In one of the most dramatic inter-county matches in modern times, Lincolnshire – featuring eight players from the Stamford club – lost to Norfolk with the last bowl of the final end of a 126-end epic battle at St Neots.
Norfolk trailed overall 124-125 as the last bowls were delivered in the match involving the Stamford quartet of Alan Romaine, Alan Barnes, Bob Warters and Roger Martin against Mick King’s Norfolk rink.
With the rest of the bowlers from each side encouraging from the sidelines, King’s rink held two shots, neither of which the Stamford rink were able to remove, earning Norfolk a place in the final at Melton at the end of the month.
Earlier Norfolk had held an overall advantage 33-31 after five ends and 61-57 at halfway before Lincs snatched the initiative 87-78 after 15 ends and 108-106 (18) thanks chiefly to the fight back by Brian Hawes’ disparate quartet of bowlers from three other clubs who transformed an early 6-17 deficit into a 23-22 victory.
Elsewhere George Draper’s Lincoln four edged home 19-16 with Les Feary’s regular Boston four eclipsing a Norfolk rink 26-16, which included former international John Ottaway.
But in the end it came down to raw nerve endings as Norfolk’s Vic Moore from the Sprowston Hall club trailed the jack to put the match just beyond Lincolnshire’s reach.
Result (Lincs names only): Senior Liberty semi-final (at St Neots) Norfolk 126 Lincs 125. T Powell ( Boston), B Hedges (Spalding), K Jackman (Horncastle), B Hawes (Skegness) won 23-22; G Wood, T Hallam, Mike Smith, G Draper ( all Lincoln); A Romaine, A Barnes, B Warters, Roger Martin (all Stamford) won 23-16; B Reeson, R White (both Boston), J Whithers, M Thompson (both Lincoln) lost 17-26; Mal Smith, D Want, P Edwards, M Dolby (all Stamford) lost 17-30; B Wilson, R Flowers, P Flatters, L Feary (all Boston) won 26-16.
Nothing makes the long journey to Louth more worthwhile than to return with a comprehensive victory.
And so it transpired for Stamford Men’s B team who mustered a full busload of players at the last minute to help take them to the top of the Lincs League second division.
Reg Goode and new coach Ian Moss answered a late call to make up the numbers and did both themselves and the team proud under the temporary leadership of Arthur Lonslow in helping to secure a 124-74 win over Louth B, claiming all but two of the points available.
Highlights included Trevor Christie’s rink claiming 15 shots on the last four ends to win 29-16 and Derek King’s four picking up 13 shots on the last six ends.
But the rink honours went to Richard Martin’s quartet of David Howarth, Derek Veasey and Peter Banks wth a 17-shot victory.
Results (Stamford names only): Lincs League Division Two: Louth B 74 (16 pts) Stamford B (2). J Hebden, R Goode, M Dye, T Christie won 29-16; I Moss, K Rippin, D Middleton, P Linnell won 22-12; G Knights, A Lonslow, A McNaughton, D Heffernan lost 16-22; D Howarth, D Veasey, P Banks, Richard Martin won 32-15; Mick Smith, D Edwards, M Hewitt, D King won 25-9.
Stamford Men’s A are at home to Spalding on Saturday (1.10pm) in the first division of the county league.
Team: R Allam, T Harris, A Warrington, P Bailey; W Aspinall, N Graham, B Warters, K Rippin; K Rawlins, C Ballard, J Holroyd, J Earl; M Ramsden, D Miller, A Barnes, Roger Martin; M Cullingworth, C Watson, M Humphreys, N Wright.
Stamford Men’s B team visit Horncastle and on Sunday Stamford Mixed entertain Lincoln (1.10pm)
RIPPIN AND HARRIS QUALIFY FOR COUNTY SEMI-FINALS
Keith Rippin has qualified for the Lincs County Over 60 singles semi-finals to be staged at Stamford on March 31.
