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:

5/8/2018

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE: WEEK 10

ABINGTON B MOVED another few steps closer to the top flight on Monday July 30th, comprehensively defeating a promotion rival in the process.

All but half a point was secured in the home game vs Bugbrooke, moving the Bs 12 and a half points clear of the side who began the day in third place (but who have ended the week fourth after an even bigger defeat to Kingsthorpe B in a game brought forward from the penultimate round of fixtures). Elsewhere, Desborough maintained their lead of Division 2 by beating Brackley, but only shot difference separates the two teams, who will now face each other for control of the title race.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Desborough Town
10
8
0
2
665
546
42.5
Abington B
10
8
0
2
650
555
42.5
Kingsthorpe B
11
5
1
5
664
665
33.5
Bugbrooke
11
6
0
5
679
660
30
Wootton Grange A
10
3
0
7
589
611
26
Brackley
10
3
0
7
574
609
24.5
Heyford
10
3
1
6
570
657
23.5
Kislingbury B
10
4
0
6
576
664
23.5

If the ultimate glory proves beyond Abington B, they have a safety net to protect their promotion hopes. The gap to third has elongated to nine points, with a game in hand on the two sides immediately below them. However, there is still no room for a relaxation period. Three of their remaining four games are away from home, and with only two and a half points splitting the bottom half of the table, everyone still has something to play for.

Against Bugbrooke, Peter Milburn's rink achieved the biggest win, teed up by a four and a five on successive ends at the exact halfway mark (a superb response to dropping five on the seventh). For a while it seemed Reg Jones' trio would carry that honour, but a 16-3 lead at nine ends was steadily pegged back to 18-12. Nevertheless, every point carries the same weight. It matters not how it was won.

The night wasn't completely perfect. Although it would be a harsh reading of affairs, Mick Hall's rink did technically cost Abington B top spot going into the Desborough game. To give them their due, they had fought back from a wayward opening, in which they were 2-9 down after seven. Between ends 13 and 15, a salvo of eight shots not only put them into the lead, but did so by a comfortable margin. Then, inexplicably, they ceded the five-shot advantage back right at the death and Bugbrooke returned home battered but not completely without honour.

Let's hope it proves influential in a positive way. Yet another reminder that in Division 2, you must keep your wits at al times.

But if that summation seems like finding a cloud in a silver lining, then the experience from Abington A's perspective is definitely the complete opposite right now, and seemingly more futile. In the midst of their four-game run from hell in the league, they were also stunned in the quarter-final of the league's knockout competition by 2nd Division Heyford.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Kingsthorpe A
10
10
0
0
725
481
52.5
Northampton Express A
10
8
0
2
686
503
46
Northampton West End A
10
6
0
4
649
529
35.5
St. Crispin’s A
10
6
0
4
569
603
33.5
Whyte Melville A
10
5
0
5
586
587
28
Abington A
10
2
1
7
543
666
19
Daventry Town A
10
2
0
8
544
677
14.5
Earls Barton
10
0
1
9
478
734
11

ThIt has truly been an awful week. Just one point apiece from the visits to Express and West End (the latter fixture a holdover from seven weeks before) and a third humiliation that actually preceded the other two, on the only wet day of this perpetual heatwave. Phil Reeve and John Freeman's rinks both won, but neither can be excused their part in this, having triumphed by only two. Not only not enough to offset the continued misfiring of the Chris Beck/Dave Fage/Tony O'Leary and Colin Barnes/Alan Dunkley/Jonathan Brown combinations, but reasonably comfortably so as well.

The two better performing set-ups would go on to earn the As their meagre points rations from the two league games, albeit on occasions when they were skipped by Terry Brown and Dave Jones respectively. Considering the quality of the opposition on both occasions (including a former national champion and finalist of the last two seasons), these are not to be sniffed at. If there is any point at which Abington A's survival in Division 1 is vanquished from their own hands, then will be the time to panic.

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25/7/2018

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE: WEEK 9

ANOTHER GAME, ANOTHER STRIDE closer to Division 1 for Abington B in the Monday triples league. They rode by the seat of their undergarments at times during a narrow win over Kingsthorpe B, who attempted a late comeback, but simply ran out of time. 

