Federation finals update

Northants Bowling Federation bowlers gave the county a promising start to the national championships at Newark on Wednesday, when the Blackstones trio of Adam Warrington, Jon Earl and Martyn Dolby came through their opening round 25-17.

But against three from Northumberland, it was closer than the score might suggest. After trailing early on, the Stamford triple surged into a 16-9 lead only to see it whittled away to 20-17 with an end to play.

A five count on the last, however, was enough to see them through to a clash with Derbyshire’s former winners Ashley Clipston, Gary Shepperson and Russell Robinson who earlier beat Richard Vinter’s Lincolnshire rink.

In the women’s rinks June Brennan, Denise Mackie – substituting for Jan Want – and Christine Ford, were up against Norfolk. They eventually scrambled over the line 20-19 to earn a second round tie with North Essex.

And in the mixed triples, the Holroyd family – Moira and John and daughter Helen faced the formidable Northumberland trio of John Dobinson, Annie Lennie and Herbie Blacklock.

But despite dropping three shots on the last end they won 20-19. They were due to play Notts in the second round.

Sadly Northants’ hopes of progression in both men’s and women’s triples disciplines ended there. The Blackstones three never quite got to grips with a tricky rink two against an experience Derbyshire outfit, losing 21-13.

As for NWBF president Ford’s rink, they fought gamely against North Essex but despite switching positions midway as Federation rules allow they finally bowed out 21-15.

MEN’S COMPETITIONS

Wednesday, April 24 (9.30am) 2-bowl Rinks – Adam Warrington, Jon Earl, Martyn Dolby beat R Symonds, K Blacklock & C Knott (Northumberland)25-17; 3.30pm Northants lost to Derbyshire 13-21.

Wednesday, April 24 (12.30pm) : Mixed rinks – Moira, Helen & John Holroyd beat A Lennie, R Dobinson, H Blacklock (Northumberland) 20-19. 6.30pm – Northants v Notts.

Thursday, April 25 (6.30pm): Singles – Paul Dalliday v M Smith (Suffolk).

Thursday, April 25 (6.30pm): Mixed pairs – Louise & Stephen Harris v P Rolf & R Greef (Norfolk).

Friday, April 26 (9.30 am) Pairs – James Harford & Simon Law v D Hall & L Creaser (Humberside).

Friday, April 26 (5pm) : Senior singles – Martyn Dolby v P Cox (Humberside).

Friday, April 26 (7.30pm) Under 25 Open singles – Helen Holroyd v Ed Elmore (Hunts) or Sam Ashton (Lincs) Friday, 7.30pm.

Sunday, April 28 (1pm) : Derbyshire Trophy final: Northants v Nottinghamshire.

WOMEN

Wednesday, April 24 (12.30pm) :Rinks – June Brennan, Jan Want, Chris Ford beat S Stacey, J Kirby & G Xuereb (Norfolk)20-18. 3.30pm Northants lost to North Essex 15-21.

Thursday, April 25 (9.30pm) : singles – Chris Ford v J Baldwin (Hunts).

Thursday, April 25 (3.30pm, provisional) Singles – Helen Holroyd v E Dayes (Humberside)

Friday, April 26 (12 noon) : Pairs – Louise Harris & Helen Holroyd v P Gooch & L Alexander (Suffolk).

Women’s executive third in Harry Carver Trophy

From the left: Doris Flowers, Viv Hempsall, Chris Ford, Terri Handley, Glenys Edwards, Joan Robinson.

THE EXECUTIVE members of the Northants Women’s Bowling Federation finished third in the Harry Carver Trophy at Newark IBC – one of their best finishes since the county won the inaugural event in 1977.

Playing a two-rink triples format, the team of Joan Robinson, Doris Flowers & Viv Hempsall and Glenys Edwards, Terri Handley and NWBF President Christine Ford beat Cleveland, Derbyshire and North Cambs losing only to Suffolk.

They finished with 12 points, two behind the host county Notts and one less than Lincolnshire. 12 counties took part.

