Saturday, 12 November 2011

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ABOUT US: Abington Bowling Club is one of Northampton's sporting institutions. Based just south of Abington Park, we are in close proximity to the Old Northamptonians Sports Ground. Just a short way east of the town centre. We provide a competitive but welcoming environment for anyone who fancies taking up outdoor flat green bowls, the most popular form of bowls, and the most inclusive of all sports.


We also boast one of the biggest and most furbished clubhouses in the region, complete with lounge area, dining room and boardroom. We offer usage of any of these to interested parties. Click on 'Hire our Facilities' above to see what we can provide.
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LATEST NEWS:

***IMPORTANT NOTICE*** With the departure of Don Smith to Manchester, President Chris Beck is taking over as the succeeding secretary until at least the end of this year. Considering Beck's many other commitments, the job is open for any willing applicants to make themselves heard by the AGM in the winter.

20/9/2016

TRIPLES LEAGUE - KNOCKOUT GLORY FOR ABINGTON!

FOR THE first time since 2008, the Northampton Triples League Knockout Shield, sponsored by Dalepak, will be resident at Abington HQ, after a final triumph over Daventry Town A that was the definition of 'unflustered'.

Captain Jonathan Brown kept the side unchanged from the semi-final battering of Bugbrooke and was duly rewarded with a similarly professional performance, and the trophy. It was a particularly special day for his rink's middle man Alan Ward (left of the picture below). A perfect end to his first season as the League's new secretary!

Abington smiles all round:
Captain Brown receives the trophy, flanked by Ward and

Harvey Fruish, chairman of the league - and also an ABC member
The recent poor weather had left the chosen surface for the final - Northampton Express' green at Duston Sports Centre - a little soupier than most Abington players would prefer, but it did not prove a disadvantage, even against a team who regularly bowl on a notoriously heavy turf. The favourites, for that was their status on this occasion, raced into a double-figure aggregate lead after just a couple of ends and eventually triumphed by 36, exactly an average of nine on each of the four rinks.

It may not have been the most entertaining final, but a sporting toast should be made to Daventry for their runners-up achievement. Despite the disappointment of this last match, the very fact that they had made it here will go a long way to restoring the pride damaged by a dreadful time of it in Division 1. Especially after having conquered the great West End A on their own patch at the quarter-final stage. It may not be long before Daventry are back in the top flight.

Abington's motley crew of champions - from left to right:
John 'Fluff' Freeman, Alan Ward, Adam Hawkings, Dave Fage, Tony 'Bellies' O'Leary, Pres. Chris Beck,
Alan Coleman, Jonathan Brown (capt.), Terry Brown, Dave Vernon, Bill Roberts, Adam Brown
As for Abington A, Cup final success rounds off a solid year of improvement, and with some interesting additions to the squad for next year don't bet against this honour being followed up by other, bigger ones in the near future. Hearty thank yous are extended to everyone who supported the team on the day, and especially to the other three players in the A-squad who were not used in the final but who all played in various stages of the run; Rob Archer, Ollie Kirkwood and Pat McAlwane (plus of course our former secretary Don Smith who moved away from all this in the summer).

A fuller match report can be found in the men's section, and other photos can be found here. Here's to continued glory in 2017.

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11/9/2016

ABINGTON LADIES CLUB FINALS

ABINGTON'S women completed their club competitions on the weekend of 3rd & 4th September. And there were myriad dramas, even in the most one-sided games.

Where else to start than the Club Cup final? The pattern of scoring would not normally suggest a classic, with the victor barely challenged, dropping only eight shots. However, when the defeated is the defending champion and favourite, and the winner is the all-time most frequent club champion looking for her first in six years, it's a whole other class of thrashing.

It was a marvellous return to the top for Pam Wills, not least for the huge preventative strike against her record - now extended to five titles, two more than anyone else has ever managed - being taken. She was in no mood to acquiesce to Debbie Bradshaw, last season's winner and most in-form player of our ladies section recently, racing into a 10-3 lead after just seven ends.

This level of scoring barely abated. Bradshaw tried hard to stop the flood, but only succeeded in slowing the pace down to a trickle before eventually being subsumed. Wills kept on grinding out a torturous run of single shot after single shot to eventually crawl over the line still well ahead. Impeccably patient and devastating, it was a true champion's performance.

******

Bradshaw at least managed to restore some pride with a similar mauling of her most regular rival for honours since joining the club, Lis Milburn, in the 2-wood singles. It wasn't until the eighth end of the match when Milburn scored her first shot, having already let Bradshaw get to double figures. With the ladies preferring to use the 21-end format for their 2-wood competition, there was limited chance of a fightback, and what remained of Milburn's will was crushed by the two-thirds mark, as the deficit had only come down to eight. Bradshaw picked up two doubles to seal it with five ends to spare.

