Former world indoor singles champion Nick Brett broke off his preparations for his bid to regain the 2018 title at Potters this month to skip his rink to victory in the Stamford IBC Christmas tournament.
And he revealed that despite the competition offering only £80 in prize money to the winning rink, compared to the £35,000 at stake to the outright winner of the world championship, the competition among club bowlers provided a vital part of his preparation.
“I don’t do roll-up practice on my own before a big tournament,” he revealed. “I can’t see the point. I need the competition and this was an ideal way to prepare. We were all made very welcome.”
Members who had the opportunity were delighted to pit their skills against the world’s number two bowler.
Brett’s rink included fellow Huntingdon IBC members Howard Shipp and Joe Randall and Nick Wilkie from Spalding IBC.
As expected, they won all their four eight-end games to win their section with 30 points (two points for each win and a point for each end won).
But then they had to sweat it out to see if the rink of Mick Humphreys, Stephen Harris, Rod West and Jonathan Earl could win the five ends they needed to pip them.
However, in their last match - despite winning 9-5 - the Earl quartet could claim only three ends against Ally McNaughton’s Wittering contingent, to chalk up 29 points.
Third place went to Dave Hudson, Sue Moir, Margaret Bloxham and Cliff Watson.
The event was organised by club secretary Carol Warters and administered by Peter Edwards and Nina Rawlins.
The next major event is a Presidents’ triples on January 28.
Stamford Men’s B, competing in Division Two of the Lincs League visit Boston B tomorrow (Saturday), looking to climb up the division. They are currently tied second with Grantham four points behind Skegness but with a game in hand.
Saturday, Jan 6 : Stamford B ( away to Boston B): P Cox, D Edwards, K Rippin, D King; C Ballard, R Graham, D Heffernan, M Owens; T Barwell, J Hebden, M Hebden, T Christie; D Howarth, D Veasey, P Banks, Richard Martin; D Middleton, T Mackie, M Hewitt, P Linnell. Reserves D Henshaw, M Dye, D Bruce, M Ramsden. Transport leaves club 12.15pm.
Stamford Men’s A were due to entertain Scunthorpe on Sunday but the North Lincs club could raise only eight players. The match has been re-arranged for February 17.
Also, because of a clash with a priority national fixture, Lincoln A have requested a postponement of the match on January 14. Stamford A will now entertain Lincoln A on Sunday, April 8 (1.10 pm).
Looking to improve their position in the Lincs Over 60s Division One, having gained promotion last season, Stamford entertain Louth on January 11.
For their fourth match in the Derbyshire Trophy, Northants B captain Malcolm Squires has reshuffled his side for the visit to Wisbech IBC to play North Cambs on Sunday, January 7 (10am).
Despite defeats by Northants A, Norfolk and Lincolnshire the newcomers showed they are more than capable of holding their own at this level and will be keen to chalk up a victory , even though the slower conditions might not initially suit them.
Back in the side after the home defeat by Lincs is the experienced Mike Ramsden, while Jonathan Earl moves across to skip Mick Greaves and the recalled Les Sharp.
Northants B: S. Roden, G. Agger, M. Linnell; L. Sharp, M. Greaves, J. Earl; M. Ramsden, M. Humphreys, J. Holroyd; C. Watson, D. Noble, P. Brown. Reserves: M. Squires, R. Maplethorpe, B. Bassam.
In their next match, Northants A will play North Cambs at Stamford IBC on January 21 (10am).
Junior bowlers from far and wide are expected to descend on Stamford IBC on March 25 for its annual Under 18 Open tournament with a prize fund of £150, sponsored by D&M Sports.
Entry forms can be downloaded from the club’s website www.stamfordindoorbowls.co.uk/juniors or by contacting Mike Ramsden on 01780 460490).
Stamford IBC players Stephen Harris, Martyn Dolby and Simon Law have been retained for Lincolnshire’s inter-county Liberty Trophy quarter-final against Durham at New Earswick (York) on January 13.
England Under 25 international Conor Cinato won the Spalding Open singles at the weekend, beating world-ranked Nick Brett (Huntingdon) in the final to pick up the £800 first prize.
Stamford’s Stephen Harris reached the quarter-finals with sets wins over Stamford club-mate Tony Barwell (2-0), Kevin Rands (Lincoln, tie-break) and Dean Harrison (Leicester, tie-break) before losing 2-0 to Boston’s Scott Whyers. Chris Ballard lost 2-0 to Brett in the first round.
Harris’ Under 25 singles Area 5 final against Ethan Giblett (Melton) is due to be played at Grantham at 6pm on Sunday (January 7).
The winner competes in the national finals at Ely on January 27 (2pm) against Jamie Barker (St Neots), the 2015 outdoor singles national junior champion.