Hunts marked Trevor Collins’ 100th Middleton Cup appearance by presenting him with an engraved hip flask before Saturday’s home match with Bedfordshire at Parkway.
Unfortunately for Hunts, that was the only celebration of the day as the team were beaten 107-125 by the new section leaders and so remain anchored at the foot of the four-county group with just eight points from two matches.
Hunts registered two winning rinks, with Nicky Brett steering Steve Farrant, Harry Ward and Owen Kennedy to a 26-16 victory, while Ean Morton guided Eric Baker, Kierren Murray and Simon Law to a 24-14 success, but it means Hunts will be only playing for pride in their final match against Hertfordshire.
Hunts 107 (4), Bedfordshire 125 (18) – (Hunts skips only):
Nicky Brett won 26-16; Ean Morton won 24-14; Mike Robertson lost 18-20; Tristan Morton lost 11-
31; Ed Elmore lost 12-20; Lewis Baker lost 16-24.
There was another disappointment for the county 24 hours later when their junior team’s hopes of qualifying for the national finals of the White Rose Trophy, the under 25 inter-county double rink event, were dashed in the regional decider by Essex at Whittlesey Manor.
After a comfortable 56-30 defeat of Cambridgeshire in the morning semi-finals, Hunts were always on the back foot in the final against Essex, who went through to Leamington with a 57-31 victory, having beaten Hertfordshire 40-33 earlier in the day.
The Hunts rinks were: Tom Hall, Sam Nickerson, Joe Randall and Ed Elmore; Harry Ward, Kierren Murray, James Price and Lewis Baker.
Parkway pair Catherine Popple and Sabrina Parnell are the latest bowlers from Hunts to qualify for the Bowls England national finals at Leamington in August.
Former international Popple, the defending county champion, defeated Jane Baldwin (St Ives) in one semi-final, while Parnell eliminated Juliet May (Buckden), who had qualified in this event for the previous two years.
In the men’s equivalent, Simon Leader (Warboys) booked his place in the national finals with a 21-10 victory over Eric Baker (Papworth).
BRITISH ISLES CHAMPIONSHIPS
Parkway trio James Harford, Simon Law and Stuart Popple will be representing England in the British Isles championships at Llandrindod Wells next week.
The reigning English triples champions take on their Scottish counterparts next Thursday in a preliminary round encounter, with the winners going forward to meet Guernsey in the semis.
Hunts player Lewis Baker has been named in the England junior team for the British Isles U25 series being played at Elgin in Scotland in September, with Warboys club-mate Ed Elmore named as one of two travelling reserves.
Patkway are through to the third round of the Bowls England inter-club two fours competition following a narrow 41-39 win over West Ward A.