******

And it only got worse for poor Lis. That was just one of three last-match heartbreaks for her to endure this year, the extra assistance only enabling her slightly closer to glory. In the triples final, she skipped Margaret Sidebottom and Pat Parsonson. They held tight to their opponents, Gill Bailey, Debbie Bradshaw - again! - and Anita Petrucci for the first half, the score 6-7 after nine ends.

However, they could never quite gain the advantage and right at the start of the second half, Petrucci's trio seized the day with a five, the biggest score of the game. It proved to be the defining end, with the pattern of scoring immediately settling back down to a nitty-gritty exchange of ones and twos. This was never going to be enough to turn the match round and so Milburn and company were left to count the cost of their anomalous bumble. Bailey, Bradshaw and Petrucci were the champions.

******

The most agonising of all Milburn's final flops however was in the pairs, as she and partner Margaret Williams contrived to blow a hard-earned lead of 18-13 over the last three ends. A dropped two right at the death confirmed the only point of the whole match at which they would be behind. The duo who pounced upon this sudden collapse were Judy Jones and Gill Crossley, who had already clawed back a greater deficit earlier in the game, making up for their lack of consistency with an excellent sense of timing.

******

Special attention should be merited here to the two Gills, Bailey and Crossley, for both getting their names on the honours board at the end of their very first season of competitive bowling. For their keenness and enthusiasm, they have been fine additions to the ladies section, and now duly rewarded.

******

Crossley was also to reach the handicap, although again we have to link on a negative as it was her turn to suffer a smash-and-grab, with Diana Brown instead claiming her very first singles honour. Handicap cups are specifically designed to allow for greater variety of winners and this year's final showed the idea remains sound, with two uncrowned players both starting on zero.

As might be expected in a duel between those unused to the situation, the match was a nervy one from start to finish. It was rare for either to score on consecutive ends. The last time it happened saw Crossley become the first to edge into the 'championship end' territory, 17-16 up. There then followed an extraordinary sequence - Brown took three, and then Crossley hit back with three of her own. Belying the incredible nervousness of the situation, Brown claimed the brace she needed to snatch the trophy.

Abington BC - Ladies Club Champions 2016

Singles - Pam Wills
Handicap - Diana Brown
2-wood - Debbie Bradshaw
Pairs - Judy Jones & Gill Crossley
Triples - Gill Bailey, Debbie Bradshaw & Anita Petrucci

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26/8/2016

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE - WEEK 14 (AND KNOCKOUT SEMI-FINAL)

IT COULD be a garland year for Abington after all. On Wednesday August 24th, the men's Triples League A-team swept through to the final of the knockout tournament, two days after the closing league fixture of the year.

All told, for a semi-final, it was a bit of a bludgeoning. Abington A harnessed a strong sense of disappointment that opponents Bugbrooke had in the last round denied a dream semi against their clubmates from the B-team. As a contest it was over almost from the opening jack delivery, and finished with four ends undeclared. Captain Jonathan Brown's rink only conceded three shots in total, scoring 24, and Tony O'Leary reached 13 before dropping even one.

John Freeman also steadily built up a big lead over the second half. The only mark against the As was Dave Vernon's rink who took a battering in the opposite direction but it at least allowed a semblance of flattery in favour of a team who are always great company and have been missed in Division 1 these last few years.

That is until next season when they reclaim their former slot in the top flight, a status they haven't held for four years. A comprehensive win in their last match, away at Kislingbury B, secured the runners-up spot in Division 2, making good on their early season form without having to glance over their shoulder. They will be hoping this week's semi-final mauling is not a portent for 2017 - and their first chance to prove otherwise? A trip to Abington's hallowed turf, naturally.

Of more immediate interest to Abington re the second tier was the Bs' match at home to Roade. They needed one last point to be sure of safety - helped beforehand though by the long odds you'd have got on the sequence of results required for such an outcome. Sure enough, the top two sides did their bit for our cause and claimed some of the points for themselves. Perhaps just as well, as the Roade match descended into an unnecessarily tense affair. The two rinks that have been so reliable of late - Dave Brawn's and Peter Boulden's - both lost while Peter Milburn's and Mick Hall's trios went into their last end with the score only marginally in their favour.

Thankfully, Milburn and Hall both prevailed and Abington B picked up twice what they needed, allowing them to end the season above Roade in fifth. Wootton A, despite an heroic win away at champions Earls Barton were condemned alongside Kisle B to the drop into Division 3. They will be replaced by Kingsthorpe B and Harpole A.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Earls Barton
14
10
0
4
878
757
55
Bugbrooke
14
8
0
6
891
732
49.5
Heyford
14
6
0
8
825
848
44
Brackley
14
6
2
6
832
830
43
Abington B
14
7
0
7
809
851
39.5
Roade
14
7
0
7
852
856
37
Wootton Grange A
14
6
0
8
764
870
36
Kislingbury B
14
4
2
8
797
904
32

Back in Division 1, all the drama was unfolding at West End with a simply unbelievable collapse at home to their only title rivals, allowing the ever-dominant Kingsthorpe A to win a fifth consecutive championship, on shot difference!

