Men's second string looking to join club-mates in top division
The 22-point lead that Stamford Men’s A team held at the top of the first division of the Lincolnshire League after defeating Louth was immediately trimmed by two after their closest rivals Lincoln claimed 16 points in a narrow 108-104 victory at Grantham.
Stamford now have 121 points from eight matches, Lincoln have 101 with a game in hand.
Grantham apparently had only one winning rink – a 36-6 win by Josh Meakins – but weren’t able to capitalise on his success against a weakened Lincoln outfit, who took the overall points by just four shots.
Stamford, meanwhile, entertained a short-handed Louth A but were only able to claim 14 of the 18 points at stake with a 123-71.5 shot win allowing Lincoln to close the gap at the top and make Stamford’s visit there on March 2 even more crucial.
With Louth only able to raise three out of five complete rinks, it meant two players on their two three-man rinks would each play three bowls instead of the regular two, they would, in turn be penalised 25 per-cent of their total score, hence the decimal points within the scores.
And while it proved a handicap against Jonathan Earl’s quartet – who transformed their match with six and four counts in successive ends – experienced Louth skip Simon Reeson managed to inspire an outstanding performance from his two compatriots – Mike Catlow and Dave Warren–- against Roger Martin, winning by just one-and-a-half shots!
It was a similar success story for Louth veteran John Welsh, whose rink won 21-18 with a three-count on the last end against Stamford captain Paul Bailey whose last bowls twice travelled within millimetres of a winning conversion.
The rinks skipped by Martyn Dolby and Jeff Newson also grabbed valuable points.
For Dolby an early 16-1 lead was finally converted into a 33-12 triumph. Newson’s four also led 13-2 with six shots on the seventh end but then had to fight off a 14-shot comeback before finally prevailing 23-20.
Results (Stamford names only): Lincolnshire men’s League Division One: Stamford A 123 (14 pts) Louth A 71.5 (4). M Ramsden, J Holroyd, N Wright, J Newson won 23-20; A Romaine, J Travis-Jenner, A Warrington, P Bailey lost 18-21; W Aspinall, C Ballard, B Warters, Roger Martin lost 19-20.25; R Allam, M Linnell, T Collins, J Earl won 30-8.25; Mal Smith, M Humphreys, P Edwards, M Dolby won 33-12.
With a crushing 97-shot defeat of Division Two championship rivals Horncastle, the promotion-chasing Stamford Men's B team are already relishing the prospect of challenging their A team clubmates in the first division next season.
With three matches still to play - against Skegness and bottom of the table Louth B at home and away - Roger Graham's side, on 86 points from seven matches, are two clear at the top and with a game in hand over their nearest rivals. Only Spalding, with 62 points from just five matches, can possibly scupper their aspirations.
Hopefully the rampant B team won't regret the unfortunate five shots conceded on the last end which cost John Little's rink a vital two points in a 16-2 overall victory.
Elsewhere Ray Harvey stepped in at the last minute to help Pete Linnell, Ally McNaughton and Trevor Christie to a 32-12 win, while Richard Montgomery's quartet included a seven count on the 6th end in their 33-17 victory.
The rinks of Mark Hebden and Mick Owens also scored heavily - by 39-10 and 43-8 respectively - to wrap up an outstanding overall performance.
Results (Stamford names only): Lincs Men's Second Division: Stamford B 162 (16 pts) Horncastle 65 (2). R Blake, D Henshaw, D Heffernan, M Hebden won 39-10; P Linnell, A McNaughton, R Harvey, T Christie won 32-12; R Graham, M Cullingworth, D Middleton, R Montgomery won 33-17; D Howarth, A Lonslow, K Rippin, J Little lost 15-18.
Cliff Watson, Roger Martin and Peter Edwards suffered a tantalising defeat in the Lincs IBA county triples at Grantham against father and son Terry and Adam Berridge and Josh Meakins.
Leading 14-6 and holding five shots, they conceded an unfortunate break before the home rink picked up six shots and went on to win 18-17 when Edwards just missed the chance to draw a winner.
The Stamford quartet of Malcolm Smith, Cliff Watson, Peter Edwards and Keith Rippin have earned an Area 5 semi-final clash with club colleagues Malcolm Cullingworth, Trevor Collins, Tony Scarr and Jeff Newson after beating Roger Martin's rink 20-9.
They raced into an 11-2 lead after seven of the scheduled 18 ends, thanks to a four count and although the opposition who also included Alan Romaine, Tony Barwell and Bob Warters, fought back with four of their own to trail 8-11, they were unable to contain their colleagues and eventually conceded with still two ends to play.
The Rippin rink will play clubmates Malcolm Cullingworth, Tony Scarr, Trevor Collins and Jeff Newson for a place in the Area final.
It will also be an all-Stamford tussle in the Area 5 semi-final of the Over 60 pairs.
After beating club colleagues Neil Crees and Roger Clarke 23-8, Mal Smith and Martyn Dolby will face Bob Warters and Roger Martin, earlier winners against Peter Ridley and Graham Wright from Spalding.
Stamford club fixture secretary Tony Barwell has reached the Area 5 semi-final of the national Over 60 singles. He beat clubmate Tony Scarr in an epic match 21-20.
The pair were all square at 18-18 until Scarr picked up two shots and lost a close measure for a third which would have given him the match. Undeterred Barwell immediately hit back with a three count of his own to earn a home tie against either Jeff Pitt (Peterborough) or Graham Wright (Spalding).
June Brennan, Shirley Suffling and Glenys Edwards have reached the Area 5 semi-finals of the women's Over 50 triples and will play clubmates Jan Want, Sue Moir and Christine Ford for a place in the Area final.
They beat Peterborough's Pat Bussey, Liz Hext and Sheila Craig in a 22-21 thriller. Having picked up a five count to level the scores at 15-15 it was nip and tuck from then on before the Stamford trio went through.
In Federation pairs, the Wittering duo of Mick Smith and Ally McNaughton gave Parkway's James Harford and Simon Law a scare, lead 7-2 after seven ends. But their experienced opponents finally took charge with 11 shots without reply and finally ran out 20-11 winners.
Martyn Dolby, the defending champion, will play John Holroyd for a place in the quarter finals of the four-bowl singles after defeating Neil Wright 21-16 He took an 8-0 lead before the Parkway bowler staged a comeback to level the scores by the 14th end. However, Dolby drew two very close bowls to finally close out the match.
Ten-year-old Owen Aspinall, who bowls at the Stamford Indoor Bowls Club, got a taste of more top level competition when he represented Lincolnshire Under 18s in the first leg of two-venue match played at York & District against Yorkshire Under 18s.
The St Gilbert's School pupil featured at lead in a rink alongside Spalding's Nathan Puttrell and Harry Maycock which they won 18-13. They other rink of James Cherry (Spalding) and Kathryn Rockall and Adam Hodgson (both Boston) lost 17-23, however, Lincs will have the opportunity to overturn the 35-36 aggregate deficit when the Yorkshire side visit Boston for the return match on Saturday (Feb 9)