Cliff Watson nominated NBF life member

Above: Cliff Watson flanked by county president Tony Mace (right) and deputy president Dick Noble.

IN RECOGNITION of his dedicated 20-year service to the county, Cliff Watson has been made a life member of the Northants Bowling Federation, writes press officer Bob Warters.

The 63-year-old who led Northants to the 2015 inter-county Adams Trophy title for the first time in its history as manager, then captained the Newton Trophy team to its first national final in half a century earlier this year, received his recognition at the annual meeting this week.

A former county singles champion, Watson first joined the committee in 1996, taking on the manager’s role of the Under 25 side in which his daughter Karen played. He played at the Phorpres and South Ward clubs before joining Whittlesey Manor in his home town and eventually Peterborough & District.

Nominated by umpire and former county president Alan Croxford, who is relinquishing his role as national delegate after many years, Watson said: “This is a surprise and a great honour. It is very much appreciated.”

Among the newly elected officials is Jonathan Earl (Blackstones) as Adams captain, succeeding Peter Brown (Whittlesey Manor). Earl’s club is hoping it can also host the Adams home matches this season for the first time – a decision on which will be made at the next executive committee.

In his report, county president Tony Mace thanked all those who had worked hard toward maintaining the county’s status administratively and competitively. Northants had not picked up any individual titles but reached a national outdoor final (mixed pairs) and won the prestigious Eversley Trophy for county executives at Newark IBC in April.

The meeting agreed to adopt tailored grey shorts (not football or cargo shorts or cropped trousers) as appropriate alternative dress for outdoor competitions from 2018 in line with other organisations. Tailored white shorts may be worn at county outdoor finals.

The county also supported North Cambs’ proposal to allow smaller counties to field only one outdoor team to participate in the Newton Trophy. National rules currently dictate one-team counties must play in the Adams event. The motion will be discussed at the EBF agm in Grantham later in the year.

Thanks chiefly to a sponsorship agreement from Forterra, the Whittlesey concrete and brick suppliers, the county reported a profit of £1,116.

Officers: President Tony Mace, deputy president Dick Noble; secretary Melvyn Back; treasurer Les Sharp; fixture secretary Graham Agger; competition and result secretary Barry Lawrence; minutes secretary Linda Toms; press officer Bob Warters; child & vulnerable adult protection representative Neil Wright; Adams captain Jon Earl; Newton captain Cliff Watson; Derbyshire Trophy A captain James Harford (Derbyshire Trophy B captain, Malcolm Squires);reporting accountant Mike Robertson; management committee (re-elected en bloc) Brian Bassam, Peter Brown, Paul Dalliday, Mick Greaves, Steve Roden , Martin Welsford, Neil Wright. Tony Kemp (Conservative Club) was elected on to the committee.

Whites’ 50th anniversary bonus

LANGTOFT PEARL bowlers Peter and Anne White finally received their Northants Federation Senior Mixed Pairs Trophy this week – after celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

Peter (76), a former national Veteran singles champion, and Anne (73) had landed the title in July, when they beat Shirley Suffling and Paul Buckley at Parkway in the county finals but were unable to attend the presentations.

“We met originally when we were both on holiday in the Isle of Wight, when I was a post office engineer and Anne was a lab technician living in Manchester,” Peter recalled, receiving the trophy from Northants’immediate past president Bob Warters at the annual presentations at Stamford IBC, where they are both members.

” We thought we would make a sentimental journey back there during our anniversary year but unfortunately it clashed with the county presentations. We were delighted to finally receive the trophy this week to highlight a very special year.”

Northants captains name indoor A and B squads

For the first time in the competition’s history, Northants Bowling Federation will field two teams in the national inter-county Derbyshire Trophy indoor competition.

They will meet each other, as the competition rules determine, in the opening fixture at Peterborough IBC on Sunday, October 22 (10am).

The ‘A’ team, which finished narrowly behind Lincs in the southern area group last season, is again captained by James Harford, while Malcolm Squires will look after the ‘B’ team.

Played as a two-bowl triples format, each team will field four rinks with points awarded for each winning rink and a further six points for the overall winners.