Abington A were involved in the drama at the other end of the table. With a heavy heart, they bequeathed the much-loved post-match meal at St. Crispin's Social Club to their B-team compatriots for next year, striking the decisive blow of the Saints' worst ever season. Whyte Melville A, given the gift of a home fixture against Daventry A (who ended with a record of less than a point earned per match) were never likely to be overwhelmed, but a 4-2 score in the other direction at Crispin's would have spelled doom for Desborough, whose decision to play two rearranged games on one night last week so nearly cost them dear.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Kingsthorpe A
14
12
0
2
1008
690
64.5
Northampton West End A
14
12
0
2
986
682
64.5
Abington A
14
9
0
5
868
762
49.5
Northampton Express A
14
7
0
7
822
862
44.5
Whyte Melville A
14
6
0
8
765
875
36
Desborough Town
14
6
0
8
773
842
32.5
St. Crispin’s A
14
4
0
10
771
953
31
Daventry Town A
14
0
0
14
687
1014
13.5

It should be noted that Abington A did themselves proud in making Crispin's fight for their survival, even if it was to cost them next year's curry! Thanks mainly to the efforts of the rinks skipped by Dave Vernon and John Freeman - coincidentally the two best performers on the A-team merit table - a founder member of the league in 1984 now find themselves in a lower tier for the very first time.

And with players club-hopping like crazy in Northamptonshire at the moment, Division 1 promises to be even more competitive next season. Here's hoping the As go into the campaign with a glistening cup final triumph to inspire them.

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23/8/2016

ABINGTON'S FIRST MAN AT LEAMINGTON

ABINGTON'S Tony O'Leary exited the Male Senior Pairs at the last-16 stage, following two games on the turf of Leamington at the National Championship finals.

O'Leary resumed the original partnership of himself and Kingsthorpe's Jim McKee for the tournament, despite McKee still being in the early stages of recovery from a hand operation. Any discomfort he might have been feeling was kept under wraps. O'Leary's form at lead will have played a major part in making his partner's return a soothing one, leading with an always decent proportion of good woods.

In their first match, they dispatched the Nottinghamshire duo of Mick Leafe and Richard Button by a handsome margin, taking a three-shot lead on the very first end and never relinquishing it. A score of 14-9 was the closest it got after the early exchanges and the Northamptonshire men doubled their advantage by the 20th end to reach the second day's play.

Sadly, their supply of magic dried up on the Saturday morning at just the wrong moment. The Dorset pair of Roy Burnett and David Hanger prevailed in an entertaining match that see-sawed wildly. A good start by their opponents was swiftly and brutally counteracted by O'Leary and McKee, before everything turned on its head again. The pendulum carried on swinging a few more times but it was the Dorset duo who rode the final swing, winning the match by 5 shots. Our players could at least return home with their heads high after two competitive showings at the home of English bowls, especially when the news confirmed that they had lost to the eventual runners-up.

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18/8/2016

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE - WEEK 13

SAFETY HAS been the watchword of Abington B's Triples League experience this season, and is now tantalisingly close. One more game to go, and only more point needed from it to completely banish the threat of successive relegations.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Earls Barton
13
10
0
3
816
694
53
Bugbrooke
13
7
0
6
816
687
43.5
Brackley
13
6
2
5
774
769
42.5
Heyford
13
5
0
8
764
790
38.5
Abington B
13
7
0
6
762
786
37.5
Roade
13
6
0
7
787
809
33
Kislingbury B
13
4
2
7
752
829
32
Wootton Grange A
13
5
0
8
701
808
32

For the second week in a row, the Bs looked a direct foe in the eyes and made them blink first. Another 5-1 win, this time at Kislingbury B, corrects their win-loss ratio in favour of the former for the first time all season. Notably, it was a triumph not on home soil, only their second from the seven away games. An apt display of the rapid progression the side has made in its hour of need.

Incredibly, they even still have a mathematical chance of promotion, but although escaping Division 2 at either end would now require a perfect storm of bizarrity, the trapdoor is still a step closer than the springboard, and they must remain vigilant. Even with just the finale fixture remaining, none of the three sides below them are sure of their fate. In fact with only one point separating them all, they not only all have something to play for, but a massive carrot to inspire them. The ordering of the bottom half has been turned on its head more than once already this season. For it to happen at this juncture would be utterly depressing, but not impossible.