He beat Grantham’s Graham Smith after earlier beating John Needham (Spalding) and will play Lincoln veteran George Draper.
Twice a former winner, Martyn Dolby was effectively driven off the rink by a series of heavy bowls from I Bertram (Louth) while Derek King lost to Gloria Davies (Sleaford). Also in the first round Alan Romaine beat Norman Burton ( Lincoln) but lost to Trevor Bannister (Sleaford).
Romaine also won his first round match against Alan Dent Snr at Boston in the county singles and will play Jonathan West for a place in the quarter-finals. Tony Barwell lost 21-14 to Steve Dent (Louth)
At the Sleaford qualifier defending champion Stephen Harris (Stamford) surged into the semi-finals on his home green in March by defeating 21-10, having earlier raced into a 20-3 lead. Chris Ballard lost to Paul Bark (Horncastle).
Stephen Harris, Helen Holroyd and James Hebden are among the Stamford contingent competing in the Lincs Under 25 singles at Lincoln on Saturday. Registration is at 9.30am.
Harris is also one of four Stamford bowlers in the qualifying rounds for the Lincs singles sets competition at Boston on Sunday.
He plays Keith Kelly (Louth) at noon while Chris Ballard faces K Bell (Lincoln). At 1.30pm Keith Rippin plays Martin Spencer (Spalding) and Tony Barwell takes on Nick Orrey (Grantham). Adam Warrington plays Alan Romaine in an all Stamford tie at 3pm.
Lincolnshire have opened up an 11 point gap at the top of the Derbyshire Trophy Southern section after defeating Northants A 99-74, claiming 12 of the 14 points at stake at Lincoln IBC.
There was similar disappointment for Northants’ B team away to Huntingdon, where they landed only one winning rink in a 63-91 defeat, completing their first season of fixtures in the event.
For Northants A, who drafted in Trevor Collins and Tris Morton to join Brian Martin, it was always going to be the crucial fixture and for long periods this rink looked like being pivotal, especially when they picked up five shots to lead 18-13 with eight ends to go, then three more to lead 21-18 with three to play.
But conceding six on the last three ends without reply left them pointless.
Elsewhere, after dropping six on the first two ends then a string of 12 without reply, it was always a struggle for Roger Martin’s rink and it was a similar story for Simon Law who went 6-14 behind and finally lost 24-16.
The only bright spot was the rink of Bob Warters, captain James Harford and skip Martyn Dolby who inflicted a rare defeat on George Draper overcoming an early 4-10 deficit to run out 22-15 victors.
At Huntingdon, Northants B were in touch for long periods but as in previous matches they lacked the staying power and momentum to force the issue in the closing stages, illustrated most dramatically with the rink of Les Sharp, Mick Greaves and Pete Brown failing to score on the last 13 ends from just 7-11 behind.
Elsewhere Mick Linnell’s trio lost by nine and despite picking up six shots late on, Rod Maplethorpe’s rink went down 19-22.
A late surge by Mick Ramsden, Mick Humphreys and Jonathan Earl earned a 19-14 win.
Northants A complete their fixtures with a visit to Gallow IBC (Fakenham) on Sunday to play Norfolk, aware that only victory will give them a chance of winning the southern section.
Results (Northants names only): Derbyshire Trophy (at Lincoln): Lincolnshire 99 (12 pts) Northants A 74 (2). B Martin, T Collins, T Morton lost 21-24; B Warters, J Harford, M Dolby won 22-15; H Shipp, N Wright, R Martin lost 15-36; P Dalliday, P Afford, S Law lost 16-24.
Derbyshire Trophy (at Huntingdon): Hunts 91 (12 pts), Northants B 63 (2). B Bassam, G Agger, M Linnell lost 16-25; L Sharp, M Greaves, P Brown lost 9-30; S Roden, D Noble, R Maplethorpe lost 19-22; M Ramsden, M Humphreys, J Earl won 19-14.
