Hopes of Stamford securing their first Lincolnshire First Division indoor bowls title suffered a setback when they were toppled soundly by rivals Spalding 134-64.
They never came to terms with a surface more sluggish than their own and managed to claim only two of the 18 points available, losing heavily on four rinks against a home side playing more forceful bowls against Stamford’s preferred drawing strategy.
All three juniors which captain Paul Bailey included in the team - Stephen Harris, Nathan Rigby and Jay Travis-Jenner - performed well with Harris leading with precision to help Ray Keating, John Holroyd and skip Cliff Watson to secure the only win - 20-19 against former Stamford bowler Simon Lilley.
With an away fixture at Louth on Sunday - and having slipped 17 points behind Spalding - Stamford need substantial victories in their last two matches - to have a chance to pip the champions.
lThe future of the sport of indoor bowls was revealed at Stamford IBC on Sunday when the club hosted the final qualifying for the Lincolnshire Under 25 championships.
With Stamford members providing markers and scorers, the young talent put on an outstanding exhibition of singles play with eventually David Bristow (Sleaford), Jordan Philpott (Spalding), Caroline Davis (Grantham) and Jonathan West (Boston) emerging to challenge in the semi-final due to be played at Grantham on March 30.
Stamford’s Nathan Rigby and Stephen Harris lost their first round matches narrowly to eventual semi-finalists Philpott and Bristow, while 15-year-old Jay Travis-Jenner took the scalp of new England Under 25 international Chelsea Tomlin (Spalding) but was unable to re-discover that outstanding form against Louth’s Russell Dent. Langtoft’s Lucy Cooke lost in a tie-break to Rhys Hill (Spalding).
Several of the youngsters will be back in Stamford on March 23 for the club’s Under 18 Open tournament.
l Local bowlers are already guaranteed spots in the finals of the Northants Federation Championships due to take place at Peterborough IBC on March 16.
Among them are either Paul Bailey and his son Jon or Adam Warrington and Martyn Dolby who meet each other in the 2-bowl pairs semi-final. The Baileys beat fellow Stamford players Richard Allam and Derek King 20-12 while Warrington and Dolby accounted for City’s John Burrows and his partner.
A victory over Graham Agger and Peter Brown could also earn a final place for Stephen Harris and Peter Edwards, who toppled Nick Wilkie and Andrew Thurston 19-8 in their quarter-final.
lStamford’s improving Ladies team edged within a point of second in the table Dunholme by defeating them 112-90 and claiming 14 of the 16 points available.
After 12 ends the scores were tied at 60 apiece, but Stamford’s new found energy and resolve through more of their team playing competitively between fixtures, saw them race away to a comfortable victory.
Flick Rogers, Margaret Broadbelt, Shirley Suffling and Carol Warters took the rink honours for the second successive match with a 36-10 win.
lBob Warters, Peter Edwards and Cliff Watson reached the 2-bowl triples final with a win against John Thurston, Jeff Clipston and Brian Bassam at Peterborough - a six and four count on successive ends helping them to a 23-13 triumph.
lStamford’s Over 60s jumped into second place in the Lincs Over 60s League and a potential promotion from Division Two with a one shot defeat of Skegness B, the match resting on the last bowl of a game in which they lost on three rinks. Rinks skipped by Alec March and Albert Horton proved crucial in claiming 14 vital points in a 95-94 win.
lLincolnshire IBA will stage its four-bowl singles tomorrow at Lincoln with considerable local interest, including the first round clash between Stamford’s Peter Banks and former World Indoor Singles champion Billy Jackson (Lincoln).
John Holroyd meets former Stamford player Brian Kilby (Skegness), Richard Allam takes on Boston’s Mick Tomlin, Stephen Harris faces Nick Orrey (Grantham) and Jon Bailey is up against P Roberts (Sleaford).
With his opponent, England international Martin Spencer, having to withdraw because of illness, Alan Romaine will meet the winner of Jonathan West (Boston) and another international Graham Smith (Spalding).
Lincs Men’s League Division One: Spalding 134 (16pts), Stamford 64 (2). (Stamford names only). A Romaine, T Harris, R Allam P Bailey lost 28-9; W Aspinall, M Ramsden, K Rippin, A Warrington lost 31-11; W Morris, N Rigby, B Plowman, M Bailey lost 26-16; D Hudson, J Travis-Jenner, B Warters, P Edwards lost 30-8; S Harris, R Keating, J Holroyd, C Watson won 20-19.
Trudy Bates Lincs Ladies League: Stamford 112 (14pts), Dunholme 90 (2). (Stamford names only). J Gamble, S Henshaw, R March, C Ford won 21-17; J Brennan, M Andrews, D Mackie, A Edwards won 24-17; R Weston, J Dupree, V Du’Kett, P O’Brien lost 11-30; J Foster, P Collicott, S Moir, G Edwards won 20-16; F Rogers, M Broadbelt, S Suffling, C Warters won 36-10.
Lincs Over 60s League Division Two: Stamford 95 (12), Skegness B 94 (6). (Stamford names only). W Kettle, G Corby, T Freeman, R Harvey lost 14-22; D Howarth, D Ingham, T Weaver, A March won 24-13; N Kettle, R Graham, P Banks, A Horton won 23-12; T Barwell, B Gretton, P Pheasant, T Mackie lost 23-24; A Chapman, D Veasey, D Heffernan, D Henshaw lost 11-23.