The young bowlers of Stamford IBC made an impressive start in the club’s first foray into the national Under 25 Double Rink competition, beating rivals Leicester on aggregate by 21 shots.
The competition demands one rink of three competes at home while simultaneously another plays at the away venue, the overall shots deciding who goes through to play Spalding, who had earlier beaten Melton.
At Leicester James Hebden (17), Katie Bailey and Stephen Harris, the 19-year-old current Lincs singles champion, got off to a flying start, and were 17-5 ahead after seven of the scheduled 18 ends.
Meanwhile at Stamford, Owen Aspinall, who only celebrated his ninth birthday in August, Helen Holroyd (21) and Jay Travis-Jenner (19) started a little nervously and trailed 7-11 in the early stages.
However, with Aspinall leading steadily, they all came to terms with the vagaries of an end rink and stretched their advantage with a series of big counts to lead 22-11 after 14 ends. They finally added 10 more shots before the finish without reply.
In the away leg, Stamford led 26-15 with four ends to go and in a high-scoring display won 32-22 to give Stamford an overall 64-33 advantage.
Stamford’s mixed team made a poor start to their defence of the Lincolnshire First Division title which they won earlier this year for the first time in the club’s 27-year history.
Opening their 2017-18 fixtures at Horncastle, with new captain Christine Ford at the helm, the team never came to terms with the home surface and dropped all 18 points over five rinks.
The 138-60 shot defeat was their worst in the last two years with the home side, promoted from the second division last year, proving highly assured across all rinks, leaving Stamford bowlers scratching their heads.
Stamford have a chance to quickly get back on track when they entertain Scunthorpe on Sunday, October 22 but will be without several key players, committed to representing Northants’ Derbyshire Trophy teams simultaneously at Peterborough.
Result (Stamford names only): Lincs Mixed League Division One: Horncastle 138 (18 pts) Stamford 60 (0) - H Holroyd, D Mackie, Mal Smith, P Bailey lost 15-27; K Bailey, M Ramsden, S Suffling, M Dolby lost 12-17; C Barnes, V Du’Kett, D King, A Barnes lost 9-29; J Brennan, C Warters, J Little, B Warters lost 13-31; P Jones, T Mackie, C Ford, M Humphreys lost 11-24.
Stamford IBC bowlers will be out to progress further than ever before when they begin their EIBA inter-club Denny Cup campaign on Saturday, October 21, against Melton with fresh blood in their side (10am)
With a new intake of bowlers available, with proven ability elsewhere andi n search of keener competition - including four former national champions - three of them have immediately been given a chance to show their mettle in the country’s most prestigious event.
Simon Law, a recent indoor and outdoor national triples champion, will skip a home rink which includes Paul Dalliday and Neil Wright (winner of the EBF indoor triples in 2015), while Tony Scarr teams up with former team-mate Roger Martin with whom he has won the EBF outdoor triples in the past.
The crucial responsibility of holding the fort in the away leg, played simultaneously at Melton, has again been loaded on the shoulders of skips Martyn Dolby and Paul Bailey (themselves former national title winners).
However they have accepted the challenge having, in last year’s similar fixture on the slower Melton surface, triumphed by three and two shots respectively to ensure an overall win.
Said captain Bob Warters, one of the selectors: “We debated long and hard over our choices for this key match.
“We know some players will be disappointed and we fully appreciate that - but we felt this was an opportunity to put down a marker to other clubs in our region to show that the club is a serious contender in the main competition and not just looking beyond it to the Plate for first round losers.
“It is a gamble, with our newcomers still getting used to our surface, but it is a calculated one and it is felt the introduction of some younger players used to playing together, will provide a blend of youth an experience that will stand the club in good stead for the future.”
Stamford home team : John Holroyd, Peter Edwards, Tony Scarr, Roger Martin; Paul Dalliday, Bob Warters, Neil Wright, Simon Law.
Away: Richard Allam, Derek King, Adam Warrington, Paul Bailey; Stephen Harris, Mick Humphreys, Jon Earl, Martyn Dolby.
For the first time in the club’s history, three Stamford bowlers will feature in the Lincolnshire Liberty Trophy team, to play Notts at Spalding IBC on October 28 (10am).
James Harford and Simon Law, recently joined from Peterborough, have been invited to play number two and three respectively, in team captain Martin Spencer’s rink, with Ron Flowers (Boston) runner-up in the recent Stamford Open Singles, at lead.
Stephen Harris, the 19-year-old Lincs IBA singles champion, completes the Stamford trio in Graham Smith’s rink.
Stamford’s men’s A team are due to play at Boston on the same day (2pm).
Lincs: M Whyers (Spalding), R Vinter (Boston), M Pulling (Grantham), M Orrey (Spalding); R Flowers (Boston), J Harford & S Law (Stamford), M Spencer (Spalding); S Dunham (Spalding), I Clark (Boston), A Dunham (Spalding), J West (Boston); D Bristow & P Roberts (Sleaford), B Wilson & J Philpott (Spalding); S Harris (Stamford), S Reeson (Louth), A Caress & G Smith (Spalding).