Northants enhanced their chances of returning to Skegness for the second year running in the Adams Trophy with a dramatic 152-150 victory away to Suffolk who have often proved their nemesis in recent years.
The 16-point haul keeps them at the top of the southern section, and victory at home to closest rivals Lincolnshire on Saturday would certainly put them in the driving seat as they bid to defend the English Bowling Federation’s inter-county championship won for the first time in their history last year.
Northants had only twice been to the final before last year’s triumph, finishing runners-up in 1929 and 1959, but Saturday’s nail-biting last end victory against a county that has been in the final 13 times in the past 18 years showed that the holders are determined to retain their crown.
With the last end of the match to play, Northants held a one shot lead overall at 151-150, but the rink of Steven Roden, John Holroyd and Graham Agger faced a two-shot deficit on the end until Holroyd, a late replacement for the injured Peter Brown, nailed the jack.
Despite later movement on the jack, Northants hung on to win by two to claim 16 of the 22 points available, Agger’s rink returning the top scorecard of 38-14, with Lee Welsford a close second with a 31-18 success. His father, Martin, took the other rink honours for the visitors, 25-23.
The Newton Trophy team suffered their second defeat in three matches with a 139-193 defeat at the hands of Suffolk.
Captain Brian Bassam, with Mick Greaves and Jim Ruddy, snatched a late winner, with county president Bob Warters, Cliff Watson and Peter Jessop maintaining their 100 per cent record with a 28-19 victory.
Northants 152 (16), Suffolk 150 (6): (Northants rinks only):
Nick Wilkie, Martin Stokes, Paul Buckley lost 17-37.
Neil Wright, James Harford, Lee Welsford won 31-18.
Adam Warrington, Stephen Harris, Jon Earl lost 18-32.
Roger Stevens, Paul Bailey, Martin Welsford won 25-23.
Steve Roden, John Holroyd, Graham Agger won 38-14.
Sean Fenlon, Barry Lawrence, Roger Martin lost 23-26.
Northants 139 (4), Suffolk 192 (18): (Northants rinks only):
Les Sharp, Michael Humphreys, Mick Duell lost 21-30.
Jim Ruddy, Mick Greaves, Brian Bassam won 29-28.
Jack Corney, Malcolm Squires, Roger Strong lost 22-30.
Paul Dalliday, Phil Afford, Brian Swann lost 24-37.
Andrew Grief, Peter Holmes, Fred Addy lost 15-48.
Bob Warters, Cliff Watson, Peter Jessop won 28-19.
DONALD STEWARD TROPHY
Northants’ Donald Steward team made it two wins out of three when defeating local rivals Hunts 131-101 at Peterborough & District, but there was a second successive defeat for the Silver Jubilee Vase side as they went down 94-119 to their Hunts counterparts at Parkway.
Northants almost gained the maximum 18 points in the Donald Steward fixture as their one rink defeat was by just one shot. Joan Padley’s rink led the way with a 33-14 victory, and there were also wins for Julie Masters, Sheila Craig and Hazel Bass.
Having failed to register a point the previous week against Suffolk, Northants got off the mark in the Silver Jubilee Vase, with narrow rink wins for Wendy Harrold and Pearl O’Brien and a draw for Viv Hempsell, but Hunts took the overall honours, winning 32-9 and 22-17 on the other two rinks.
DONALD STEWARD TROPHY
Northants 131 (16), Hunts 101 (2) – (Northants rinks only):
Kathy Browning, Fiona Richardson, Norma Squires lost 25-26.
Shirley Suffling, Doris Flowers, Julie Masters won 28-21.
Sue Moir, Vie Hatch, Sheila Craig won 19-18.
Ann Cullingworth, Jessica Phillips, Joan Padley won 33-14.
Liz Bar, Chris Ford, Hazel Bass won 26-22.
SILVER JUBILEE VASE
Northants 94 (5), Hunts 119 (13) - (Northants rinks only):
Val Du’Kett, Myra Landsburgh, Pearl O’Brien won 21-20.
Margaret Linnell, Gill Day, Wendy Harrold won 24-22.
Gill King, Freda Thomas, Judy Ford lost 17-22.
Carol Warters, Janet Duffy, Glenys Edwards lost 9-32.
Jill Cooper, Dee Brinkman, Viv Hempsell drew 23-23.
Whittlesey Manor’s hopes of reaching the final of the Durham Centenary Trophy, the English Bowling Federation’s national club championship, for the second time were dashed on Sunday when they were beaten 75-95 by Suffolk’s The Rookery club in Stowmarket.
The Rookery, who had beaten Warboys by 31 shots in the opening round, won on three of the four rinks, the Manor consolation coming from the rink of Jack Corney, Darren Lord and Fred Richardson, who had the distinction of defeating a trio skipped by world indoor number three Mark Royal.
However, Whittlesey Manor won’t be involved in the competition next year as they were beaten 57-84 by Blackstones in the opening round of the Dan Duffy Trophy, the winners of which advance to next year’s Durham Centenary Trophy.