In the men’s equivalent last week – the Eversley Trophy in which they were defending champions – the Northants men’s executive team of Richard Montgomery, Les Sharp, Malcolm Squires, Cliff Watson, Graham Agger and President Dick Noble finished 6th of nine counties – seven points behind winners Durham.

Derbyshire Trophy: 2019 final preview

The 1996 team : (from left to right): R. Malton, Jeff Newson, Eric Kew, Peter Jessop, Roger Strong, Tony Morton, T. Cairney, Dan Duffy, Fred Addy, D. Smith, Malcolm Squires, Peter Edwards, Cliff Watson, A. Norfolk (National President), Wilf Redhead, Andrew Thurston, Peter Black, John Dickenson (Deputy National President), Bob Crow, Albert Horton. (Picture courtesy of Malcolm Squires).

The 2006 team (back row, left to right): Andrew Thurston, Ean Morton (partly hidden), Doug Want, Dick Noble, Mick Durber, Simon Law & Trevor Collins (both hidden), Graham Agger, Roger Martin (partly hidden), Peter Edwards, John Stoneham. Front (from the left) Nigel Eagle, Norman Buttery, Tony Morton, Fred Addy, Richard Montgomery (Northants President), Chris Wheeler, Tristan Morton (Picture courtesy of Roger Martin).

The 2019 squad: (from the left): Tony Scarr, Nick Wilkie, Martyn Dolby, Adam Warrington, Simon Law, Tris Morton, Paul Dalliday, James Harford, Jeff Newson, Mick Humphreys,Roger Martin, Stephen Harris, 2017/18 President Tony Mace.

FOR THE first time in 13 years, Northants Bowling Federation will contest the final of the Derbyshire Trophy at Newark IBC on Sunday (April 28, 1pm). It’s the prestigious inter-county title of the English Bowling Federation.

Northants bowlers last won the trophy in 2006 at Newark against Durham, having first won it in 1996 at Lincoln IBC against Northumberland.

This time, under the captaincy of James Harford, and celebrating the county’s 90th anniversary since its formation in 1929, Northants A will play Nottinghamshire who qualified through the northern section of the competition by defeating Durham, Humberside and Northumberland.

For the Northants team it was a more gruelling road to the final, defeating Northants B, Lincolnshire, North Cambs and Norfolk, suffering their only defeat, away to Huntingdonshire.

Only Jeff Newson remains from the team which won in 1996 and only four survive from 2006 – Roger Martin, Trevor Collins, Simon Law and Tristan Morton.

Of the 1996 team, Malcolm Squires recalls: “I wore three hats that day – as county president, team captain and as a player. It was a privilege to be the first Northants team to win the Derbyshire Trophy.”

Roger Martin remembers that in the qualifying rounds in 2006, the competition demanded three rinks of triples playing at home and away simultaneously with the aggregate score counting for extra points.

Subsequently the competition is now played as four rinks of two-bowl triples played home or away in alternate years.

” I think the rink I played on in the final was the only one out of six to lose but the rest did more than enough to bring the trophy home for our president Richard Montgomery, who was also in the team.”

This time Martin is paired with fellow Blackstones bowlers Mick Humphreys and Adam Warrington.

The rest of the 2019 team is: Paul Dalliday, James Harford & Simon Law (all Parkway); Bob Warters (Ketton), Martyn Dolby (Blackstones) & Tristan Morton (Parkway); Nick Wilkie (Vanguard), Trevor Collins & Jeff Newson (both Parkway). Apart from Wilkie (Spalding) the rest of the team play their indoor bowls at Stamford IBC. BW

Harford names Derbyshire Trophy finalists

James Harford, the captain, has named his Northants Bowling Federation ‘A’ team to play Nottinghamshire in the final of the Derbyshire Trophy at Newark IBC on April 28.

Northants, sponsored by Forterra, will be making their first appearance in the Federation inter-county showpiece since 2006 when they beat Durham.

The team – which will play to a four-rink two-bowl triples format – shows only one change from that which beat Norfolk in the final game in the southern section at Stamford. Bob Warters replaces the unavailable Tony Scarr at No.2 alongside Martyn Dolby and Tristan Morton.

