterborough, 10.00am); Sunday, March 6 v Norfolk (away).


Celebration in style at Northants luncheon

Northants Bowling Federation celebrated its outstanding season with its annual luncheon at the Haycock Hotel, Wansford for over 100 players, officials and guests.

The county claimed four national English Bowling Federation titles during the year. It also captured the Victor Ludorum Trophy for the first time in its history as the top points scorers in the national outdoor finals at Skegness.

However, while congratulating all those who had contributed to the success of the county on and off the green, including winning the inter-county Adams Trophy for the first time since its inception in 1927 and capturing one indoor and two outdoor trophies for individuals, Northants President Bob Warters, warned of complacency.

“We have shown what the county can achieve once momentum and confidence gets a hold. Now we have many more targets in our sights,” he said, “not least generating more enthusiasm for all our teams – mens and womens, indoors and outdoors – and bring more youngsters on board. It is up to all of us to encourage the next generation of bowlers.”

He added: “In years to come, wouldn’t it be great for them to look back through the records and say ‘ Wow! That year 2015, Northants could really play. And that was the year that inspired us to kick on.’

“So let’s not just sit back and think what a year that was. My message to everyone is: ‘This is only the beginning.'”

The county were also praised for their success by Beryl Beresford, national president of the English Women’s Bowling Federation and fellow guest speaker Melvyn Beck, President of the Peterborough Bowls League.

Singles: Jenny Harvey; r/u Julie Masters; Senior singles: Jenny Harvey; r/u Sheila Craig; Pairs: Jenny Harvey & Carol Hunter; r/u Shirley Suffling & Margaret Andrews; Triples: Pat Bussey, Liz Hext, Sheila Craig; r/u Sue Moir, Margaret Andrews, Glenys Edwards.

Singles: Simon Law; r/u Andrew Thurston; U25 singles: James Harford; r/u Joe Randall; Senior singles: Martyn Dolby; r/u John Burrows; Pairs: Nick Wilkie & Andrew Thurston; r/u Howard Shipp & Neil Wright; Mixed pairs: Ann Holmes & Richard Allam; r/u Joan Robinson & Nick Wilkie; Triples: Neil Wright, James Harford, Simon Law; r/u Howard Shipp, Joe Randall, Jeff Newson; Mixed triples: Mary Malton, Stephen Harris, Nick Wilkie; r/u Sarah Newson, Andrew Thurston, Jeff Newson.
National 2-bowl triples winners: Neil Wright, Simon Law, Tris Morton; Mixed triples finalists: Stephen Harris, Jan Want, Nick Wilkie.

2b singles: Sarah Newson (Parkway); r/u Sheila Craig (Conservative); 4b singles: Sue Moir (Langtoft Pearl); r/u Sarah Newson (Parkway); Champion of Champions: Ann White (Langtoft Pearl); r/u Linda Darani (City of Peterborough); Senior singles: Fiona Richardson (City of Peterborough); r/u Joan Robinson; Secretary singles: Liz Ritchie (Empingham); r/u Linda Darani (City of Peterborough); U25 singles: Louise Harris (Blackstones).

Pairs: Sarah & Val Newson (Parkway); r/u Liz Hext & Sheila Craig (Conservative); Senior pairs: Kath Browning & Vivian Hempsell (Yaxley); r/u Dee Brinkman & Joan Robinson (Yaxley); 2b triples: Helen Crow, Sarah Newson, Pat Reynolds (Parkway); r/u Pat Bussey, Liz Hext, Sheila Craig (Conservative); 3b triples: Helen Crow, Sarah Newson, Pat Reynolds (Parkway); r/u Pat Bussey, Liz Hext, Sheila Craig (Conservative).
National finalists: Two-bowl pairs: Sraha and Val Newson; 4-bowl singles: Sue Moir.

