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.

***IMPORTANT NOTICE*** The Club 100 prize draw is to be held on the evening of Friday 26th August, beginning at 7:30pm. All members and indeed family and friends will be very welcome.

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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8/7/2016

FRIDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE - HALFWAY NOTICE

WHILE THE men labour and struggle, Abington's ladies are showing them how to put together a triples league campaign, which has also just reached the half-distance mark.

Though relegated limply from Division 1 last year, they've recovered beautifully. If they can match their performances so far with similar in the second half of the campaign, they are destined to make an immediate return to the top flight. With a clear advantage at the summit of the Division 2 table - in a league where winner really does take all - and only one defeated rink after the first four matches, pretty much everyone who has featured for Abington so far has come away beaming.

The only caveat is that the majority of their away matches are yet to come, but their one trip out to date, to Cold Ashby, resulted in the most determined win. A more detailed look at how the matches played out can be found in the ladies section. Here is the table so far:


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Abington
4
3
0
1
132
98
12.5
Harpole
3
2
0
1
94
88
7
Abbey Park
3
2
0
1
88
85
7
Whyte Melville
5
1
0
4
131
157
6
Cold Ashby
3
1
0
2
78
95
3.5

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8/7/2016

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE - WEEK 7

AS THE league reaches the midpoint, Abington A have taken a giant leap forward, but Abington B went in the other direction on the evening of July 4th.

The As routed St. Crispin's A 6-0 with a healthy shot aggregate into the bargain. The battering brings Abington A into the top half of the Division 1 table for the first time this season, and the minimum objective has to be to stay there. Also coming to their aid were Desborough with a defeat of Express A that brings the Duston-based side into the As' clutches. Though Desborough themselves remain an outlying threat with their various re-arranged fixtures.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Northampton West End A
6
6
0
0
433
279
31.5
Kingsthorpe A
7
5
0
2
504
369
27.5
Northampton Express A
7
4
0
3
424
427
23.5
Abington A
6
3
0
3
360
341
18.5
St. Crispin’s A
7
2
0
5
382
478
15
Desborough Town
4
3
0
1
231
237
13.5
Whyte Melville A
6
2
0
4
312
382
13
Daventry Town A
7
0
0
7
359
492
7.5

At the top and bottom, both West End A and Daventry A are beginning to look secure of their respective positions - with the table toppers defeating the side in second place away from home - but not even half the story has been told yet. The promise of many other twists and turns is Abington B's chief source of solace after a potentially seismic defeat by the same scoreline the As were triumphant.

Before the evening began it was Roade in the Division 2 dropzone. Now it is our side who sit just above Heyford, and four points from safety. A shock second home defeat in succession for leaders Bugbrooke keeps the whole situation tight, with Earls Barton in fourth mathematically capable of taking top spot with their game in hand, but more gumption is required from the Bs in the second half of the year.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Bugbrooke
7
4
0
3
442
371
26
Wootton Grange A
7
4
0
3
400
404
23
Brackley
7
3
1
3
436
415
21.5
Earls Barton
6
4
0
2
362
338
21
Roade
7
4
0
3
416
417
20.5
Kislingbury B
7
3
1
3
431
441
20
Abington B
7
3
0
4
399
466
16
Heyford
6
1
0
5
348
382
14

Relegation is still a distant prospect but it is nonetheless on the horizon and a U-turn is required. Promotion is still very possible, but Abington B cannot afford any more nights like the trip to Roade. Full match reports in the men's section.

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4/7/2016

COUNTY COMPS ROUND-UP - 27th JUNE-3rd JULY

AFTER TWO 'oh-so-nears' in the fours and triples, Abington's men began the county pairs on Wednesday June 29th with a collective sense of ambition. Could any of them make it third time's the charm with two?

If they are, at least one of the lucky duo will probably have been inspired by memories of a semi-final loss as fresh as they are bittersweet. Terry Brown & Alan Coleman, John Freeman & Tony O'Leary and the son and father team of Adam & Jonathan Brown are the three double acts left standing. All bar Coleman were involved in a recent last-four heartbreak, all bar the younger Brown have experienced qualification for the national finals before. All bar none stand a chance on current form.