The rest of the side is : Paul Dalliday, James Harford (captain), Simon Law; Adam Warrington, Mick Humphreys, Roger Martin; Nick Wilkie, Trevor Collins, Jeff Newson.

Says Harford, one of six bowlers from the premier Parkway club, in the side, several of whom played in the 2016 victory: “Team selection was hard but I have stuck with players who have been available throughout the campaign and I feel this is the team that can bring back the trophy.”

Despite losing at Hunts, Northants ‘A’ beat Northants ‘B’ at Peterborough and North Cambs at Wisbech, before taking vital points from Lincolnshire and Norfolk at Stamford.

Both Lincs and Norfolk had the chance to take the southern section but in the last game, failed to claim enough points to make the final.

Nottinghamshire, who will have home advantage after wins against Durham, Northumberland and Humberside won the northern section by just six points from Northumberland. They have never won the title but have been finalists on three occasions.

The Derbyshire final will round off a week of individual English Bowling Federation competitions at Newark featuring Northants men and women in singles, pairs, triples as well as mixed pairs and mixed triples. Northants will also contest the curtain-raiser Harry Carver and Eversley Trophies for county executives.

Draws for individual competitions are as follows:

MEN

Wednesday, April 24 (9.30am) 2-bowl Rinks – Adam Warrington, Jon Earl, Martyn Dolby v (R Symonds, K Blacklock & C Knott (Northumberland)

Wednesday, April 24 (12.30pm) : Mixed rinks – Moira, Helen & John Holroyd v A Lennie, R Dobinson, H Blacklock (Northumberland).

Thursday, April 25 (6.30pm): Singles – Paul Dalliday v M Smith (Suffolk).

Thursday, April 25 (6.30pm) :Mixed pairs – Louise & Stephen Harris v P Rolf & R Greef (Norfolk).

Friday, April 26 (9.30 am) Pairs – James Harford & Simon Law v D Hall & L Creaser (Humberside).

Friday, April 26 (5pm) : Senior singles – Martyn Dolby v P Cox (Humberside).

Friday, April 26 (7.30pm) Under 25 Open singles – Helen Holroyd v Ed Elmore (Hunts) or Sam Ashton (Lincs) Friday, 7.30pm.

Sunday, April 28 (1pm) : Derbyshire Trophy final: Northants v Nottinghamshire.

WOMEN

Wednesday, April 24 (12.30pm) :Rinks – June Brennan, Jan Want, Chris Ford v S Stacey, J Kirby & G Xuereb (Norfolk)

Thursday, April 25 (9.30pm) : singles – Chris Ford v J Baldwin (Hunts).

Thursday, April 25 (3.30pm, provisional) Singles – Helen Holroyd v E Dayes (Humberside)

Friday, April 26 (12 noon) : Pairs – Louise Harris & Helen Holroyd v P Gooch & L Alexander (Suffolk).

Helen causes upset in Under 25 singles final and goes on to win four titles

If further evidence was needed that bowls is that rare phenomenon where the game can be played on equal terms by both men and women, the final of the Northants Federation Under 25 singles proved it beyond doubt.

Recently capped England Under 25 international Stephen Harris (21) representing the Blackstones club, was matched against Stamford Town’s Helen Holroyd (23) and though a young player with great potential she was not expected to trouble a bowler who has held this county title both indoors and outdoors for several years.

How wrong the assembled spectators at Stamford IBC were. Helen, who is currently qualifying for her coaching badges, was outstanding against an adversary recently named England player of the series on his recent debut in Aberdeen.

In the two-bowl singles contest, she trailed 6-8 at nine ends and 9-10 (12) before asserting her authority on longer jacks to lead 13-10 and 19-13 before conceding the 23rd send to a single.

Helen finally clinched it with an unbeatable front bowl to win 21-14 and went on to win three more titles, including the women’s pairs with Louise Harris, whom she beat in the women’s singles 21-18 after trailing 6-16.

At the other end of the age scale, playing on their home indoor rinks were Martyn Dolby (Blackstones) celebrating his birthday, and Christine Ford (Ketton) in their respective Veterans and Senior singles.

