Eight Stamford bowlers featured in the Lincolnshire team which this week reached the semi-final of the national Senior Liberty (Over 60s) Trophy, beating Yorkshire in a nail-biting finish.
With three, four-man rinks playing at Stamford and three simultaneously at York, it was always going to be a tense match over 21 ends and after four hours of highly-charged competition it came down to a one bowl decider.
Lincs’ away squad had given the county a 10-shot advantage and thanks to an outstanding 24-17 win by the Stamford quartet of Alan Romaine, Doug Want, Peter Edwards and Martyn Dolby and only a narrow defeat for Les Feary’s Boston rink, the county held a fragile six shot lead going into the last end of Roger Martin’s match.
With one bowl left, Yorkshire skip John Whitely had a chance trail the jack to tie the match but under intense pressure missed by centimetres to leave Lincs winners by 109-104 and in a semi-final tie on February 20 against either Norfolk or Northants.
Result (Lincs names only): Senior Liberty Trophy: Lincs 109 Yorkshire 104 Home – A Romaine, D Want, P Edwards (all Stamford) won 24-17; B Wilson, R Flowers, P Flatters, L Feary (all Boston) lost 15-17; B Warters, M Cullingworth, T Scarr, Roger Martin ( all Stamford) lost 12-20. Away - J Mountain (Skegness), B Hodges (Spalding), K Jackman (Horncastle), B Hawes (Skegness) lost 16-19; G Wood, T Conroy, M Smith, G Draper (all Lincoln) won 26-17; B Reeson, R White (both Boston), J Whithers, M Thompson (both Lincoln) won 16-14.
Paul Bailey and his daughter Katie are through to the Area 5 semi-final of the EIBA Family pairs after a 22-16 defeat of former English singles winner Martin Spencer and his sister Chantelle.
Despite only days away from expecting her first child, Katie was outstanding at lead setting up a series of opportunities which the Spalding ace was unable to destroy.
Bowls umpires play a key role in administering the game but are a dwindling breed, despite the growing competitiveness of the sport.
However, the latest recruit is former cricketer Malcolm Smith, a keen indoor bowler and current Stamford triples champion, who is in the initial stages of qualifying as an umpire through the English Bowls Umpires Association.
He officiated at this week’s Senior Liberty match between Lincs and Yorkshire and will soon complete a two day umpires course.
Former umpire and president of the Northants Bowling Federation Alan Croxford has died, aged 82 at Papworth Hospital following emergency double by pass heart surgery.
He had recently retired from his role as county delegate to the EBF. Funeral details will be announced shortly. The Federation also reports the recent passing of former Long Sutton IBC stalwart Mick Hartop after a short illness.
If a plan to make its men’s and mixed leagues more attractive goes ahead, the Lincolnshire indoor Bowling Association, to which Stamford IBC is affiliated, will be changing its team formats next season.
Currently some clubs in the north of the county are struggling to raise teams, especially when long distances are involved and a plan is being hatched to make the game more accessible to a wider group of bowlers.
The county has asked clubs for feedback on several items, including switching from 20-player to 16-player teams for men’s, mixed and Over 60s competitions and a move to regionalise leagues into north and south zones with the winners to meet in an annual final.
The latter is currently the format for the women’s county league and avoids the need for longer journeys in a county affiliation that stretches more than 80 miles from Scunthorpe in the north to Stamford in the south.
Also under consideration is a plan to separate A and B teams into smaller leagues and to abandon the wearing of whites and and allow all players to wear greys with club shirts in all leagues.
Eleven indoor clubs in Lincolnshire will consider the varying formats and respond to the the county executive by February 10.
Nine-year-old Stamford junior bowler Owen Aspinall will make his debut for the club’s Lincolnshire League A team at Lincoln on Saturday (1.30pm).
With a number of regulars unavailable and the club’s B team also in action against Sleaford (1.10pm), Aspinall, the club’s Under 12 champion, has been drafted into a rink which also includes another great prospect James Hebden (17).
Team captain Bob Warters said: “With so many players committed elsewhere, and our second string also in action, I had no hesitation in getting Owen involved, despite his tender years. I am confident he won’t be fazed by the experience and will give it his all.”
Also set for a debut is club newcomer Mick Linnell, a regular skip in the Cambs Senior League.
