Spectators were treated to some excellent displays of bowling and a nailbiting final at Stamford last Sunday when some of the region’s top under-18 bowlers were in action.
The annual competition, sponsored by D & M Sport of Spalding, attracted players from Hertfordshire, Derbyshire and Norfolk as well as Lincolnshire and was eventually won by 10-year-old Samuel Brugnoli from Huntingdon.
Home youngster nine-year-old Owen Aspinall, the youngest competitor, reached the semi-finals.
The youngsters played four matches against each other in two groups to decide who would compete in the semi-finals and final.
The first section saw players from Melton Mowbray pitted against those from Huntingdon, Spalding and Stamford and it quickly became apparent that the future of the game was assured with some spectacular skill on display.
Aspinall started by winning a close encounter against Maxwell Magee from Melton Mowbray before edging home by a single shot, and went on to top his group.
There was fierce competition in the group from Sam Ormiston and Brugnoli, both from Huntingdon, who won three of their games, narrowly losing the other.
It took a count back to determine which of them would go into the semi-finals. Both had a shots difference of 19 but it was Brugnoli who went through having scored more overall.
The other section was equally fiercely contested between competitors who included last year’s runner-up, Paul Warrington, from Melton Mowbray. He had won two and drawn one and looked favourite with one game remaining.
But he lost by a couple of shots to Max MacKinnon from the Riverain (Hitchin) club who qualified as one of only two players who won three of their four games.
The other qualifier was Katherine Bowman from Leicester who had a storming last game against the fancied Nicole Mosely from Lynn Sport in Norfolk.
The semi-finals were excellent with some fine skill on display but in both cases one player got into an early lead before their opponent fought back towards the end.
MacKinnon ended Aspinall’s hopes by 9-3 and Brugnoli bettered Bowman 7-5.
In the final, ten-year-old Brugnoli raced into a 6-0 lead after three ends before 15-year-old MacKinnon found the rink and countered with scores of two, one, one, three over the next four ends to go into the lead 7-6.
Not to be outdone, Brugnoli fought a tense last end and managed to score a single to tie the game and force an extra end.
The nailbiting climax saw MacKinnon holding the winning shot before Bugnoli played an excellent running bowl to remove this bowl and lie three shots, to win the final 10-7.
The prizes were presented by David Broadhurst of D & M Sports who was thanked by one of the organisers, Keith Rippin, for the support he had given to the bowls club and the juniors over the years.