Northants Federation bowlers kept their hopes alive of a rare visit to the English finals at Skegness in the inter-county Adams Trophy by defeating title holders Lincolnshire at Whittlesey Manor.
Following on from their narrow defeat at Suffolk last week, Northants were determined to make the most of home advantage, despite the disruptive influence of heavy rain mid-way through the match which changed green conditions and made gripping the bowls more treacherous.
With just six of the 31 ends to play they trailed by nine shots overall but a late burst of scoring as they approached the finishing line overhauled the title favourites and earned a rare victory against local rivals.
Great credit to the rinks inspired by vocal Whittlesey skips Pete Brown and Martin Welford who led their men to match-winning margins of 16 and 20 shots respectively while other rinks worked hard to keep scores as tight as possible.
With Lincs travelling to Suffolk this week, Northants, who have a week off before meeting Hunts on July 12, still have an outside chance of qualifying if results go in their favour.
Northants Newton Trophy team earned two wins and a draw against the current title holders from Lincolnshire at Broadway BC in Yaxley with Jim Ruddy, Dave Corney and Phil Jessop taking the rink honours.
Results (Northants names only)
Adams Trophy (at Whittlesey Manor) Northants 165 (14pts), Lincs 156 (8). S Fenlon, B Warters, R Martin lost 24-38; P Dalliday, G Jinks, B Lawrence lost 21-31; S Roden, G Agger, P Brown won 38-22; R
Stevens, D Noble, M Welsford won35-15; S Harris, AWarrington, J Earl lost 27-28; F Richardson, P Buckley, L Welsford lost 20-22.
Newton Trophy (at Broadway, Yaxley): Northants 130 (5) Lincs 141 (17). J Clipston, H Shipp, R Maplethorpe won 25 – 22; B Bassam, M Greaves, R Strong lost 19 – 29; P Holmes, A Grief, F Addy drew 24 – 24; P Cox, R Montgomery, M Squires lost 17 – 23; J Ruddy, D Corney, P Jessop won 24 – 20; L Sharp, M Linnell, J Hadley lost 21- 23.
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Northants Under 25s were hoping to reach the national finals for the first time in their history when they entertained chief challengers Norfolk at Whittlesey on Sunday after wins against Hunts and Suffolk.
But with their inspirational Junior international skip Hannah Overton unavailable, they found the task just beyond their reach and lost overall by 18 shots in the 2-bowl triples, 31-end format.
Norfolk who brought at coachload of vocal support and encouragement with them, always held sway on one rink in particular and with some talented young prospects in their side held on to take the points and a guaranteed visit to the national finals in Skegness next month.
Said team manager Mike Ramsden: "It was disappointing to lose at the final hurdle but the players have been outstanding as have the parents and friends who have supported them. We will still have the nucleus of the side next year and hopefully a possible new format to reduce travelling will be to our advantage."
Result (Northants names only)
Reg Wright Under 25 Trophy. Northants 104 (3), Norfolk 122 (11). L Harris, D Middleton, J Harford drew 30-30; J Clark, D Randall, J Randall won 33-32; D Smith, J Corney, A Cook lost 17-33; N Rigby, J Travis-Jenner, S Harris lost 24-27.
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Northants Silver Jubilee Vase women's team secured the county's first win of the season when they claimed all 22 points in their re-arranged match against North Cambs at Wisbech on Saturday.
Ann Hadley, Ro Collin and Stella Dale narrow claimed the rink honours with a 32-10 victory over Ann Cullingworth's trio (30-9).
Against Lincolnshire at Ketton, Northants' Donald Steward team suffered a third successive home defeat in a disappointing start to the season.
Silver Jubilee Vase (at Wisbech). North Cambs 97 (0), Northants 165 (22). V Du'Kett, G King, M Linnell won 26 – 17; J Needham, C Warters, A Cullingworth won 30 – 9; J.Garner, V Hempsell, L Toms won 27 – 23; M Randall, J Hill, W Harrold won 19 – 16; A Hadley, R Collin, S Dale won 32 – 10; P Collicott, W Stevens, J Ford won 31 – 22.
Donald Steward Trophy: Northants 130 (4), Lincs 149 (18). P Bussey, S Moir, S Craig won 33-25; S Suffling, N Squires, L Darani won 28-24; D Flowers, J Duffy, J Masters lost 25-26; G Edwards, F Thomas, P 'O'Brien lost 11-27; L Hext, J Ford, J Padley lost 14-23; K Browning, H Bass, J Robinson lost 19-24.
Silver Vase (at Whittlesey Manor) Northants 104 (5), Lincs 145 (17). M Malton, F Richardson, P Collicott lost 8-38; J Needham, C Warters, A Cullingworth won 20-16; V Du'Kett H King, M Linnell won 27-18; M Randall, J Hill, W Harrold won 27-18; A Hadley, R Collin, S Dale drew 22-22; V Hatch, J Garner, L Toms lost 16-21.