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:

22/6/2018

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE: WEEKS 3 & 4

THE B-TEAM recovered from a desperately disappointing loss at Bugbrooke in their third game to smash the Division 2 leaders in their fourth to haul themselves up to third.

At Bugbrooke, the Bs were ahead with just an end remaining for each rink. unfortunately, they all proceeded to drop shots. A swing of seven was enough to give Bugbrooke the aggregate by three. Perhaps hardest to take was Reg Jones' eventual 15-17 loss - also featuring team captain Rob Archer as the middle man - having been 12-5 up with just under half the game to go. However, it was a foul-up with collective responsibility, with Mick Taylor and Mick Hall's rinks also dropping big scores at inopportune moments.

And despite losing three points at the death, Abington B still walked away with a reasonable two from a tricky away tie. Produce a similar performance at home to Desborough, and hold their nerve a little longer, and the rewards would be plentiful, was the theory. And that is exactly what happened.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Desborough Town
4
3
0
1
267
229
16
Bugbrooke
4
3
0
1
265
235
15
Abington B
4
2
0
2
268
240
14
Kingsthorpe B
4
2
1
1
249
236
12
Wootton Grange A
4
1
0
3
244
238
12
Brackley
4
2
0
2
233
244
11
Kislingbury B
4
2
0
2
236
266
11
Heyford
4
0
1
3
215
289
5

Hall's rink were the wrecking ball this time, reaching 20 shots after nine ends, and only conceding one. From there, they coasted to the finish with a final tally of 27-7. No rink suffering a counter-balance of that destruction, though Dave Brawn's flirted with disaster in the opening exchanges. 0-9 down after three ends, they then hit back in extraordinary fashion, with 10 shots from the next three. This continued in a similar pattern but never again would Brawn's men have the lead.

To achieve the full win, the other two rinks did require some of the bottle that had been lacking at Bugbrooke. Both Peters, Boulden and Milburn, were behind with five ends to play but were near flawless in their scoring over that time, a steady stream of single shots (plus the occasional pair) finishing a stunning 5-1 rout of the side who had won all of their opening three games. As seen above, that narrows everything significantly. The second tier continues to be the most open of the league's four, with just four points separating the promotion and relegation places, and only Heyford struggling to join in the mass fight.

The R-word is pursing the lips of the A-team, who sit second bottom of Division 1, but only as a whisper. Nevertheless, despite their scheduled game for round four, at West End, being postponed, their is hope the As have turned the corner, with a much improved performance in the third match at home to Express.

Fair enough, it was a third defeat from three, but it was far from the thrashings of the previous two. If captain Jonathan Brown hadn't been so unfortunate to drill the jack just a few inches too far with his final wood, Abington would have taken a majority of the points rather than Express.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Kingsthorpe A
4
4
0
0
282
173
22.5
Northampton Express A
4
3
0
1
256
217
16.5
Whyte Melville A
4
3
0
1
258
211
14.5
St. Crispin’s A
4
2
0
2
237
232
13
Northampton West End A
3
2
0
1
199
141
11.5
Daventry Town A
4
1
0
3
213
272
6.5
Abington A
3
0
0
3
150
232
3
Earls Barton
4
0
0
4
181
298
2.5

That put the seal on a thoroughly bad night for Brown personally, losing by 10 shots, though there was solace at John Freeman's and Phil Reeve's rinks beating well-regarded opposition. Were it not for the latter, Abington wouldn't have been thinking about the overall win. Six shots down after nine ends, no-one could have foreseen that Reeve and his boys would take 19 shots without reply. Sadly, Tony O'Leary's rink experiences something similar in reverse, dropping fours on two of the last three ends, putting the kibosh on the As' hopes of victory. Perhaps the B-team could give their Division 1 brethren instructions on how to recover from a last-minute blow.

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19/6/2018

COUNTY/NATIONAL COMPS ROUNDUP: 4th-17th JUNE

A TWO-WEEK update this time, although it's a period in which Abington have been thwarted in most of their primary pursuits, with some solace in the subsidiary competitions. Most notably, the triple of Diana Brown, Lis Milburn and Debbie Cadd reached the 'whites' stage for the second time this season but were thoroughly outclassed in their quarter-final encounter.

Facing the vaunted Desborough trio of Margaret Watts, Katie Smith and Rebecca Wigfield, and their international-level ability, our women were always going to be second favoruties. Their run to the national fours last season had included these very scalps at the same stage, but they were soon disabused of any notion of a repeat. After seven ends, the score was 3-12, and just kept plummeting despite a notably decent performance from Brown at lead.

