Shock news has emerged this week that Scunthorpe IBC has withdrawn immediately from the Lincs County Men’s League Division One – unable to find a captain after several players pulled out of the scheduled match at Stamford this weekend.
Already propping up the league table following a string of defeats and only one win (which came at home to Spalding), the club already looked doomed to Division Two status and despite late efforts by its committee, it was unable to appoint a new captain, who was prepared to put up with late withdrawals.
Said a frustrated fixture secretary John Hopkinson: “ It is a great shame, but the captain had already begged a number of players to play but then when four dropped out without warning, he said he was ‘throwing in the towel’ and wasn’t prepared to continue.”
It also means that Stamford will not now be sending a team to Scunthorpe for the scheduled March 10 return fixture and that the points accrued by teams who have already played Scunthorpe – league leaders Lincoln, Spalding (twice), Boston (twice) and Louth – will most likely be deducted, throwing both title and relegation into turmoil.
Scunthorpe hopes to continue fielding teams in the Over 60s men’s, mixed and women’s county leagues.
Commented Stamford A captain Bob Warters: “It is very sad that Scunthorpe cannot continue in the county league.
“The club is currently in a state of flux with their council-run premises up for sale and no new replacement facility on the immediate horizon.
“We have always enjoyed games against them both home and away but it is indicative of the current state of bowls that it is becoming increasing difficult to raise teams, particularly for the long journeys north and south within this elongated county.
“We wish them well and hope they can find a solution in the future.”
The next Stamford Men’s A fixture is Spalding at home on February 24 (1.10pm)
n Stamford bowlers Alan Romaine, Martyn Dolby, Derek King and Keith Rippin will be competing in the Lincs Seniors singles qualifiers at Grantham tomorrow (Saturday).
With a comprehensive 109-80 defeat of old rivals Spalding, Stamford’s mixed team, the current county champions, leapt off the foot of the Division One table into a title challenging fourth place with games in hand.
It has been a tough start to the season for Christine Ford’s team after defeats at Horncastle, Lincoln and Spalding but they are determined to make a good fist of their defence of the title despite adversity.
An early 17-0 overall lead as Spalding were getting accustomed to the speed of the carpet set up the victory and the visitors never recovered from the early deficit.
Currently in a rich vein of form, Derek King steered his quartet of Pat Jones, Glenys Edwards and Ally McNaughton (making his debut) to a 30-11 win over John Needham’s four to claim the rink honours.
Elsewhere lead June Brennan was in outstanding form to inspire a 27-15 win for her rink with the rinks skipped by Stephen Harris and Malcolm Smith recording the other wins and a 16-2 points tally
Results (Stamford names only): Lincs Mixed League Division One: P Jones, G Edwards, A McNaughton, D King won 30-11; J Hebden, D Mackie, S Moir, R Montgomery lost 14-24; V Du’Kett, K Rippin, S Suffling, S Harris win 18-13; H Holroyd, T Mackie, C Ford, Mal Smith won 20-17; J Brennan, C Warters, J Little, B Warters win 27-15.
Martyn Dolby, the defending champion, has reached the semi-finals of the Northants Federation singles with a 21-9 defeat of Nick Wilkie.
He has also reached a similar stage of the veterans singles by beating Alan Romaine 21-17.
Defending Northants Federation triples champions Mick Humphreys, John Holroyd and Kevin Vinter have reached the semi-final stage with a 27-17 defeat of Adam Warrington, Jon Earl and Martyn Dolby.
Humphreys is also through to the last four in the two-bowl pairs with Roger Martin. They beat Tony Scarr and Trevor Collins 20-13.
Elsewhere in mixed triples, the holders Adam Warrington, Christine Ford and Dolby safely negotiated their way through to the next round, defeating Mal Cullingworth, Sue Moir and Richard Montgomery 22-10.
Elizabeth Wallace has reached two Northants Federation finals, to be played at Peterborough IBC on March 18.
She will meet fellow Stamford bowler Helen Holroyd in the four-bowl singles, following a 21-16 defeat of Fiona Rchardson, and will play Joan Robinson in the senior discipline.
In the Lincs mixed pairs, Martyn Dolby and Chris Ford accounted for Grantham’s C Davis and Josh Meakins 19-6 in the Lincs IBA mixed pairs.
Chris Ballard and Jonathan Earl lost to Mal Smith and Jay Travis-Jenner to earn the winning pair a quarter-final place in the county championships.
Adapting better to the recently-stretched carpet, Smith and Travis-Jenner, still recovering from a foot injury, raced into an unassailable 25-11 lead to earn a tilt at the semi-finals which Stamford will host on March 31. Their opponents from Lincoln will be skipped by the veteran George Draper.
Malcolm Cullingworth and Derek King have reached the Area 5 final of the Over 60s pairs with an 18-13 win over Maurice Elding and John Needham.