2b singles: Gavin Jinks (Whittlesey Manor); r/u Lee Welsford (Whittlesey Manor); 4b singles: Joe Martin (Peterborough & District); r/u Stephen Harris (Blackstones); Champion of Champions, Adam Warrington (Blackstones); r/u Graham Agger (Yaxley); Senior singles: Bob Warters (Ketton); r/u Peter Edwards (Ketton); Secretary singles: Melvyn Beck (Whittlesey Manor); r/u Andrew Grief (Crowland); U25 singles: Stephen Harris (Blackstones); r/u Jack Corney (Peterborough & District). Under 25 ‘Player of the Year’: Jack Corney.

U25 open pairs: Jack Corney (Peterborough & District) & James Harford (Parkway); r/u Darren Middleton & Stephen Harris (Blackstones); Pairs: Robert Heath & Tony Belson (Yaxley); r/u Jeff Clipston & Mick Greaves (Peterborough & District); Senior pairs: Roger Stevens & Tony Mace (Whittlesey Manor); r/u Noel Catterwell & Martin Fletcher (Langtoft Pearl); Mixed pairs: Chris Morton & Simon Law (Parkway); r/u Ann & Martin Cullingworth (Langtoft Pearl); Senior mixed pairs: Ann & Martin Cullingworth (Langtoft Pearl); r/u Jane Needham & Martyn Dolby (Blackstones).

2b triples: Stuart Reynolds, Joe Randall, James Harford (Parkway); r/u Peter Marchant, Tony Belson, Chris Wheeler (Yaxley); 3b triples: Adam Warrington, Martyn Dolby, Jonathan Earl (Blackstones); r/u: Graham Jackson, Michael Humphreys, Roger Martin (City of Peterborough); Mixed triples: Shirley Suffling (Ketton), Nick Wilkie, Paul Buckley (Blackstones); r/u Howard Shipp, Chris Morton, Simon Law (Parkway).
National winners: Senior singles: Bob Warters; Senior pairs: Roger Stephens, Tony Mace. Finalists: Pairs: Robert Heath, Tony Belson; 2-bowl triples: Stuart Reynolds, James Harford, Mike Robertson; 3-bowl triples: Adam Warrington, Martyn Dolby, Jonathan Earl.
Danny Duffy Trophy: Whittlesey Manor; r/u Parkway; Adams Cup: Whittlesey Manor; r/u West Ward A; Durham Centenary Trophy Area finalists: Parkway.

Images by Pip Warters:



Skegness 2015: Spectacular Saturday!

In a spectacular finish to the season Northants Bowling Federation claimed yet another first at the English championships at Skegness – clinching the coveted Victor Ludorum trophy as the top-scoring county.

Following the points they collected for winning the Adams Trophy, they picked up national titles in the Veterans Singles and Senior Pairs to add to those as finalists in the two and three-bowl triples and the pairs.

It all added up to nine points, one better than Cleveland, who won three titles plus the Durham Centenary Trophy.

Northants women bowlers also reached two finals but sadly lost them both in the 4-bowl singles and two-bowl pairs.

Commented Bob Warters, the county president, who also landed the Veteran singles crown:" It was a fairytale finish to the season and our best performance since the Victor Ludorum was introduced in 1979. 

"I would like to thank everyone who supported the county both on and off the green during an amazing week. "

With a stiff seaside breeze greeting morning sunshine, it was a breakfast-time start for both the county's Saturday winners, with Warters quickly taking an 11-shot advantage against Steve Botten from North Essex when favouring longer jacks.

He raced into a 17-6 lead but then faltered temporarily as Botten closed the gap in a series of ragged ends. It all ended in dramatic style when Warters regained the initiative at 20-12. He looked likely to face another end when either a gust wind or divine intervention toppled his precariously tilted bowl in for shot. 

He was the third Northants bowler to take the title, Alan Aldcroft winning in 1994 and Langtoft's Peter White, in 2010.

Meanwhile on an adjoining rink, Roger Stevens and Tony Mace (Whittlesey Manor) rarely looked in trouble against North Essex, eventually running out 17-10 winners with plenty of vocal support from the Northants gallery on the terrace that overlooks the rink.