The Desborough triple hit 20 before dropping double figures... and 30. In fact, nine shots was the summit of Abington's day. All agreed to remain out there until it was absolutely mathematically certain and so the game dragged on to 16 ends, but it had been over as a contest long before that.

Beyond this, Abington interest in the men's pairs was over by the 3rd round, with only two entrants surviving into the second week of play. Both of whom - Adam Hawkings & Phil Reeve and Bill Roberts & Dave Jones - were comfortably despatched by Darren Childs and David Walker of West End respectively.

Five men survive in the county singles, albeit four of them at the expense of their clubmates (and the fifth, Alan Dunkley, granted a walkover). Of the all-Abington head-to-heads, a majority of attention was focused on the battles between Alan Coleman and John Freeman, in which the latter gained revenge for a dramatic loss in the opening round of the pairs, and that between Tony O'Leary and Reeve. In truth, this wasn't a particularly close encounter. Abington's form man of the moment eased into the 3rd round fairly comfortably over the county manager, 21-10.

Reeve did find some solace in the national senior pairs, this time with Freeman in tow. Freeman was once again motivated to avenge a previous loss, beating Michael Moulton, the man who had just removed him from the tournament he reached Leamington in last year, the senior singles.

Even more praiseworthy though was Colin Barnes and Alan Dunkley's senior pairs success over the highly-rated Kingsthorpe duo Roger Tansley and Mick Sharpe, ruiners of many Abington dreams in the past. It sets up an intriguing battle between the two duos in the next round.

Dave Jones and Peter Milburn were the two other men to come through in the singles, beating Adam Hawkings and Dave Fage respectively. It's the second year in a row that Hawkings' run has been ended by Jones, although this time he's happy to wave him on as a fellow Abington player. Milburn's victory was the closest of the four duels at 21-17.

And in amongst all this, Gill Crossley continues to make a name for herself. Abington's new women's champion went out of the national champion of champions to the highly-rated Janet Ashby of West End - but only narrowly at 17-21. And she continues to be a presence in the county equivalent, smashing Irchester's Joy Gordon 21-7 to reach the last eight.

******

NO PROLONGED STAY in the men's National Top Club or Double Rinks this year for Abington, sadly. West End killed off both those hopes for another season.

First, our B-team were a comfortable second best in the former, though Harvey Fruish deserves a mention for being one bowl away from taking an astonishing 13-9 lead on the national singles champion, Jamie Walker. Walker however, got the shot at that point to level the game, and clicked into his usual top gear, which he maintained ever after.

Mick Taylor in the 2-wood and Peter Milburn's triple also came close to a point - the latter forcing an extra end - but the eventual loss of the former was an irrecoverable blow to any hopes of a miracle.

Three evenings later, it was the turn of the double-rinks B-team - albeit in effect a rebadged A-team - to feel the same pain. This time, Walker was to be denied his usual role as the star, by a combination that is proving to be a match for any opponent - namely, Colin Barnes, Adam Brown, Alan Dunkley and team captain Jonathan Brown. A six on the 11th end gave them a decisive lead after a tit-for-tat first half and they went on to win by 10.

In fairness though, the Walker rink's intensity may have steadily lessened as the night went on. Abington's other half, Tony O'Leary, Alan Coleman, Phil Reeve and John Freeman, were ruthlessly slaughtered by a rink skipped by Alan Ashby. 10 down before they even scored, they conceded another eight before notching a second shot. And still it was only halfway done. Unfortunately, there's just no sugarcoating a 7-35 flaying to within an inch of their bowling lives. To dwell on this would be the sporting equivalent of rubbernecking.

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7/6/2018

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE: KNOCKOUT 1st ROUND

THE CONTEST WAS OVER inside half an hour. With just two ends played on each rink at Harpole, Abington 'A' had already notched up a tally greater than their 4th Division opponents would manage, even after the rest of the evening.

An untroubled progression then, into the 2nd round of the Monday Triples League knockout tournament, in which another 94 shots on top of that early avalanche of 23 were but a thorough underlining of the gulf between the league's first and fourth tiers. Whatever the opposite of a giant-killing is called, this was it.