Both Northants Federation inter-county Derbyshire Trophy teams will be in action on Sunday, February 18 as their respective indoor seasons draw to a close.
James Harford’s title-chasing Northants A side visit Lincoln IBC to play Lincolnshire Federation in a fixture which will likely decide who represents the southern section at the national finals at Newark in April, while Northants B, captained by Malcolm Squires, visit Hunts at Huntingdon IBC.
Both 25-end matches start at 10 am.
Harford, is still finalising his side but will likely include himself Trevor Collins and Tris Morton.
Those unavailable, following the 14-point defeat of North Cambs at Stamford, include Tony Scarr and Mike Robertson, who will be preparing to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April.
Northants A: P Dalliday, P Afford, S Law; Brian Martin, T Collins, T Morton; H Shipp, N Wright, Roger Martin; B Warters, J Harford, M Dolby.
Squires has named his B side as: M. Ramsden, M. Humphreys, J. Earl; L. Sharp, M. Greaves, P. Brown; B. Bassam, G. Agger, M. Linnell; S. Roden, D. Noble, R. Maplethorpe. Reserves: M Squires, C Watson.
Lincolnshire has named its Liberty Trophy team for the national semi-final against Norfolk, to be played at St Neots on Saturday, March 3 (10.30am) which includes Stephen Harris and Simon Law from the Stamford club.
Harris continues his successful run as lead in Graham Smith’s rink while Law will again provide experienced back up at number three in the rink skipped by Smith’s Spalding and England colleague Martyn Spencer.
The neutral venue will be a tricky one for the county players, many of whom have yet to experience the surface at St Neots, reputed to be one of the fastest in the country, while Norfolk have advanced knowledge, having beaten Northants here in their quarter-final.
Lincs: M Whyers (Spalding), R Vinter (Boston), M Pulling (Grantham), M Orrey (Spalding); K Rands, R Ashton, D Brown, B Jackson (all Lincoln); I Clark, R West (Botha Boston), A Dunham (Spalding), J West (Boston); S Dunham (Spalding), R Flowers (Boston), S Law (Stamford), M Spencer (Spalding); S Harris (Stamford), T Berridge (Grantham), A Caress, G Smith (both Spalding); A Field (Boston), K Ekins, B Wilson, J Philpott ( all Spalding). travelling reserve A Watts (Lincoln).
Malcolm Cullingworth has withdrawn from the Lincolnshire Seniors team to compete against Norfolk on Tuesday (February 20) in the semi-final of the National Over 60s inter-county knock out at St Neots (10.30 am).
He will be replaced by Alan Barnes who joins an all-Stamford rink of Alan Romaine, Bob Warters and Roger Martin.
The other Stamford rink remains as Mal Smith, Doug Want, Peter Edwards and Martyn Dolby. Four other rinks are taken from other clubs in Lincolnshire
Following proposals submitted by Lincs IBA to its 11 affiliated clubs regarding the possible reorganisation of county leagues, Stamford IBC has responded positively, taking into account feedback from several of its captains and key players.
Stamford bowlers rejected proposals to introduce 16-player teams (instead of the current five rinks of 20 players) and just two men’s A team leagues with promotion and relegation - and a B team league with neither.
However, by a majority of those consulted and in the interests of helping other clubs, especially in the north of the county, which have difficulty raising teams for the longer journeys (particularly to Stamford), the club reported that it is sympathetic to the idea of regionalising men’s and mixed county leagues.
This would be in a similar format to the women’s leagues, with the winners of north and south sections meeting for an overall final.
Commented chairman Keith Rippin, who co-ordinated the club’s responses: “While we have filled in the LIBA questionnaire to answer the specific questions raised, our own discussions have raised a number of other issues that could usefully be considered for future seasons beyond 2018-19.”
One of the areas raised by Stamford IBC, he says, is introducing practice time on the rink before a game and the possibility of trial ends. This could either extend game time or reduce the number of played ends which the EIBA is currently trialling so that there is some consistency across the game.
Stamford IBC has suggested the county might also consider reducing the number of players that constitute a team, from rinks of four to five rinks( playing three-bowl triples), though Stamford is content with the existing four-player/five-rink format.
The club has also advised that it wishes to continue with club shirts and whites for all county league matches and not resort to greys (though it would continue to comply with the current greys dress code in the Over 60s league).
The Lincolnshire county executive is due to consider responses from affiliated clubs to its proposals this month and will respond in time for club fixture secretaries to complete their administration the September-April 2018-19 season.
In the Lincs County League second division, Stamford B face the long haul north to play Louth B on Sunday.
Team: J Hebden, T Mackie, M Dye, T Christie; G Knights, A Lonslow, A McNaughton, D Heffernan; Mick Smith, D Edwards, M Hewitt, D King; D Howarth, D Veasey, P Banks, Richard Martin; R Graham, K Rippin, D Middleton, Peter Linnell. Transport from club 11.30am.