Northampton West End’s Jamie Walker is the national junior bowls champion after he won the Men’s Junior Singles at the Aero Bowls National Championships played at Victoria Park in Leamington.
Walker was in imperious form throughout the tournament, claiming six emphatic wins in all and hammering Jack Emmerson of the Cavaliers BC in Nottinghamshire 21-2 in the final.
It was very nearly an all-Northants final, but Connor Cinato lost to Emmerson 21-18 at the semi-final stage.
Walker began with one of his toughest games, seeing off Tom Davies from Devon 21-15, and then in the second round he beat Matt Wordingham from Avenue BC in Leamington 21-6.
Walker led from the start and had advantages of 8-1, 12-3 and 16-5 before completing the win over his former Northants colleague to proceed to the last 16.
Dan Holmes of Ledbury BC in Hereford was beaten 21-6 in the third round, before an even more emphatic 21-3 win over Chipping Norton’s David Leighfield 21-3 in round four.
In the semi-final Walker was again tested as he came up against Bernard J Byles of Reading BC, but won 21-15.
It proved to be Walker toughest match of the tournament, and lasted 27 ends, with Byles putting up a very good fight.
Walker held a small 5-4 lead at after eight ends and despite then going ahead by a few shots at 11-5, Byles fought back to level the match at 11-11 after 16 ends.
Walker got his nose in front again, but had to work hard for it, and after 24 ends he had managed to get in sight of the winning post with a five-shot lead at 19-14.
Byles didn’t give up and Walker conceded one shot before he was able to get the two shots he need for a passage to the final.
The final proved to be a ‘Walker in the park’ as the West End man raced into a 14-0 lead after seven ends.
It looked possible that there might be a whitewash, but Emmerson did manage to pick up shots at the eighth and 10th end to at least get on the board.
It was a perfect exhibition of singles bowling by Walker as he claimed the national title for the third time, having won it previously in 2011 and 2013 and been runner-up in 2012.
This was the last year Walker was eligible as he turns 25 in December this year, and the win means he will represent England in the British Isles Championships in 2017.
Elsewhere in the nationals, Sandra Mawson of Whyte Melville lost 15-11 to Jenny Hosking of Chacewater BC in Cornwall in the Women’s Two-Wood Singles first round.
This was Mawson’s first appearance in the nationals and she started brilliantly to lead 7-1, and she also led 10-8 with seven ends to play, but Hosking turned up the heat over the final ends to claim the win.
Abington’s Tony O’Leary and Kingsthorpe’s Jim McKee represented the county in the Men’s Senior Pairs, and they enjoyed a 21-11 first round win over Nottinghamshire’s Mick Leafe and Richard Button.
The County men picked up three shots on the first end, and from then on were always in front.
It wasn’t such good news in the second round as O’Leary and McKee lost 23-18 to Roy Burnett and David Hanger, from Dorset.
The Dorset duo took an early 6-3 lead after three ends but the Northants pair then won the next six ends to take an 11-6 lead.
The opposition fought back though and it was 16-16 before the Dorset pair eased away to the finishing post in the final ends.
County cruise to win over The Imps
NORTHANTS Men enjoyed a 137-119 win in their friendly over The Imps BA at Roade BC.
The County had four winning rinks and two losing, but match was effectively won due to the splendid win by the rink skipped by Martin Walker, which did so by 21 shots.
Rink scores as follows, Imps skips only:
Rink 1: Peter Hoad, John Elphee, Colin Barnes & Bob Tingle 17 – Stan Orton 24
Rink 2: Peter Kitchener, Dave Lovell, Robin Frost & Reg Jones 17 – Brian Bontoft 13
Rink 3: Dave Francis, John Chester, Roger Summers & Martin Walker 35 – Peter Godding 14
Rink 4: Trevor Tilley, Neville Bodily, Paul Shrimpton & Dave Williamson 22 – John Scholey 17
Rink 5: Laurie Harrison, Peter Gilkes, Peter Hagon & Paul Green 17 - George Willmott 27
Rink 6: Gordon Morris, Tony Warren, Geoff Allen & Geoff Hayter 29 – Terry James 24
Bosworth helps VPs to share of the spoils
NORTHANTS VPs travelled to Desborough BC and secured a thrilling 115-115 draw with their hosts.
The rink wins were shared, with best rink for the County VP’s the one skipped by Fred Bosworth which posted a 19 shots victory.
Rink scores, Desborough Town skips only, as follows:
Rink 1: Jeff Talbot, Jim Walvin, Dick Lovesay & Fred Bosworth 27 – Carl Haines 8
Rink 2: Graham Cashmore, Derek Essam, Len Marshall & Dave Stewart 19 – Peter Mellor 30
Rink 3: Tony Hancock, Steve Hollywood, Peter Byworth & Dave Betts 22 – Ron Chambers 16
Rink 4: Brian Robbins, Tony Coles, Richard Pitts & Jack Brown 19 – John Pickaver 18
Rink 5: Albert Julyan, Liz Keeney, Will Keeney & Colin Incles 13 – John Haines 23
Rink 6: Maurice Tyler, Bryan Audis, Vic Wallace & Barry Hogston 15 – Trevor Wright 20
Ashbys celebrating mixed pair success
JANET and Alan Ashby from Northampton West End are the County Mixed champions after they beat Victoria Stevenson and Simon Coles Whyte Melville 23-18 in the final played at Abington.
After five ends played, the Melville pair had notched up a 10-0 scoreline, and one wondered what the final outcome might be.
But the experienced husband and wife team got their act together over the next six ends to reduce their deficit to just one shot at 11-12.
Stevenson and Coles went into a four shots lead over the next two ends at 15-11, but with a run of five very successful ends in which they more than doubled their score, the West End pair notched up an eight shots lead at 23-15 with just three ends left to play.
They restricted their opponents to just one shot on each of those ends to take the victory and lift the trophy.
Walker adds county crown to collection
JAMIE WALKER is the County Four-Wood Singles champion after he saw off Kingsthorpe’s Vernon Gearey 21-5 in the final at Abington BC.
Walker was in terrific form, and when he is in that sort of form it will always take an exceptional performance to beat him.
Gearey played some extremely good bowls, but on so many occasions when he was laying shot bowl, Walker would either rest the bowl for shot himself, or take the jack into the ditch and follow it in, or even ‘kill’ an end.
Beirne sets up final date against Turner
NICK BEIRNE of St Crispin BC eased into the final of the County Secretary/Treasurers Singles competition after a 21-12 win over Trevor Anderson of Corby Grampian.
Beirne has reached the latter stages of this competition many times in recent years, and he started the semi very well in picking up three shots on the first end and then cruising to a 10-4 lead after seven ends.
From that point on he eased himself to the finishing post, but it must be said that Anderson won nine of the 18 remaining ends, but Beirne only allowed him single shots.
In the final, the St Crispin man will play Mark Turner of Kettering Midland Band Club who saw off Roger Summers of Northampton West End 21-15 in the other semi.
Summers led for the first 15 ends of the contest, but a strong finish won it for Turner.