However, we lead with this not to brag unseemly, but to cover the disappointment of the other Abington result. The B-team's game was precisely the opposite in every respect. At home, but against a direct divisional rival, Heyford, and a scoreline that ended with no clearer difference than the 0-0 it had started as. By far a more interesting match for a neutral spectator, but sadly, with the opposite outcome for our club.

Captain Rob Archer held his hands up in apology afterwards. He was on the rink, skipped by Reg Jones, which made the most glaring error, conceding a five on the penultimate end. This, together with three other shots just before and after, was a suicidal sacrificing of their seeming status as the decisive winning rink.

Over the second half, they'd worked hard to build an advantage of 15-6 from 7-6. With every other rink on a knife-edge, they were close to being the heroes of the hour. And to compound the irony of their eventual collapse still further, two of the other three rinks had recovered from the threat of a thrashing to tee up that honour.

Peter Milburn's rink got bogged down in a tug of war for the lead, in which they eventually prevailed with a single on each of the last three ends. Mick Taylor and company were grateful for a five and four as they claimed only three of the first 12 ends. Dropping only ones and twos in return, helped them to finish just two adrift, while Peter Boulden's trio put a disastrous first half behind them - 1-10 down after seven - to take the lead with the penultimate end. Unfortunately, they were unable to finish the job, both for themselves and the team as a whole - twice.

The fickle finger of fate plucked their names out of the hat to be the contenders of the extra end, which they lost. So it's down to the As alone to uphold Abington's name in this competition. The Bs meanwhile, are tasked with regrouping and making sure they keep their nerve better when the league resumes next week.

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4/6/2018

COUNTY/NATIONAL COMPS ROUNDUP: 28th MAY-3rd JUNE

ABINGTON played host to the men's county triples finals stage on the Tuesday and Friday of last week. The green was accordingly prepared, an immaculate surface positioned on its nicest rink-setting guaranteed bowling of the highest quality.

Ultimately, this worked against the possibility of any surprises, and each quarter-final was claimed by the favourite. There was no breathing space for the outsider, the eventual semi-final lineup packed in all four corners with a dizzying array of former national finalists and internationally-recognised talent. A better advert for Northamptonshire bowls would be difficult to find.

The one unfortunate note was that some of our own men had to be the victims of this brutal filtering. Colin Barnes, Dave Fage and Alan Dunkley had performed exceptionally to reach this stage, but were barely able to leave a dent in the hull of national singles champion Jamie Walker. Dunkley's men dropped a four on the first end, and never got any closer than that, only just managing to score five themselves before conceding with four to play.

Thankfully, no single end was worse than the opener, a typically solid display from their lead meant they often had something in the head, even if holding onto shot - or scoring more than one when they did so - proved impossible. Hands were shaken while the scoreline still looked faintly respectable at 5-19.

Debbie Cadd's triple in the women's equivalent competition has a decent chance to do better, having emphatically taken out their clubmates, skipped by Margery Keal, 30 shots to seven. They now have just one more round to get through before hopefully donning whites themselves at Kingsthorpe on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Gill Crossley continues to make a name for herself, removing another noted name, Hilary Sharpe of Kingsthorpe, from the national champion of champions with a thoroughly dominant display of 21-12.

The men's main singles tournament has an interesting 2nd round lineup from our club's perspective, with no less than four all-Abington ties now guaranteed, following progression from the 1st this week for Phil Reeve at the expense of Daventry Tigers' John Moore. Reeve now goes on to play Tony O'Leary, who warmed up for the prospect of defeating a clubmate by squeaking past Dave Jones in the senior pairs 21-20.

Adam Brown sadly fell at the first hurdle of his opening county singles match, just unable to finish the job against Rob White of Express. Similarly, there was no joy to be had in the men's national champion of champions and senior singles. Jonathan Brown and John Freeman both made a hasty departure from the former to Kingsthorpe's Jason Bryan and Brackley's Bob Blencowe respectively. And in the seniors, Jones and Reeve only just scraped double figures against the same man, Martin Gearey of Kingsthorpe.

******

DESPITE RELYING ON ONE RINK to get the overall win in their opening Middleton Cup match at home to Hertfordshire, county manager Phil Reeve has opted to stick rather than twist for the second game away to Suffolk, this Saturday 9th June. The only two changes being made having been enforced upon him by bowling commitments elsewhere.

