Although Northants bowlers failed to win an individual title at the English Bowling Federation indoor finals at Newark for the third year in a row, the county didn’t return home empty-handed as they retained the men’s Eversley Trophy on the final day of the championships.
The county topped the table in the one-day double rink event restricted to current county officers and past presidents, winning three of their four matches to once again pip Humberside for the title.
The rinks of Les Sharp, Graham Agger and Cliff Watson; Malcolm Squires, Richard Montgomery and Neil Wright lost the opening match to Durham, but then took maximum points from North Cambs, Hunts and Suffolk.
It added some gloss to the week for the county that have managed only two individual victories at these championships since 2009, the last one coming in 2015.
The best performances came from Stamford pair Elizabeth Wallace and Martyn Dolby, who both reached the semi-finals in their respective senior singles disciplines.
Dolby, who qualified in four events, was beaten 21-17 by Lincolnshire’s Paul Flatters, having led 6-0 at one stage, while in the open singles, where he lost in the second round, he had the distinction of defeating defending champion Danny Cawthorne (Norfolk) in the opening round.
Wallace came unstuck in the last four against former singles winner Jenny Humphries (Notts), losing 21-7, but a feather in her cap came in the opening round of the open singles, where she toppled former champion Pauline Marples (Derbys) 21-18 after being 8-0 adrift.
Dolby also reached the second round in the mixed rinks with Chris Ford and Adam Warrington, and the only other opening round successes for Northants bowlers came from Michael Humphreys and Roger Martin in the pairs and the young Stamford trio Louise Harris, Helen Holroyd and Katie Bailey in the rinks.
The women’s team of county officers and past presidents finished tied for third in the Harry Carver Trophy.
Local bowler Nicky Brett and daughter Chloe were among the title winners at Newark for Hunts.
They teamed up to win the mixed pairs, and Chloe claimed a second title when joining forces with Rebecca Moorbey and Juliet May to win the women’s rinks.
How the Northants players fared at the English finals
Singles: Martyn Dolby beaten 16-21 in second round by Ian McIntosh (Durham) following 21-18 first round win over the holder, Danny Cawthorne (Norfolk).
Senior singles: Martyn Dolby beaten 17-21 in the semi-final by Paul Flatters (Lincs) after 21-10 and 21-5 wins against Hunts and Humberside respectively.
Under 25 singles: Stephen Harris beaten 9-21 by Danny Seabourne (Norfolk) in the opening round.
Pairs: Michael Humphreys and Roger Martin beaten 11-24 in second round by Norfolk after a 17-14 first round win against Humberside.
Rinks: Michael Humphreys, Chris Ballard and John Holroyd were beaten 8-27 by Hunts in the second round after receiving a bye in the opening round.
Pairs: Chris Ford and Martyn Dolby beaten 7-20 in the first round by Lincs.
Rinks: Adam Warrington, Chris Ford, Martyn Dolby beaten 12-21 by Durham in the second round after a 24-13 first round win against Humberside.
Singles: Elizabeth Wallace beaten 9-21 in second round by Durham after a 21-18 first round win against former champion Pauline Marples (Derbys).
Senior singles: Elizabeth Wallace beaten 7-21 in the semi-finals by Jenny Humphries (Notts) after a 21-14 win against Jane Baldwin (Hunts).
Pairs: Moira Holroyd and Glenys Edwards beaten 11-21 in the first round by Durham.
Rinks: Louise Harris, Helen Holroyd, Katie Bailey beaten 11-20 in second round by Derbys after a 22-13 first round win against Suffolk.
n Parkway A, last season’s Midweek League champions in the Peterborough League, face Spalding League title winners Spalding Town at Market Deeping on Sunday afternoon in the Inter-League Champion of Champions decider.
It’s the third time the challenge match has been staged and Parkway will be hoping to get the Peterborough League on the board, with Ascoughfee having won the first two for the Spalding League.
n Whitlesey Manor take on a Northants Bowling Federation representative team on Saturday in the annual curtain raiser to the new season, with the John Dickenson Memorial Shield at stake.
The Shield was presented last year by his widow Mary as a fitting memorial to John, who was a leading light in both the English Bowling Federation and Northants Bowling Federation for many years, and was also a former Whittlesey Manor player.
n Northants Women’s Bowling Federation begin preparations for the new county championship campaign with a practice match at the City of Peterborough club next Wednesday (1.30pm) ahead of the opening fixtures at home to Hunts on Wednesday, May 30, the games being played at Peterborough & District and City of Peterborough.
Then there’s a run of three consecutive away matches – North Essex on Tuesday, June 19, Norfolk on Monday, June 25 and North Cambs (Donald Steward team only) on Wednesday, July 4. A home fixture with Suffolk on Wednesday, July 11 completes the programme.