Pot of gold for Federation bowlers
For the first time in more than a decade the Northants Bowling Federation has qualified for the indoor final of the national inter-county Derbyshire Trophy to be played at Newark IBC in April.
The 12-2 victory by James Harford's Northants 'A' side over Norfolk last week at Stamford IBC, ultimately proved just good enough to clinch their qualification from the Southern Section after Norfolk just failed at Lincoln IBC to gain enough points to overtake them.
Norfolk needed a full house of 14 points against a Lincs side weakened by absentees from the host Lincoln IBC venue who were competing in the Egham Trophy victory over Tye Green (Harlow) at Peterborough. They could only manage an 11-3 win - albeit by more than 40 shots overall.
Boston skip Jonathan West - back by his father Rod and Paul Flatters - steered his rink to an outstanding 25-23 win after trailing 10-17 with only a handful of the 25 ends remaining. Lincoln's Chris Gill also snatched a further vital point in a draw.
Lincs had needed just ten points themselves to qualify but late changes further hampered selection.
Northants A, who beat Durham in the 2006 final, finished with 52 points from their five matches followed by Norfolk (49), Lincs (45), Hunts (40), North Cambs (14) and Northants B (10).
In the final they will play Nottinghamshire, who beat Northumberland 12-2 on their home surface at Newark.
Northants A captain James Harford: "We are thrilled to have qualified for the first time since 2006. A massive thanks to the squad who have stuck by me over the last few years. Being captain can be a thankless job unless the end product of qualification is reached.
"To beat both Lincs and Norfolk shows as a county we are more than good enough to compete against bigger ones. The main job now is to finish the process and playing Nottinghamshire on their own patch will not be easy.
"However I am confident that with the players we have available we are giving ourselves a great chance to achieve a major trophy in the county's 90th anniversary year."
Northants Federation bowlers competing in the annual competitions at Potters Resort near Great Yarmouth carried off the overall Top Club points trophy as the most successful county.
Of its five competing teams, two reached the knock-out stages with the Ketton combination of Elizabeth and Martin Wallace and Shirley Suffling and husband John, reaching the final where they lost by just one shot to the experienced Norfolk quartet of Geoff and Jenny Ramsbottom, Judy Gott and Ian Wones.
Northants' Dick Ford, another Ketton player, organised the Northants squad and received the Top Club Trophy from national presidents Mick Rayson (Hunts) and Carole Swann (Norfolk).
Good fortune followed the Stamford IBC contingent into the bingo hall, where Denise Mackie captured more than £900.
Entry forms are now available for the Stamford IBC Presidents' Gala Tournament on Sunday, April 7.
Cost of the three-bowl triples event, staged by Arthur Lonslow and Shirley Suffling, is £18 per team, each of which will play a guaranteed four 7-end matches with two points for a win and a point for every end won.
Cash prizes will be available of £90 for the winners, £60 for runners-up and £15 per player for the third place team. Dress code is greys with club shirts or predominantly white tops.
Pre-ordered meals are available at £6 per head (lasagne, beef pie, sweet & sour chicken or vegetarian option) will be available and team captains will be contacted 10 days before the event for the team's choices.
The event will help support the Presidents' charity St Barnabas Hospice and raffle prizes would be appreciated. For further information visit www.stamfordindoorbowls.co.uk
Stamford's Over 60s team have taken a 14-point lead at the top of the Lincolnshire Seniors League Division Two table - a step a nearer their goal of promotion.
They won handsomely on three out of five rinks at Dunholme 123-85 claiming all but four of the 18 points at stake. It gives them 115 points from nine games - 14 clear of nearest rivals Lincoln B.
The rink honours went to Trevor Christie's combination of Tony Barwell, Jeff Bourne and Terry Weaver, who all started cautiously to trail 7-8 after eight ends before racing ahead with heavy scoring which included a seven-count, two sixes and a five-count. They finally won 41-13.
Elsewhere team captain Dave Heffernan, Charles Jones, Peter Burt and Mick Owens won 29-13, while John Little's rink could afford dropping a nine shots in two ends in winning 28-14
Stamford were due to visit bottom of the table Lincoln C yesterday (Thursday) and complete their campaign with home games against Boston B and Lincoln C.
Results (Stamford names only): Lincs Over 60s League Division Two: T Barwell, J Bourne, T Weaver, T Christie won 41-13; D Hudson, D Henshaw, K Vinter, B Warters lost 15-21; A Romaine, S Travis, D King, C Watson lost 10-24; D Howarth, R Blake, K Rippin, J Little won 28-14; D Heffernan, C Jones, P Burt, M Owens won 29-13.
Hopes that Stamford's mixed team might pick up enough points to boost their promotion hopes from the second Division of the Lincolnshire League suffered a setback when they lost to fellow challengers Scunthorpe by one shot.
With just two matches to finish, Stamford held a slender lead but Keith Rippin's rink conceded a five count to leave the home side 88-90 adrift.
Bob Warters had a chance to save the match if he could trail the jack to one of his own waiting bowls but only managed enough contact to claim one shot and leave his team agonisingly one shot short of sharing the overall aggregate and taking ten of the 18 points at stake.
The 6-12 points deficit keeps Stamford in the promotion hunt - but only just! They are ten points behind second place Scunthorpe with two matches still to play - at home to Dunholme and away at Louth. Scunthorpe have a game in hand.
The rink honours went to the combination of Mick Smith, Rose March - making a welcome comeback after shoulder surgery - Sue Moir and Ally McNaughton who won 19-12. Captain Christine Ford also steered her rink to a 16-14 win.