The former endured the most strenuous time of it, but on both the Wednesday and the Friday held their nerve to narrowly beat a decent Express double, the first skipped by Phil Green, the second on the Duston green itself against Wayne Stanley. The other two Browns by contrast breezed through with two big wins and are setting their sights fairly high.

O'Leary and Freeman fell in between the those two worlds. Their first round match was handed to them as a walkover and they waited until late on to make their superior class count against Ivan Wilson of Kingsthorpe in the second. Now though the challenge truly begins, with a trip to West End this Wednesday.

That's where unfortunately the good news has to take a breather. Five other Abington pairs went no further than the first week. Peter Kneeshaw & Mick Taylor and Chris Beck & Peter Milburn at least got to experience that winning feeling on the Wednesday after hard-fought close battles (the latter removing a significant name in Martin Walker) before being unceremoniously dumped out on the Friday.

The other three couldn't even wait for that to happen. Dave Fage & Dave Vernon (5-26), John Higginbottom & Reg Jones (12-28) and Rob Archer & Pat McAlwane (10-30) were left with only the consolation of not being alone after each was thrashed straight out of the tournament on their own green.

McAlwane balanced this out though with a continuation of his and Debbie Bradshaw's involvement in the county mixed pairs. A sizeable 24-14 win over Elaine Munton and partner from Whyte Melville their second straight win in a row.

Meanwhile, Abington's presence in the ladies benevolent triples proved short-lived. Of our three entries at Whyte Melville last Tuesday, only Anita Petrucci made it through the opening round, and her trio didn't get past the second. Ann Stewart of Irchester's triple went on in their stead, all the way to the semi-finals.

*A FULLER write-up will be forthcoming, but at the provisional stage, it looks as though Abington have finished as runners-up in this year's Manfield Cup after one of the more bizarre afternoons in the county-wide one-day competition's long history. Abington were one of five teams awarded victory on all four rinks (choice of wording deliberate) despite a number of obstacles, not least a hailstorm - in JULY!

Unfortunately, one of the other clubs in that quintuple deadlock recorded a better shot difference. It seems congratulations are in order to Thrapston, who will have achieved a rare feat in successfully defending their title. It's not really been our week versus Thrapston, as a look at the men's section for the latest National Double Rinks report will testify...

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1/7/2016

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE - WEEK 6 (PLUS KNOCKOUT ROUND 2)

A PRODUCTIVE week for Abington in the Monday Triples League ended with four wins, both the A and B sides proved victorious in their league fixtures and both reached the quarter-finals of the league's cup competition.

The two cup win were routine enough. St Crispin's B and Daventry Tigers, both of Division 4, were dispatched by almost identical scorelines to keep the dream of an all-Abington semi-final on track, a scenario that became significantly more likely with neither of their expected opponents in the last eight, St. Crispin's A and Express A, making it through. Instead, the As will now travel to play Kingsthorpe B and the Bs will have to contend with Bugbrooke.

That latter scenario no longer seems like such a daunting task as the Division 2 leaders proved they are fallible after all with their league game resulting in an incredible 0-6 loss to the side at the other end of that table. Unfortunately, Abington B weren't able to take advantage to the extent that other sides did, managing only four points from Kislingbury B at home despite an untroubled shot aggregate win.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Bugbrooke
6
4
0
2
381
303
24
Earls Barton
5
4
0
1
309
281
20.5
Wootton Grange A
6
3
0
3
343
351
17.5
Brackley
6
2
1
3
361
359
16.5
Kislingbury B
6
2
1
3
363
380
16
Abington B
6
3
0
3
353
387
16
Roade
6
3
0
3
337
371
14.5
Heyford
5
1
0
4
292
307
13

Still they are now out of the drop zone and with the mid-table situation tightening even further, are only 2 points from third place. Regularly, sides in Division 2 will begin the last game of the season still facing one of three possible outcomes - promotion, consolidation or relegation. If the Bs are to exit Division 2 this year, a win over Roade next week looks crucial for deciding which end it is to be from.

