Northants made a winning start to their defence of the Adams Trophy, the English Bowling Federation’s inter-club championship, with a 172-139 home defeat of Norfolk at Whittlesey Manor.
Northants won on five of the six rinks and only a four-shot deficit on Jon Earl’s rink prevented a maximum haul of 22 points, but new captain Fred Richardson would surely have accepted 20 points at the start of the day.
Sadly the Newton Trophy team, hoping to emulate their county team-mates, suffered a 158-189 defeat at the hands of Norfolk at Parkway, despite winning on four of the six rinks.
The Adams team, with Tony Belson (Yaxley) and Neil Wright (Parkway) drafted into the team and Barry Lawrence (Whittlesey Manor) returning after injury, rarely looked in difficulty after taking an early substantial lead.
Top rink was the established trio of Steve Roden, Graham Agger and Peter Brown winning 36-22, with Lee Welsford, skipping Belson and Wright, not far behind at 34-23.
At Parkway, Northants held a slender three-shot lead at the halfway point and were only two shots adrift after 20 ends, but two Norfolk rinks against Brian Swann (16-54) and Fred Addy (16-33) made the difference and despite switching positions, the respective home players couldn’t find the right combinations and went down heavily.
Elsewhere there were good wins for John Holroyd, Phil Afford and the returning Dick Noble (40-25), while Mick Duell, making his Newton debut alongside Les Sharp and another newcomer in Michael Humphreys, won 28-25, despite dropping six shots over the last four ends.
Northants continue their campaign away to local rivals North Cambs on Saturday.
Northants 172 (20), Norfolk 139 (2): (Northants rinks only) - Sean Fenlon, Barry Lawrence, Roger Martin won 33-28. Neil Wright, Tony Belson, Lee Welsford won 34-23. Adam Warrington, Stephen Harris, Jon Earl lost 18-22. Roger Stevens, Paul Bailey, Martin Welsford won 22-18. Steve Roden, Graham Agger, Peter Brown won 36-22. Nick Wilkie, Martin Stokes, Paul Buckley won 29-22.
Northants 159 (8), Norfolk 189 (14): (Northants rinks only) – Jack Corney, Mick Linnell, Brian Swann lost 16-54. Les Sharp, Michael Humphreys, Mick Duell won 28-25. Andrew Grief, Peter Holmes, Fred Addy lost 17-33. Bob Warters, Cliff Watson, Peter Jessop won 27-25. Jim Ruddy, Mick Greaves, Brian Bassam won 30-27. John Holroyd, Phil Afford, Dick Noble won 40-25.
In the Northants competitions, last year’s national senior pairs champions Roger Stevens and Tony Mace (Whittlesey Manor) were beaten in the opening round 7-22 by Ketton’s Bob Warters and Albert Horton. County president Warters, holder of the county’s veterans singles title, fell at the first hurdle this time, losing 13-21 to Blackstones’ Paul Buckley.
The women’s senior singles has already reached the semi-final stage where Pam Plowman (Ketton) will face Norma Squires (City of Peterborough), while Viv Hempsell (Yaxley) hosts Chris Ford (Ketton).