Initial tributes must surely be paid to Mick Taylor's rink, who simply crushed their opponents into a cube, dropping shots on only four ends - and only five shots in total. That was as many as they picked up themselves on the ninth end alone, the score which effectively sealed the win. A final flurry of eight on the last four ends was not mere showboating though.

Despite the cool superiority of Taylor and company, it was the other Kingsthorpe players who were inspired to produce more goods at the close of play. It cost the Bs one point and so very nearly took three more. Peter Boulden's trio were powerless to prevent a four-shot advantage penduluming into a three-shot deficit over the final few ends. The last end was the only time they lost the lead in the whole match.

Captain Rob Archer's rink, skipped by Peter Kneeshaw, nearly suffered an even more disappointing fate, dropping four of the last five ends. Thankfully, their one score of this barren patch saw enough shots to keep their noses in front to the very end. Having shot into an 11-0 lead after three ends (and later up 14-4 after six) it was odd to have walked off at the finish with relief the primary emotion, but another reminder that nothing gets handed to you in Division 2. Every last point, even the ones that look comfortable, must be grafted for, and thereafter treasured.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Desborough Town
9
7
0
2
601
495
38
Abington B
9
7
0
2
578
502
37
Bugbrooke
9
6
0
3
576
525
29.5
Kingsthorpe B
9
4
1
4
539
541
25.5
Brackley
9
3
0
6
523
545
23
Heyford
9
3
1
5
518
590
22
Wootton Grange A
9
2
0
7
522
559
21.5
Kislingbury B
9
3
0
6
502
602
19.5

Mick Hall's rink offered stern resistance, but little else, finding it insurmountably difficult to score themselves. 11 shots were dropped from eight successive ends. The scoring did at least even out slightly later on, allowing some respectability to be salvaged. Another hard-earned four points was the final haulage.

Shortly after came some delightful news, Div 2 leaders Desborough had been sensationally defeated 5-1 by Heyford (lifting the latter out of the dropzone for the first time), and Abington's narrow win had brought them within one point of the top. The gap below to third place remains the same as before at seven and a half points. With the next two matches against the sides sandwiching them, the Bs are about to feel the squeeze in a potentially make-or-break fortnight.

Up in Division 1, the As' own four match run from hell did not start brightly. Champions Kingsthorpe A took their usual 6-0 share of the points. There were two small saving graces, no individual rink was humiliated, merely second best. In fact, Abington held a narrow lead after the opening six ends each, but thereafter little else went our way. One passage of play on John Freeman's rink was symptomatic of the night - immediately after taking a five to put them 9-2 in front, they then dropped 11 on the next three, and barely scored again.

Kingsthorpe's star quality is too much for almost any side in the league, and they look set to win it in style this year. Tony O'Leary's rink came the closest to a point for Abington, and were left rueing one sole disastrous end at the halfway mark, having scored on nine of the 16.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Kingsthorpe A
9
9
0
0
662
424
48.5
Northampton Express A
9
7
0
2
615
456
41
Northampton West End A
8
5
0
3
520
417
28.5
St. Crispin’s A
9
5
0
4
517
552
28.5
Whyte Melville A
9
5
0
4
535
535
27
Abington A
8
2
1
5
447
523
17
Daventry Town A
9
1
0
8
479
619
10.5
Earls Barton
9
0
1
8
420
669
9

The second faintly heartening note, and also the more important one, was similar whitewashes elsewhere ensuring no change in the balance of power at the bottom of the table. With trips to Express and West End still to come though, Abington A may soon find one day that living off scraps is preferable to complete malnourishment.

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22/7/2018

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE: WEEK 8

THE SECOND HALF of the Monday evening league campaign began with a marked improvement in the A-team's fortunes, while the B-team kept their promotion bid ticking over with a narrow win at Brackley.

Mick Taylor's and Peter Milburn's rinks ensured the Bs took four points from their jaunt to the (relatively) distant town in the south-east corner of Northants. On a notoriously large green, the Bs found it difficult to replicate the form of recent weeks. Nevertheless, they produced just enough, and when it most mattered. Taylor's trio were consistent scorers, dropping shot on only five of the 16 ends, while Milburn's produced a late spurt to turn a previously tight scoreline into a reasonably comfortable one.