Given that the second promotion spot is also still up for grabs, one would expect the two sides already in the dropzone to go down, as next week largely becomes a top half vs bottom half deal. However, the vagaries of the point system are such that even in defeat a narrow deadlock can be overturned. If Abington B do a number on Roade next week, not only have they a chance of a respectable placing, but it presents an open goal that both Kisle B and Wootton A will have several opportunities to shoot at.

Curiously, the Abington A-team find themselves in a very similar position as they head into the last round. At the end of a frenetic week for the First Division, in which no fewer than three re-arranged games were played alongside the scheduled affairs, the table has eventually settled into this:


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Northampton West End A
13
12
0
1
942
616
63.5
Kingsthorpe A
13
11
0
2
942
646
59.5
Abington A
13
8
0
5
804
704
45.5
Northampton Express A
14
7
0
7
822
862
44.5
Desborough Town
14
6
0
8
773
842
32.5
Whyte Melville A
13
5
0
8
696
836
30
St. Crispin’s A
13
4
0
9
713
889
29
Daventry Town A
13
0
0
13
648
945
13.5

Desborough were at the forefront of much of this fixture congestion, making use of their large squad by arranging two fixtures on the same evening! It was surely a league first, but potentially a damaging one. With a stretched squad, Desborough could only manage one point across their two rearranged fixtures, - and lost the Monday game 6-0 as well, to West End A.

Just one point from a possible 18 has suddenly left the North Northants outliers perilously close to a shock demise, and they join the growing list of teams who have been thrashed by Abington one week and left hoping we can do them a favour the next week. Having brought their last game forwards, Desborough's season is now concluded and their Division 1 status dependent on at least one of Whyte Melville A and St. Crispin's A failing to win. Easier said than done with the former playing the hopeless Daventry A. The latter is where Abington A come back into the equation, and bodes well for Boro.

The As go into the last game at Crispin's on the hop from a cracking week in which not a single point was given away. A couple of rinks rode their luck and only just came good at the death, but otherwise it was a simple display of superiority from start to finish. Enough to confirm third place above a wilting Express A.

Still some way distant though of a title race in which West End, as expected, regained control via their game in hand. At least we get a direct confrontation between the two protagonists next week to spice things up all over again...

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14/8/2016

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE - WEEK 12

JUST AS the back drawbridge of Division 2 was closing down on them, Abington B have turned in a vital win to haul themselves out of the relegation zone.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Earls Barton
12
10
0
2
754
625
50.5
Bugbrooke
12
6
0
6
746
650
39.5
Heyford
12
5
0
7
727
720
36.5
Brackley
12
5
2
5
705
723
36.5
Abington B
12
6
0
6
699
743
32.5
Wootton Grange A
12
5
0
7
655
739
32
Kislingbury B
12
4
2
6
709
766
31
Roade
12
5
0
7
718
747
29.5

Victory by five points to one against Wootton Grange A was the bare minimum they needed, but their performance was remarkably pressure free, and their reward is to be lifted up to fifth place, their destiny still in their own hands.

Eagle-eyed observers may note that promotion to Division 1 is still a mathematical possibility, but it would require an extremely unlikely set of results with just two games left. The Bs are only playing for survival now. And to ensure things remain simple, both of their remaining fixtures are also straight shoot-outs with the other sides in the mix.

A trip to Kislingbury B next week is not looking quite so attractive after Kisle's similar demolition job on Roade, a result which keeps the bottom half tightly bunched and leaves the eventual outcome in significant doubt. But if the Bs can remember the moral of this week's story, the visit of Roade could be a dead rubber.

Elsewhere, Earls Barton can get the bubbly out. A walloping win over Heyford has taken them into the unchartered territory of the top flight with two games to spare. Brackley beating Bugbrooke keeps the battle for the other promotion slot a three-way tangle... in theory.

Meanwhile, in Division 1, Abington A received a major setback in their quest for bronze, with defeats not only away at Desborough but also at home to Kingsthorpe A in their re-arranged fixture. Just two points were gleaned from a possible 12, and raises the distinct possibility of dropping down the league again.

To come is another week with two fixtures instead of one, hopefully with the reverse outcome at the very least. The As should be inspired to perform, both are at home to the two sides immediately below them in the table, including the return fixture against Desborough. We can see them lurking in the long grass, now let's have them on the short stuff.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Kingsthorpe A
12
10
0
2
870
599
54.5
Northampton West End A
11
10
0
1
795
530
52.5
Northampton Express A
12
6
0
6
715
733
38.5
Abington A
11
6
0
5
669
625
33.5
Desborough Town
11
6
0
5
641
638
31.5
Whyte Melville A
11
5
0
6
606
698
29
St. Crispin’s A
12
3
0
9
647
834
23
Daventry Town A
12
0
0
12
593
879
13.5

The headlines from the top flight are the confirmed relegation of Daventry A - still winless with only two more chances left - and Kingsthorpe A's win at Abington putting them above West End A at the top. With West End unable to play their fixture this week, they still have it in their hands to claim the title, but the pressure cooker is getting steamy.

