Bowlers' charge for glory is disrupted by wind, rain, floods and a rodent on the green
Wind, rain, floods and even a rodent on the green conspired to disrupt Northants Bowling Federation competitions this week as more than a dozen disciplines edged nearer to the finals climax at Blackstones on July 14.
Indeed, one of the club's bowlers, Paul Buckley, is still in five competitions and hoping his rich vein of form will continue so he can contest at least one final on his home green.
His latest win came in a rain-swept contest on Monday in the veteran's singles when he beat the defending champion Bob Warters 21-15 to reach the quarter-final stage where he is due to meet either Mike Ramsden (Vanguard) or former national champion Mick Duell (Whittlesey Manor).
Already through to the semi-final is Stamford Town's Kevin Vinter - a 21-19 winner at Parkway against vets debutant Stuart Reynolds.
Elsewhere Malcolm Mann (Vanguard) will play Peter Cox (Langtoft), respective winners over Tony Kemp (Conservative) and Andy Grief (Crowland).
Buckley is also through in the senior pairs (with Trevor Christie) after defeat of club-mates Mal Smith and Rik Symonds and the four-bowl singles - a 21-18 winner against Brian Bassam (Peterborough & District).
Completing Buckley's quintet of successes was a 16-14 mixed triples win with Shirley Suffling and Martin Stokes against Sam Wilson (Parkway) and a walk-over with Suffling in the senior mixed pairs where they meet Jane Needham and Martyn Dolby.
Another local winner in the senior pairs was Langtoft's Richard Montgomery but there were defeats for Kevin Vinter and his partner and Dick Ford and Bob Warters (Ketton) 17-15 by former national champions Roger Stevens and Tony Mace (Whittlesey Manor).
In the mixed pairs Louise and Stephen Harris beat Vi and Mick Hatch (West Ward) 20-13 and John and Moira Holroyd beat Chris Ford and Paul Bailey 18-13. Bailey, however, scored a 24-17 win over Sean Fenlon (West Ward) in the mixed triples.
An unwelcome rodent distraction rattled Carol Warters (Ketton) in her four-bowl singles away match to Tina Tinklin but the holder Sue Moir was a 21-7 winner over Norma Squires. Moir now plays Linda Kemp.
Chris Ford was a 21-15 victor at Ketton over Penny Hart (Whittlesey Town) and now faces Helen Holroyd (Stamford Town) who beat Vi Slater (Crowland) 21-14.
Completing the quarter-finals is a clash between Viv Hempsall (Yaxley), who beat Elizabeth Wallace (Ketton) 21-19 and Shirley Suffling, a 21-13 winner at Ketton over Ann Cullingworth (Langtoft).
Northants women were due to play North Essex in the inter-county Donald Steward competition on Wednesday but the match was postponed because of a waterlogged green. The match will be re-arranged for a later date.
On Wednesday (June 19) the NWBF are due to play Norfolk at Ketton and the Silver Vase team play their Norfolk counterparts at City of Peterborough (both 1pm starts).
The Donald Steward team is expected to be the same that was due to play North Cambs: Fiona Richardson, Gill Day, Linda Darani (all City of Peterborough); Carol Warters, Shirley Suffling, Christine Ford ( all Ketton); Tina Tinklin, Liz Hext, Sheila Craig ( all Conservative BC); Kath Browning, Marlene Osbourne, Gill King ( all Broadway, Yaxley); Norma Squires (CoP), Elizabeth Wallace (Ketton), Julie Masters (Parkway). Reserves: Terri Handley (Deeping), Sue Moir (Langtoft), Myra Landsburgh (CoP). Captain Joan Robinson (Yaxley).
The Silver Vase team is: Joyce Needham (Yaxley), Maggie Holden (Ketton), Carol Grief (Crowland); Pat Collicott (Deeping BA), Margaret Andrews (Barnack), Linda Toms (Conservative); Pearl O'Brien (Langtoft), Ann Northen (Langtoft), Hazel Bass (Yaxley); V Slater (Crowland), J Cooper, Angela Cox (Langtoft); Val Du'Kett (Ketton), Viv Hempsall (Yaxley), Wendy Humphreys (City of Peterborough) . Res Judy Ford (Yaxley), C McCarthy. Captain Ann Cooper (Yaxley).
After three matches, Stamford Bulls are still seeking their first win in the Fantastic Fives series.
Their latest setback came at home at the hands of Charnwood, who won 5-3 in points, 34-32 on shots.
Bulls started brightly when Alan Romaine beat N Griffin 11-7 in a 12-end singles contest having led 10-2 at one stage.
In the fours June Brennan, Glenys Edwards, Tony Barwell and Peter Edwards held four shots on the last end with the scores level only for the Charnwood skip to draw in to pinch the points 8-7.
Romaine and Barwell led comfortably in the pairs before dropping a four but picked up two on the last end to force a share of the points 9-9. The triples also conceded a four count but there was no way back and they lost 5-10.
The next round sees Stamford Saints away to Melton on June 17 and Stamford Bulls travel to Church Gresley on June 22.