And with an aggregate winning margin of just five, how vital seven shots on the last three ends proved to be. Not that the two defeated rinks' effort should be discounted of course. At this stage, every little contribution counts, and both only lost by six.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Desborough Town
8
7
0
1
546
425
37
Abington B
8
6
0
2
513
445
33
Bugbrooke
8
5
0
3
504
469
25.5
Kingsthorpe B
8
4
1
3
482
476
23.5
Brackley
8
3
0
5
467
473
21
Kislingbury B
8
3
0
5
456
513
19.5
Heyford
8
2
1
5
448
535
17
Wootton Grange A
8
1
0
7
433
513
15.5

The following day brought even better news, with the discovery that for the second week in a row, the team immediately below them had lost. Kingsthorpe B's shock loss at home to struggling Heyford - taking the latter off the bottom for the first time all season - allows Bugbrooke to leap back into third place. Most crucially, the gap from second to third extends by another point.

Nevertheless, the Kingsthorpe/Heyford result is yet more proof of how you must keep about your wits about you at all times. There are many battles to be fought yet, and the next one is against a hurting Kingsthorpe B at home.

One division higher, in the top flight, Abington A are still trying to work out what precisely the revised target should be. For some doom-mongers, avoiding relegation is the priority. While that has always been treated as nothing more than a dark joke by most, if Whyte Melville A had replicated the disaster wreaked upon ours As in the opening game of the season for this past week's return fixture, it may no longer have been so funny.

Such thoughts may now begin to recede after a 5-1 win over Melville, albeit with significant caveats. Firstly, the 17-shot difference between the two sides was down entirely to the work of one rink, skipped by Phil Reeve, who went a mad charge of 16 shots in six ends in the second half of their game.

The other three rinks between them were level overall, and the two that won both required late interventions to guard against another Melville humiliation, John Freeman's rink doubling their score from eight to 16 late on (and only winning by three) and Tony O'Leary's snatching a three on the last end to win by one. Conversely, captain Jonathan Brown's rink suffered a severe case of the jitters and dropped nine shots over the last three ends, including a six at the death.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Kingsthorpe A
8
8
0
0
590
375
42.5
Northampton Express A
8
6
0
2
536
410
35
St. Crispin’s A
8
5
0
3
472
471
28.5
Northampton West End A
7
4
0
3
446
367
24
Whyte Melville A
8
4
0
4
467
485
21
Abington A
7
2
1
4
396
452
17
Daventry Town A
8
1
0
7
429
551
10.5
Earls Barton
8
0
1
7
370
595
7.5

So despite what appears a much more assured result, Abington A still need to up their game significantly. The next few weeks brings the league's ultimate test - all of the big three away from home - first Kingsthorpe A, then Express A, then West End A - followed immediately by the return encounter with West End! Four games and two weeks we are unlikely to forget. Will they destroy us - or make us?

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16/7/2018

COUNTY/NATIONAL COMPS ROUNDUP: 9th-15th JULY

ABINGTON'S HOPES of representation at the National Championships in Leamington Spa withered drastically this week, but there remain a few isolated survivors. What we now know for sure is that the major men's competitions are all closed off.

Alan Dunkley had got to whites in the men's singles, but exited at the last eight stage on the evening of Thursday 12th July at Wellingborough. 11 shots against Northampton West End's Darren Childs, last year's national, nevermind county, runner-up was respectable enough, though tinged with the disappointment of having dominated the early exchanges. Childs was only on 6 when Dunkley hit double figures, but it was not a sustained peak.

And it rounded off a hard week for Dunkley, in which his county fours set-up, skipped by Jonathan Brown were knocked out in the group final by Chris Bland at Express, two rounds short of equaling last year's semi-final run. And then his senior fours suffered the same harsh fate in the last four of that comp, at the hands of Wellingborough's seasoned pro, Walt Winsor.

Thankfully, the other Abington Over-55 semi-finalists, Alan Mann, Trevor Aston, Chris Beck and Peter Milburn, did prevail. Their game, versus Desborough's Malcolm Winckles, had been practically deadlocked until the last couple of ends. On this occasion, mouse defeated cat as the Abington men constantly took the initiative before being pegged back. Eventually though, their opponents gave up the chase. Unlike in the other competitions, they are not yet guaranteed a Leamington spot, and sadly nor is the club following the defeat of Dunkley's rink. If Milburn is to qualify, he must get revenge on over Winsor on their behalf.