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9/8/2016

ABINGTON'S O'LEARY QUALIFIES FOR NATIONAL COMPETITION

DESPITE the continued near misses in the main tournaments, one Abington player will feature in the National Championships. Reigning club men's champion Tony O'Leary has reached the finals stage of the male senior pairs.

It's not actually clear at the moment who his partner will be. Kingsthorpe's Jim McKee was the initial entrant but severe leg pain ruled him out of the last two rounds, with his place taken by Northampton West End's Alan Ashby. Regardless, O'Leary has been a constant presence, much like his woods relative to the jack.

His run to Leamington began with thrashings of Roade's Ron Peacock and Daventry Town's Duggie Mitchell. After that came a couple of close encounters with elimination at the hands of West End's Roger Summers and most especially, Kingsthorpe's Roger Tansley. Victory by only a two shots in the latter was the smallest of the campaign so far. The area final was a walk in the park by comparison, O'Leary and Ashby stuffing David Bailey of Thrapston and his (uncited) partner 24-15.

The men's national senior pairs finals tournament begins on the morning of Friday 19th August, with the competition following the standard schedule of two rounds a day for three days. Already a decent number of Abington members have announced their they will attend to cheer their man on. If you can't join them though, Bowls England's website will provide end-by-end score updates.

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5/8/2016

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE - WEEK 11

THIRD PLACE is hoving into view for Abington A, but the Third Division is looking likelier for the B-team after another night of contrasts on August 1st.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Northampton West End A
11
10
0
1
795
530
52.5
Kingsthorpe A
10
8
0
2
731
501
43.5
Northampton Express A
11
6
0
5
660
677
36.5
Abington A
9
6
0
3
567
500
31.5
Desborough Town
9
5
0
4
538
526
25.5
Whyte Melville A
10
4
0
6
548
651
25
St. Crispin’s A
11
2
0
9
591
779
19
Daventry Town A
11
0
0
11
543
809
12.5

It's a delight to be able to declare that the As simply smashed Express A in their 1st Division meeting, closing the gap to five points with two games still in hand, both of which they would be favourites to win on current form. Elsewhere, West End were offered the perfect antidote for last week's defeat to our men with a home fixture against Daventry A, who seem set to be relegated with about the worst record imaginable.

St. Crispin's A managed to draw (slightly) nearer the safe space of 6th, despite defeat to Desborough, though they will surely need another win to avoid the drop. Abington A could still have a huge part to play in the relegation battle, with the return fixtures against both Crispin's and Whyte Melville A still to come.

Abington B meanwhile are at the very centre of the Division 2 battle to avoid the drop, not that that should be news by now. At the very least, thoughts of promotion now seem unlikely after a heavy defeat at Earls Barton, for whom a 5-1 win brings near confirmation of their imminent elevation to the top flight. They now have a lead of seven and a half points, and just one more win could suffice.

One curious thing to note is that the return fixture between Brackley and Kislingbury B ended as the first had done, a rare 3-3 draw. It's a result that does nothing to ease the pressure on Abington B, and to compound matters, at least one of their immediate relegation rivals will score a handful of points next week when they meet each other.

Abington B can still take solace that the division remains fairly tight, and all the respective battles look set to go down to the final day, but the top three should at the very least be confident of keeping their place. Next week's fixture - home vs Wootton A - is the most vital yet. The target should be to win by at least four points, put themselves ahead in the table and get straight out of the dropzone.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Earls Barton
11
9
0
2
680
586
45
Bugbrooke
11
6
0
5
691
593
37.5
Heyford
11
5
0
6
688
646
36
Brackley
11
4
2
5
648
668
32.5
Wootton Grange A
11
5
0
6
607
672
31
Roade
11
5
0
6
653
676
28.5
Abington B
11
5
0
6
632
695
27.5
Kislingbury B
11
3
2
6
638
701
26

*BOTH sides were also in action for the quarter-finals of the league's knockout competition this week. Abington A demolished Kingsthorpe B of the Third Division to book their place in the last four with many ends to spare, but there was still just cause for great regret as their B-team compatriots failed to join them. Less than a handful of shots in favour of Division 2 high-fliers Bugbrooke preventing the dream outcome of an all-Abington semi-final.

The main culprits for the narrow loss would never have been identified beforehand, but in league parlance the Bs would have been good for two and a half points. Proof that there is still some fight lurking within the whole squad. Match reports of all four games can be found in the men's section.