Dolby saw off the keen challenge of Northants president Dick Noble (West Ward) with a 21-9 victory, while Ford beat Conservative’s Sheila Craig 21-13. Turning point came on the 13th end when Ford picked up a maximum to stretch clear 19-10.

Both Dolby and Ford also went on to win a second title each in their respective men’s and women’s two-bowl triples.

Dolby joined with Blackstones colleague Adam Warrington and Jon Earl to defeat Peter Edwards rink – who had taken a 12-0 lead – in a thriller that went to an extra end.

For Ford, June Brennan and Jan Want, it was far more straight-forward against Hazel Bass, Marlene Osborne and Penny Hart – and 15 shots in an eight end spell soon took them out of reach.

But a Dolby/Ford combination came unstuck against brother and sister Stephen and Louise Harris in the mixed pairs, conceding eight shots in the last four ends.

The men’s blue riband event – the 4-bowl singles – went to former carpet bowler Paul Dalliday who just had the edge over Parkway clubmate James Harford. The duo also opposed each other in the two-bowl pairs where Harford gained revenge with partner Simon Law.

FULL RESULTS

Men’s veteran 4-bowl singles – Dick Noble (West Ward) lost to Martyn Dolby (Blackstones) 9-21; women’s senior 4-bowl singles – Sheila Craig (Conservative) lost to Christine Ford (Ketton) 13-21; Under 25 Open singles – Stephen Harris (Blackstones) lost to Helen Holroyd (Stamford Town) 14-21.

Women’s 2-bowl pairs – Marlene Osbourne & Hazel Bass (Yaxley) lost to Louise Harris (Blackstones) & Helen Holroyd (Stamford Town) 6-28; men’s 4-bowl singles – Paul Dalliday (Parkway) beat James Harford (Parkway) 21-17.

Mixed 2-bowl Triples – Alan Romaine (Vanguard) Carol and Bob Warters (Ketton) lost to Moira, Helen & John Holroyd (Stamford Town) 14-20 ; men’s 2-bowl pairs – Dalliday & Tristan Morton (Parkway) lost to Harford & Simon Law (Parkway) 14-16 ; mixed 2-bowl pairs – Ford (Ketton) & Dolby (Blackstones) lost to S & L Harris (Blackstones) 12-20.

Women’s 4-bowl singles – L Harris lost H Holroyd 18-21; men’s 2-bowl triples – Adam Warrington, Jon Earl and Dolby (Blackstones) beat S Harris (Blackstones), Cliff Watson (Peterborough & District) & Peter Edwards (Ketton) 21-19 (after extra end); women’s 2-bowl triples – June Brennan (Ketton), Jan Want (Ryhall), Chris Ford (Ketton) beat Penny Hart (Whittlesey Town), Marlene Osbourne & Hazel Bass (Yaxley) 21-7.

Mixed 2-bowl Triples – Alan Romaine (Vanguard) Carol and Bob Warters (Ketton) lost to Moira, Helen & John Holroyd (Stamford Town) 20-14; men’s 2-bowl pairs – Dalliday & Tristan Morton (Parkway)lost to Harford & Simon Law (Parkway) 16-14; mixed 2-bowl pairs – Ford (Ketton) & Dolby (Blackstones) lost to S & L Harris (Blackstones) 12-20.

4-bowl singles – L Harris lost to H Holroyd 18-21; men’s 2-bowl triples – Adam Warrington, Jon Earl and Dolby (Blackstones) beat S Harris (Blackstones), Cliff Watson (Peterborough & District) & Peter Edwards (Ketton) 21-19 on extra end; women’s 2-bowl triples – June Brennan (Ketton), Jan Want (Ryhall), Chris Ford (Ketton) beat Penny Hart (Whittlesey Town), Marlene Osbourne & Hazel Bass (Yaxley) 21-7.

Also visit www.stamfordindoorbowls.co.uk

LAST CHANCE TO ENTER

There are still a handful of places left to fill for the Stamford Indoor Bowls Club’s Presidents gala tournament on Sunday, April 7 (starting times at 9.30 and 10.30 am).

It is a three-bowl triples event, each team playing four 8-end matches, also scoring points for matches and ends won.

