Home treble is crucial to hopes of retaining title

Helen Holroyd (left) and Louise Harris
Helen Holroyd (left) and Louise Harris
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After three heavy defeats, hopes of the Stamford Mixed team retaining their Lincs League Division One title may look remote.

But, with three home games on the bounce, they have the chance to retrieve their predicament before the end of February.

In their latest fixture the team were hoping to reverse their recent fortunes on a surface with which they were familiar but had brought little joy in the past.

However, it was soon clear that the home side, despite defeat at Louth in their previous fixture, were in no mood to concede points, indeed Cliff Watson’s end rink were soon 19 adrift after six ends.

Elsewhere the rinks of Mick Humphreys and Roger Martin were never able to get their noses in front, while Paul Bailey couldn’t hang on to a 16-14 lead with two ends to play.

It was left to Helen Holroyd, her mother Moira, John Little and Bob Warters to try salvage some points.

But, with the scores level and the shot against him, home skip Mick Hartop exasperatingly drew the winner.

Results ( Stamford names only): Lincs Mixed Leagie Division One: Spalding 109 (18 pts) Stamford 82 (0). J Robinson, C Warters, D King, C Watson lost 11-31; L Harris, D Mackie, Mal Smith, P Bailey lost 16-19; K Rippin, S Moir, S Suffling, Roger Martin lost 19-25; H Holroyd, M Holroyd, J Little, B Warters lost 15-16; J Brennan, T Mackie, C Ford, M Humphreys lost 17-21.

A pre-match car park collision involving their coach and a street light, overshadowed Stamford’s Over 60s League team’s trip to Scunthorpe from which they returned almost empty-handed - claiming just two points from a 38-shot defeat.

Only the rink of David Howarth, Terry Weaver, Alec March and Richard Martin profited from the trip with a 20-11 defeat of Phil Boulton’s quartet.

Results (Stamford names only): Lincs Over 60s Leagie Division One: Scunthorpe 111 (16) Stamford 73 (2). a Lonslow, H Neath, D Bruce, R Graham lost 14-32; D Howarth, T Weaver, A March, Richard Martin won 20-11; R Blake, T Freeman, C Jones, D Heffernan lost 10-23; T Barwell, J Corby, T Christie, M Owens lost 14-23; M Dye, T Mackie, D Veasey, Mal Smith lost 15-22.

A handful of Stamford bowlers completed a near 300-mile marathon on Saturday, when after playing at Scunthorpe the previous day, they headed for Skegness in a Division Two clash.

Sadly the result was the same - claiming only two points from a possible 18 in a 64-118 defeat.

The rink of Trevor Harris, Chris Ballard, David Heffernan and Mick Owens were the only winners, claiming a two shot victory.

Result (Stamford names only): Lincs Men’s League Division Two: Skegness 108 (16 pts) Stamford 64 (2). T Barwella, D Bruce, M Hebden, T Christie lost 16-20; D Howarth, D Veasey, Richard Martin, P Banks lost 8-23; T Harris, C Ballard, D Heffernan, M Owens won 15-13; D Middleton, J Hebden, M Hewitt, P Linnell lost 13-20; R Graham, T Mackie, D Edwards, D King lost 10-32.

For Martyn Dolby his fortunes over the weekend both plumbed the depths and reached new peaks.

The Stamford club champion was hoping to progress in the national champion of champions event but came up against former world number 11 Matt Orrey, whose past scalps include multi-world champion Scot Paul Foster.

Orrey, representing Grantham, was in sparkling form and in Dolby’s own words delivered a ‘bowling masterclass’ on his home surface, racing into a 14-0 lead before Dolby temporarily battled back only to concede the match 5-21.

However, paired with Stephen Harris, the former policeman retrieved some pride with a 21-6 defeat of Spalding’s Graham Smith and Ashley Caress in the national pairs.

After picking up a five count early on, the turning point came on the 11th end. Three shots down, Dolby trailed the jack for three then drew two more shots to put them 18-5 ahead. After conceding three on the 14th end the Spalding pair conceded.

Dolby said: “This was a classic example of perfect teamwork with both Stephen and I playing at the top of our game at the same time.”

The pair will meet fellow Stamford club members Mark Hebden and his son James, who beat James Harford and Simon Law 15-9.

In the national two-bowl singles competition Chris Ballard beat clubmate Adam Warrington 21-11 and in the national triples John Holroyd, Stephen Harris and Mick Humphreys lost narrowly at Spalding.

Ben Wilson, Jordan Philpott and Ben Wilson cruised into an 11-2 lead before the Stamford trio fought back to 13-14 after the scheduled 16 ends.

Two of Stamford IBC’s brightest talents - Helen Holroyd (22) and Louise Harris (19) - have had the chance to play at a higher level this week and emerged having gained valuable experience.

At the weekend they featured in the England Women’s Under 25 regional trials at City of Ely IBC alongside other hopefuls aiming to make the pre-trials next month.

Both acquitted themselves well, however, at the time of going to press had not heard their fate but learned much about the process and at least caught the selectors’ eye.

On Monday they joined forces in the National women’s pairs, drawn at home against current England internationals from Spalding - Rebecca Simpson and Annalese Dunham - the 2016 English singles champion.

And they acquitted themselves well with a stubborn performance against outstanding opponents before finally conceding 8-20.

Melton will be the challengers as Stamford’s women bid to repeat last year’s outstanding performance in reaching the quarter finals of the Yetton Plate tomorrow (Saturday at 10am)

Four rinks will play simultaneously - two at home, two away with the winners due to face Church Gresley or Leicester.

Home: J Brennan, L Harris, P Birch, R March; J Want, D Mackie, S Suffling, C Ford. Away - E Wallace, M Andrews, M Holroyd, G Edwards; C Barnes, H Holroyd, C Warters, M Bloxham.

Stamford Ladies are in action again at home to Sleaford on Wednesday (10.30am) in their second Lincs League (Trudy Bates) fixture.

Two Stamford rinks will represent Lincolnshire on their home carpet on Tuesday (12.10pm) against Nottinghamshire in the first round of the Senior Liberty - the national Over 60s knock-out.

Dave Hudson, Doug Want, Peter Edwards and Martyn Dolby will form one quartet, while Alan Romaine, Malcolm Cullingworth, Bob Warters and Roger Martin will form the other rink. A rink from Boston will also represent the county while three rinks from Lincolnshire will be in action simultaneously at Erewash.

The aggregate winners go through to the next round against either Durham or Yorkshire.

Stamford A will meet Sleaford A in the next round of the EIBA inter-club Senior Double rink on Tuesday November 28 (10am) - one rink at home, one away, played simultaneously.

Entries are currently being received for the annual Stamford IBC Christmas Tournament on Wednesday, December 27 (from 9.30am) with £160 prize money sponsored by Brewers Molson Coors.

Entry for the competition is £12 for a team of four, with four sessions of eight ends. For further information visit www.stamfordindoorbowls.co.uk