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1/8/2016

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE - WEEK 10

AS THE campaign dives into the business end, Abington recorded a timely double win on July 25th. Both A & B teams were victorious against the table toppers in their respective divisions. For the B-team in particular it may prove the most important of the year.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Earls Barton
10
8
0
2
610
542
40
Bugbrooke
10
5
0
5
625
542
32.5
Heyford
10
4
0
6
619
596
30
Wootton Grange A
10
5
0
5
556
606
30
Brackley
10
4
1
5
590
613
29.5
Roade
10
5
0
5
603
607
28.5
Abington B
10
5
0
5
588
625
26.5
Kislingbury B
10
3
1
6
583
643
23

A 4.5-1.5 win over Bugbrooke was a genuine turn-up of the Division 2 formbook. Both sides moved a place up/down the table respectively. The Bs remain in the dropzone for now, but what a psychological bonus they may have gained. Whisper it, but promotion remains only seven points away, with a total of 24 still up for grabs.

Peter Milburn's rink - also featuring captain Mick Taylor and the returning Scott Osbourne making his first appearance of the campaign - were the stars on the night, racing into an 11-0 lead in six ends, and eventually finishing by the same margin. But the standout moment was a simply sensational finale on Dave Brawn's rink, with NINE shots over the last two ends to win by one! They simply cannot be beaten on Monday nights...

Elsewhere, Earls Barton took overall command of the second tier, especially after winning their game in hand at Heyford. Despite that setback though, Heyford have suddenly emerged as a real contender to go up. Remembering where they were just a handful of weeks ago should be succour for Abington B.

As for the A-side, their coup at West End should be recorded as the single most impressive of the entire campaign, though it has far less potential to change the course of the Division 1 title race. It would have to go down as a great choke by West End A if their first defeat of the season is followed by many more.

Nevertheless, even in isolation, the results that John Freeman and Tony O'Leary's rinks came away with last week deserve special recognition. The former was in front from the second end right up until the climax against the England national team's own Jamie Walker, the crucial passage coming at the start of the second half with seven shots across four ends.

The latter though was the biggest contributor in the 63-shot-strong Abington wall. Pat McAlwane and Chris Beck also both playing superbly in front of O'Leary as they notched 25 shots to 9 - 16 of those coming in one frantic five-end spell at the midway point. The poor skip on the receiving end? Jamie's father Martin Walker.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Northampton West End A
10
9
0
1
707
495
47.5
Kingsthorpe A
9
7
0
2
654
458
38.5
Northampton Express A
10
6
0
4
618
610
35.5
Abington A
8
5
0
3
500
458
26.5
Whyte Melville A
9
4
0
5
505
574
24
Desborough Town
8
4
0
4
466
474
21.5
St. Crispin’s A
10
2
0
8
539
707
17
Daventry Town A
10
0
0
10
508
721
11.5

As said earlier though, it seems unlikely that West End will be denied the ultimate glory, and only Kingsthorpe A are in a position to profit from any possible wobbles. Abington A's target remains the bronze medal position, and this win will go some way towards that. As would similar this week, against Express A.

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25/7/2016

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE - WEEK 9

WHILE the A-side were largely pre-occupied with National Top Club duties last week, the B-team were fulfilling their ninth fixture of the Monday Triples League. On the way back from Heyford though, they may have paused to consider the allure of another distraction.

At the start of the night, Abington B began in sixth place of Division 2 while the hosts Heyford sat bottom. After the requisite 64 ends of play though, that situation had been reversed - a drastic, damaging result for our side.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Bugbrooke
9
5
0
4
567
479
31
Earls Barton
8
6
0
2
473
433
30
Wootton Grange A
9
5
0
4
500
526
29
Roade
9
5
0
4
541
539
27.5
Brackley
9
3
1
5
522
551
24.5
Heyford
8
3
0
5
482
478
24
Kislingbury B
9
3
1
5
531
568
22
Abington B
9
4
0
5
525
567
22

Still only nine points separates the entirety of the second tier, but the theme of the night was a potential crack emerging between the top and bottom halves of the table, with Bugbrooke returning to winning ways vs Roade and Earls Barton keeping the pressure on at Brackley while Wootton A have now surged into third place. Abington B's promotion chances are pulling up to the last chance saloon. For that dream outcome to happen now, every remaining match has to be won convincingly, at the very least.

Abington B's sole point from the Heyford jaunt was earned yet again by the trio of Chris Pollard, Alan Mann & Dave Brawn, who began the evening by dropping a five on the first end, but immediately responded with four of their own. They ended it with five shots over the last three ends for a final score of 14-13, a dramatic fightback. Ever increasing their joint lead at the top of the merit table, it is their spirit that needs to be harnessed by the rest of the team - and quickly, for next up is a home game against the side in first place.

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21/7/2016

ABINGTON TO HOST COUNTY CLASH

ABINGTON B.C. was honoured to be selected as the venue for the Middleton Cup quarter-final this Saturday 23rd July, between Bedfordshire and Leicestershire.