Lincoln have already won their first four matches - amassing 62 points - while Stamford have won twice out of three, picking up 37 points.
Stamford A v Lincoln A : Owen Aspinall, James Hebden, Neil Wright, Paul Bailey; Richard Allam, Cliff Watson, Doug Want, Peter Edwards; Alan Romaine, Alan Barnes, Richard Montgomery, Roger Martin; Wayne Aspinall, Malcolm Cullingworth, Bob Warters, Simon Law; Mike Ramsden, Mick Linnell, John Holroyd, Jonathan Earl.
Northants Federation A team stretched their lead at the top of the southern section of the Derbyshire Trophy indoor inter-county championship with a comprehensive defeat of North Cambs at Stamford IBC.
They took a maximum 14 points - winning all four two-bowl triples rinks - for an overall 137-56 scoreline on a surface far more familiar to the home side, all but three of whom play their winter bowls at the Stamford club.
Top scorers were the rink of Brian Martin, Bob Warters and Tony Scarr who included a maximum six count in their 43-10 win. Law also recorded a game-changing six-count in a good comeback win with Paul Dalliday and Phil Afford.
Northants A complete their fixtures with visits to Lincs and Norfolk on February 18 and 25 respectively.
Result (Northants names only): Derbyshire Trophy: Northants A 137 (14 pts) North Cambs 56 (0). S Harris, J Harford, M Dolby won 29-15; H Shipp, N Wright, Roger Martin won 30-11; Brian Martin, B Warters, T Scarr won 43-10; P Dalliday, P Afford, S Law won 35-20.
The second round of the EIBA Over 50 triples will be an all-Stamford affair between rinks skipped by John Holroyd and Keith Rippin.
Holroyd’s trio earlier beat Derek King’s leaving Rippin’s three (Bob Warters and Cliff Watson) to face Alan Romaine, Martyn Dolby and Paul Bailey in what turned out to be a really close match.
The scores were tied at 5-5 before Rippin led 12-8 with seven shots in six ends and finally led 14-10 approaching the final 18th end. However, Bailey was unable to convert a tight head and conceded 11-14.
Meanwhile, Tony Barwell is out of the national Over 60 singles after a close encounter with Peterborough’s Jeff Pitt.
Barwell led 20-17 and 20-19 and held two for game but Pitt, ranked in the top 20 of the Open singles circuit , fired to remove both shots.
However, Barwell had the chance to win it with a close draw with his last bowl but was unable to convert the opportunity. Martyn Dolby plays John Needham on Saturday afternoon.
In Federation competition, defending singles champion Martyn Dolby held the upper hand against his regular pairs partner Stephen Harris - winning 21-7.
There were also wins for Adams Warrington (over Bill Orme), Richard Allam (Chris Ballard) and Cliff Watson (Howard Shipp). In the senior singles Dolby beat Ray Keating 21-4.
John Holroyd and Keith Rippin came from behind in the pairs to beat Steve Roden and Northants deputy president Dick Noble at Peterborough.
Playing the last end and 16-18 adrift, Holroyd trailed the jack to hold two shots before Rippin added another to give them 19-18 victory and a place in the quarter-finals.
Elizabeth Wallace and Christine Ford are through to the semi-finals of the singles. Wallace beat Louise Harris 21-14 while Ford had her match conceded by Hazel Bass. Helen Holroyd beat Shirley Suffling in a 21-20 thriller.
In senior singles Wallace beat Pat Jones 21-8 and now plays Fiona Richardson.
Stamford’s senior women bowlers are out of the Masons Trophy at the third round stage - beaten by five shots by local rivals Spalding.
In the ‘double rink’ format - one rink at home and the other at Spalding - Stamford were expecting a tight match, having beaten their opponents in a recent Lincs league match - and so it proved.
In the Spalding leg, the rink skipped by Glenys Edwards always kept in close touch with the experienced Gloria Haney rink and after 18 ends only lost by just three shots (15-18). But Christine Ford’s home quartet got off to a bad start and were 3-13 down at halfway.
And, although they picked up nine shots in the closing stages, they were unable to close the overall gap.
Result (Stamford names only): Masons Trophy: Stamford 28 Spalding 32. Home - J Brennan, J Want, S Suffling, C Ford lost 13-15; away - E Wallace, M Andrews, D Mackie, G Edwards lost 15-18.