In search of a unique double of national outdoor and indoor inter-county titles in successive seasons, Northants Bowling Federation has made a flying start.
The current holders of the prestigious English Bowling Federation Adams Trophy, won for the first time in their history at Skegness in August, the county (pictured above) beat local rivals Hunts Federation in the opening match of the Derbyshire Trophy indoor series at Peterborough IBC.
New captain James Harford (26) picked a team with a blend of youth and experience - including five Stamford IBC bowlers - that proved just too strong for their neighbours, claiming 12 of the 14 points available in a 110-73 shot victory over four rinks of two-bowl triples.
Top scoring rink was the combination of Stamford bowlers John Holroyd and Roger Martin, with City’s Neil Wright at No.2. Holroyd led with great accuracy with long jacks, supported well by Wright, with Martin mopping up the conversions and drawing the extras. The 34-15 scoreline was a fair reflection of their domination.
Equally Brian Martin, Joe Randall and Tris Morton, rarely offered opportunities to their opponents to cut the advantage they built early on and in the last 15 of the 25 ends tussle, conceded only six shots while adding 15 of their own in 32-13 demolition.
Early on, Simon Law’s rink with Stephen Harris (18) and Jonathan Earl were held at bay until his Stamford colleagues started to adjust to the faster carpet and stretch their lead to finally win by six shots.
Harford, Nick Wilkie and Scarr, making a welcome return to the Northants line up, came up against a strong Hunts rink led by the unerringly accurate Steve Farrant, supported by Lee Swannell and Richard Stevens.
Northants were on the back foot for long spells with Hunts ahead 21-9 at 20 ends but when Harford and Scarr switched, as the Federation rules allow, they were able to cut the deficit to just seven shots at the close.
Northants’ next match will be a tough examination at Lincoln IBC against Lincolnshire on January 10.
Result (Northants names only): Derbyshire Trophy (at Peterborough): Northants 110 (12pts) Hunts 73 (2). S Harris, J Earl, S Law won 27-21; J Holroyd, N Wright, R Martin won 34-15; N Wilkie, T Scarr, J Harford lost 17-24; B Martin, J Randall, T Morton won 32-13.
l The first Stamford IBC players to reach an EIBA National Area final are Bob Warters, Alan Barnes and Roger Martin in the Over 50 Triples. But it took a titanic battle with clubmates John Holroyd, Cliff Watson and Ray Keating to get there, with an 18-16 win.
Barnes showed great poise as an able substitute for Tony Scarr and after helping his side to a handy six count on the first end, ensured they kept their noses in front, despite a scare on the last end, when it needed Martin to draw a saving second shot when facing a match lie against him.
Earlier, Martin, Warters, Scarr and Malcolm Cullingworth accounted for fellow Stamford bowlers, Adam Warrington, Stephen Harris, Jonathan Earl and Martyn Dolby in a compelling rinks match.
Turning point came on the 10th end when Martin drew in to claim a six count beginning a run of 14 shots without reply.
They finally ran out 26-10 winners to earn an area semi-final against Ali Brunton’s Grantham quartet.
However, there was no joy for Martin and Scarr, paired with teenager Jay Travis-Jenner in the triples, soundly beaten 26-5 by Jordan Philpott’s trio in 13 ends at Spalding.
Dolby reached the Area semi-final of the Over 65 singles with a 21-5 defeat of clubmate Alan Romaine and now plays the winner of the match between Stamford’s Derek King and Graham Wright (Spalding).
l With only ten points from a possible 90 after five matches, Stamford IBC’s Men’s B team look doomed to return to the third division of the Lincolnshire Co-Operative League, following their promotion to the second division last season.
At home to Spalding B and with only a handful of ends remaining, they looked on course for a rare win but then, in the words of captain Dennis Henshaw ‘the wheels came off’ and they slipped to a 92-82 defeat.
There were however, bright spots with wins for rinks skipped by Henshaw and Peter Banks but elsewhere the visitors adapted better to the Stamford surface and ran out worthy winners.
Result (Stamford names only)
Lincs Co-Op Men’s League Division Two: Stamford B 82 (4) Spalding B 92 (14). D Howarth, D Heffernan, T Mackie, P Banks won 22-13; P Pheasant, W Kettle, C Ballard, J Geary lost 14-21; T Barwell, R Graham, D Ford, M Owens lost 12-24; A Lonslow, M DeCamp, Richard Martin, M Hewitt lost 15-18; D Veasey, D Bruce, P Linnell, D Henshaw won 19-17.
l Stamford IBC stages its annual Christmas tournament for the Mick Owens Trophy and cash prizes on Monday, December 28 (from 9.30am) and can still accept late entries. The event is for teams of four (any combination) playing four 7-end sessions.
Entry fee is £16 per team with refreshments available throughout the day. Contact Carol Warters, club secretary for details.
l Christine Ford and June Brennan have qualified for the area play-offs of the Lincs County women’s pairs and fours (with Rose March and Shirley Suffling) to be played in the New Year. Triples skipped by Glenys Edwards and Margaret Bloxham are also through.
Derek King is the first player through in the men’s Over 65 singles, won by Stamford bowlers in the last two years.
Other county competitions are continuing at a pace but players are reminded they should be completed before the Christmas break. The club re-opens on January 3.
Club competition entries should be received with appropriate entry fees by December 20.
l A new men’s Lincs County singles competition played to a sets format has been introduced at Stamford IBC with each winner qualifying for a final due to be played at Boston on February 27.
Draw: S Harris v D Hudson, B Acock v R Allam, J Travis-Jenner v D King, T Barwell v B Warters, A Romaine v D Henshaw, P Banks v K Rippin, J Holroyd v J Pearson, D Heffernan v M Humphreys.