Sadly there was no joy for Northants' two finalists in the women's events though they deserve great credit for making it to the final stages.

Langtoft's Sue Moir lost 21-13 to Humberside's Janice Ellis, while mother and daughter from Parkway, Valerie and Sarah Newson,  failed to find the form of previous rounds against Dorothy Gray and the evergreen Annie Lennie (Northumberland) and conceded when 5-20 adrift.

The county's annual luncheon on September 27 promises to be an event not missed as members get the chance to celebrate an outstanding season.

Picture below from the top: Bob Warters with the Veterans Singles Trophy, Tony Mace (left) and Roger Stevens, Veterans pairs winners; Northants and their supporters with the Victor Ludorum Trophy (left); Sarah and Val Newson, pairs finalists; Sue Moir and Janice Ellis, four-bowl singles finalists.


Skegness 2015: Friday

Northants Bowling Federation are looking favourites to lift the Victor Ludorum overall county championship title for the first time in their history, despite defeat in the men's pairs and the two and three-bowl rinks finals today at the English Bowling Federation championships in Skegness.

They have already amassed a point for each finalist and two points from their Adams Cup triumph on Sunday. It now needs at least a win from tomorrow morning's men's Veteran singles and Senior pairs to have a chance to lift the coveted title.

In the final of the two-bowl triples the Parkway combination of Stuart Reynolds, James Harford and Mike Robertson finally met their match in a Suffolk rink with a combination of youth and experience.

Despite plenty of vocal support from a large Northants contingent on the sidelines, they finally went down 12-19.

On the adjoining rink the Blackstones trio of Adam Warrington, Martyn Dolby and Jonathan Earl, were fairing little better against a Hunts rink of Bob Amos, Lindsay Swannell and Nicky Brett from  the Warboys club.

Playing the last end and needing four to tie, Northants held a handy two until Brett came in to snatch the shot and although Earl tickled the jack, it left Hunts with a 20-15 advantage.

Elsewhere, the Yaxley pair of Robert Heath and Tony Belson surprised North Essex with their long jack tactics in the semi final and ran out 18-12 winners but hardly had time to recover before pitted against wily Dave Adams from Notts on the tricky rink two in the final and were overwhelmed 23-7. 

There was better fortune, however, for the Whittlesey Manor combination of Roger Stevens and Tony Mace, who rarely let Northumberland into the picture in recording a 19-12 win which earned them a final place at 9.15 on Saturday.

Alongside them on an adjoining rink will be Northants President Bob Warters, who beat Notts and Suffolk representatives respectively 21-17 and 21-9 in the Veterans singles, to set up a final against North Essex player and former winner, Steve Botten. 
In a repeat of last year, when Northants women captured the two-bowl and three-bowel rinks, they will have two finalists – in the four bowl singles and the pairs. Sue Moir (Langtoft) took an early lead against Georgie Marwood (Suffolk) but was pegged back. Eventually, however, she prevailed with a 21-19 scoreline and will challenge for the title tomorrow.
Also in the frame for a title are mother and daughter from Parkway, Val and Sarah Newson, who reached the pairs final with a comprehensive defeat of Notts, racing into an 18-1 lead before finally winning 21-12.
Sarah also had a chance to reach the 2-bowl singles final but after taking control against K Cox of Lincs eventually let it slip 18-21.
Whatever happens, Saturday promises to provide a further historic chapter in Northants achievements, with an unprecedented four finalist to add to the three already completed.



Skegness 2015: Thursday

Northants bowlers have reached the finals of two English Bowling Federation events and have a chance to reach four more tomorrow as the championships at Skegness reach their climax.

Against a Hunts trio skipped by former World champion Nicky Brett, the Parkway two-bowl triples of Stuart Reynolds, James Harford and Mike Robertson, rarely looked in trouble on the notorious rink 15, which two counties later refused to play on because of its sometimes outrageous lines and runs.