The As meanwhile were given a taste of that experience as their encounter at Whyte Melville went down to the last end with the scores exactly even. Defeat would have been a potential disaster, bringing Melville only half a point behind Abington on the precipice of the drop zone. Not the best outlook for the imminent halfway stage. As it transpired though, Abington got the crucial final shot of an absurdly low-scoring affair and now know that victory over St. Crispin's A at home next week will put them well on their way to another top half finish. (Even if Desborough, who had to postpone yet another fixture, lie lurking in the Division 1 undergrowth.)


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Northampton West End A
5
5
0
0
371
222
27
Kingsthorpe A
6
5
0
1
447
307
26
Northampton Express A
6
4
0
2
363
359
21.5
St. Crispin’s A
6
2
0
4
347
398
15
Abington A
5
2
0
3
280
306
12.5
Desborough Town
3
2
0
1
163
176
9.5
Whyte Melville A
5
1
0
4
246
336
8
Daventry Town A
6
0
0
6
313
426
6.5

Full reports for all four matches can be found in the men's section.

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29/6/2016

COUNTY COMPS ROUND-UP - 20th-26th JUNE

FOR THE second time this year, Abington reached a county semi-final. However, also for the second time, a Leamington dream died at the crucial stage.

The Bowls Northants press report politely described it as "not their finest hour" but the triple of Adam Brown, Dave Fage and Jonathan Brown would accept no sugarcoating of their 4-20 loss to Vernon Gearey of Kingsthorpe.

Never mind that they were the underdogs and up against a trio with national and international honours, a triple that can set their sights beyond just reaching the national championships. To fail to even make a contest of such a huge game after cutting a trail so deeply into the heart of the tournament will be majorly painful.

To make it even worse, their quarter-final performance vs Rushden's Nathan Betts was effectively the complete opposite, with the "exceptional" leading of the younger Brown drawing special attention from the official county association write-up. Never behind once, their lead was almost constantly expanding, eventually finishing at 23-7.

At the same time, Gearey and company were crossing swords with three other garlanded players from their own club and had to withstand a late fightback to go through 21-14. Any attempt by the Abington players at similar two days later though was swiftly snuffed out by some admittedly world class bowling when required. Ultimately that's a level Abington simply cannot reach right now.

There has however been a terrific raising of standards so far this season and two very near misses should offer hope, not recrimination. Not while there are still so many other contests to declare. Attention for the Browns and Fage turns to the county pairs (with the latter now joined by former president Dave Vernon due to the imminent migration of secretary Don Smith to Manchester), which begin this week.

The men's singles isn't quite out of the picture yet either with John Freeman through to his group final after a brilliant 21-14 win over Kingsthorpe's Jason Bryan on Bryan's own green. Freeman is however, Abington's last hope now after Tony O'Leary became the latest significant scalp claimed by Wootton Grange's dark horse Tim Dawkins.

Without wanting to drag the mood down too far, both O'Leary and Adam Brown had to face disappointment on multiple fronts this week. The former led very well for Northamptonshire double rinks team in their second round match against Hertfordshire but departed the green on the receiving end of a narrow, surprise loss. Another route to Leamington was given the kiss of death as the latter endured a re-run of the county triples torture in his re-arranged 2-wood singles game against West End's Jamie Walker, losing 3-16. And yet another went when Northants' men were once again consigned to an early exit from the Middleton Cup at the qualifying group stage.

The only results to balance these disappointments came in the competitions that don't end at Leamington. Debbie Bradshaw and Pat McAlwane had a comfortable time of it in the mixed pairs 1st round at Daventry while Peter Milburn smashed Alan Gardner of the same club to pieces in the executive triples.

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24/6/2016

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE - WEEKS 4 & 5

THERE'S BEEN plenty of action on Monday evenings since our last update, though the A-team again had to postpone this week's Desborough home match with most of their players required to do their duty for the previously reported Top Club success over Corby Seagrave instead.