Harford is playing his cards close to his chest by initially only naming a squad of players from which his final 12 will be selected but Squires has named his team plus reserves.

Says Harford: “I have picked my players from around the county (all have to be affiliated to outdoor clubs to qualify) based on form and compatibility and I am confident we have the ability to once again challenge for a place in the national finals at Newark in April.

“The first fixture against Malcolm’s team could be our toughest test. They know the surface as well as we do so we don’t expect anything less than a really hard game but no doubt with plenty of banter.”

His squad includes Tris and Ean Morton and Mike Robertson, who won the EBA national outdoor triples for Parkway at Leamington in the summer.

But the ‘B’ team also has serious experience, chosen chiefly from those with previous knowledge of the slick Peterborough surface where they will play all their home games.

Northants A squad: James Harford (captain), Tris Morton, Simon Law, Roger Martin, Martyn Dolby, Paul Dalliday, Phil Afford, Neil Wright, Howard Shipp, Brian Martin, Tony Scarr, Bob Warters, Ean Morton, Stephen Harris, Mike Robertson, Adam Warrington.

Northants B team: Michael Humphreys, John Holroyd, John Earl;
Les Sharp, Mick Linnell, Graham Agger; Brian Bassam, Mick Greaves, Rod Maplethorpe, Cliff Watson, Dick Noble, Peter Brown. Reserves: Mike Ramsden, Steve Roden , Malcolm Squires.

Praise for county and luncheon from EBF Presidents

ENGLISH Bowling Federation president Paul Bennett and women’s president Joan Mousley were full of praise for the Northants county when he attended its annual presentation lunch at Orton Hall Hotel in Peterborough on Sunday (September 24).

“The hospitality and location are fantastic,” Bennett told the 100 guests, many of whom compete in the Peterborough and Stamford Leagues ” the next five county functions I am attending will have a lot to live up to. Any county would have been proud of the excellent show you have put on.”

County presidents Tony and Rita Mace – who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary – were equally proud of the performances of their respective men and women bowlers though for only the second time since 2012, no individuals had managed to capture a national title.

However, a team of men’s committee executives, had claimed the coveted Eversley Trophy in April and Northants, led by Dick Ford, carried off the team prize during the Federation Potters Week.

Other notable achievements included the Newton Trophy side losing narrowly in the final at Skegness and Simon Law and Chris Morton (Parkway) beaten only with the last bowl of their outdoor EBF mixed pairs final.

Blackstones bowlers from Stamford dominated the trophy haul with the club’s Adam Warrington picking up three outdoor titles – the two-bowl and champion of champions singles and the two-bowl triples with Jon Earl and Martyn Dolby – as well as the indoor mixed triples with Dolby and Ketton’s Christine Ford.

Dolby also won singles trophies on both surfaces, as did Stephen Harris in the Under 25s, with the Blackstones women claiming both the outdoor under 25 singles and two-bowl triples.

Yaxley’s Kath Browning won three outdoor trophies – two with Viv Hempsall – in the senior pairs and three-bowl triples, while Julie Masters won both two-bowl and senior singles.

Whittlesey Manor stalwart, the evergreen Martin Welsford was voted player of the year for his Adams Trophy campaign, with Cliff Watson getting the Newton Trophy award for his efforts as captain in steering the team to the final.

Retiring women’s competition secretary Janet Duffy received a gift and a bouquet for her efforts in the role over 25 years.

Said President Rita Mace: ” We owe janet a real debt of gratitude for the part she has played in the Federation over so many years. She will be such a hard act to follow.”

Skegness results from Day 1 (Tuesday)


Following the defeat of the Northants Newton Trophy team on Sunday, the news from Skegness didn’t get much better on Tuesday when the individual events began with the county losing in four of the first six disciplines, writes Bob Warters.

The highlights were wins for the men’s and mixed pairs over Norfolk and Nottinghamshire respectively with the big disappointment, defeat for the former winners of the national two-bowl rinks from Blackstones, losing to the Radwinter trio from North Essex.

The new men’s pairs combination from Whittlesey Manor of Graham Agger and Peter Brown scored an excellent 19-17 win over Norfolk’s C Derry and M Turner (Heartease BC) while Chris Morton and Simon Law, former semi-finalists from Parkway, dealt comprehensively with the Gunn duo from Rolls Leisure 21-7.