So, both Abington men involved at Kingsthorpe on the 2nd have retained their places. O'Leary in particular one of the stars of the day, with his consummate leading going a long way towards his rink's win of 32-7. A result that covered an otherwise disappointing return of just one point from 10 between the other five and ensured an aggregate deficit of 10.

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2/6/2018

DOUBLE RINKS: ABINGTON CONTINUE PAST EXPRESS

ABINGTON 'B' OVERCAME a Northampton Express side featuring the 2016 National Fours champions to advance to the 3rd round of the men's National Double Rinks.

It was a truly superb performance all round, and this time both rinks could hold their heads up, be proud of their contribution, and not have to thank the other for bailing them out. In many ways it was about as simple as a game of bowls gets, with some superb drawing from the front enders and some clinical head-turning shots from those at the back. Not an easy game - it never is against opponents of high calibre - but Abington were deserved winners.

Onwards to the next round, where West End lie in wait. More details of this success in the men's section.

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28/5/2018

COUNTY/NATIONAL COMPS ROUNDUP: 21st-27th MAY

THE CHAMPAGNE IS ON ICE for Colin Barnes' entry in the men's County Triples. Abington's only survivors from the Tuesday round in the second week powered their way through the next stage as well to book their place in the quarter-finals.

In doing so, they removed a highly-rated triple from Express skipped by Chris Bland. The game was barely a contest with Barnes, Dave Fage and Alan Dunkley all bowling at an elite level, and ended in an emphatic if bizarre manner. Needing 11 to tie with just two ends remaining, the Express trio initially decided to continue - until Barnes used his first bowl to ditch the jack! With that came the conciliatory handshakes.

So Barnes and company were through to the 'whites' stage, which is handily being staged at Abington this year. Home advantage and a similarly high level of performance will be necessary in order to advance any further, with England star Jamie Walker now lying in wait. But hope springs eternal.

The big hope beforehand was that this group final at least would be an all-Abington affair, but John Freeman's trio had fallen just short on the Tuesday to the same opposition. In the event, our boys made it through anyway, but it's always disappointing to see your own clubmates depart.

As noted last week, the aim was to produce a second mini-massacre of a rival club, to follow the previous week's at West End, with Jonathan Brown and Peter Milburn's units also in action at the Express green in Duston. What transpired was in fact the reverse, and with Barnes also doing for Adam Hawkings' set-up on the Tuesday, that left them as the last Abington men standing. Thankfully, their fight goes on.

As it does also for Debbie Cadd's entry in the women's triples. A comfortable 18-8 win over Janet Swift of Abbey Park puts them on a collision course in this week's second round with their own clubmates, skipped by Margery Keal.

Most of our first round entrants in the men's singles made it through. Of particular note were Alan Coleman, Dave Fage and Tony O'Leary, who all beat Middleton Cup standard bowlers past and present. Fage's 21-9 win over Kingsthorpe's Mick Spear being the most decisive margin. Also worthy of praise was Mick Taylor who came incredibly close - just three short - to a sensational scalping of West End's Darren Childs, last season's national runner-up.

Gill Crossley continued to bely her status as a relative novice and make good on her claim to be Abington's champion female bowler. Progressed into the second round of the county champions of champions came at the expense of Wellingborough's Jan Hunt.

Elsewhere, Barbara Astle didn't have the best week, with an early exit from both the ladies triples and senior pairs, followed by a nasty-looking accident as she walked off the green at the finish of the second game. Thankfully, a sprained wrist was the only damage sustained from her tripping over a wood-pusher and landing on the concrete around the green, but it was enough to rule her out of action from another all-Abington affair in the mixed fours. This also ended with defeat for Astle's side, skipped by Peter Milburn as Debbie Cadd's side, skipped by Adam Brown, leapfrogged their way into the next round with 10 shots on the last three ends.

******

HOW FINE THE MARGINS ARE. Abington A will not be repeating their fine run in last season's men's National Top Club, but Desborough prevailed 3-2 only thanks to some brilliant last woods from their 2-wood player and pairs skip.

Alan Coleman was especially unfortunate not to get that first point on the board, and the margin for error became wafer-thin when Tony O'Leary couldn't quite finish the job in the 4-wood despite leading 19-14 at one stage. The triples and the fours went to the home side, taking it to the wire, but a final end where the shot exchanged several times, even during one bowl on a few occasions, eventually went against them.