Entry is £18 for a team of three with big cash prizes available. Entry forms from Stamford IBC (01780 756452); closing date March 29.

Federation finals parking: You have been warned!

Bowlers competing in the Northants Federation finals at Stamford IBC on Sunday (March 17) and those planning to spectate, are advised to arrive early for the sessions which start at 10 am, & 12pm, 2pm and 4pm (see Federation finals timetable story).

Simultaneously, Stamford Rugby Club is hosting its annual Under 9s rugby festival on the adjacent Empingham Road Playing Field – with families arriving from a wide area – and it is inevitable they will endeavour to use the Stamford IBC/Bridge Club car parks.

The bowls club is aiming to put up parking restrictions but past experience of ‘school runs’ tells us this may not prove a sufficient barrier to visitors parking where they see ANY SPACE close to the action!

The bowls club can only suggest that bowls competitors and spectators arrive early to avoid disappointment, inconvenience and further congestion.

Schedule for Federation Finals: Sunday, March 17

James Harford will play fellow Parkway bowler Paul Dalliday in the final of the blue riband Northants Federation 4-bowl singles final at Stamford Indoor Bowls Club on Sunday, March 17.

A full schedule is published below.

The county’s Derbyshire Trophy captain beat the holder Martyn Dolby 21-12, fighting back from an early deficit to score nine shots in four ends in a devastating spell and finally clinched it on the 20th end.

It completed a tough spell of four semi-finals on successive days for Dolby who gave credit to his young opponent, who found a turning point when he killed an end while looking like he might go six shots adrift.

“James then started to improve his backhand line and length as I struggled,” admitted Dolby. “And as my batteries dried up, James drew so well and was a worthy winner.”

Said Harford: “I managed to hang on in the early part of the game and killing that end proved crucial. Drawing shots with my last bowl subsequently saved two or three shots and I stuck to my guns on my backhand to string nine shots in four ends together.”

Harford will also join Simon Law in the final of the pairs in what promises to be an explosive and entertaining match against Dalliday and Tristan Morton.

Former winners of the men’s triples – Stephen Harris, Cliff Watson and Peter Edwards have again reached the final. They beat Neil Wright, Trevor Collins and Jeff Newson 19-5 and will play Adam Warrington, Jon Earl and Martyn Dolby.

Christine Ford and Martyn Dolby reached the final of the mixed pairs defeating Sheila Craig and Dick Noble in a one-sided match 26-6.

Schedule

10 am: Men’s veteran 4-bowl singles – Dick Noble (West Ward) v Martyn Dolby (Blackstones) (rink 2); women’s senior 4-bowl singles – Sheila Craig (Conservative) v Christine Ford (Ketton)(4); Under 25 Open singles – Stephen Harris (Blackstones) v Helen Holroyd (Stamford Town) (5).

12 noon : Women’s 2-bowl pairs – Marlene Osbourne & Hazel Bass (Yaxley) v Louise Harris (Blackstones) & Helen Holroyd (Stamford Town) (1); men’s 4-bowl singles – Paul Dalliday (Parkway) v James Harford (Parkway) (3).

2pm : Mixed 2-bowl Triples – Alan Romaine (Vanguard) Carol and Bob Warters (Ketton) v Moira, Helen & John Holroyd (Stamford Town) (2); men’s 2-bowl pairs – Dalliday & Tristan Morton (Parkway) v Harford & Simon Law (Parkway); mixed 2-bowl pairs – Ford (Ketton) & Dolby (Blackstones) v S & L Harris (Blackstones) (6).

4pm: women’s 4-bowl singles – L Harris v H Holroyd (3); men’s 2-bowl triples – Adam Warrington, Jon Earl and Dolby (Blackstones) v S Harris (Blackstones), Cliff Watson (Peterborough & District) & Peter Edwards (Ketton) (4); women’s 2-bowl triples – June Brennan (Ketton), Jan Want (Ryhall), Chris Ford (Ketton) v Penny Hart (Whittlesey Town), Marlene Osbourne & Hazel Bass (Yaxley).

*Players will where whites and club shirts where they are all from the same outdoor club, otherwise all white. Red or white stickers will be provided. Raffle prizes welcome.