When they resume their campaign next Monday at Whyte Melville they will do so even more under the yoke of having to play catch-up than they were when we covered their third game. They failed to add to their tally of one win on their trip to Express on 13th June, and now lie 11.5 points behind the third-placed team. And almost 20 points behind West End who have dropped only three of a possible 30 so far.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Northampton West End A
5
5
0
0
371
222
27
Kingsthorpe A
5
4
0
1
366
244
21.5
Northampton Express A
5
4
0
1
300
278
20
St. Crispin’s A
5
1
0
4
270
348
10
Desborough Town
3
2
0
1
163
176
9.5
Abington A
4
1
0
3
229
256
8.5
Whyte Melville A
4
1
0
3
196
285
6
Daventry Town A
5
0
0
5
263
349
5.5

Some rays of light emerged from the clouds at Duston. Abington's score was far from total wipeout and they managed a win on half of the rinks, with Tony O'Leary and John Freeman both taking shots at the very end to snatch a point. The former displayed particular fortitude to recover from dropping a four on the penultimate end.

Although they would be expected to beat Whyte Melville, Kingsthorpe's stunning 5-1 defeat at that same venue sounds a note of caution against complacency. A defeat would be put Abington A in a spot of bother in the relegation zone.

The B-team meanwhile are in such a position in the Division 2 table, but as is customary for this ultra-competitive tier, sit only three points below the second promotion spot. Their tally received a healthy propping up this week with a 5-1 win over the side immediately above them, Wootton Grange A.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Bugbrooke
5
4
0
1
329
240
24
Earls Barton
4
3
0
1
254
230
15
Brackley
5
2
1
2
315
302
15
Kislingbury B
5
2
1
2
309
310
14
Roade
5
3
0
2
286
316
14
Wootton Grange A
5
2
0
3
286
305
13
Abington B
5
2
0
3
283
333
12
Heyford
4
0
0
4
229
255
7

The gap to Earls Barton in second is admittedly smaller than it might otherwise have been - with their game at bottom of the pile Heyford postponed due to a waterlogged green - but even if that had been a clean sweep for the away team, the Bs would still be within touching distance of a side that gave them a pasting just the week before. That speaks volumes for how open Division 2 is proving to be, as it so often does (another case in point being Brackley and Kislingbury B enjoying a rare equal sharing of the spoils with their 3-3 draw). Any side who can put together a half-decent run will surely go up. Let's hope their dominant display at Wootton is a return of the Abington B of other recent promotions.

Dave Brawn's rink - which has remained unchanged through five games now - continues to guide the rest of the squad, getting the only point at Barton and finishing as the best of the three winning rinks at Wootton. Brawn, Alan Mann and Chris Pollard dominate the merit table in the same manner that Bugbrooke currently stand astride the one that really counts.

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22/6/2016

ABINGTON KEEP ROLLING ON IN TOP CLUB

ANOTHER banana skin was averted in the men's National Top Club on Monday evening, as Abington eased past Corby Seagrave with a clean sweep.

The triples league A-side had to postpone a fixture at home to Desborough for this match to go ahead [N.B. big update on the league situation is coming later this week], but the hassle and voyage proved worth it as Abington triumphed in all five disciplines. That's a summary we wouldn't mind typing up more often. Hurrah for fixture congestion and greater mileage! It's a sign of rude health on the green.

Next up though are friends/foes closer to home, West End or Kingsthorpe A. The winner of their game doesn't matter from our perspective. Victory over either side - both full of top players - would represent a new high in this promising season.

Match report from Corby can be found in the men's section.

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21/6/2016

COUNTY COMPS ROUND-UP - 13th-19th JUNE

LAST WEEK'S edition of this column began by establishing a cliffhanger for Jonathan Brown's triple. The resolution of that now leads to an even greater one, as for the third time this season, an Abington entrant has reached a county quarter-final.

It proved a battle to get over the hurdles put in front of them last week, but the manner of their qualification out of the group shows few would better them for grit and nerves. First, on the Wednesday, they travelled to St. Crispin's with revenge as an extra motivation. For all three players - skip Brown, his son Adam at lead and middle man Dave Fage - there were still fresh memories of an early exit from the county fours on their own patch against Nick Beirne. Now the opportunity was there to return the favour.

However, the early stages hinted largely at a repeat of that earlier result. It was only just before the deficit grew too large that they gained control of proceedings, turning the tide over the final third to win by two.

