Northants bowlers draw a blank again in national finals

Chris Ford reached two semi-finals.
Chris Ford reached two semi-finals.
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Putting the two team events for executive officers to one side, Northants bowlers competing in the individual portion of the English Bowling Federation national indoor finals at Newark endured another title drought.

Three semi-finals, two of them involving Chris Ford, was the best Northants could muster which means they have only won two indoor titles since 2009.

In fairness, there were some creditable performances in defeat in the face of tough opposition, some with international credentials, but the record books show another barren year for the county, apart from the men’s success in the Eversley Trophy, the one-day team competition for county officers and past presidents which was played earlier in the month.

The women went close to pulling off a double in their equivalent event – the Harry Carver Trophy – which opening proceedings at Newark. They finished third, two points behind Norfolk and Lincolnshire, winning three of their four matches, a notable achievement considering that only two of the six-strong team currently play indoors.

The rinks were Doris Flowers, county president Rita Mace, Chris Ford and Joan Robinson, Jessica Phillips, Liz Barr.

It was hoped the excellent showings in these events might act as a springboard for further success, but unfortunately it was not to be.

The mixed rink of Adam Warrington, Chris Ford and Martyn Dolby raised hopes on the opening day when they defeated Suffolk and Norfolk to reach the semi-finals, where they were beaten 19-25 by Derbyshires whose rink included former England star Jean Baker.

Ford reached a second semi-final later in the week, defeating qualifiers from North Essex and Suffolk in the singles, but was unable to get past former international Ann Lennie (Northumberland), who, following her 21-11 defeat of the Stamford player, went on to claim the title for a fifth time in eight years.

Dolby also had a second bite of the cherry in the men’s singles, but was beaten 15-21 in his opening match by Suffolk’s Lee Rowland.

The other Northants semi-finalist was Joan Robinson in the senior singles, who defeated Chrissie Wadlow (North Cambs) and Jane Baldwin (Hunts) to set up a clash with Karen Weites (Northumberland), who edged through 21-19 before losing in the final.

None of the other Northants representatives managed to climb over their first hurdle, although first-time finalists Michael Humphreys, substitute Chris Ballard and Kevin Vinter gave the defending champions from Derbyshire a good run for their money in a 15-19 defeat, while Nick Wilkie and Joe Randall were only two shots adrift of former pairs winners Gary Shepperson and ex-England player Ashley Clipston, also from Derbyshire.

n Nicky Brett, representing Hunts, picked up his fourth rinks title when teaming up with England colleague Lewis Baker and Lindsey Swannell, but was beaten in the second round of the mixed pairs with daughter Chloe.

NORTHANTS RESULTS

MEN

Singles: Martyn Dolby beaten 15-21 in the opening round by Lee Rowland (North Essex).

Senior singles: Bob Warters beaten 12-21 in his opening match by Herbie Blacklock (Northumberland), who went on to retain the title.

Under 25 singles: Stephen Harris beaten 9-21 in his opening match by L. Creaser (Humberside).

Pairs: Nick Wilkie and Joe Randall beaten 15-19 in the opening round by former winners Gary Shepperson and former England international Ashley Clipston (Derbyshire).

Rinks: Chris Ballard (substitute for John Holroyd, Michael Humphreys and Kevin Vinter beaten 15-19 in the opening round by title holders Gary Shepperson, Russell Robinson and Ashley Clipston (Derbys).

MIXED

Pairs: Joe Martin and Carol Hunter beaten 13-22 in the opening round by Norfolk.

Rinks: Adam Warrington, Chris Ford and Martyn Dolby reached the semi-finals following wins over Suffolk (19-15) and Norfolk (29-8) before losing 19-25 to Derbyshire.

WOMEN

Singles: Chris Ford reached the semi-finals following wins over North Essex (21-19) and Suffolk (21-6) before losing 11-21 to former England international Ann Lennie (Northumberland), who went on to win the title for the fifth time in eight years.

Senior singles: Joan Robinson reached the semi-finals following wins over North Cambs’ Chrissie Wadlow, 21-17, and Hunts’ Jane Baldwin 21-18, before losing 19-21 to the Northumberland’s Karen Weites.

Pairs: Jan Want and Denise Mackie beaten 8-24 in the opening round by Lincolnshire.

Rinks: Fiona Richardson, Margaret Linnell and Julie Masters beaten 10-18 in the opening round by Notts.