Later in the day Morton and Law reached the Friday semi-final defeating the Lincs pairing (19-13) who had earlier knocked out former world champion Nick Brett and his daughter Chloe.

However, there was no joy for Adam Warrington, Jon Earl and Martyn Dolby looking to regain the two-bowl rinks – beaten 12-22.

There was similar disappointment for Northants women making their first Skegness appearances of the week.

Kath Browning, who had qualified in three events, lost 14-20 to Karro BC (North Essex) with senior pairs partner Viv Hempsall, while in the pairs another Yaxley combination – Joan Robinson and Marlene Osbourne – went out to Suffolk 9-23.

Norma Squires (City of Peterborough) put up a good show in the 4-bowl singles before losing to Cleveland’s J Carson 17-21.

Later Stuart Reynolds, James Harford and Mike Robertson (Parkway) overcame Humberside’s Springhead rink in the 3-bowl triples 16-13 but Blackstones’ Warrington and Dolby tumbled out of their respective 2-bowl singles and veteran’s singles 17-21 and 19-21, at the hands of Steve Botten (North Essex) and K Breame (Norfolk).

A disastrous afternoon for Northants continued when both women’s rinks went out of the competition.

In the 2-bowl triples Rita Downs and Katie and Sharon Bailey (Blackstones) were defeated 13-20 by Chloe Brett’s Warboys rink while the Yaxley trio of Stella Dale, Kath Browning and Viv Hempsall were humbled 10-23 by Suffolk.

Late in the day Kath Browning made up for earlier defeats by beating her North Cambs counterpart in the Secretaries singles, with clubmates Robert Heath and Tony Belson beating Notts in the senior pairs first round.


Hopes of a run in the men’s pairs by Graham Agger and Peter Brown were halted by Durham first thing this morning 17-19.

And Mick Duell was unable to improve on his national veteran singles title last year when he lost 16-21 in the 4-bowl singles.

Kath Browning also went out of the Secretary’s singles 21-9 but Val and Jeff Newson, despite daughter Sarah suffering with a broken toe, sailed into the next round of the mixed triples with a comprehensive 23-6 win.

There was also good news for the Senior pair of Robert Heath and Tony Belson who beat Hunts 19-14 to progress to the semi-finals. Also through to the last four are the Parkway trio of Stuart Reynolds, James Harford and Mike Robertson 20-15 victors over Cleveland. They play Nick Brett’s Hunts rink.

Completing a hat-trick of Wednesday winners were Anne and Peter White (Langtoft) who knocked out North Cambs 17-10 in the senior mixed pairs.

Jack Corney and Zak Brown (Whittlesey Manor) defending the Under 25 Open pairs, won by Stephen Harris and Darren Middleton last year, edged home 20-19 against Notts and will play North Cambs on Friday morning.

Sadly the end of the road came for Julie Masters (Parkway) in the 2-bowl singles beaten 21-12.


Skegness Championships veteran Malcolm Squires quickly hit the ground running on Thursday with a convincing 21-11 victory over D McDonnell (Cleveland) in the secretaries singles, representing City of Peterborough BC as well as Northants.

It made up in some way for his wife Norma’s first round exit in the 4-bowl singles.

In the women’s seniors event Julie Masters (Parkway) went out to Humberside veteran M Whittle.

Later in the day, Northants suffered mixed fortunes with only a handful surviving until Friday.

Stephen Harris ( Blackstones) is on target to reach the Under 25 singles for the second successive year after beating T Leslie (North Essex), 21-11; his sister Louise, after her 21-11 first round victory, now plays E Davison from Cleveland.

Elsewhere the Newson family lost their mixed triples 22-9 against hunts’ international trip Lewis Baker, and Chloe and Nick Brett 22-6.

Brett had also been part of the Hunts three-bowl rink which ended Northants hopes 18-12 in that discipline.

There was also little to cheer for either of our champion of champions county singles representatives. Adam Warrington lost 21-15 to I Parker (Suffolk) while Penny Hart (Whittlesey Town), having earlier won 21-13, lost 21-19.