Northants ‘A’ qualify for Derbyshire Trophy final

The Northants A side which earlier in the season won its opening match against Northants B

FOR THE first time more than a decade Northants Bowling Federation has qualified for the indoor final of the inter-county Derbyshire Trophy to be played at Newark IBC in April.

The 12-2 victory by James Harford’s Northants ‘A’ side over Norfolk last week at Stamford IBC proved good enough to clinch their qualification from the Southern Section after Norfolk just failed at Lincoln IBC to gain enough points to overtake them.

Norfolk needed a full house of 14 points against a Lincs side weakened by absentees from the host club competing in the Egham Trophy semi-final victory over Tye Green (Harlow) at Peterborough but could only manage an 11-3 win – albeit by more than 40 shots overall.

Boston skip Jonathan West assisted by Paul Flatters and Rod West steered his rink to an outstanding two points after trailing 10-17 with only a handful of the 25 ends remaining. They won 25-23, while Lincoln’s Chris Gill snatched a further vital point in a draw.

Lincs had needed just ten points themselves to qualify but late changes had further hampered selection.

Northants A, who beat Durham in the 2006 final, finished with 52 points from their five matches followed by Norfolk (49), Lincs (45), Hunts (40), North Cambs (14) and Northants B (10).

In the final they will play Nottinghamshire, who beat Northumberland 12-2 on their home surface at Newark.

Said Northants A captain James Harford: ” We are thrilled to have qualified for the first time since 2006. A massive thanks to the squad who have stuck by me over the last few years. Being captain can be a thankless job unless the end product of qualification is reached.

“To beat both Lincs and Norfolk shows as a county we are more than good enough to compete against bigger ones. The main job now is to finish the process and playing Nottinghamshire on their own patch will not be easy.

“However I am confident that with the players we have available we are giving ourselves a great chance to achieve a major trophy in the county’s 90th anniversary year.” BW

Potters gold for Northants contingent

From the left: Martin and Elizabeth Wallace, Dick Ford and Shirley and John Suffling


John Suffling in action during the final.

NORTHANTS Federation bowlers competing in the annual competitions at Potters Resort near Great Yarmouth carried off the overall Top Club points trophy as the most successful county.

Of its five competing teams, two reached the knock-out stages with the Ketton combination of Elizabeth and Martin Wallace and Shirley Suffling and husband John, reaching the final where they lost by just one shot to the experienced Norfolk quartet of Geoff and Jenny Ramsbottom, Judy Gott and Ian Wones.

Northants’ Dick Ford, another Ketton player, organised the Northants squad and received the Top Club Trophy from national presidents Mick Rayson (Hunts) and Carole Swann (Norfolk).

Good fortune followed the local contingent into the bingo hall, where Denise Mackie (Vanguard) captured two jackpots worth – total of more than £900.

Northants runners-up with national presidents Carole Swann and Mick Rayson.

Defeat of Norfolk aids Northants A’s cause


Trevor Collins and Nick Wilkie

Martyn Dolby and Tony Scarr in anticipation of an approaching bowl

James Harford and Paul Dalliday

Jeff Newson

Roger Martin

Tristan Morton (images courtesy of Stamford Mercury and Alan Walters)

BOWLERS representing Northants A have given themselves a fighting chance of reaching the finals of the indoor inter-county Derbyshire Trophy championship for the first time since 2006.

They beat Norfolk, one of their closest rivals, 105-70 at Stamford IBC picking up 12 vital points which takes them 10 clear of league leaders Linccolnshire whom they beat 11-3 last week.

However, Lincs have a superior shots difference and need just 10 of the 14 points at stake next weekend when they host Norfolk at Lincoln IBC.

An added twist to the plot reveals that several of their leading contenders will be missing, already committed to the EIBA code’s semi-final of the mixed Egham Trophy against Norwich IBC at Peterborough.

Says Northants A captain James Harford: “We played well to win on three out of four rinks and take 12 points from a strong Norfolk side. We have 52 points which we would have taken at the start of the campaign; we have done all we can but it is out of our hands now. We can only hope the result at Lincoln goes our way.”

