Having guided the Northants Bowling Federation county team to Adams Trophy glory for the first time in their 71-year history, it was not a total surprise when it was revealed at the annual meeting that team captain Cliff Watson had decided to stand down.
There’s certainly nothing like going out at the top, although in fairness he had said when originally elected that he would take the reins for three years during which time he hoped he would lead the team to the English Bowling Federation’s inter-county championship final for the first time since 1959.
That was achieved in the third year of his tenure and for good measure the team went one better by defeating Northumberland in the final at Skegness.
The outgoing captain will now resume playing duties in the Newton Trophy under the captaincy of Peterborough & District clubmate Brian Bassam, who was re-elected to the post, while the new Adams Trophy captain, with perhaps the most difficult challenge in local bowls next season, is experienced county player Fred Richardson from Whittlesey Manor.
James Harford has taken over the captaincy of the Derbyshire Trophy, the indoor inter-county championship, following Howard Shipp’s decision not to stand for re-election.
There was a special honour for immediate past president Malcolm Squires who received a life membership in recognition of many years of dedicated service to the NBF which has included two terms as county president.
Having spent the first year of his two-year presidency without a deputy, Bob Warters will have Tony Mace at his side this coming year following the election of the Whittlesey Manor stalwart as deputy president.
One key change on the administrative side of the county was the appointment of Melvyn Beck as county secretary following the decision of Mike Ramsden to stand down. Both Ramsden and Watson were elected to fill the two vacancies on the management committee.
The county have been forced to withdraw their under 25 team from the Reg Wright Trophy owing to the fact that they are unable to recruit enough players to compensate for the loss of several key personnel who are now ineligible.
The president said it was a major disappointment that the county had to make this decision, but there was no real option at this stage, although he hoped the situation might improve in the near future to enable the county to return to the competition.
Market Deeping have affiliated for the first time, but following the resignations of Wittering and Werrington, the county is now down to just 17 clubs.
It was announced that the county indoor finals would be hosted by Peterborough & District on Sunday, March 13, while the outdoor finals will be staged at the recently-opened City of Peterborough green on Sunday, July 17, when it is also hoped to stage the final of the Dan Duffy Trophy.
If it’s not possible to include the Dan Duffy Trophy final that day, it will be held at the same venue on Thursday, July 28, with the Adams Cup decider the following Thursday (August 4), also at City of Peterborough.
Treasurer Les Sharp reported a loss on the year of £926.17, but an increase in competition entry fees from £2.00 to £2.50 and a reduction in travel costs next season should make up that shortfall.
Officers elected: Deputy president, Tony Mace; Secretary, Melvyn Beck; Treasurer, Les Sharp; Match secretary, Graham Agger; Competitions & results secretary, Barry Lawrence; Minutes’ secretary, Linda Toms; National delegate, Alan Croxford; Press officer, Melvyn Beck.
Team captains: Adams Trophy, Fred Richardson; Newton Trophy, Brian Bassam; Derbyshire Trophy, James Harford.
Management committee: Peter Brown, Alan Croxford, John Dickenson, Mick Greaves, Mick Linnell, Steve Roden, Martin Welsford, Neil Wright, Cliff Watson, Mike Ramsden.
Derbyshire Trophy fixtures: Sunday, December 6 v Hunts (Peterborough, 10.0am); Sunday, January 10 v Lincs (away); Sunday, January 24 v North Cambs (Peterborough, 10.00am); Sunday, March 6 v Norfolk (away).