One good bit of news for Dunkley was just such an act of vengeance in the national senior singles. Kingsthorpe's Martin Gearey was finally felled by an Abington man at the fourth time of asking. Only John Haines of Desborough now stands in Dunkley's way of reaching the finals stage at Bowls England HQ.

Elsewhere, the other surviving county fours entrant from the previous week, skipped by Mick Taylor, were unsurprisingly thrashed by 7-22 by the all-star rink of West End's international Jamie Walker.

All attention then focused on the men's county 2-wood singles. Most of the early rounds in the southern half of Northants were again played at Abington, as they were last year, on Sunday 15th July. Unlike last year though, no-one was able to take advantage and reach the quarters. Adam Brown, who went on to qualify for the national championships last season, found his run this time ended at the second round - by his own father, Jonathan.

In turn, the elder Brown was not able to take it any further. And the 3rd round, two short of whites, was as far as any of our men would get this time. (Sadly, we aren't able to count Mark Courtney, Jonathan's conquerer. Despite his Abington membership, he still proudly represents Whyte Melville on the big stage. And even his bid was not to survive the day.)

Mick Taylor came away with the outstanding result of the day - from an Abington perspective - seeing off Express star Chris Bland 16-15, a man currently awaiting a semi-final in the county 4-wood singles. However, even this was quickly undone with the day's biggest loss in the next round, to that man Jamie Walker.

Jamie's namesake and clubmate David Walker was joint most prolific assassin of our players on the day, knocking out three of them in turn - Dunkley, Colin Barnes and John Freeman. Ironically, it would take another Abington scourge, Dave Iddles of Kingsthorpe, who had begun the day with a 6-15 hammering of our own Dave Fage, to end Walker's run.

Express' Rob White bettered this though by defeating three of our men - and then also Jamie Walker to reach the quarters. Rob Archer, Phil Reeve and Adam Hawkings were the forlorn trio here. The first two offered little resistance to White's pin-point draw bowling, it has to be said, but Hawkings was desperately unfortunate to lose his encounter 12-13.

It would be fair to say that on the whole we have been battered this week - but though bruised we are not totally beaten yet.

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12/7/2018

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE: WEEK 7

AT THIS RATE, the two teams will likely swap places at the end of the season. Both Abington A and Abington B may come to look back at the events of July 9th as a pivotal moment in their campaign, for wildly opposing reasons.

Increasingly the Bs do more and more to earn top billing. This week, a sensational late fightback turned the potential outcome of Kislingbury B's visit on its head. With just a handful of ends left to play on either rink, the visitors looked to have brought the hosts' good run to an end, and blow the promotion chase wide open. Up by 12, they had five points in the bag, and all that seemed required was to seal the bag.

However, a daring, thrilling late raid, rescued the majority of those points back again, and the final reckoning was the exact opposite scoreline to that which had seemed certain for so long. Mick Taylor's rink undoubtedly receives plaudits for being the highest winners. Most crucially, they were a source of comfort while all else was sputtering. While they held a decent advantage, anything was still just about possible.

It was a flicker of hope which eventually empowered two other rinks to produce a spectacular late display. Both Peter Kneeshaw and Pete Boulden had long trailed after dropping heavy scores early on. But over the last three ends, they produced between them a staggering 19 shots, divided up just enough for both to sneak a rink result. And an aggregate result that - along with Bugbrooke being walloped at home by Division 2 leaders Desborough, and dropping into fourth - lifts Abington B clear of the pack at this crucial halfway juncture.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Desborough Town
7
6
0
1
477
362
32
Abington B
7
5
0
2
454
391
29
Kingsthorpe B
7
4
1
2
436
405
22.5
Bugbrooke
7
4
0
3
438
414
21
Brackley
7
3
0
4
413
414
19
Kislingbury B
7
3
0
4
401
447
18
Wootton Grange A
7
1
0
6
370
444
14.5
Heyford
7
1
1
5
377
489
12

For Kislingbury, the late comeback was a big hit to their hopes. Scrub the game at 12 ends, and this table would have looked totally different. Kisle would have been on Abington B's coattails, with Kingsthorpe B's breath similarly heating the back of their necks. It just goes to show how you can never get complacent in this division. However, with everyone now having played everyone else, four successive 5-1 wins has launched Abington B into a position of relative security, and they are halfway to promotion.

