Women’s county bowls in the area has suffered a blow with Huntingdonshire Bowls being forced to withdraw their team from the Johns Trophy inter-county championship owing to a shortage of players.
Since the championship was changed from a midweek knockout competition to replicate the men’s Middleton Cup with four Saturday matches in regional groups it has been a struggle, especially for smaller counties such as Hunts to fulfil their commitments.
In fact, some of the counties opted to withdraw from the championships when the format was altered realising they would be unable to field a 24-strong team on a regular basis, and it is to Hunts’ credit that they managed to remain in the competition for as long as they did.
However, with fewer players reluctant to commit themselves on a regular basis, the writing had been on the wall.
As a result of the decision, it means Hunts will not be able to compete in the Walker Cup double rink knockout competition, an event in which they have enjoyed some success in the past, and they also receive an automatic ban from returning to the county championship before 2019.
It’s not all doom and gloom on the women’s county scene as the Northants Women’s Bowling Federation have recruited enough players to function with two 15-strong teams again this season.
More than 30 attended a get-together at Whittlesey Manor last week, including several newcomers to county bowls.
Meanwhile the Hunts men’s county team were in Eastern Counties League action at the weekend as they continue preparations for their Middleton Cup programme.
They were unable to build on their opening day win against Norfolk losing 108-132 to Hertfordshire at Welwyn Garden City.
Parkway have joined Whittlesey Manor in the third round of the Bowls England national club two fours competition following a 39-25 defeat of Somersham, the rinks being Brian Martin, Ean Morton, Mike Robertson and Tristan Morton; Paul Dalliday, James Harford, Simon Law and Stuart Popple.
The county men’s two-bowl singles championship is being staged at Parkway on Saturday with 46 players having initially entered the competition.
It will be played down to the final, with the finalists guaranteed their place in the national championships at Leamington in August.
n Local bowler Chloe Brett, daughter of world number two Nicky, has been selected to represent the England indoor under 18 team in the British Isles championship at Bristol next October.
n In the Northants Women’s Bowling Federation competitions, last year’s two-bowl singles champion, Sheila Craig (Conservative), lost her opening round match, 17-21, to Ketton’s Chris Ford.
Four-bowl singles, preliminary round: Sheila Craig (Conservative) bt Hazel Bass (Yaxley) 21-16; Jean Kendall (City of Pboro) bt Ann Cullingworth (Langtoft Pearl) 21-14; Louise Harris (Blackstones) bt Val Du’Kett (Ketton) 21-17; Pat Jones (Empingham) bt Fiona Richardson (City of Pboro) 21-20; Julie Masters (Parkway) bt Sue Moir (Langtoft Pearl) 21-7; Linda Kemp (Conservative) bt Andrea Cox (Langtoft Pearl) 21-15; Wendy Stevens (Pboro & Dist) bt Joan Robinson (Yaxley) 21-17; Sharon Bailey (Blackstones) bt Joan Butcher (Whittlesey Town) 21-7. Walkovers: Sharon Green (Pboro & Dist), Norma Squires (City of Pboro).
Senior pairs, preliminary round: Pat Jones (Empingham) bt Ann White (Langtoft Pearl) 20-19; Carol Grief (Crowland) bt Norma Squires (City of Pboro) 20-8. Walkover: Chris Ford (Ketton).
Two-bowl singles, preliminary round: Linda Kemp (Conservative) bt Joan Butcher (Whittlesey Town) 21-12; Chris Ford (Ketton) bt Sheila Craig (Conservative) 21-17; Sue Moir (Langtoft Pearl) bt Pat Jones (Empingham) 21-10; Shirley Suffling (Ketton) bt Norma Squires (City of Pboro) 21-14. Walkovers: Rita Mace (Whittlesey Manor), Sharon Green (Pboro & Dist), Julie Masters (Parkway), Elizabeth Wallace (Ketton).