The 2017 Northamptonshire women’s county champions are:
Singles- Sian Hughes
Under 25 Singles Champion Katie Smith
Pairs- Alsion Dring & Sharon Hall
Triples – Margaret Watts, Rebecca Wigfield & Katie Smith
Fours – Sharon Hall, Alison Dring, Tina Broderick & Emma Gray
2 Wood Singles Champion- Jill Welch
Over 55 Singles Champion- Viv Gaudyn
Over 55 Pairs Champions- Yvonne McKee & Sharon Tansley
Press report by John Church
4 WOOD SINGLES
Sian Hughes-Jones, Kettering Lodge BC beat Margaret Watts, Desborough Town BC 21-13 shots.
This was a match between almost the ‘new kid on the block’ in Sian, who has only been bowling for less than 3 years, and for whom appearing in a final such as this was very new for her, and the very experienced Margaret who has won many County competitions, as well as National ones. Sian did not appear to be fazed by the situation at all, and after dropping a couple of shots on the first end, she drew very well and at 5 ends played she had got herself a lead at 5-3 shots, and it was a lead she was not going to drop from that point on.
After 10 ends the advantage to Sian was 11-6, and after 15 ends it was still a lead of 5 shots at 15-10, and after 18 ends still 5 at 17-12 shots.. An exchange of singles saw the score showing a gap of 5 shots again, at 18-13 to Sian, and she had sight of the winning post. On the next end Margaret had put all 4 of her bowls pretty close to the jack, and Sian, having played 3 fairly indifferent bowls, with her last she played a superb end winning bowl which put her 2 away from victory after 21 ends played. Two singles and Sian had won – a tremendous victory for her to be crowned County Champion.
COUNTY CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS SINGLES
Liz Keeney, Corby Seagrave House BC beat Janet Ashby, Northampton West End BC 21-19 shots
This was quite a lengthy match, extending to 27 ends of play, an indication of the close nature of it, between two very experienced lady bowlers. Janet got off to a very good start with a single followed by a treble, but Liz won the next 3 ends to sit 5-4 up after 5 ends of play, but Janet fought back, picking up 4 shots over the next 3 ends to take an 8-5 shots lead, following which Liz did the same to Janet and reinstated her 1 shot lead at 9-8.
Three more winning ends for Janet followed, and she had gained a lead of 4 shots 13-9 after 14 ends of play, and she still had a 4 shots lead after 16 ends, but at this point Liz was drawing very well indeed, and over the next 5 ends she collected 8 shots for the lead to be now 4 shots in her favour at 18-14, and she could just glimpse the winning post around the corner. Janet, however, was not yet ready to be beaten and she ‘dug in’ deep and won the next 4 ends, and in picking up 5 shots she herself got nearer to the finishing line at 19-18 up, after 25 ends of play. Liz picked up 2 shots on the 26th end, and the winning 1 that mattered on the 27th end.
Alison Dring & Sharon Hall, Burton Latimer Town BC beat Rebecca Wigfield & Katie Smith, Desborough Town BC 23-15 shots.
Another very competitive match indeed, between 4 players who really wanted to win, with Rebecca and Katie looking to make it as champions in 3 successive years, having won in 2015 and 2016. All players were drawing well to the jack, but Burton Latimer had the edge over the first 5 ends, when they established a 7-1 shots lead, but 5 ends later that lead had been reduced to just 1 shot at 9-8, and 3 further ends on it was still anyone’s game with the gap still just 1 shot in Sharon & Alison’s favour. At 15 ends of play, the Burton Latimer pair managed to create some daylight between themselves and Rebecca & Katie, taking a lead of 5 shots at 15-10, and the next end further increased it by adding 2 more shots. The next 3 ends were all in the Desborough pair’s favour as they picked up 5 shots to reduce their deficit to just 2 shots with 2 ends left to play, and those ends were very well played by Alison and Sharon as they collected to 6 shots for what appeared to be from the score a comfortable win, which it certainly was not.
