Outstanding individual at the Northants Men's and Women's Bowling Federation finals at Whittlesey Manort on Sunday was Linda Darani (City of Peterborough) who won three of the four events in which she competed – the two and four-bowl singles and the two-bowl triples with clubmates Fiona Richardson and Norma Squires.
Along with other Northants winners, she will now fly the Northants flag in Skegness next month, when the national finals take place at the Suncastle greens against 12 other English Federation counties.
Her only defeat was in the Senior singles, beaten 21-10 by Helen Crow from Langtoft, who also won the three-bowl triples with Parkway team-mates Pat Reynolds and Sarah Newson having lost the 2-bowl triples final.
Among others securing doubles were Mick Duell (West Ward) in the senior singles and senior mixed pairs and Whittlesey Manor's Steve Roden, who took the Champion of champion singles against Empingham's Jonathan Corby and the three-bowl triples with Roger Stevens and Peter Brown, having lost the two-bowl version to Parkway.
The blue riband men's singles went to Andy Thurston (Parkway), avenging his father's John's earlier defeat by Peter Cox and Graham Agger (Broadway, Yaxley), who will be returning to compete at Skegness for the first time in six years, following a 21-8 triumph over Neil Wright (Parkway). However, Wright later claimed his second title combining with Howard Shipp to beat Nick Wilkie and Alex Emery comfortably in the pairs.
Sheila Craig (Conservative Club) made it to three finals but emerged with only one win – a runaway victory with Liz Hext in the ladies pairs, having earlier lost to Ann Cullingworth and Ann White from Langtoft Pearl in a one-sided Senior version.
One of the tightest finishes came in an entertaining Under 25 pairs where Blackstones' Nathan Rigby and Jay Travis-Jenner snapped up a single on the last end to force extra time against Jonny Hall and Tom Fielding (Mitchells), only to lose it when their last bowl finished agonisingly short of its target.
Blackstones bowler Rita Downes will be making her national championship debut at Skegness in the mixed pairs.
But she will have plenty of experience at her side. Jonathan Earl is the current two-bowl triples champion – a title he won with Martyn Dolby and Adam Warrington last year on the Suncastle greens.
Downes and Earl put on an outstanding display in the second half against the combination of Empingham's Jan Want and fellow Blackstones bowler Stephen Harris, who had earlier won the Under 25 singles for the second successive year.
After winning his Secretary's singles, against Andy Grief (Crowland), Want's regular partner Mike Ramsden was feeling unwell, so Harris stepped in and the pair took a 10-7 lead after 10 ends. However, Downes and Earl began to find their length and accuracy and finally ran out comfortable 20-10 winners with ends to spare.
The events were expertly organised by respective county competition secretaries Richard Montgomery and Janet Duffy with assistance from host club Whittlesey Manor who supplied refreeshments and a barbecue. In attendance were County presidents Malcolm Squires and Valerie Du'Kett along with umpires Alan Croxford and Les Sharp.
Ladies 2-bowl singles: S Newson (Parkway) lost to L Darani (City of Peterborough) 14-21; Men's 2-bowl singles: A Thurston (Parkway) bt P Cox (Langtoft Pearl) 21-9; Men's 4-bowl singles: N Wright (Parkway) lost to G Agger (Broadway, Yaxley) 21-8; Secretary's singles: A Grief (Crowland) lost M Ramsden (Empingham); Men's senior singles: M Duell (West Ward) bt J Martin (Peterborough & District) 21-13; Under 25 singles: J Corney (P & D) lost S Harris (Blackstones) 21-17.
Champion of champions singles: S Roden (Whittlesey Manor) bt J Corby (Emp) 21-17; Ladies Senior pairs: P Bussey/ S Craig (Conservative) lost A Cullingworth/A White (Langtoft Pearl) 9-20; Ladies Secretary's singles : G Edwards (Ketton) lost V Hatch (West Ward) 18-21; Ladies Senior singles L Darani (C of P) lost H Crow (Parkway) 10-21; Men's Senior Pairs: R Stevens/ T Mace (WM) lost to A Grief/ P Holmes (Crowland) 3-23. Under 25 pairs: J Hall/ T Fielding (Mitchells) bt J Travis-Jenner/ J Rigby (Blackstones) 18-17.
Ladies pairs: V Du'Kett/ C Warters (Ketton) lost to v L Hext/S Craig 4-27; Ladies Champion of Champions: K Browning (City of Peterborough) lost to P O'Brien (Deeping Assn) 21-14; Ladies 2-bowl triples: H Crow/ S Newson/P Reynolds (Parkway) lost to N Squires/L Darani/ F Richardson (C of P) 15-14; Senior mixed Pairs: J and D Hilton (West Ward) L Barr/M Duell (West Ward) 17-13; Men's 2-bowl triples: N Wright/ S Law/T Scarr (Parkway) bt S Roden/ R Stevens/ P Brown (WM) 20-10; Mixed pairs: J Want/S Harris (Empingham/Blackstones) lost R Downes/ J Earl (Blackstones) 21-10.
Men's Pairs: N Wilkie/A Emery (P & D) lost H Shipp/ N Wright 18-8;(Parkway); Mixed Triples: J Corney, S Green/D Corney (P&D) lost to K Martin/B Martin/ J Harford (Parkway) 25-22; Men's 3-bowl triples: S Roden, R Stevens, P Brown (WM) bt G Jinks/ F Richardson/ B Lawrence (WM) 29-20; Ladies 3-bowl triples: A Morton/ J Duffy/ J Masters lost H Crow/ S Newson/ P Reynolds (Parkway) 20-12; Ladies 4-bowl singles: S Craig (Conservative) lost L Darani (C of P) 21-11.