Whether there will be another Abington team to greet them in Division 1 is suddenly looking less assured, however. On paper, the drop should never be a consideration. However, Abington A are still looking for their first points win away from home, and they are still to play any of the supposed 'big' sides on their respective turfs.

Last week, one rogue rink cost them the aggregate victory. This time, failure was spread further and wider. John Freeman's was the source of the sole point, and even then by a narrow margin of just two shots after a game where they had trailed until the 14th end.

To be fair, no rink was thrashed either, with Dave Fage skipping the paltriest effort at 13-19. That in itself was a recovery of sorts after conceding nine shots before even scoring. The other two rinks were only defeated by the identical score of 12-16. Nevertheless, the talent involved in the squad is capable of so much more than an average of two points per game.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Kingsthorpe A
7
7
0
0
511
331
37.5
Northampton Express A
7
5
0
2
481
361
30
Northampton West End A
6
4
0
2
397
312
23
St. Crispin’s A
7
4
0
3
412
423
23
Whyte Melville A
7
4
0
3
419
420
20
Abington A
6
1
1
4
331
404
12
Daventry Town A
7
1
0
6
381
491
10
Earls Barton
7
0
1
6
326
516
6.5

Challenging for the title was a write-off after the opening game, but even more concerning is that St. Crispin's and Whyte Melville, not usually our betters, are currently stealing a march on us as well. The sole win so far - vs Daventry at home - is the only thing keeping Abington A from a most ignominious position indeed. Hopefully the As can at least draw on the fact that their home fixtures for the second half of the season are fairly friendly, and ensure that there will be another all-Abington affair in the top flight next year.

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9/7/2018

COUNTY/NATIONAL COMPS ROUNDUP: 2nd-8th JULY

IT'S BEEN A FRENETIC week of fours action for Abington's men, and a largely successful one. A golden gleam of national championship qualification is materialising in front of several of our members' eyes.

The senior fours in particular carries enormous potential. We left last week's update on a cliffhanger with Abington having a half-decent chance of crowding out the southern area's quarter-final representation. 'Half' being the operative word as only two of them made it through into whites. However, both of those made it through the next round as well to reach the last four.

The unit of Alan Mann, Trevor Aston, Chris Beck and Peter Milburn deserves special plaudits for the headline-capturing knockout of the most highly-rated four in the competition. A Kingsthorpe rink back-ended by former national champions Roger Tansley and Mick Sharpe would have been expected to see off almost any opponent in this tournament. Our men not only defeated them, but delivered what was practically a humbling.

The crucial - if not faintly remarkable - passage of play came between ends 9 and 15, when Abington, turned a 4-8 deficit into a decent lead of 18-11. Having just proved how much can change in six ends, they now had to hold their nerve and prevent a reverse onslaught in the same amount of time.

A couple of dropped singles threatened to set up a tense finish, but only two ends later, hands were being shaken. Milburn's men had increased their lead back to seven - and then nine shots. The Kingsthorpe stars were choosing to save face while still down by singles figures.

The other rink, skipped by Alan Dunkley, won by the same amount in the same time, and in doing so, extracted revenge on behalf of the Abington rink who had surprisingly lost to the same opponents in the previous round. Here again, a steady streak of eight consecutive scoring ends established a clear lead for the Abington rink (which also featured Colin Barnes, Reg Jones and Dave Fage) beginning with a big count of six on the eighth end. Their opponents, skipped by Phil Odell of St. Crispin's, deserve credit for hauling themselves back into contention, the advantage shrivelling from 20-6 to just 20-15 with three ends left. However, a killer blow was struck with a four on the 19th.

So, both rinks travel back to West End on the evening of Wednesday the 11th. The draw keeps them apart until the final, though unlike in the major competitions, there is only one slot at Leamington up for grabs. Here's hoping the club can afford to toast that success before the final is played.

Nearly all concerned were also out on the green for the early rounds of the county fours proper. And there were much joy for Dunkley and Barnes again, this time in tandem with the father-and-son duo of Jonathan and Adam Brown. The same unit that reached the semi-finals of last season's competition on their maiden voyage have kept an immediately proud record going with impressive Top Club and Double Rinks outings this year, and have wasted no time announcing their renewed intentions. Landing straight back in the group final took just 32 of the 42 scheduled ends - and an aggregate score of 47-12. Next up is Chris Bland from Express and their first major hurdle, but they have beaten similar high-quality opposition before.