Marlene Armitage, Lind Walsh & Marilyn Dunkley, Wellingborough BC beat Sue Collins, Sylvia Downer & Maureen McDonald, Wellingborough BC 12-11 shots- after an extra end
A very close match between Club colleagues, which firstly saw Maureen’s triple on the scoreboard with 5 shots on the first 2 ends, but Marilyn’s triple took the next 5 ends, with 4 singles and a double to take a 1 shot lead, and 1 end later the scores were level on 6 each. Maureen’s ladies picked up 2 singles, but the scores were levelled again on the 11th end of this 15 end format, when Marilyn picked up a double.
2 ends later and Marilyn’s triple was 2 shots up at 10-8 with 2 ends left to play, the first of which was very good for Maureen and her ladies for they picked up a count of 3 shots to take a 1 shot lead on the 14th end. The 15th end was very closely fought but Marilyn managed to get a single shot, which meant an extra end was required to be played. That extra end was also very keenly fought and it could have gone either way, but in the end it went to Marilyn’s triple by 1 shot.
FINALS – Played on the afternoon of Saturday, 29th July, 2017, at Wellingborough BC
Alison Dring, Tina Broderick, Emma Gray & Sharon Hall, Burton Latimer Town BC beat Debbie Bradshaw, Diane Brown, Lisbeth Milburn & Debbie Cadd, Abington BC 22-21 shots.
This was in some ways quite a strange match so far as the scoring pattern went, for after picking up a huge count of 6 shots on the first end, and then scoring 4 more shots to the 3 by Abington, the Burton rink held a 10-3 shots lead after 6 ends of play. At that point on, for the next 7 ends, Sharon’s rink could not get a score on the board, as Abington won all 7 and took a lead of 9 shots at 19-10 after 13 ends of play. The next 6 ends saw Burton Latimer win them all, but by just 1 shot each, an indication of how tight the game was, and that put Burton Latimer 3 shots behind with just 2 ends to play.
The first of those ends saw quite an unusual situation, for the Burton players drew 6 excellent bowls very close to the jack, and the Abington players could not dislodge any of them, so a count of 6 to Burton, the second such count of the match, put them 3 shots in front for the last end. Burton played some very good strategic bowls, but there was still a chance for Abington to pick up at least the 3 shots needed for an extra end, and before Debbie bowled her last wood, she and her No. 3 Lisbeth, spent quite a time deliberating how to get the 3, and when she did bowl the last bowl it was nearly successful, but she could pick up just 2 with a measure for the 3rd, which she lost.
Margaret Watts, Katie Smith & Rebecca Wigfield, Desborough Town BC beat Sue Edwards, Denise Carlin & Margaret McGillivray, Desborough Town BC 17-14 shots
An all Desborough Final, featuring Margaret Watts, Katie Smith & Rebecca Wigfield, who were looking for a hat-trick of wins in successive years, having won the title in 2015 & 2016, and their club colleagues. Initially the Champions were playing as befits the title and after exchanging single shots, they picked up a big count of 5 shots to take a 6-1 lead, and after conceding a single, another 3 shots were added to their score on the 5th end to lead 9-2, and it looked at that stage that they were ‘cruising’ comfortably.
Margaret and her ladies, however, saw things differently, and they played really well over the next 6 ends to take 5 of them and only concede a single on the other, to get to within 1 shot of their opponents at 9-10. $ ends later, Rebecca’s triple had increased their lead to 4 shots at 16-12 with 3 ends left to play, and an exchange of singles saw that lead remain, which put Margaret and ladies in much difficulty in trying to get 4 shots or more to overcome their colleagues, and it did not happen for them as they could only pick up 1 shot. Congratulations, therefore, to Margaret, Katie & Rebecca for the 3 successive wins.
2 WOOD SINGLES ( Played over 21 ends)
Jill Welch, Heyford BC beat Pat Bodily, Kingsthorpe BC 16-10 shots.