Chris Morton and Simon Law (Parkway) have reached the final of the EBF mixed pairs at Skegness to be played against either Humberside or Cleveland on Saturday morning (9.15).

In a tight semi-final they beat competition favourites E Haddon-Holmes and Russell Robinson 15-14.

Blackstones brother and sister Stephen and Louise Harris will also contest the semi-finals of their respective Under 25 singles.

Stephen beat Derbyshire’s C Borrett 21-10 while Louise toppled Cleveland’s E Davison in a 21-20 thriller.

Sadly, the Langtoft couple, Anne and Peter White, went out of the senior mixed pairs 20-15 to Ann Lennie and Herbie Blacklock and (Northumberland) and secretary singles representative Malcolm Squires lost 21-11 to Notts’ Alan Turton.

In the afternoon, Northants’ county champions in the Under 25 Open singles, earned a semi-final place in their bid to emulate Stephen Harris and Darren Middleton, who took the national title in 2016.

But after beating North Cambs 16-15, Jack Corney and Zak Brown from Whittlesey went out to tournament favourites and England indoor internationals Harry Ward and Ed Elmore (Hunts) 15-20.

Louise Harris finally lost to K Jones (Notts) 4-21 in the women’s Under 25 singles semi-final and brother Stephen lost in a gripping semi-final 20-21 to Durham’s J McKenna from the Simonside club.


NORTHANTS’ hopes of salvaging a title from the 2017 English Bowling Federation championships at Skegness ended in disappointemt on Saturday morning.

Chris Morton and Simon Law from the Parkway Club had their chances in the final of the mixed pairs after three outstanding wins but were pipped in the final 19-18 by Chris Hanslip and his partner from Humberside.

Local rivals from Hunts had a more successful week with five titles.

After winning the Durham Centenary Shield four-rink title at the start of the week, they added the 2-bowl triples (Lewis Baker, Simon Leader and Nick Brett), the 3-bowl rinks (Lindsey Swannell, Ed Elmore and Brett) and the Under 25 Open pairs (Elmore and Harry Ward).

Rebecca Moorbey rounded off an exceptional week for Hunts, taking the women’s under 25 singles. BW

(Additional reporting by Cliff Watson)

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Northants defeated in Newton Trophy at Skegness

THE HOPE Northants Federation would celebrate the 50th anniversary of winning the coveted Newton Trophy in 1967 with a repeat win, were dashed in the closing minutes of their clash with Humberside at Skegness.

With just a handful of ends to go in the 31-end final, the scores were level. But two rinks dropped counts which proved crucial to the overall score and Northants eventually went down 161-170 despite winning two of the six rinks and drawing two others.

Nine shots difference over six rinks playing 31 ends – a total of more than 2,200 bowls delivered – underlined what a close and exciting match it was.

And it was the pressure that told in the end with the strong East Yorkshire/North Lincolnshire contingent gathering momentum and more vocal on the perimeters of the green, despite support for the orange-wearing Northants supporters.

In the early stages Northants’ bowlers found the tricky green more to their liking to race into 47-14 and 71-40 leads after five and ten ends respectively, before their opponents started to find their rhythm.

Urged on by the changing fortunes, Humberside reduced the arrears to just 12 shots after 20 ends and to five shots with six ends to play.

Peter Cox, Mick Humphreys and Roger Martin put the first points on the board 36-30 before Jeff Clipston, Cliff Watson and Paul Buckley forced a 25-25 draw. However, the defeat of Jim Ruddy, Mick Greaves and Brian Bassam (20-35) proved a setback as Humberside began their fightback.

With the scores level overall, Darren Middleton, Bob Warters and Peter Jessop struggling against a mystifying end rink which at times overpowered the bias of the bowls, had a chance to clinch vital shots on their final ends. But their opponents proved too good with momentum in their favour. Conceding eight shots in the last two ends, Northants earlier 11-0 and 31-23 advantage was overturned into a 35-32 defeat.

Fred Addy, Tony Kemp and Barry Lawrence pegged back the deficit with a 26-23 win but Les Sharp, Malcolm Squires and Mick Duell had to settle for a 22-22 draw – not enough to close the gap after Northants unbeaten southern area campaign.

