Stamford through to county finals

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STAMFORD bowlers have again reached unchartered territory by claiming places in two Lincolnshire County Indoor finals to be played on April 17 at Lincoln IBC. A third team missed out on the last end.

The most dramatic semi-final win was achieved by the Stamford rink of Richard Allam, Derek King, Peter Edwards and Martyn Dolby against a star-studded Spalding quartet skipped by England international Graham Smith and playing on their home surface.

The match was close throughout with neither side gaining a clear advantage. But on the last end with the scores level at 16 apiece and Spalding holding a back toucher and covering all opportunities if the jack was sprung, skip Dolby was staring defeat in the face. “There was only one shot to play,” he recalled, “to play on to the jack and push their shot bowl out of the head. It couldn’t have turned out better; I played the bowl of my life.”

Smith fired with his last bowl in a bid to replay the end but missed.

Amid jubilant scenes by the party of Stamford bowlers who had turned up to support their players, the deflated home rink was left to ponder the achievement of the county’s most-improved competitive club.

Earlier Empingham schoolteacher Mike Ramsden claimed a spot in the final of the Over 65 singles - a competition he inaugurated and for which he donated a trophy.

Against Boston veteran Mick Tomlin the scores were level at 17-all after 21 ends but after Tomlin had killed the first extra end, Ramsden drew one close enough to leave his opponent with a desperate - and unsuccessful -attempt to save the match.

Stamford’s other semi-finalists were Bob Warters, Paul Bailey and Dolby in the three-bowl triples, who came up against Lincoln’s established trio of Kevin Rands, Danny Brown and 2008 World Indoor Singles champion Billy Jackson.

And it was Jackson, showing his class, who turned the game. Stamford held a slender lead throughout but on the 15th end - with Stamford 18-12 ahead - Jackson bowled three superlative bowls to trail the jack and plant two more on top of it for a vital five count.

The Lincoln trio levelled the scores but time running out, Stamford held three shots. However a speculative running bowl from Brown paid off, Dolby was unable to claw back the deficit and they went down 20-18.

Warters said: “It was a bitter pill to swallow to lead all the way until the last end. Our only consolation was that Billy told us we’d played well and had deserved to win.”

In the County Leagues Stamford’s mixed and Junior teams were beaten at Boston but the Stamford ‘B’ team claimed 16 points at home to Louth with a 115-91-shot victory, with Nathan Rigby , aged 12 making an impressive debut to feature on the top-scoring rink

The Stamford club hosts its first Under 18 Junior Tournament on sunday (from 10.30am) when young players from as far afield as Scunthorpe, Lincoln, Skegness, Louth, St Neots and Desborough compete against some of the home club’s likely prospects for a tournament sponsored by D & M Sports/ Bowled Over equipment suppliers.

Results (Stamford skips only)

Lincs County League Division Three: Stamford B 115 (16pts) Louth B 91 (2): L Leyborne won 25-17; M Northen won 27-18; M Hewitt won 29-17; R Martin won 22 -13; A Barnes lost 12-26.

Lincs Over 60s: Stamford 87 (3) Louth 107 (15): D. Howarth, D. Ingham, M. Wallis K. Rippin drew 23-23; N. Kettle, R. Graham, P. Banks, A. Horton lost 16 - 28; W. Kettle, G. Corby, R. Harvey, T. Freeman lost 10 - 28; K. Germany, D. Veasey, D. Jackson, M. Hulse won 21 - 8; D. Hudson, J. Pearson, D. Henshaw, J. Geary lost 17 - 20.

Lincs Division Two: Horncastle 92(13) Stamford 83 (7): W Morris, K Rawlins, P Bailey, A Warrington won 19-14; R Harniess, R Harvey, D Want, M Dolby won 17-12; M Ramsden, W Jenner, M Bailey, P Edwards drew 21-21; R Allam, J Geary, J Mumford, K Rippin won 16-11; D Hudson, J Holroyd, D King, R Warters lost 34-10.