Conversely, the B-team saw off St. Crispin's in an even more heart-stopping manner. The 2-wood and the pairs went Abington's way, but as the match reached the summit, it appeared that might be it. Thankfully, Peter Milburn's triple played a divine last end to escape from the jaws of defeat and give the B-team its first ever win in this competition. Having come close to an upset against Express last year, the next target is to produce an actual one on the stars of West End.

*THE CLUB EXTENDS ITS HEARTIEST CONGRATULATIONS, as ever, to those members with Middleton Cup call-ups. Our very own Phil Reeve's first selection as manager features two of his clubmates for the opening game at home to Hertfordshire.

John Freeman and Tony O'Leary have kept their places from last week's final warm-up match. With Northants still yet to lose a rink in the Midland Counties Championship, Reeve is understandably reluctant to tinker too much right now. Freeman will be number two on a rink skipped by Phil Exley (and otherwise featuring Burton Latimer bowlers). O'Leary continues his long run as one of the county's automatic leads, a duty he will perform this time for Kingsthorpe's Vernon Gearey.

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24/5/2018

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE: WEEK 2

THE A-TEAM'S WORST FEARS were realised with the visit of Kingsthorpe A. The perennial champions gave their usual merciless display and took all the points, leaving the home side bereft and bottom of Division 1.

Unlike the previous week's tranquilised performance at Whyte Melville, this wasn't unexpected, although the scale of the gulf in class was still dispiriting.  Captain Jonathan Brown returned to the fray and nearly salvaged a point, albeit only with the occasional big score. Conversely, two other rinks trudged to the bar with a combined scoreline of 11-49.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Northampton West End A
2
2
0
0
150
74
11.5
Kingsthorpe A
2
2
0
0
155
78
11
Whyte Melville A
2
2
0
0
153
95
10
Northampton Express A
2
1
0
1
117
114
6.5
St. Crispin’s A
2
1
0
1
108
124
6
Daventry Town A
2
0
0
2
93
135
1
Earls Barton
2
0
0
2
72
147
1
Abington A
2
0
0
2
89
170
1

Results and form elsewhere prove that this limpness is mainly a Monday league syndrome, although an explanation for why that should be continues to elude the pundits. Abington A have yet again got a long season ahead of them. With the next fixture being the 1st round of the league's knockout tournament, and a bank holiday in between, this table will now remain unaltered for three whole weeks.

The B-team provided a slightly better return for their own little jaunt to Kingsthorpe against their 2nd Division equivalents. They didn't claim a win, but two points keeps them near the top, with only shot difference demoting them down two slots to fourth. Just one extra shot would have kept Abington B above their hosts.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Desborough Town
2
2
0
0
156
102
10
Bugbrooke
2
1
0
1
138
112
7
Kingsthorpe B
2
1
1
0
123
112
7
Abington B
2
1
0
1
130
120
7
Brackley
2
1
0
1
114
130
5
Kislingbury B
2
1
0
1
108
132
5
Wootton Grange A
2
0
0
2
113
122
4
Heyford
2
0
1
1
95
147
3

Peter Boulden's rink won plaudits as the highest-winning rink, though their game would be better categorised as a smash-and-grab than. Eight shots on the last two ends turned around a game they had trailed since the opening end just in time. Mick Taylor's rink would similarly assume control after a patch of three ends and 10 shots with which they took the lead for the first time after 12.

Less fortunately, Dave Brawn experienced that feeling in reverse, losing eight shots - and subsequently the opportunity to win outright - between ends 11 and 13. The fourth rink, skipped by Peter Milburn, struggled to translate second wood into shots and a final deficit of 10 swung the aggregate balance Kingsthorpe B's way.

Nonetheless, the season has begun, and continues, with confidence in abundance - from one of our sides at least. If Desborough are to live up to their pre-season billing as comfortable 2nd Division favourites, (and that's certainly how they've started) then belief will be a crucial psychological weapon in a tight fight for the only other promotion spot.

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21/5/2018

COUNTY/NATIONAL COMPS ROUNDUP: 14th-20th MAY

THIS TIME LAST YEAR, we were able to bring you the delightful news of Abington's first ever female national championship qualifiers. Here in 2018, those same players fell agonisingly short of a repeat achievement.

The rink of Debbie Bradshaw, Diana Brown, Lis Milburn and Debbie Cadd made history 12 months ago with some epically nervy late comebacks. Having gone through that initiation, they were utterly fearless this time round and comfortably re-booked a passage to the quarter-final stage. Via first a 23-1 thrashing of Brackley's Val Scott, and then an assured display against the highly-rated Sharon Tansley of Kingsthorpe in round 2.