With the last-eight stage of the men's national county championship played on neutral grounds, Northamptonshire was the obvious location for this crunch meeting between shires either side of the East Midlands/Anglia divide, and Abington proved to be Bowls England's club of choice. Our gratitude should be extended to former Bowls Northants president John Chester for his recommendation of our facilities. We can promise everyone from both competing associations a first-class venue, practically designed for first-class bowling.

The Saturday men's team will be away at Rushden that day but if you're otherwise available, get down to the club during the afternoon, and bear witness to the latest thrilling chapter of a cult sporting institution.

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19/7/2016

COUNTY/NATIONAL COMPS ROUND-UP - 11th-17th JULY

CLOSE AGAIN, but still the bunting remains in the box. For Abington's men, 2016 will go down as one of the great 'nearly' years. A third county quarter-final became a third county semi-final, but sadly also a third last-gasp disappointment.

As mentioned here last week, Alan Coleman and Terry Brown were flying the club's flag in the county pairs finals stages at Brackley, bidding to go one further than previous entrants in this year's fours and triples. With that extra step would come qualification to the National Championships at Leamington Spa.

In the quarters, they faced a youthful Kettering Lodge duo, Will Hill & Sam Gamble. According to the official county press write-up it was a quality drawing game all round, but Brown was the star of the conversion shot. The Abington men lead 19-16 going into the last end but after the leads had bowled Hill had put the young Kettering pair at match point. Brown held his nerve well though to deliver two third woods and the white trousers would be brought out again two days later.

The talk of the last four was a clash of the titans between Andrew Manton & Vernon Gearey and Shaun Marriott & Jamie Walker. However, any suggestion that Coleman & Brown would have it easy on the next rink against Wellingborough's Bryn Walker & John Marlow were soon dispelled. The Abington men simply didn't hear the starting gun. Unlike their opponents, they struggled to find line and length until over halfway through, by which time victory was going to require a mammoth recovery and rescue job.

After seven ends, they were 1-13 down, and the deficit had only been brought down to 10 shots by the beginning of the 15th. It is yet another testament to the renewed spirit of Abington B.C. though that they never gave into the likelihood of defeat until it was absolutely certain. All 18 ends were completed, at the end of which the Abington pair had lost by just two.

With that avenue bricked up for at least another year then, attention soon transferred back to the National Top Club, but again it was a case of 'not quite'. Wellingborough inflicting more ache on our pained hearts with a narrow yet decisive sweep of results across almost all the formats. A longer report on this can be found in our men's section, but in summary, this club has to acknowledge it will have excelled itself to produce a national qualifier in a major competition any time soon.

Yet, there are a few green shoots. Next year's new recruits should increase the competition for places. Always an incentive to performance - as events earlier this season have already proved. And, the Leamington dreams haven't been completely extinguished for reigning club champion Tony O'Leary, who (assisted by substitute skip Alan Ashby of West End) has reached the area final in the men's National Senior Pairs via a thrillingly tense 18-16 win over the classy Kingsthorpe duo of Roger Tansley & Mick Sharpe.

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14/7/2016

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE - WEEK 8

THE MEN'S Monday evening Triples League entered the second half of the campaign on July 11th. Abington emerged with two wins, especially vital for the B team, who hauled themselves out of the Division 2 dropzone.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Bugbrooke
8
4
0
4
490
425
27
Earls Barton
7
5
0
2
416
386
26
Roade
8
5
0
3
487
462
25.5
Wootton Grange A
8
4
0
4
445
475
24
Brackley
8
3
1
4
475
494
22.5
Abington B
8
4
0
4
478
505
21
Kislingbury B
8
3
1
4
480
513
21
Heyford
7
2
0
5
420
431
19

In fact, the situation in the second tier is getting pretty fascinating all round, with yet another week of home advantage making the difference for most and the order shuffling around once more. Abington B put together their best performance of the year to thrash Brackley, the 40-shot aggregate victory putting them above Kislingbury B on shot difference. The 5-1 points win drags them to just one and a half behind their battered opponents - and incredibly, only six points now off top spot!

Bugbrooke's early season form has seemingly been extinguished. They still maintain first place, but only by a wafer-thin majority. With a game in hand, it's now Earls Barton who stand out as the favourites to go up. But things are always changing in Division 2. After all, Roade - currently in third place - were down in the relegation positions just a couple of weeks back. With bottom side Heyford also piecing together their second victory of the season, the whole table has constricted to a margin of just eight points.