A match between two regular members of the County Women’s ‘Johns Trophy’ team, in which it was expected to be very tightly fought, but the first 7 ends were almost exclusively Jill’s as she out-drew Pat on 6 of them to set herself up with a 7-1 shots lead. Pat did start to find her weight and by the 14th end she had reduced her deficit to just 2 shots at 8-10, but when Jill picked up a count of 2 followed by a single on the next 2 ends, the gap of 5 shots between them was very much in Jill’s favour with a possible 5 ends left to play. Pat picked up 2 shots on the next end to give herself a chance, but when Jill reciprocated with 2 of her own, the 5 shots gap was reinstated with just 3 ends available for Pat to take the win, but it was Jill who collected a single shot on the 19th end for the victory.
OVER 55 PAIRS
Yvonne McKee & Sharon Tansley, Kingsthorpe BC beat Jenny Dempsey & Viv Gaudyn, Higham Ferrers Town BC 23-14 shots
This match saw the Higham Ferrers pair taking an early lead, as after dropping 1 shot on the first end, they won the next 5 ends for an 11-1 shots lead, but Yvonne & Sharon appeared not to be fazed by this for they won the next 4 ends to reduce their deficit to 4 shots. Jenny & Viv maintained that 4 shots lead for the next 4 ends and at 14 ends the score was 13-9 in their favour. The next 2 ends, however, were a bit disastrous for Higham for Yvonne & Sharon collected a count of 3 shots, followed by a count of 5 shots, to take a 4 shots lead themselves at 17-13. After Jenny & Viv picked up 1 shot to reduce their deficit to 3 shots with 4 ends left Yvonne & Sharon took 3 of those ends, picked up 6 shots, winning by the 9 shots after 20 ends played.
OVER 55 SINGLES
Viv Gaudyn, Higham Ferrers Town BC beat Elaine Cox, St Crispin BC 21-18 shots.
This was an excellent game of singles, with both players performing very well. Viv took an early lead at 4-1 after 4 ends, which she built on over the next 3 ends to double her advantage at 8-2 shots. Elaine, however, is a doughty player, and in taking the next 2 ends she closed the gap to just 1 shot in Viv’s favour at 8-7, and in picking up 3 shots to 1 conceded, Viv moved ahead by 3 shots at 11-8 after 12 ends of play. 5 ends later the scores were levelled to 12 each by some excellent bowls from Elaine, and it was ‘game on’ but Viv immediately reinstated a 4 shots lead at 16-12 after 18 ends, and 2 ends later it was still 4 shots at 18-14 and Viv was in sight of the winning post. 2 ends later, as a result of picking up 3 excellent shots within a matter of inches of the jack, Elaine drew level and also could glimpse the winning post, but on the very next end, the 23rd of the match, Viv bowled 3 excellent bowls herself to get over the winning line.
UNDER 25 SINGLES
Katie Smith, Desborough Town BC beat Chloe Weston, Abbey Park BC 21-13 shots.
A match between two young ladies who are both very competitive, and in Katie, a player who has achieved much success, and International recognition for England, but that did not trouble Chloe, and she started the match very well indeed, drawing superbly to the jack and putting pressure on Katie with the score in Chloe’s favour 5-2 after 4 ends of play. 3 ends later Chloe still had a lead, but of just 1 shot, and on the 8th end in picking up a count of 3 shots, Katie took the lead, but Chloe levelled matters on the next end at 8 shots each, and on the 11th end of play she re-took the lead 10-9.
Katie then bowled some of her very best bowls over the next 3 ends to to pick up 6 shots to 1 conceded and in consequence a lead of 4 shots, and with Chloe getting 2 singles to 1 by Katie on the next 3 ends, Katie’s lead after 17 ends of play was 16-13. The 18th end was a very good one for Katie as she bowled it very well indeed to pick up 3 shots and a good sight of the winning post, and in collecting a single on each of the next 2 ends it was Katie who lifted the title for the first time in her last year as an Under 25.