But they settled down, put up with all the unusual tricks of the green and ran out comfortable winners to earn a final tomorrow at 2.15 against Suffolk.

Late in the day, the Blackstones rink of Adam Warrington, Martyn Dolby and Jonathan Earl found Durham a real handful but a four count on the 14th end turned the game and the Geordies finally conceded at 12-20 with an end to spare. Their opponents will be Brett, Lin Swannell and Rob Elmore from Hunts who squeezed home by one shot against Lincs. Final timing has yet to be confirmed.

Elsewhere Yaxley's Robert Heath and Tony Belson beat the highly rated Sheppersons from Derbyshire 22-15 to set up a semi-final with North Essex at 12.15, alongside Sarah and Val Newson who play two from Notts. Earlier at 10.45 Sarah plays K Weites from Northumberland in the two-bowl singles.

Sue Moir (Langtoft) trailed her Notts opponent 11-18 in the four-bowl discipline but grittily stuck to her task to square the match 19-19 then courageously picked up two for victory. 

She plays Suffolk in the semi final at 2.15pm, on rink one where today Northants President Bob Warters swapped his chain of office for his bowls to take on old adversary, local resident  and fellow left-handler Brian Kilby (Lincs) in the veterans singles.

He trailed 0-8 after only a handful of ends but eventually unravelled the vagaries of the rink to run out a 21-15 victor. As the last surviving Northants men's singles bowler, he plays Notts' R Maskell at 9.15 on what he hopes will be a lucky rink 13.

Northants' other survivors are Roger Stevens and Tony Mace (Whittlesey Manor), who convincingly beat North Cambs in the Senior pairs 20-9 and now play at 10.45 on rink 16.

Among other results, Stephen Harris beat Norfolk's Rhys Loyd 21-16 but then lost to Boston's Jonathan West 21-9 in the semi-final of the Under 25 singles, while Adam Warrington found Norfolk's Wayne Burrage too hot to handle, going down 21-10.

There was also no joy for Ann and Malcolm Cullingworth in the senior mixed pairs, nor Chris Morton and Simon Law in the mixed pairs, losing respectively to Cleveland and North Essex.

Louise Harris put up a brave fight before going out 17-21 to Rebecca Moorbey and in the Under 25 pairs, Jack Corney and Hannah Overton lost 9-25 to the tournament favourites from Derbyshire.




Skegness 2015: Wednesday

In a dramatic finish to a spectacular day, Northants stayed on course to repeat two previous titles on Day Two of the national championships at Skegness. They had won the three and two bowl triples respectively in 2012 and 2013 and with rinks skipped by Jonathan Earl and Mike Robertson have reached the semi-final stage again in both competitions.

After Robertson's Parkway trio of Stuart Reynolds and James Harford, fresh from his outstanding victory in the Bowls England triples at Leamington with Simon Law and Stuart Popple, had accounted for Durham 26-10 in the two bowl discipline, it was left to Earl, Adam Warrington and Martyn Dolby to beat Derbyshire in the three-bowl version.

And after a tricky ride on a challenging end rink they finally snatched victory in dramatic style.

Derbyshire had drawn level on the penultimate 17th end at 13-13 and with a jack high bowl, Northants looked to be holding shot with Earl declaring not to deliver his final shot for fear of disturbing the head.

The umpire moved in to settle the issue with the tape measure and after what seemed like agonising minutes, finally flamboyantly kicked away the Northants bowl to declare it the nearest by less than a millimetre.

Elsewhere, Parkway's Helen Crow, Sarah Newson and Pat Reynolds were defending their three bowl rinks title against Humberside but in a low scoring game were finally toppled 14-15 to end their unbeaten run.

And on a disappointing day for the women, there was also defeat for the senior combination of Kath Browning and Viv Hempsell beaten by North Essex, Fiona Richardson beaten 21-6 in the senior singles and Anne White who failed to cope with the long jack thrown regularly by her Cleveland opponent in the secretary's singles.

