Northants Bowling Federation were involved in a dramatic 83-83 draw with Hunts in their opening Derbyshire Trophy inter-county championship match at Huntingdon.
With both counties winning two rinks apiece, it meant they shared the 18 points on offer, but Northants had a chance to collect the bulk of the points on the last end.
Northants captain James Harford, making his 50th appearance for the county, opened the head in which he was three shots down to spring the jack, but with four feet to draw for a decisive second shot he fractionally overplayed his final delivery.
His rink’s 21-19 win was enough to secure vital rink points, but he was disappointed he was unable to claim overall victory.
“I’m kicking myself that I was unable to draw in that last shot when we had a chance to win it overall, but a tie is better than a defeat and we will look forward to our next game in the New Year with confidence.”
That match is away to North Cambs on January 22 by which time Harford may have a full strength squad at his disposal. Stephen Harris and Joe Randall were involved in an England under 25 trial on Sunday, and Tristan Morton and Martyn Dolby were both unavailable.
With Phil Afford featuring in Simon Law’s rink alongside Paul Dalliday and making an impressive Derbyshire debut in a 21-17 win, Northants held leads of 16-15, 33-30 and 55-47 after five, ten and 15 ends respectively and with five ends to play led by four overall.
Roger Martin, returning to the team, looked to have the beating of Lindsay Swannell’s trio, but the Hunts man converted the last end to pinch three shots for a 23-21 win, while Neil Wright’s rink, which trailed 12-1 at one stage, got back to within four shots of England international Lewis Baker.
Northants 83 (9), Hunts 83 (9) – (Northants rinks only):
Paul Dalliday, Phil Afford, Simon Law won 21-17.
Howard Shipp, Nick Wilkie, James Harford won 21-19.
Brian Martin, Bob Warters, Neil Wright lost 20-24.
John Holroyd, Graham Agger, Roger Martin lost 21-23.
n The Peterborough senior men’s team inflicted the first defeat of the season on Cambs League leaders Cambridge Chesterton A to boost their title hopes. Although Peterborough won on three of the four rinks at Burton Street for a crucial eight-point haul, the final margin was only six shots (69-63).
Peterborough 69 (8), Cambridge Chesterton A 63 (2): (Peterborough rinks only) –
Les Sharp, Richard Day, Mick Linnell, Dick Noble won 25-13.
Joe Martin, Norman Gray, Phil Afford, Mick Duell won 19-9.
Mick Fuller, Pete Harvey, Mick Greaves, Rod Maplethorpe won 20-12.
Terry Corney, Terry English, Ray Keating, Wilf Redhead lost 5-29.
n In national competitions, Peterborough’s Roger Ward was beaten 21-14 in the opening round of the over 60 singles by Stamford’s Tony Barwell.
n There was no joy for local bowlers hoping to influence the England Under 25 indoor selectors at Northampton on Sunday. Whittlesey-based Joe Randall, who now plays out of the Huntingdon club, and Stamford’s Stephen Harris, both missed out on selection following the trial.