Mick Taylor's entry - featuring Dave Fage at number three - have also reached the final of their group after a 20-13 win over Geoff Hayter from Bugbrooke. Said game could have been an all-Abington affair but instead they will be treated to the dubious pleasure of the competition favourites, skipped by West End, and England, star Jamie Walker. Should they pull off an almighty upset, their reward will be a quarter-final at Kislingbury on the Friday evening.

They'll certainly have to perform better than Dave Jones did in his county singles confrontation with Walker, losing 12-21. However, the very next round of that showed he is not invincible, his reign as national champion brought to an end by his own pairs partner! And in the fours format especially, nothing is pre-ordained.

******

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE have yet again failed to make the Middleton Cup quarter-finals, but the new manager, our very own Phil Reeve, has vowed to stay on having detected signs of progress, not least in the spirit of the camp. Besides the gaffer, our club's representation has swelled from two back to the four of recent years. The Browns, Adam and Jonathan, re-joined Tony O'Leary and John Freeman in the line-up for the Norfolk away and Huntingdonshire home games.

Both justified their selection with key performances in each match's highest winning rink respectively. Sadly, an overall defeat to Norfolk effectively ended Northants' chances. In the long run though, beating Hertfordshire at home on the proceeds of just one rink was at least as costly.

Reeve now has the freedom to experiment for the remainder of the season, and he knows he can rely on Abington to provide him with ready and willing back-up. One of the manager's more eye-catching innovations has been the fielding of an Under-25 rink in the senior Midland Counties championship. Congratulations are now due to this club's youngest bowler, 13-year-old Thomas Manderson, who will receive his Colt badge as the fresh-faced rink's number two for the Nottinghamshire away match at Newark on Saturday the 14th.

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5/7/2018

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE: WEEK 6

BOTH THE A AND B TEAMS were given the seemingly simple task of a win against the bottom-placed side in their division on Monday 2nd July. Only the latter proved up to the job though.

The Bs claimed a thoroughly professional win over Heyford, with only Reg Jones' rink on the wrong end of the final scoreline, failing to recover from a desperate first half (and at least with the caveat of playing against Michael Moulton, the opposition's one county-level star). Thankfully, this was balanced out by an untroubled 19-9 win from Mick Taylor's rink.

A run of eight shots in five ends at the beginning of the second half was the breakthrough for Peter Milburn's rink after a first half they narrowly trailed. And Dave Brawn's survived a major scare with eight shots on the final three ends to snatch another point. In fact, without that late contribution, the whole night's work would have been thrown into doubt.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Desborough Town
6
5
0
1
405
314
26
Abington B
6
4
0
2
390
333
24
Bugbrooke
6
4
0
2
390
342
21
Brackley
6
3
0
3
349
345
18
Kingsthorpe B
6
3
1
2
355
359
17
Kislingbury B
6
3
0
3
343
383
17
Wootton Grange A
6
1
0
5
324
363
14
Heyford
6
0
1
5
308
425
7

The 2nd Division table shows how vital it could have been, with Abington displacing Bugbrooke from the second promotion spot, following only their second loss of the season at Kingsthorpe B. The field has constricted a little again, but a win at Kislingbury next week would surely confirm Abington B as a favoured candidate to go up.

That late contribution from Brawn's men shows again how fine the margins can be in this league. Without the 16-shot swing, Heyford would have claimed their first win of the season and the Bs would be three points worse off. Away at Earls Barton, the A-team were themselves receiving the lesson that every rink's last contribution is precious.

Tony O'Leary and his partners in crime, Chris Beck and Dave Fage, racked up 13 ends before finally scoring their first shot on the 14th. Thankfully, they never dropped a huge individual score, but 0-17 is never a pleasant read, no matter what the stage the game is at. By that time, the combined score of the other three rinks was 45-26, just enough to cancel out O'Leary's nightmare, but the dam was creaking.

In a way, it was ironic that it should finally burst just as O'Leary and company finally killed their duck (though even then they ended up with just two, not even enough to share between all the players). Every other rink conceded at least a couple of shots at the finish, but at least they had won. The most impressive being Dave Jones' rink, who had threatened a hideous collapse themselves early on before rallying to win 19-14.