However, on a brighter note, Val Newson and daughter Sarah came with a late burst of scoring to reach the pairs semi-final 17-14 against Lincolnshire.

Rink 14 was a busy destination for Northants bowlers during the day. Though Mel Beck lost 16-21 there in the Men's Secretary's singles, Adam Warrington accurately found his lines to the jack in the champion of champions singles to beat highly rated Rob Elmore from Hunts 21-14. It was also the scene of a comfortable win for Jack Corney and Hannah Overton against a young Cleveland combination in the Under 25 pairs.

Next door on rink 15, Yaxley pair Robert Heath and Tony Belson ran out surprisingly easy winners over a Lincs duo 19-10.

Finally spare a thought for Nick Wilkie, Shirley Suffling and Paul Buckley who fought back from a 17-8 deficit after 12 ends of mixed triples against Durham to tie the scores at 20-20 after 19 ends. Sadly, with Northants holding three shots, the Durham skip fired in frustration and converted the head to two shots in their favour to finally run out 23-20 winners

Day2-0penU25Day2-2btripsDay2-blacktripsDay2-mixed triples

Skegness 2015: Tuesday

The Peterborough Parkway trio of Helen Crow, Sarah Newson and Pat Reynolds have made a stubborn first round defence of the three-bowl rinks title they won dramatically last year at the English Bowling Federation championships at Skegness today (Tuesday). Their Northumberland opponents from Hirst Park, finally conceded on the penultimate 17th end with the scores at 20-11.

Earlier the City triple had hoped to advance in the two-bowl rinks discipline as part of their bid to complete a double of titles but Humberside proved tougher opposition and on the last end, with the scores level the Parkway girls dropped a shot to lose 15-16.

It was a busy day for Sarah Newson whom, between triples matches, sandwiched a women's pairs with her mother Valerie and against North Essex they emerged 24-14 winners.

There was also a pairs win in the women's seniors for Viv Hempsell and Kath Browning. With the scores still very close, the Yaxley duo switched positions with a handful of ends to go, as the Federation rules allow, and Browning was able to set up some killer lead bowls as they ran out 18-13 winners.

One of the closest matches was the mixed rinks with Shirley Suffling, Nick Wilkie and Paul Buckley taking on Trevor Bannister's trio from Sleaford (Lincs). With Buckley holding an 18-16 lead, the experienced Bannister had the chance to trail the jack for the win but he missed by millimetres and the Blackstones and Ketton combination went through with a sigh of relief.

Adam Warrington, Martyn Dolby and Jonathan Earl are hoping to add the three-bowl rink to the 2-bowl version they won in 2013 but as the weather closed in their Cleveland opponents were looking dangerous. However, a six-count on the 15th end proved crucial and when Earl trailed the jack into the ditch for a further three three it ended their concerns.

Fiona Richardson (City of Peterborough) stormed to a 21-11 win in the Women's senior singles but sadly there was no joy for Northants in other 2-bowl singles disciplines. Gavin Jinks went out 21-10 to Norfolk singles specialist Wayne Burrage, while Empingham's Liz Ritchie suffered by the identical score in the Secretaries competition to her Suffolk counterpart Linda Nunn.

Finally Joe Martin was giving away more than half a century in age to Lincolnshire 4-bowl singles champion Jonathan West, whom with his pink bowls, drew immaculately for a 21-12 win.


