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Bowlers battle the blizzards to qualify in coveted competition

Owen Aspinall, James Hebden and Kyle Andrew
Owen Aspinall, James Hebden and Kyle Andrew

Three Stamford bowlers qualified for the national finals on Tuesday in the Over 50 Triples and then had to battle through blizzard conditions from the venue to make it home safely.

Bob Warters, Cliff Watson and Keith Rippin beat Leicester IBC trio John Grant, Jim Leckie and Jim Keogh 22-15 at the neutral Melton stadium but it was approaching midnight before they reached Stamford, with driver Watson and his wife Sue still facing a perilous journey to their home in Whittlesey.

The pair were trapped in stationary traffic for several hours on the A1 and eventually arrived at 7am.

Commented Watson, who will be making his first appearance in the national finals: “It’s a good job we won!”

By their own admission the Stamford trio were not at their best as both sides struggled on the slower-paced surface but after conceding five shots on the eighth end to trail 10-11 they picked up 12 shots on the next eight ends and finished with counts of three and four.

In the final stages at Nottingham on April 9, they will meet teams from either Riverain (Hitchin) or Chigwell for a place in the quarter-finals.

Stamford IBC was due to host the national pairs area finals between Chris Rodgers and Les Gillett (Melton) and Matt Whyers and Martin Spencer (Spalding) but the tie had to be postponed because of the bad weather.

Despite losing on four of the five rinks Stamford’s mixed team moved a little clearer of the relegation zone with a 106-91 defeat of Lincoln A, securing 10 of the 18 points available.

However, they are struggling to raise a team for Saturday’s visit to Louth (transport 10.45am from the club). Potential players are requested to contact stand-in captain Mal Smith or submit their names to the noticeboard.

Against Lincoln, Mick Smith, Pat Jones, Sue Moir and Paul Bailey swung the game in Stamford’s favour with an outstanding 44-5 win in which they finished with 19 shots without reply.

Results (Stamford names only): Lincs Mixed League Division One: Stamford 106 (10) Lincoln A 91 (8). M Holroyd, C Warters, J Little, D King lost 18-22; J Brennan, M King, A McNaughton, P Linnell lost 19-21; R March, V Du’Kett, A March, K Vinter lost 10-25; Mick Smith, P Jones, S Moir, P Bailey won 44-5; M Ramsden, S Henshaw, P Birch, Mal Smith lost 15-18.

Three juniors from the Stamford indoor club represented Lincolnshire in a new Under 18 friendly fixture against Leicestershire at Church Gresley at the weekend, with the county defeating the home side 104-86 in a three bowl triples format.

Kyle Andrew (14), already showing clear signs of skills passed down from his Adams Cup captain step-father Jonathan Earl, just lost a tight match on his rink 14-18, while Owen Aspinall (9) and James Hebden (17), whose dad’s Wayne and Mark, also regularly represent the club with distinction, combined to help their rink to a 28-14 victory.

Mick Humphreys and Roger Martin are among the first male bowlers to reach the Northants Federation finals at Peterborough on March 18 after beating Stamford IBC colleagues James Harford and Simon Law.

Despite trailing by two shots after nine ends, they hit back with 12 shots without reply and finally won 22-15.

Martyn Dolby also reached the final of the four-bowl singles which he is defending by defeating Derek King 21-9 after King had levelled at 8-8. The pair also meet in the veterans singles.

Elsewhere, Mike Ramsden lost 14-21 to Joe Martin in the four-bowl singles, having led 14-13 at one stage.

In the women’s Federation triples Louise Harris, Sue Moir and Helen Holroyd will play Chris Ford’s rink in the final at Peterborough after defeating Moire Holroyd, Margaret Bloxham and Joan Robinson 24-18.

Bowlers from Stamford failed to make it through to the Lincs IBA county sets singles semi-finals at their club on March 31 after the qualifiers at Boston.

Chris Ballard reached the second round after a 2-1 defeat of Lincoln’s K Bell but lost in straight sets to J Staples (Lincoln) who went on to beat Martin Spencer in the quarter finals. Spencer had earlier kicked out Stamford Keith Rippin 2-0.

Stephen Harris lost his second round match 1-2 to David Bristow (Sleaford).

In the Lincs WIBA Under 25 singles qualifiers at Spalding Helen Holroyd received a walk-over into the semi-finals where she will meet Chelsea Tomlin (Spalding). Clubmate Louise Harris beat Katie Bailey 21-8 and will face Michelle Wild.