The one major loss gave their Barton hosts the shot victory and so an equal share of the points, which more than doubled their return for the season so far. Abington A surely remain too good to go down but five shots is a meagre tally for the top performing rink. A bizarre disjointedness is still preventing the team from playing anywhere near its potential.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Kingsthorpe A
6
6
0
0
439
279
33
Northampton Express A
6
5
0
1
429
289
28.5
Northampton West End A
5
3
0
2
325
258
18
St. Crispin’s A
6
3
0
3
348
369
18
Whyte Melville A
6
3
0
3
339
372
15
Abington A
5
1
1
3
282
340
11
Daventry Town A
6
1
0
5
327
424
9
Earls Barton
6
0
1
5
278
436
5.5

At least there is the consolation of the league's knockout competition, in which the As, winners of the shield two seasons ago, have again reached the quarter-finals with the expected stuffing of 3rd Division Roade. This time, it was Jones' rink who were the sole stragglers, but only to the deficit of six shots, barely leaving a dent in Abington's otherwise armour-plated march to victory. Between them, the other three rinks scored a total of 69 shots and dropped only 33.

Much of this was scored in a whirlwind second half. When the dust had settled, captain Jonathan Brown's rink emerged with the largest amount of blood drawn, a five on the second end snatching the highest-winning rink honour from his namesake Terry. Mention though must be paid to the debut of young Thomas Manderson on his grandfather Dave Fage's rink, which included setting up an eight on the 13th end! Whatever their current travails, Abington A still have plenty of reasons to look forward in anticipation.

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2/7/2018

COUNTY/NATIONAL COMPS ROUNDUP: 18th JUNE-1st JULY

ANOTHER relatively quiet fortnight, but with some major highlights. Chief amongst which was an all-Abington duel for a place in the men's county singles quarter-finals, with Alan Dunkley prevailing over Peter Milburn 21-14.

The contest was not quite the spectacle that might have been hoped for by neutrals, with Dunkley hitting his stride far sooner, and the summit hove into view before Milburn scored on consecutive ends. As is so often the case though, the do-or-die circumstances inspired Milburn to produce some decent bowls, and Dunkley's last two steps took almost as long as the preceding 19.

Any potential comeback was eventually snuffed out when Milburn reached 14, and Dunkley goes through to the quarter-finals at Wellingborough a week on Thursday, just reward perhaps for his superb 21-16 win over Express star Dominic Graham in the previous round. His first opponent in whites will be either Dave Iddles of Kingsthorpe or Darren Childs of West End, last season's national runner-up!

A week before that though, on this coming Thursday, is the county senior fours quarters and the absurdly tantalising prospect that all four southern Northants representatives will be from our club! No other club has taken to this new competition quite so enthusiastically and all four of our entrants have been duly kept apart in the group draw. A couple have already survived one early round, notably the stacked and relatively youthful rink of Jonathan Brown, John Freeman, Tony O'Leary and Phil Reeve who convincingly beat a Brackley unit skipped by Dave Blencowe 20-8.

Only one of the four senior rinks has been granted home advantage for Wednesday's all-important 2nd round night. But even on a heads-or-tails basis, there's only a one-in-16 chance that none of them will go through. West End are the lucky club who could be hosting an Abington invasion later this week.

Returning to Dunkley, he is also the club's last man standing in the national senior singles. After walloping John Freeman's conqueror Michael Moulton 21-6, his next task will be to avenge another THREE of his clubmates. Martin Gearey of Kingsthorpe has been a one-man wrecking ball to Abington's chances in the seniors this year, defeating Dave Jones, Phil Reeve and Colin Barnes en route to his showdown with Dunkley. Surely lightning doesn't strike the same place four times...

Dunkley will at the very least hopes it goes better than his national senior pairs game last Thursday, in which neither he nor Colin Barnes excelled, to put it mildly. Thankfully, the beneficiaries of their off-day were their fellow Abingtonians Freeman and Reeve.

On the women's side of things, Gill Crossley suffered an agonising 20-21 loss to Liz Keeney of Corby Seagrave in the quarterfinals of the women's county champion of champions. A proud end to a proud first-time run in the tournament. It will surely not be her last. Elsewhere, the club's only entrant in the women's 2-wood singles, Lis Milburn was hastily despatched by Pat Bodily of Whyte Melville, 9-17 the score.