Tuesday –  Women’s 2-bowl triples: Helen Crow/Sarah Newson/ Pat Reynolds lost to Humberside 15-16; Men’s 2-bowl singles – Gavin Jinks lost to Wayne Burrage (Norfolk) 10-21; Men’s 4-bowl singles – Joe Martin lost to Jonathan West (Lincs) 12-21; Women’s pairs – Sarah & Val Newson bt North Essex 24-14; mixed triples – Nick Wilkie/ Shirley Suffling/ Paul Buckley bt Lincs 18-16; Women’s Senior singles – Fiona Richardson bt M Hunt (N. Essex) 21-11; Women’s Senior pairs – Viv Hempsell/ Kath Browning bt Cleveland 18-13; Women’s 3-bowl triples –  Crow/ Newson/ Reynolds bt Northumberland 20-11;  Men’s 3-bowl triples – Adam Warrington/ Martyn Dolby/Jonathan Earl bt Cleveland 20-10; Women’s Secretary singles – Liz Ritchie lost to Linda Nunn (Suffolk) 10-21; Men’s secretary singles – Mel Beck w/o A Jobling (Durham).



Northants joy in Adams Trophy final

Emotional scenes greeted Northants Bowling Federation's victory in the Adams Trophy at Skegness – the first time they had lifted the national title since its introduction in 1927.

The county had not even reached the final of the English Bowling Federation's premier inter-county championship for more than half a century, so to achieve that milestone and then go on to out bowl Northumberland 178-145 was sweet indeed.

It also coincided with an award for Peterborough's John Dickenson, a loyal county and national servant in various dedicated roles, who rose from his hospital bed after a serious operation to witness the event and be involved in the celebrations.

Said NBF president Bob Warters: " We were delighted to put an end to all those years of striving to lift this trophy with a magnificent win and to have John there to share it, after all he has done for the Federation, made it extra special."

He also paid tribute to all the players who had taken part in the 2015 campaign.

" This was a team effort, throughout the season. Everyone, including several who were not here today, played their part in qualifying and we are particularly grateful to Cliff Watson, our captain, who orchestrated the spirit in the squad to help us achieve our ultimate goal. For some of us this is the pinnacle of our bowling careers."

With the Suncastle's main green almost surrounded by the county's distinctive orange colours, among the dozens of bowlers and their families who had travelled to support the team, Northants soon took an early advantage after ten of the scheduled 31 ends of two bowl triples, across six rinks.

Roger Martin's rink of Sean Fenlon and Warters set the tone by racing into a 12-0 lead with rinks skipped by Paul Buckley and Lee Welsford also taking the upper hand and by mid way Northants held a slender 11-shot but significant advantage.

With the trios skipped by Pete Brown and the previously unbeaten Martin Welsford struggling to cope with the tricky end rinks against talented opposition, it was left to the four middle rinks to maintain the Northants momentum.

As the rinks skipped by Roger Martin, Paul Buckley and Lee Welsford stretched their advantage with the winning line in sight, Stephen Harris, Paul Dalliday and Jonathan Earl fought back from a 10-shot deficit at halfway to run out 31-23 winners.

The national individual events were due to start at Skegness earlier this week and Northants is hoping the Adams Trophy triumph will inspire its representatives in 24 disciplines against 12 other counties to add individual success to team glory.

Result (Northants names only)

Steve Roden, Graham Agger, Pete Brown lost 21-30; Martin Stokes, Nick Wilkie, Paul Buckley won 30-17; Sean Fenlon, Bob Warters, Roger Martin won 35-16; Stephen Harris, Paul Dalliday, Jonathan Earl won 31-23; Adam Warrington, Fred Richardson, Lee Welsford won 42-18; Roger Stevens, Paul Bailey, Martin Welsford lost 19-41.

End-by-end: Northants led 34-22 (5 ends), 67-51 (10); 86-77 (15); 109-98 (20), 150-120 (25); 178-145 (31).



Who’s who? Pen portraits of Northants’ Adams Trophy contenders

For the first time in more than half a century, Northants Bowling Federation has reached the final of the prestigious Adams Trophy, the premier inter-county team championship of the English Bowling Federation.


It comes after a nail-biting campaign in which they beat Norfolk, Suffolk, North Essex, North Cambs and Hunts, losing only to Lincolnshire to secure an epic southern section title and the chance to play Northumberland in a 31-end shoot-out at Skegness on Sunday, August 23 (2pm).

