Northants suffered a setback in their bid to reach the English Bowling Federation’s Adams Trophy final for the first time in almost 60 years when they lost their unbeaten record away to Lincolnshire.
But despite the 184-174 defeat at Boston, which yielded only four points, Northants’ fate still lies in their own hands, as a home victory over Hunts in their last section match on Saturday week will finally end their long wait for an appearance in the final at Skegness and the chance to lift the trophy for the first time.
Title rivals Norfolk closed within eight points of Northants when they collected 20 points against North Cambs, and they complete their programme this Saturday at home to another struggling team in North Essex, so Northants are not anticipating any favours.
On a tricky green at Boston, Northants were indebted to the end rinks of Lee Welsford and Jonathan Earl for their points.
Over at Spalding, any lingering hopes the Newton Trophy team had of catching runaway leaders Norfolk were ended when they lost 171-158 to Lincs.
The Under 25 team were unable to fulfil their final Reg Wright Trophy fixture at Norfolk because late withdrawals left them with an incomplete side.
Northants 174 (4), Lincs 184 (18) – (Northants rinks only): Stephen Harris, Paul Dalliday, Jonathan Earl won 31-29. Steve Roden, Graham Agger, Peter Brown lost 26-38. Martin Stokes, Nick Wilkie, Paul Buckley lost 28-29. Roger Stevens, Neil Wright, James Harford lost 28-34. Sean Fenlon, Bob Warters, Roger Martin lost 22-32. Adam Warrington, Fred Richardson, Lee Welsford won 38-22.
Northants 158 (6), Lincs 171 (16) – (Northants rinks only): Jack Corney, Mick Linnell, Rod Maplethorpe lost 30-31. Les Sharp, Jim Ruddy, Malcolm Squires lost 17-29. Andrew Grief, Peter Holmes, Fred Addy won 33-24. Jeff Clipston, Mick Greaves, Brian Bassam lost 18-31. Mike Ramsden, John Holroyd, Roger Strong won 30-28. Howard Shipp, Martin Bailey, Peter Jessop won 30-28.
Sarah Newson (Parkway) is on course to complete a two-bowl and four-bowl singles double in the Northants Women’s Bowling Federation championships for the second time in three years after defeating Sue Moir (Langtoft Pearl) and Chris Ford (Ketton) respectively in the semi-finals.
Sheila Craig (Conservative) will be her opponent in the two-bowl decider after beating Fiona Richardson (City of Peterborough), while Moir will have the chance to avenge her semi-final defeat in the two-bowl when she faces Newson in the four-bowl final at Ketton on July 19 following her defeat of Helen Crow (Parkway).
ON ENGLAND DUTY
City-based Tristan Morton was in the England team that regained the British Isles international series crown in Scotland at the weekend.
England won all three matches to top the table ahead of defending champions Scotland, whom they defeated 113-107.
Morton played three to Cumbria’s Steve Farish and the rink lost to Scotland and Ireland before ending with a win over Wales.
The Hunts women’s county team suffered a third straight defeat in the Johns Trophy when beaten 133-94 by section leaders Hertfordshire, Val Corn’s rink securing their solitary point from a 17-17 draw.
Hunts 94 (1), Herts 133 (21) – (Hunts skips only):
Sheila Craig lost 8-19; Judy Ford lost 12-21; Dina Barlow lost 15-24; Andrea Rose lost 23-24; Joan Padley lost 9-24; Val Corn drew 17-17.
Parkway are through to the area semi-finals in the Bowls England Club Two Fours competition after beating Wellingborough B 43-33.
Hunts men were beaten 126-117 away to Bedfordshire in the Eastern Counties League, their third defeat in four matches.
Hunts complete their Middleton Cup programme on Saturday with a home match against Hertfordshire at Parkway.
Steve Farrant (Huntingdon), Kierren Murray (Brampton), Lindsay Swannell, Nicky Brett (both Warboys).
Eric Baker (Papworth), Trevor Collins, Simon Law (both Parkway), Ean Morton (Warboys).
Tom Hall (Eaton Socon), Rob Elmore (Warboys), Owen Kennedy (Hemingford), Lewis Baker (Warboys).
Paul Dalliday (Whittlesey Manor), Toby Furzeland (Sawtry), Robbie Coleman (Brampton), Tristan Morton (Warboys).
Brian Martin, Joe Randall, James Harford, Mike Robertson (all Parkway).
Harry Ward (Hemingford), Tom Swannell, Simon Leader, Ed Elmore (all Warboys).