Meanwhile the prestigious benevolent triples was staged across the last week of June. This 2-wood three-woman tournament is always a highlight of the calendar, not least for being one of very few competitions unique to ladies bowls, and a vital fundraiser. Both of the Abington entrants performed well, reaching day three of four and the last 16. Sadly, this was the road ended for both also. Judy Jones, Margery Keal and that girl Crossley were comfortably beaten by Heather Lack of Burton Latimer, while Shirley Salado, Debbie Bradshaw and Barbara Astle were narrowly pipped 11-12 by Maureen McDonald from Wellingborough, who later almost made the final.

******

IT'S NO SECRET how thin the line is between triumph and disaster, and hence why we are advised to treat them just the same. Abington's 2018 Manfield Cup day on Saturday June 30th provided another salutary lesson to that, in part at least.

Just eight shots, spread in a particular way, and Abington would be one of the highest-ranked teams, as they usually are. Instead with the best result being Peter Milburn's tie against Andy Fowkes of West End at Daventry, we are one of the lowest this time.

In fairness, it would have taken a far bigger swing than that to trouble the very top of the leaderboard, despite Wellingborough claiming victory in the annual countywide four-rink jamboree with an aggregate of just +39, much lower than usually required. Abington simply didn't have any consistency in shot-scoring this year, despite a decent draw on paper, from which at least a couple of positive results might have been expected. Congratulations to Wellingborough. For our club, the wait for another Manfield extends to 28 years.

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27/6/2018

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE: WEEK 5

THEY'RE UP AND RUNNING. And it's only taken them four attempts. The A-team continued their upward trajectory with a comfortable win at home to Daventry Town A. Meanwhile, the Bs kept the pace in Division 2, taking the same amount of point at Wootton Grange.

The As' result sees them swap places with Daventry, though with the top three also all winning healthily, no ground was gained on those who Abington should really be judging themselves by.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Kingsthorpe A
5
5
0
0
369
217
28.5
Northampton Express A
5
4
0
1
344
258
22.5
Northampton West End A
4
3
0
1
272
191
17
Whyte Melville A
5
3
0
2
308
287
15
St. Crispin’s A
5
2
0
3
281
319
13
Abington A
4
1
0
3
232
284
8
Daventry Town A
5
1
0
4
265
354
7.5
Earls Barton
5
0
0
5
222
383
2.5

Nonetheless, a win can't be sniffed at after the struggle it's been to register one, and even this had its dodgier moments, such as captain Jonathan Brown's rink losing a five on the final end, and Phil Reeve's having to recover from 0-8 down after six ends. Still, they got the points in the end. Reeve had equalised within just three ends and effectively won the game with two ends to play, while Brown's men can be excused their late lapse on this occasion as they were 18-9 up at the time.

After all, not everyone can win 33-6, as Tony O'Leary's rink did. No-one knows that better than O'Leary himself, for whom this was a welcome corrective after suffering similar seismic thrashings in the first two games. Only Terry Brown's men came away with a negative mark, after sustaining a horror show between ends 9 and 12, conceding 13 shots in just those four ends. And even there, the damage was halved with a six immediately afterwards.

In Division 2, Abington B were denied an advance into the promotion spots, but only because Desborough and Bugbrooke also won convincingly, against Heyford and Kingsthorpe B. (Proving just how valuable last week's win over Desborough was for our boys.) The top three have taken a stride away from the rest of the ever-shuffling pack, with the Bs putting in a steady performance at Wootton.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Desborough Town
5
4
0
1
338
267
22
Bugbrooke
5
4
0
1
338
274
20
Abington B
5
3
0
2
327
279
19
Kislingbury B
5
3
0
2
296
316
15
Wootton Grange A
5
1
0
4
283
297
13
Brackley
5
2
0
3
283
304
13
Kingsthorpe B
5
2
1
2
287
307
12
Heyford
5
0
1
4
254
362
6

All three winning rinks triumphed by about the same amount, with Peter Milburn's 11-shot margin narrowly outperforming Mick Taylor and Peter Kneeshaw's 10. And again, all three built up an early decent advantage and maintained it to the finish. Mick Hall's rink must have read their memos upside down, with their game proceeding in the exact opposite fashion.

Still, apart from this, the Bs are currently performing with the necessary cohesion and camaraderie, and a comfortable win away from home is a very encouraging sign. Next week sees a visit from the winless stragglers Heyford. Better opportunities for a generous portion of points will be scarce after that.
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