Northumberland beat Derbyshire, Humberside, Cleveland and Durham losing only to Notts by five shots.


Secret of the Northants' success this season has been a formidable team spirit generated from a combination of bowling skill and self-belief among the players – inspired by team captain Cliff Watson, who has patrolled the perimeters of the green keeping players up to to date on the state of the match and offering words of support and encouragement.

Northants last reached the final in 1929 and 1959 – beaten by Notts and Durham respectively.

Here are the players who will represent Northants at Skegness in their bid to lift the trophy for the first time since its inauguration in 1927:


Rink 1: Stephen Harris (Blackstones)- 18-year-old current county Under 25 singles champion; a talented lead with an old head on young shoulders.

Paul Dalliday (Whittlesey Manor) – a versatile player who can lead or play No.2 in a rink to great effect. National mixed triples champion in 2013. Prefers carpet bowls to the indoor game during the winter season!

Jonathan Earl (Blackstones) – 2013 national two-bowl triples champion with Adam Warrington and Martyn Dolby, he has made his mark as a skip and is never afraid to play aggressively to get a result.

Rink 2: Roger Stevens ( Whittlesey Manor) – the side's senior player and one of the most experienced leads in the county, has also won this year's veterans pairs with clubmate Tony Mace.

Paul Bailey (Blackstones) – former indoor national champion, made his Adams debut this season and made an instant impact with his 'yellow peril' bowls. A good all-rounder with all the shots and never lacking in confidence.

Martin Welsford (Whittlesey Manor) – a lorry driver who steers his rink with quiet determination and has consistently led his trio to several top rink prizes in this year's campaign.

Rink 3: Steve Roden (Whittlesey Manor) – specialist lead who dovetails neatly with his team-mates and plays a key role on one of the liveliest rinks in the team. Won the national 3-bowl triples in 2012.

Graham Agger (Broadway, Yaxley) – Consistently successful singles player, vocally encouraging and the perfect foil for his colleagues.

Pete Brown (Whittlesey Manor) – never a dull moment when Brownie is on the green. An aggressively dominant player who can often boss his opponents into submission. National triples champion in 2012.

Rink 4: Adam Warrington (Blackstones) – twice national two bowl singles champion and part of the winning two bowl triples in 2013 with Jon Earl and Martyn Dolby.  Adam's leading ability is quietly relentless.

Fred Richardson (Whittlesey Manor) – has taken his chance to stamp his place in the team this season as a reliable and versatile No.2. A great team player for the cause.

Lee Welsford (Whittlesey Manor) – Nicknamed 'lucky' ironically because of a series of injuries he suffered as a youngster; he is an explosive player but able to draw his way out of trouble when needs demand.

Rink 5: Martin Stokes (Blackstones) – has returned to the county after several years and puts in a reliable, supportive shift in backing up his club and county team-mates.


Nick Wilkie (Blackstones) – recognised an excellent, much-in-demand lead, he has also proved his versatility in any position in the rink. Will also contest the mixed triples with his skip.

Paul Buckley (Blackstones) – has stamped his authority as an undeniably focussed skip who endeavours  to make every bowl count from first end to 31st. Also qualified in the mixed rinks.

Rink 6: Sean Fenlon (West Ward) – rarely demonstrative, he goes about his business as a single-minded lead, both determined and persistent.

Bob Warters (Ketton) – Currently county veteran 2-bowl singles champion, serving a two-year term as county president. Refuses to let it be a distraction in helping Northants make history.

Roger Martin (City of Peterborough) – the most experienced skip in the squad and a former national triples winner in 2006. Can draw unerringly but relishes going for conversions with pace and accuracy.

Reserve – Neil Wright (Parkway) – unlucky not to be included after stepping in as substitute on occasions. Great supporter of the Federation, current indoor triples national champion .

Captain – Cliff Watson (Peterborough and District) – passionate and outspoken in supporting the county cause, Cliff has inspired the team in their bid to make history and achieve their ultimate goal.

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