Back in whites, they drew back on their previous experience to edge the last eight encounter vs Viv Gaudyn of Higham Ferrers 20-18, having trailed with two ends to play. In truth, they perhaps should not have let it get to that stage. Nine of the first 11 ends had gone Abington's way and they were 17-3 up with more than half the match consigned to the past. Nevertheless, they were through.

The semi-final draw saw them miss the international stars of the home venue Desborough, but they still took a while to regain their composure against a Wellingborough rink skipped by county selector Jan Hunt. Skipper Cadd saw them through the early choppy stage with some excellent saving bowls and eventually the other three found enough consistency to make the second half a nail-biter, the lead exchanging several times.

In fact, it was their own clumsiness that did for them in the end, with the shot given away at crucial junctures on more than one occasion, though tribute must also be paid to two supreme deliveries by the opposition skip. Hunt's very last bowl salvaged second when game down at the close of an end that had gone entirely Abington's way until that point. Such composure under pressure is worthy of qualification for the nationals, and at the very least, our women had proved themselves no one-season wonders. The second time may be a case of when rather than if after all.

******

As for the men, it will be another fortnight (at least) before we can report on an occasion quite so seismic, but there was an extremely enjoyable night to be had at West End on the Friday of this opening week. Not one, not two, but THREE of our county triples entrants defied the form book at our bogey ground.

Adam Hawkings' triple of himself, Dave Jones and Dave Vernon absolutely slaughtered that of Dave Kovacs, 22-6. Initially, it looked like that would be paid for in return a few rinks over, as Colin Barnes's trio (skipped by Alan Dunkley and featuring Dave Fage) went 0-12 down against Iain Walker's. With incredible resilience, they salvaged an 18-15 win so dramatic it took longer to complete than the extra end triumph of Alan Mann, Chris Beck and Peter Milburn over Martin Walker.

So, three wins, and several big scalps claimed, though the greatest of them all was to prove just beyond reach. Also at West End that evening, Pat McAlwane's triple (also featuring Rob Archer and Alan Coleman) held a lead against a set-up featuring BOTH of last year's national singles finalists, Darren Childs and Jamie Walker, for an amazingly long time. Sadly, they'd expended themselves before the last handful of ends and collapsed back to 10 shots down.

Elsewhere around the town, Jonathan Brown and John Freeman's set-ups also qualified for the second week. The former, skipped by Phil Reeve, recorded a routine win over Gerry Stephenson at St. Crispin's but the latter very nearly ended up on the wrong end of a sensational defeat to Dave Williamson (now an Abington member, but still competing for park team Boys Brigade Old Boys in county competition). Blushes were spared only by a salvo of 12 shots across the final four ends, to snatch a 20-18 win.

Apart from this, Mick Taylor's trio was soundly beaten by Tom Wellburn's from Express, who go on to face Milburn's this Tuesday. Beyond that, there was further West End woe at Abington's expense as Dunkley recorded a 21-14 win over the aforementioned M Walker in the national senior singles (setting up a possible confrontation against his clubmate Freeman in the next round). And a striking debut for Gill Crossley in the women's national champion of champions. Overcoming the disappointment of an early exit from the county fours, Crossley beat Whyte Melville's Victoria Stevenson by a decisive margin.

*JOHN FREEMAN becomes the only Abington man to be selected for all of Northamptonshire's four Middleton Cup warm-up events, as he again makes the lineup for next Saturday's second Midland Counties match vs Lincolnshire.  He will be number two in a rink otherwise made up of recent star signings by Burton Latimer, skipped by Callum Height.

Despite acquitting themselves well in the 22-0 wipeout of Derbyshire the Brown duo - father Jonathan and son Adam - have been rested for this week's clash. There is another Abington recall though, with Tony O'Leary given another chance to make his case for Middleton inclusion as lead to Kingsthorpe's Vernon Gearey.

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21/5/2018

DOUBLE RINKS: 'C' OUT, BUT 'B' WIN

THE 1ST ROUND of the men's National Double Rinks proved eventful for Abington, though largely for the wrong reasons.

John Freeman's rink is the only one of the six (including the A-team's prelim exit, reported here two weeks back) to have won their opening game. Thankfully though, with a barnstorming scoreline of 34-7, there was to be no upset for the 'B'-team at Roade, despite captain Jonathan Brown's rink collectively catching a cold in the early stages.