Commented Northants captain Cliff Watson, who had guided the Adams team to a first success in 2015: ” I would like to thank the team for their efforts in a terrific campaign in the lead up to Skegness. And the level of support around the green was terrific but Humbnerside carried their momentum over the finishing line. I hope to captain the team again for the next year determined to overturn this disappointing result.” BW


Newton Trophy final (at Skegness) : Humberside 170 Northants 161. (Northants names only): F Addy, T Kemp, B. Lawrence won 26-23; P Cox, M Humphreys, R Martin won 36-30; J Clipston, C Watson, P Buckley drew 25-25; L Sharp, M Squires, M Duell drew 22; J Ruddy, M Greaves, B Bassam lost 20-35; D Middleton, B Warters, P Jessop lost 32-35.


Revealed! Shorts ban could be lifted

Northants Bowling Federation has agreed to support a proposal to introduce tailored shorts for its outdoor competitions from 2018.

The proposal was originally defeated by one vote at a previous Northants BF annual meeting but following a repeat submission, it will be voted upon at the annual meeting at Peterborough & District BC in October.

Currently only grey trousers are acceptable for Federation individual competitions (apart from in team events where every player must be similarly attired) with white trousers only for county finals.

Only tailored grey shorts, as worn by golfers for example, would be allowed – not cargo, football or cut-offs. White tailored shorts could be worn in county finals if the ruling is agreed.

Commented one observer: “Shorts are already a feature elsewhere in the sport under a different code and the Federation is open to the idea as long as the shorts are presentable and of a certain standard.

“Some believe it is a way of making the sport more comfortable when the weather is hot while others feel it is an opportunity its to attract a younger profile to the sport. Ultimately it will be upto the members and how they vote at the agm.”

Bowlers face hectic Skegness schedule

With several Northants bowlers competing in multiple competitions at Skegness, they could face a hectic schedule when events start on Tuesday, August 22.

Both Adam Warrington (Blackstones) and Kath Browning (Broadway, Yaxley) have qualified in three events, while Julie Masters (Parkway), Viv Hempsall (Yaxley) and Martyn Dolby (Blackstones) are in two each.

Dolby is chasing a veterans singles hat trick – Northants having won the Ludlam Trophy in both 2015 and 2016. No pressure, then!


Men and Mixed

Sunday, August 20, 2pm: Newton Trophy final – Northants v Humberside

Monday: Reg Jackson tournament concludes.

Tuesday: 9.15 am – A Warrington, M Dolby, J Earl (2-bowl rinks) v North Essex; 10.45 – C Morton & S Law (mixed pairs) v Notts; 1.45 – G Agger & P Brown (pairs) v Norfolk; 2.15 – S Reynolds, J Harford, M Robertson (3-bowl rinks) v Humberside; 3.15 – M Dolby (Vets singles) v Norfolk; 3.15 – A Warrington (2-bowl singles) v N Essex; 4.45 – R Heath & T Belson (Vets pairs) v Notts.

Wednesday: 11.45 – M Duell (4-bowl singles) v N Cambs or Notts; 11.45 – S Newson, J Newson, V Newson (mixed rinks) v Suffolk or Lincs; 1.45 – J Corney & Z Brown (Under 25 open pairs) v Notts; 3.15 – A & P White (Senior mixed pairs ) v N Essex.

Thursday:9.15 M Squires v (Men Secretary’s singles) v Cleveland; 1.45 – S Harris (U 25 singles) v N Essex; 3.15 – A Warrington (Champion of champion singles) v Durham or Suffolk.


Tuesday: 10.45 – K Browning & V Hempsall (Seniors pairs) v N Essex); J Robinson & M Osbourne (pairs) v Suffolk ; 11.45 – N.Squires(4-bowl singles) v Cleveland; 2.15 – R Downs, K & S Bailey (2-bowl rinks) v Hunts; K Browning, S Dale, V Hempsall (3-bowl rinks) v Suffolk; 4.45 – K Browning (Sec singles) v N Cambs.

Wednesday: 1.45 – J Masters (2-bowl singles) v Norfolk or Lincs.