Next up was a trip to Kingsthorpe to play Ivan Wilson's trio. This time they led from start to finish but it was a remarkably low-scoring affair and on a night interrupted more than once by the rain, rarely did they feel settled despite taking 11 of 17 ends (with one tied). It didn't help that opposition skip, Chris 'Munch' Wright, played at his best whenever he was shot down.

The rub of the green got them through to the last eight, matching their run of last season. Can they now go a couple of stages further to reach the National Championships?

Overall, the picture was more mixed. Tony O'Leary beat Tom Wellburn of Kingsthorpe in the men's singles and Jonathan Brown & Dave Vernon won through in the men's National Senior Pairs. Sadly these were offset by Lis Milburn's early exit from the ladies 2-wood singles, Debbie Bradshaw's defeat in the ladies county champion of champions (both to the same player, Sandra Mawson of Whyte Melville) and Mick Taylor succumbing to Kingsthorpe Jason Bryan, also in the men's singles.

To conclude on a happy and proud note though, Tony O'Leary and Adam Brown have retained their places in the county double rinks team for this Sunday's crunch regional finals day at Maulden in Bedfordshire. Two more wins (against Hertfordshire and then either Suffolk or Leicestershire) and Northamptonshire will have reached the national stages at Leamington. As with the last game, O'Leary will be leading for Jamie Walker while Brown will be travelling reserve.

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19/6/2016

DOUBLE RINKS: ABINGTON 'A' TURF OUT DAVENTRY

ABINGTON A have once again progressed in the men's National Double Rinks after defeating Daventry Town on their own patch.

Said patch was so leaden it would have provided a challenge to even the most experienced players, but the Abington side, unchanged from their previous thrashing of Kingsthorpe A, remained calm and plucked their way through.

After the wonderful display of top class drawing against Kingsthorpe A, this game required another showing of the determination and grit that got the squad through the first two fixtures. Next on the agenda isn't known at the time of writing but will be a trip away to a club in the northern half of the county. Leaving our region signifies that from here on in no side is here by fluke. Least of all ours.

Full match report in the men's section.

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15/6/2016

COUNTY COMPS ROUND-UP - 6th-12th JUNE

THIS EVENING, Jonathan Brown's county triples unit of Adam Brown, Dave Fage and himself will travel to St. Crispin's as the only remaining Abington entrant in the men's triples, despite it only being the second week of play.

To compound a lean seven days for the club, Brown and company had to dislodge some of their own members to reach this stage, seeing off our other rated trio - Tony O'Leary, Terry Brown and John Freeman - 17-8 after a thrilling game with high-quality play from every man on the rink. The final deficit flattered the winners considerably but if the performance is matched later in the tournament, they could go all the way.

Freeman was also involved in another tussle against a clubmate, where he was slightly more comfortable in knocking Pat McAlwane out of the county singles 21-13. Unfortunately, Rob Archer's 7-21 thrashing by Phil Manley of Cogenhoe was the singles game which more closely followed the pattern of results. Though on the plus side, Manley did take away Abington membership forms for next season!

In addition to his singles disappointment, Archer was also involved in a county triples set-up skipped by Pat McAlwane. Despite a terrific start against Jason Bryan of Kingsthorpe's trio, they couldn't build their score up and lost 11-20. Neither did Peter Milburn's and Mick Taylor's entrants make it past their first match

Archer could at least console himself with success in the county mixed pairs alongside Debbie Cadd, with a brilliant victory over Phil Reeve (offset slightly by defeat to Rob White in the national equivalent). The desperate figures of Reg Jones and Anita Petrucci had no such fallback after their exits from the men's triples and ladies' pairs, where they each managed just one shot in the whole game (providing the press release is accurate)!

While on the subject of the ladies pairs, congratulations are in order for Rebecca Wigfield & Katie Smith of Desborough and Elaine Cox & Serena Santer of St.. Crispin's, who emerged as the two qualifying duos for the National Championships in Leamington Spa, and did on Abington's turf. There can be few finer adverts for the quality of our playing surface when it allows the class of young internationals like Wigfield & Smith to win their quarter and semi finals by a combined score of 46-13.

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