In the men’s Under 25 event Stephen Harris lost 1-2 to old adversary Jonathan West (Boston) and James Hebden was beaten in the second set by G Smith (Spalding) after drawing the first.

Christine Ford won her first round match against Janet Vinter (Boston) 21-16 in the Lincs women’s singles at Grantham but then lost to Chelsea Tomlin (Spalding) 8-21. Shirley Suffling lost to Gloria Haney (Spalding) 17-21.

Dwindling hopes that the Northants A team could lock down a place in the Derbyshire Trophy Federation inter-county Championship finals were dashed on Sunday by Norfolk at Gallow IBC in Fakenham.

The home side were relentless on two of the four rinks, quickly putting any hopes Northants had beyond reach as they went on to win 129-64 claiming 12 of the 14 points at stake.

Only the rink of Brian Martin, Richard Allam (making a county re-call) and Roger Martin salvaged some pride with a 25-21 win in the two-bowl triples format after trailing 6-13 and then 20-21 with two ends to go.

James Harford, partnered by Neil Wright and the evergreen Jeff Newson, led 19-17 at 19 ends but conceded seven in five ends.

Conceding 23 shots in 10 ends put paid to Simon Law’s hopes while, despite switching to lead to good effect at the midway point, Martyn Dolby’s trio were unable to prevent a rampant Sam King trio scoring a 32-shot victory.

Norfolk entertain league leaders Lincolnshire on Sunday needing maximum points to qualify for the finals at Newark.

Results (Stamford names only): Derbyshire Trophy : Norfolk 129 (12 pts) Northants A (2). B Martin, R Allam, R Martin won 25-21; P Dalliday, P Afford, S Law lost 10-41; N Wright, J Newson, J Harford lost 20-25; H Shipp, B Warters, M Dolby lost 9-41.

Stamford men’s B team missed a chance to enhance their second position in the Lincs Men’s League Division Two, beaten 107-79 at Horncastle and pick up just three points.

Ron Blake, Tiny Mackie, Darren Middleton and Pete Linnell were the only winners in a 20-14 scoreline while the rink of Trevor Christie pinched a point with a shot to draw level on the 21st end.

Results (Stamford names only): Lincs Men’s League Division Two: Horncastle 107 (15) Stamford B 79 (3). T Barwell, B Burton, M Hebden, T Christie drew 21-21; R Blake, T Mackie, D Middleton, P Linnell won 20-14; Mick Smith, D Bruce, M Dye, M Hewitt lost 14-29; G Knights, A Lonslow, A McNaughton, D Heffernan lost 9-21; D Howarth, D Veasey, P Banks, Richard Martin lost 15-22.

The rink of Mal Smith, Doug Want, Peter Edwards and Martin Dolby have reached the area finals of the Over 60s Fours - the discipline in which Stamford were losing national finalists five years ago.

They comfortably accounted for Graham Wright’s experienced quartet 24-8 and will now play four from Leicester at Melton, scheduled provisionally for March 10.

Though able to surge into second place behind Lincoln, with a 32-shot defeat of depleted Spalding, Stamford men’s A team still need to claim maximum points from their two remaining home matches to stand a chance of retaining their Lincs League Division One title.

Their championship rivals with 78 points to Stamford’s 58, still have to visit Stamford on April 8 but still have what looks like a comfortable home win over Louth in the meantime.

Against Spalding, both sides were without some of their regulars but take nothing away from Stamford who battled throughout to secure 16 of the 18 points available, winning 117-85.

The rink of Richard Allam, Trevor Harris, Adam Warrington and Paul Bailey took the individual honours with the rinks skipped by Neil Wright and Roger Martin winning well - 30-21 and 21-14 respectively.

A tricky measure with two bowls overhanging the ditch finally went John Earl’s way enabling his rink to win 18-16.

Results (Stamford names only): Lincs men’s League Division One: Stamford A 117 (16 pts) Spalding 85 (2). r Allam, T Harris, A Warrington, P Bailey won 30-12; M Cullingworth, C Watson, M Humphreys, N Wright won 30-21; K Rawlins, J Holroyd, C Ballard, J Earl won 18-16; W Aspinall, N Graham, B Warters, K Rippin lost 18-22; M Ramsden, D Miller, A Barnes, R Martin won 21-14.


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