Trailing 9-13 with just three ends to play, Stamford’s Bob Warters, Cliff Watson and skip Keith Rippin looked in danger of being turfed out of the EIBA Over 50 triples at the Area 5 semi-final stage against Grantham’s Mal Lehier, Terry Berridge and Nick Orrey.
But when they picked up a four count on the 16th end to draw level, the momentum enabled them to pick up two more shots on the next end and they could afford to drop a shot on the last to win 15-14.
They are now hoping to get a favourable neutral green tdraw against the winners of a match between Leicester and Charnwood.
Martyn Dolby is also through to the Area 5 final of the EIBA Over 60 singles - overcoming Jeff Pitt on the infamous rink one at Peterborough IBC.
At eight shots apiece at 10 ends with Pitt preferring short jacks to Dolby’s fuller length, there was little to choose between the two when Dolby made the breakthrough to lead 20-11 before Pitt hit back with a full house of four.
Dolby got over the line, however, on the 18th end to earn an Area final clash with either Bill Hobart, the former England international from Barwell or Mark O’Connell from Church Gresley.
In a nail-biting Federation two-bowl triples it took an extra end to separate two evenly-matched sides.
Former winners, Stephen Harris, Cliff Watson and Peter Edwards were 16-apiece with Neil Wright, Trevor Collins and Roger Martin after 21 ends and the clock ticking towards 11pm, when they went into extra time.
It enabled Martin to draw his final shot to a displaced jack and Edwards was just missed in trying to remove it.
Adam Warrington has reached the semi-final of the Northants Men’s four-bowl singles with a 21-13 defeat of Peterborough’s Ray Keating, he will meet the winner of the tie between Joe Martin and Mike Ramsden.
In the women’s Federation triples Jan Want, Shirley Suffling and Christine Ford reached the Northants final on March 18 (at Peterborough) with a 21-15 defeat of Elizabeth Wallace, Margaret Andrews and Glenys Edwards.
Hopes that Stamford’s women might reach the final of the Lincs (Trudy Bates) League in April suffered a setback, beaten by nine shots at Sleaford, picking up only three of the 16 points at stake.
Ironically it was skip Jane Saunders (not her Sleaford-born comedienne namesake Jennifer) who steered her rink to a significant 23-14 victory for the home side against Peggy Birch (no doubt that’s the first time that Mrs Birch’s name has been used in the same sentence as a BAFTA winner!).
For Stamford it was again Chris Ford’s rink who,took the honours with a late surge of scoring, while Sue Moir dropped two shots on the last end to concede a point.
Results (Stamford names only): Lincs Trudy Bates A League: Sleaford 94 (13 pts) Stamford 85 (3). j Lonslow, S Henshaw, S Suffling, C Ford won 25-21; E Wallace, M Holden, M Broadbelt, S Moir drew 15-15; V Shackleton, H Holroyd, J Want, G Edwards lost 15-18; J Dye, C Warters, D Mackie, R March lost 16-17; R Roberts, P Jones, M Andrews, P Birch lost 14-23.
Stamford’s Over 60s team look doomed to Lincs League second division status after suffering their eighth defeat in nine matches - this time away to multi champions Lincoln A.
They have managed to muster just 37 points this season - 98 fewer than the champions who are bidding for their 16th successive crown.
Only Trevor Christie’s rink looked likely to salvage any points but despite picking up 10 shots without reply in the last six ends were edged out 18-20, while Richard Martin’s four lost 16-19 despite claiming six shots in the last four ends.
Result (Stamford names first): Lincs Over 60s League: Lincoln A 122 (18 pts) Stamford 63 (0).R Blake, A Lonslow, P Banks, A Horton lost 13-23; D Veasey, T Freeman, D Heffernan, D Henshaw lost 9-36; D Howarth, T Weaver, A March, Richard Martin lost 16-19; T Barwell, G Corby, M Dye, T Christie lost 18-20; J Bourne, T Mackie, D Bruce, C Jones lost 7-24.