They were pushed to the wire, but Northants are still on course to retain the Liberty Trophy title after a fantastic last-gasp win against Wiltshire at Swindon on Saturday.
The result of this thrilling game was in doubt until the very last bowl of the 126 ends of play, with Northants scraping it 106-104.
The County knew they were in for a hard battle against the Wiltshire men.
Northants started very strongly, going into a 9-1 lead after the very first end, and the lead was increased by the conclusion of the second end to 11 shots at 15-4.
It was not expected that this domination would continue, but after five ends the County’s lead had increased to 16 shots.
The sixth end saw the situation completely reversed as Wiltshire collected 11 shots to the County’s one for their deficit to be reduced to just six shots, but the seventh end saw a 7-1 advantage to the County to restore a healthy lead of 13 shots.
The County then had a disastrous eighth end in failing to score a single shot as their opponents added 12 to their score, leaving Northants just one shot ahead.
From then on the shots difference was always in single figures, generally held by the County, although momentarily at around the 16 ends Wiltshire actually took a lead for the first time, albeit by just one shot.
That lead was, fortunately for the County, short-lived, and it was never regained, and with just one rink left playing its last end, the County held a slender lead of four shots.
The rink involved the youngest County skip Connor Cinato, up against former regular England international Mel Biggs.
Connor was level at 14-14, and he was certainly not going to allow Biggs to pick up a four-shot count to tie the match. A very tidy head built up, and as Connor played his second bowl he was shots down, but with great confidence he fired and Biggs, as a result, had little chance to make the four he needed.
In the event, he picked up two shots for the overall score to remain two shots in the County’s favour.
The highest scoring rink for the County, with a 12-shots advantage, was that skipped by Paul Broderick, and the only other winning rink was that skipped by Neil McKee, with nine shots to the good. Andrew Manton’s rink drew, and the other three lost.
The win puts the County into the national semi-final where they will meet Kent on Saturday, March 12 at a venue to be arranged.
Rink scores as follows, Northamptonshire names first:
Rink 1: Dave Flippance, Jason Bryan, Matt Pownall & Connor Cinato 14 – Gary Jackson, Chris Cheesley, Dave Snell & Mel Biggs 16
Rink 2: Adam Pitfield, Bob Fuller, John Haines & Neil Corbyn 14 – Kevin Embling, David Leighfield, Dave Godwin & Ian Jefferies 16
Rink 3: Dave Love, Ben Sharpe, Jim McKee & Vernon Gearey 11 – Jordan Moody, Darren Anteneym, Tom Warner & Wayne Snook 26
Rink 4: Tony Dicks, Chris Bland, Callum Height & Andrew Manton 20 – Paul Kistle, Dave Williams, Steve Remington & Neil Smith 20
Rink 5: Richard Lemon, David Walker, Darren Childs & Neil McKee 23 – Craig Hatherall, Tom Pittuck, Terry Walton & Mike Titcombe 14
Rink 6: Curtis Johnson, Andy Smith, Dominic Graham & Paul Broderick 24 – Chris Easton, Nigel Price, Paul Macdonald & Andy Moore 12 shots
Bedford date awaits in Warwick Trophy
NORTHANTS Men take on Bedfordshire in the Midland Counties Warwick Trophy on Saturday at Bedford Borough IBC on Goldington Road in Bedford (2pm).
The following players have been selected to represent the County:
Rink 1: Dave Love, Wellingborough/Kyle Buckley, Rushden Town/Dave Flippance, Desborough/Matt Pownall, Welligborough
Rink 2: Will Clelland, Desborough/Mick Richardson, Kingsthorpe/Tony O’Leary, Northampton & District/Darren Childs, Wellingborough
Rink 3: Tony Dicks, Daventry/Chris Wright, Kingsthorpe/Martin Gearey, Kingsthorpe/Vernon Gearey, Kingsthorpe
Rink 4: Mick Spear, Kingsthorpe/Paul O’Beirne, Kingsthorpe/Darren Lewis, Kingsthorpe/Jim McKee, Kingsthorpe
Rink 5: Jim Diver, Desborough/Norman Gibb, Desborough/Bob Fuller, Wellingborough/John Haines, Desborough
Rink 6: Peter Mellor, Desborough/Malc Mattinson, Rushden Town/Roger Tansley, Kingsthorpe/Walt Winsor, Wellingborough
Reserve: Colin Barnes, Northampton & District
Northants secure big win against Surrey
NORTHANTS IBA Men entertained Surrey in a ‘Surrey Cup’ match at Northampton & District IBC and hammered them by 54 shots, winning 141-87.
The County had four winning rinks, and two losing, albeit by just a total of eight shots between them, and the highest scoring rink for the County was that skipped by George Warren, which posted a massive 26-shots victory.
The but the rink skipped by Reg Jones was not far behind with a score of 20 shots to the good..
Northants 141 (18 points) – Surrey 87 (4 points). Rink scores, Surrey skips only, as follows:
Rink 1: Chris Hawkins, Ken Lovejoy, Bob Tingle & Bernard Spreadbury 17 – Trevor Prentice 23
Rink 2: Harvey Fruish, Ray Ward, Alan Watts & Geoff Hunt 23 – Alan Shelley 14
Rink 3: Dougie Cooper, Don Scott, Geoff Allen & Mick Worthington 15 – Terry Hill 17
Rink 4: Jim Diver, John Chester, Trevor Goodchild & Reg Jones 32 – Peter Dixon 12
Rink 5: Roger Miller, Peter Kitchener, Ted Guiver & Richard Somerton 21 – Andy Failes 14
Rink 6: Rick Hayes, Peter Byworth, Tony Weston & George Warren 33 – Kevin Perry 7
THE latest national competitions results.
Ladies Pairs Area Final: Yvonne McKee & Brenda Bishop, Kingsthorpe BC beat Alison Dring & Tina Broderick, Wellingborough 21-20
Ladies Over 60 Singles Inter Area Final: Linda Warren, Northampton & District IBC beat Sara Ntathews, City of Ely IBC 21-17
Mixed Pairs Inter Area Final: Linda Warren & Chris Bland, Northampton & District IBC beat D Davies & Dave Wilson, Leicester IBC 17-10
Warren and Bland will now meet Sue Clark & Andy Swann of Tilbury Community Association IBC in the National Finals at Lincoln & District IBC on February 28.
Men’s singles Area Semi-Finals: Jamie Walker, Wellingborough BC beat Curtis Johnson, Wellingborough BC 21-11 shots; Connor Cinato, Kingsthorpe BC beat Ben Sharpe, Kingsthorpe BC 21-5. Connor and Jamie will now meet in the Area Final on a date to be arranged.
Men’s Pairs Area Semi-Final: Andrew Manton & Neil McKee, Kingsthorpe BC beat Matt Pownall & Jamie Walker,Wellingborough BC 20-18; Jason Bryan & Connor Cinato, Kingsthorpe BC beat Paul Munday & Jack Tobin,Rushden Town BC 25-20.
Men’s Triples Area Semi-Final: Andrew Manton, Connor Cinato & Neil McKee, Kingsthorpe BC beat Adam Pitfield, Danny Walker & Mick Cooper, Wellingborough BC 23-8
Men’s Over-60 Singles Area Final: Mick Sharpe, Kingsthorpe BC beat Tony Dicks, Daventry IBC 21-17. Sharpe now plays Don Welch, Melton & District IBC in the Inter Area Final on a date to be arranged
Men’s Over-60s Pairs Area Final: Colin Dalglish & Alan Ramscar, Northampton & District IBC beat David W Smith & Brian Barnicoat, Kettering Lodge BC 26-6 shots