Northants’ hopes of retaining the Adams Trophy they won last year for the first time in their 82 year history, suffered a setback at Whittlesey Manor when they were beaten at home by Lincolnshire 166-160, claiming only six of the 22 points at stake with just three winning rinks.
With an unbeaten run of four games completed, the result puts Lincs in the driving seat to regain their grip on reaching the finals at Skegness in August with just Suffolk (away) and the Southern League whipping boys, North Cambs (at home) to play.
For Northants, with no game this week and Hunts and North Essex to come, they must rely on Lincs slipping up at Suffolk and concentrate on taking maximum points from their remaining two fixtures.
Home-based father and son skips, Martin and Lee Welsford, each won on their rinks by two and 12 shots respectively while Northants’ other win came from the equally dependable Steve Roden, John Holroyd and Graham Agger 27-17.
Commented deputy Northants President and current national senior pairs champion Tony Mace: “It was a disappointing result for us but up to the last few ends it could have gone either way. The rinks skipped by Jonathan Earl and Roger Martin never hit their stride and were always playing catch up.
“Overall the team did well to reduce a deficit of 25 shots at 20 ends to only two at one stage but Lincs proved very determined to hold on.”
Northants’ Newton Trophy team were unlucky not to turn the tables on Lincs on their first appearance at the new City of Peterborough green which was prepared in superb condition.
With just one end of the 31 scheduled to play and three of the six rinks still in contention, Northants held a narrow lead. But four shots conceded over those closing stages proved crucial and the match was tied at 168-apiece. However, by winning on four of the six rinks, Lincs took the overall points 13-9.
Much credit must go to the rink of Malcolm Squires, one of the key figures in establishing the City club in 2015. Playing with Jack Corney and Roger Strong the trio trailed 11-30 after 20 ends and looked destined for drubbing. But they stuck to their task, used the opportunity to switch positions as the rules allow and finally lost by only 11 shots to put their side in with a shout.
Elsewhere Mick Duell skipped Les Sharp and new county badge claimant Mike Humphreys, to a 32-25 win while Bob Warters, Cliff Watson and Peter Jessop maintained their 100 per-cent record with a 35-17 triumph.
Results (Northants names only):
Adams Trophy: Northants 160 (6 pts) Lincolnshire 166 (16).N Wright, T Belson, L Welsford won 34-22; S Roden, J Holroyd, G Agger won 27-17; N Wilkie, P Buckley, P Brown lost 27-32; S Fenlon, B Lawrence, R Martin lost 23-37; R Stevens, P Bailey, M Welsford won 31-29; A Warrington, S Harris, J Earl lost 18-29.
Newton Trophy: Northants 168 (9) Lincolnshire 168 (13). J Ruddy, P Afford, B Swann lost 25-31; L Sharp, M Humphreys, M Duell won 32-25; J Corney, M Squires, R Strong lost 23-34; B Warters, C Watson, P Jessop won 35-17; J Martin, M Greaves, B Bassam lost 28-31; A Grief, P Holmes, F Addy lost 25-30. BW