After the initial exchanges, Northants, who included all but one in their side who play their indoor competitions at Stamford – Nick Wilkie (Spalding) was the only exception – took control as Norfolk players, more used to slower surfaces, took more time to adapt.

Particularly pleasing in the two-bowl triples format over 25 ends, was the new combination of experienced singles player Martyn Dolby leading on a rink skipped by talented left-hander Tristan Morton with Tony Scarr playing a key supporting role, tidying up heads and drawing strategic bowls as required.

They allowed Danny Mills’ trio few opportunities and after surging into a 17-7 lead with an excellent four count eventually ran out 29-13 winners.

On the adjoining rink, the tried and tested combination of Paul Dalliday, Harford and Simon Law were having similar success against Sam King, son of former world singles champion Mervyn. Ten shots in eight ends took them into a 24-9 lead from which they were never threatened.

When Adam Warrington switched roles with Roger Martin from lead to skip on the 14th end, as Federation roles allow, they trailed 12-15 but the transition – with Mick Humphreys at No.2 – quickly worked and they pick up seven shots in five ends. And with seven more in the last four they claimed more vital points in a 26-22 victory.

Northants’ only disappointment was 25-17 defeat of the experienced Wilkie, Trevor Collins and Jeff Newson whom, despite shuffling roles at 15 ends, couldn’t cope with a late surge of 12 shots in the last eight ends by Danny Cawthorne’s young trio after leading 15-13.

Results (Northants A names only):

Derbyshire Trophy ( at Stamford): Northants A 105 (12pts) Norfolk 70 (2). a Warrington,M Humphreys, Roger Martin won 26-22; N Wilkie, T Collins, J Newson lost 17-25; P Dalliday, J Harford, S Law win 33-10; M Do.by, T Scarr, T Morton won 29-13.

End by end: 19-18 (5 ends), 36-34 (10), 61-43 (15), 83-52 (20), 105- 70 (25).

It’s crunch time for the Stamford Men’s A team competing in the first division of the Lincolnshire League – a title they won two years ago and are aiming to regain at the expenses of the current holders Lincoln IBC.

They head to the city for the final game of the season on Saturday (March 2) with what looks on paper to be an unassailable 36-point lead over their rivals. But defeat could make it extremely fragile, especially as Lincoln have two games in hand – albeit away to Sleaford and Boston – and exactly those precious points at stake.

Stamford captain Paul Bailey has the opportunity to draft in a handful of experienced players waiting on the sidelines but in the sporting tradition of the club has decided to maintain faith in those who have been available with their support throughout the season.

However, it will mean a couple of tweaks with the return of Neil Wright and Peter Edwards both with experience of the Lincoln surface.

Stamford A: Richard Allam, Mick Linnell, Trevor Collins, Jon Earl; Mick Humphreys, Neil Wright, Adam Warrington, Paul Bailey; Mike Ramsden, Jay Travis-Jenner, John Holroyd, Jeff Newson; Wayne Aspinall, Chris Ballard, Bob Warters, Roger Martin; Dave Hudson, Mal Smith, Peter Edwards, Martyn Dolby. Res: aOwen Aspinall, Tony Barwell.

FEDERATION COMPETITIONS LATEST

The final of the Northants Bowling Federation’s Blue Riband event, the four-bowl singles – will be between players who all play their indoor competitions on the Stamford IBC surface.

This was confirmed when Martyn Dolby beat new England Under 25 international Stephen Harris in a high quality match to earn a semi-final tie with former England EBA outdoor triples champion James Harford.

In the other semi-final Paul Dalliday, who only converted fully from carpet bowls a couple of seasons ago and who beat Mike Ramsden 21-11, will play Richard Allam, a 21-20 victor over Tony Barwell.

The veteran singles semi-final matches two former winners Bob Warters against Martyn Dolby and Dick Noble, the county president, against Alan Romaine.

In the women’s four-bowl singles final Louise Harris – a 21-15 winner at Peterborough against Sheila Craig plays pairs partner Helen Holroyd. In the seniors, Chris Ford, who beat Joan Robinson 21-5, plays Craig.

The county finals will be at Stamford on March 17.

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