So, nothing can be taken for granted where the Bs are concerned, who play Heyford away next. The As were perhaps a little guilty of such laxity in concentration with their own trip this week to the bottom-ranked side of their division. A 4-2 win over Daventry Town A staved off embarrassment, their opponents' 100% losing record maintained, but Abington's return seemed rather meagre.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Northampton West End A
7
7
0
0
516
333
35.5
Kingsthorpe A
8
6
0
2
569
414
32.5
Northampton Express A
8
4
0
4
478
510
25.5
Abington A
7
4
0
3
437
401
22.5
Whyte Melville A
7
3
0
4
385
447
18
St. Crispin’s A
8
2
0
6
447
551
16
Desborough Town
5
3
0
2
276
302
14.5
Daventry Town A
8
0
0
8
419
569
9.5

With West End A extending their perfect record yet again, inspiration is beginning to dry up at the head of Division 1, though Whyte Melville A made matters interesting at the other end with a comfortable victory over St. Crispin's A that leaves the latter in a spot of bother. They are now behind Melville, having played a game more, and with Desborough games in hand now imminent.

Will the long-time top flight regulars be going down at the end of the season? If so, it could be Abington A who deliver the fatal blow. Crispin's is their final destination this year. For the moment though the As are having to put the league on hold yet again. Wellingborough, who aren't in the league, have asked for next Monday to play the National Top Club 4th round tie, which obviously takes precedence. This time it's Kingsthorpe A who will have to wait.

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13/7/2016

COUNTY COMPS ROUND-UP - 4th-10th JULY

ABINGTON WILL be represented in the county quarter-finals for a fourth time this year, with Alan Coleman and Terry Brown heading to Brackley this evening for a last-eight encounter in the men's pairs.

The challenge will be for them to go one stage further than this year's previous male quarter-finalists, who managed a semi each in the fours and triples but could not make the last step to qualification for the National Championships. It's a significant achievement for Brown in particular, who previously formed part of the aforementioned rink, and so is the club's top performer across the four main county competitions this year.

He and Coleman go into their quarter-final on the back of a hard-fought triumph over West End's Dave Kovacs and then a thumping of a Kingsthorpe duo skipped by Colin Jones, the latter a small piece of revenge for the defeat of Abington's Chris Beck and Peter Milburn a week earlier.

The other two Abington doubles who made it through to the second week will seek to take inspiration from some simply world-class bowling by West End's young contingent. Particularly Tony O'Leary and John Freeman who were reduced to mere spectators by Shaun Marriott and Jamie Walker. An early exit was the only way of sparing themselves further damage than 4-22.

Two days later, Adam and Jonathan Brown were similarly humbled 14-31 by another member of the Walker clan, Jamie's younger brother Will Walker, plus namesake David Walker.

Freeman also endured disappointment in the county singles group final, ending Abington interest in one county tournament before the 'whites' stage, though at least this time he was able to give Vernon Gearey of Kingsthorpe a close game.

In fact, outside of Coleman and Brown's continued run in the pairs, it was another week where the bad news outweighed the good. Lis Milburn and Debbie Cadd were both sadly forced to give their county singles ties away, Cadd & Rob Archer were smashed out of the county mixed pairs 5-21, Nick Beirne of St. Crispin's took out our last remaining entrant in the executive triples, while Dave Vernon & Jonathan Brown were agonisingly eliminated from the men's national senior pairs via an extra end. If it had gone the other way, removing Roger Tansley & Mick Sharpe from the competition would have represented a great coup, but great players don't roll over easily.

Tony O'Leary did at least make it through in the same competition, though his usual partner, Kingsthorpe's Jim McKee, is not available to play their next round. To cover, McKee has turned not to another Abington member but to West End's Alan Ashby, which will at least provide the quirky sight of a pair from separate clubs both playing for another, of which neither is a member!

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12/7/2016

ABINGTON THINK THEIR WAY THROUGH IN TOP CLUB

SMILES ARE back on the faces of Abington's men. The painful loss to Thrapston in the National Double Rinks recedes into the distant past as the National Top Club run continued on Saturday 9th July via a terrific tactical coup.

A knock-out of the more-fancied Northampton West End was brought about by a combination of every quality you need to succeed in the game of bowls. Equal parts cunning, inspiration, determination and pure and simple great bowling (plus a speck of fortune in places, perhaps) were all on show across the various disciplines. Both before and during the game.

A change of line-up was partly enforced due to absence but largely thought through, and it could not have paid off any better. The stars of the night could be found in the 2-wood, the pairs and the fours but club president Chris Beck deserves a special mention for the grace with which he took his role. And also the high spirits of this young West End team - especially in defeat - must be saluted. Despite their loss, they kept the Abington players entertained with their energy until getting on for the early hours of Sunday. Full details in men's section.

As for Abington's future in the Top Club tournament, similar strategic thinking will likely be needed in all subsequent rounds. Wellingborough represent every bit as great an obstacle as West End, and away from home too. Beat them though, and Abington will be in the regional final.
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