Result (Stamford names only): Lincolnshire Mixed League Division Two: Stamford 89 (6pts) Scunthorpe 90 (12). Nick Smith, R March, S Moir, A McNaughton won 19-12; M King, J Hare, S Suffling, D King lost 17-20; I Reading, T Mackie, D Mackie, K Rippin lost 14-26; J Brennan, C Warters, J Little, B Warters won 23-18; E Wallace, A March, M Wallace, C Ford won 16-14.
After pulling back from an early deficit of 24 shots, Stamford's title-chasing A team got within three shots of fellow challengers Lincoln A, only to drop away in the closing stages.
It puts Lincoln in prime position to steal the title from under Stamford's noses if they can grab 23 of the 36 points available from their two remaining matches at Sleaford and Boston.
Prior to this championship-defining match at Lincoln, Paul Bailey's team led the table on points by 137-101 but they desperately needed to win to regain the title they conceded to their opponents last season.
Sadly they got off to poor start and after ten ends, while the rinks skipped by Roger Martin, Martyn Dolby and Jon Earl were holding their own, two others skipped by Jeff Newson and Bailey were 4-16 and 7-19 adrift respectively.
However, with Chris Ballard and ten-year-old Owen Aspinall starting to find their line and weight and supported by Adam Warrington, the Bailey rink fought back to lead 21-20 thanks to 14 shots in six ends.
And with Dolby picking up 10 shots in three ends it put Stamford within striking distance just three shots behind overall.
But momentum switched back to Lincoln in the closing stages and they eventually picked up victories on four of the five rinks to win overall 100-79.
Results (Stamford names only): Lincs Men's League Division One: Lincoln A 100 (16 pts) Stamford A 79 (2). Owen Aspinall, Chris Ballard, Adam Warrington, Paul Bailey lost 22-26; Richard Allam, Mick Linnell, Bob Warters, Roger Martin lost 11-14; Mick Humphreys, Neil Wright, Trevor Collins, Jon Earl lost 10-18; Mike Ramsden, Jay Travis-Jenner, John Holroyd, Jeff Newson lost 15-27; Dave Hudson, Mal Smith, Peter Edwards, Martyn Dolby won 21-15
James Harford and Simon Law will contest the final of the Northants Federation indoor pairs on their home surface at Stamford on March 17.
The pair, who represent Parkway outdoors, beat the Stamford-Ryhall combination of Richard Allam and Derek King but not before a topsy-turvy battle over 19 ends.
They led 8-3 early on before Allam switched to lead and by 13 ends trailed 10-14. However, when Law took the lead position, he was able to set up a healthy advantage for his side to score 12 in six ends without reply and take the tie 22-14.
They will play in the final either outdoor clubmates Paul Dalliday and Tristan Morton or Peter Brown and Graham Agger (Whittlesey Manor).
Martyn Dolby will defend his Over 65 singles title after reaching the final with a heard-earned 21-17 defeat of Bob Warters. Dolby led by ten at one stage but Warters cut the gap to 15-16 before Dolby final clinched an epic battle.
On an adjoining rink the Holroyd family - John and Moira with daughter Helen - reached the mixed triples final by defeating Peter and Glenys Edwards and Cliff Watson 21-15.
Glenys and Moira also joined forces in the women's pairs but lost to Marlene Osbourne and Hazel Bass at Whittlesey 19-6.
Former carpet-bowler Paul Dalliday reached the final of the four-bowl singles by beating Richard Allam 21-13. In a high quality drawing game he led 13-6, 16-9 and 19-13 before finally getting over the line with successive singles. He is due to play either James Harford or Martyn Dolby.
Alan Romaine and Carol & Bob Warters reached the Federation mixed triples final with a 20-13 defeat of Fiona Richardson, Neil Wright and Simon Law.
They led 10-1 after nine ends but when Law shuffled his side to play lead they staged a 13-14 comeback and killed an end before conceding four shots in the last four ends.
Some of the country's leading teenage bowling prospects will be taking part in the Stamford IBC Junior Open on Sunday (from 10 am).
Thirty players from as far afield as Harlow, Ipswich and Leicester have entered the 17 and under event as well as England triallists Danielle Wild and Nicole Moseley.
Among those representing Stamford will be Owen Aspinall and Olly Jeapes, whose father Michael is a former England Under 25 international and has recently taken up the game again.
The event is sponsored by the family of the late Arthur Chapman, who died aged 96 in November and wished, as part of his legacy, to support the tournament.
Matches are of eight ends with two points for a win and one for a draw. Winners and runners-up in each of two sections compete in the knock-out semi-finals.
Ketton's Bowls Club celebrates its 45th anniversary this season with President Ron Tilley hosting an invitation match on July 7 including players from other clubs in the locality against one chose. by club chairman Charlie Underwood.
Together with its regular gala EBA fours and EBF triples tournaments (July 3 and August 28 respectively) Ketton will stage its first pairs tournament on July 31 and is currently looking for a sponsor.
As well as a comprehensive list of fund-raising events towards purchasing a replacement clubhouse, the club will host three EWBF county matches against North Essex, Norfolk and North Cambs (June 7, 14 & 21) and fields up to seven teams a week in Stamford and Peterborough Leagues and friendlies.
Ketton BC hosts its registration morning on Sunday (March 10) from 11 am to 12.30pm at the Ketton Sports and Community Centre in Pit Lane, when it hopes to welcome current and hopefully new players to sign up for the new season.