Thursday: 9.15 – J Masters (Senior singles) v Humberside or Northumberland; 10.45 – L Harris (U25 singles) v Northumberland; 1.45 – P Hart (champion of champions) v Durham.

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Parkway completes Duffy, Adams double

ABOVE: Parkway(Back row, left to right) Simon Law, Tristan Morton, Neil Wright, Tony Scarr, Paul Dalliday.(Front) Jeff Newson, Val Newson, Tony Mace (county president), Karen Martin, Howard Shipp.

ABOVE: Whittlesey Manor (Back row, left to right) Robert Burbridge, Roger Stevens, Jack Corney, Martin Welsford, Graham Agger, Lee Welsford.(Front) Geoff Staggs, Melvyn Beck, Tony Mace (county president and player). Images by Rita Mace

PARKWAY BOWLERS completed a 2017 Northants Federation cup double by defeating host club Whittlesey Manor 57-45 in the Adams Cup final to add to their recent success in the Dan Duffy club championship, writes Mel Beck.

Rinks skipped by Tristan Morton and Simon Law both won by seven against Lee Welsford and Graham Agger respectively, with Whittlesey Manor’s consolation win coming from the rink of captain Martin Welsford, a two-shot winner against Jeff Newson.

Parkway 57, Whittlesey Manor 45 (Parkway rinks first):
Paul Dalliday, Neil Wright, Simon Law 21, Jack Corney, Geoff Staggs, Graham Agger 14.
Howard Shipp, Val & Jeff Newson 12, Roger Stevens, Robert Burbridge, Martin Welsford 14.
Karen Martin, Tony Scarr, Tristan Morton 24, Melvyn Beck, Tony Mace, Lee Welsford 17.

Northants names its Newton Trophy final team

Above: The Northants Newton team which won against Lincolnshire earlier in the season.

IT’S HALF a century since the Northants Bowling Federation last won the Newton Trophy team championship, awarded by the English Bowling Federation to the best county reserve team, traditionally made up of emerging players who are developing into those required for the senior Adams Trophy squad.

Back in 1967, Northants beat Durham in the final and have consequently lost to Durham in 1971 and 1986 and to Notts in 1991. And while the county won the Adams for the first time in 2015, they have not had a sniff of the Newton in 26 years.

More recently Newton winners have included teams like Lincolnshire, predominantly made up of those who have stepped down from the Adams but still retain a competitive streak and want to support their county and occasionally bring on some youngsters.

Indeed Lincolnshire have won it in three of the last five years.

Lately Northants has followed suit with Roger Martin, Paul Buckley, Bob Warters and Barry Lawrence among those seeking a fresh challenge after helping the county’s Adams success.

And the team is captained by left-handler Cliff Watson who masterminded Northants Adams win and has now found himself a crucial player-manager role with the Newton team.

Elsewhere the side is packed with experience including evergreen skips Peter Jessop and Brian Bassam, together with Mick Duell who won the 2016 county national senior singles.

Northants have emerged unbeaten through their southern section campaign and will play Humberside, similarly unbeaten, in the final at Skegness on Sunday, August 20.

The Northants side will include its youngest player Darren Middleton from Blackstones whom last year with Stephen Harris won the county and national Under 25 Open pairs title.

Says Watson: “I was very pleased with the highly reformed team’s commitment and desire to win, the result of which saw total domination of our southern group. It would be an appropriate reward for that effort to bring the trophy home on the 50th anniversary of the last time the county won this trophy.”

Northants team v Humberside: Darren Middleton (Blackstones) Bob Warters (Ketton) skip Peter Jessop (West Ward); Les Sharp (Yaxley), Malcolm Squires (City of Peterborough), Mick Duell (West Ward); Peter Cox (Langtoft), Mick Humphreys, Roger Martin (both City of Peterborough); Jeff Clipston, Cliff Watson (both Peterborough & District), Paul Buckley (Blackstones) ; Fred Addy (Parkway), Tony Kemp (Conservative), Barry Lawrence (Whittlesey Manor); Jim Ruddy (West Ward), Mick Greaves, Brian Bassam (both Peterborough & District); Reserves Graham Jackson (City of Peterborough) & Martin Stokes(Blackstones).

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