Neither of the 'C'-team rinks could ride to the gallant rescue of the other though. Despite hitting St. Crispin's for 41, they were hit back even harder for 55 and bade an immediate farewell. This leaves only the Bs still in the running already, though despite the label they are our strongest side. They will have to start living up to that billing collectively from the next round, when they make the same trip as the previously felled 'A'-side to Northampton Express.

More details in the men's section.

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17/5/2018

MONDAY TRIPLES LEAGUE: WEEK 1

WILL SOMEONE TELL US WHY the A-team doesn't like Mondays? They arrived at Whyte Melville with the new campaign resolution that 2018 would not feature the trials of its predecessor. Yet, if anything the 50-83 mauling at Whyte Melville was a new low.

Despite all the success in other formats and on other nights of the week over the past couple of years, Abington's elite male bowlers have slipped alarmingly off the pace in the Monday evening league of late. This particular fixture was supposed to have been an early banker. Now, they face the possibility of another season wasted fighting to get out of the wrong half of the table.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
St. Crispin’s A
1
1
0
0
65
48
6
Northampton West End A
1
1
0
0
71
41
5.5
Whyte Melville A
1
1
0
0
83
50
5
Kingsthorpe A
1
1
0
0
68
39
5
Earls Barton
1
0
0
1
39
68
1
Abington A
1
0
0
1
50
83
1
Northampton Express A
1
0
0
1
41
71
0.5
Daventry Town A
1
0
0
1
48
65
0

With their next three fixtures against the traditional Big Three of the league, it will require a turnaround in performance across the green to prevent a quick descent to the bottom of the Division 1 pile. This was no narrow, unlucky loss. This was a thrashing.

Thankfully, one rink did emerge with credit. Colin Barnes, Alan Dunkley and Phil Reeve claimed the As' inaugural point of the season. (A discreet veil will however be drawn over the 6-32 massacre of Dave Fage, Dave Jones and Tony O'Leary, capped off by a final end where they dropped as many shots as they'd scored all night - plus two more!)

All of this threatens to overshadow the good news story of the night. Abington B began in exactly the opposite style, gaining an immediate four-point advantage over a Division 2 promotion rival in the process. Brackley were conquered 5-1 (72-54 on shots) by turns swashbuckling and nerve-shredding. Peter Milburn and Mick Taylor's rinks blinked last to edge their noses in front over the last two ends and complete the job started by Reg Jones' magnificent 28-11.


P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Bugbrooke
1
1
0
0
79
52
5
Abington B
1
1
0
0
72
54
5
Desborough Town
1
1
0
0
66
60
4
Kingsthorpe B
1
0
1
0
57
53
3
Heyford
1
0
1
0
53
57
3
Wootton Grange A
1
0
0
1
60
66
2
Brackley
1
0
0
1
54
72
1
Kislingbury B
1
0
0
1
52
79
1

The man of the moment though was the new B-team captain, Rob Archer. His first team selection could hardly have gone better and he himself was on the highest-winning rink. A charmed skipper? If only it was as simple as that.

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15/5/2018

SEVERAL PLEASING RESULTS in the early county/national competition exchanges. Tony O'Leary, Terry Brown and John Freeman brought forward their county triples 1st round by two days and recorded a superb thrashing of Dave Blencowe's setup from Brackley. Although our men were favourites, few would have predicted a scoreline like 22-6 with three ends to play.

Less emphatic but perhaps even more remarkable were the events on the rink next door, as Debbie Cadd's national mixed fours unit held their early lead to defeat Sharon Tansley's from Kingsthorpe. For Cadd and company - Diana Brown, Rob Archer and Adam Brown - it was a stunning revenge upon the team who had knocked them out the previous year. Given that their opponents included national champions and an international, who have reached the Leamington stage of this event before, it suggests a sustained run is possible.

New member Dave Jones was also in action in the mixed fours, skipping his set-up of previous seasons featuring Bugbrooke's Bob Fagan and St. Crispin's Lesley Young, plus his wife Julia. Unlike Cadd's they were not to advance past their opening game, losing 11-24 to a West End quartet skipped by Danny Walker. Jones fared much better in the mixed pairs (again with Young) hammering Paul Green and partner from Northampton Express 25-6.

*THREE Abington men have been selected for Northamptonshire's opening Midland Counties match this Saturday, May 19th. Jonathan Brown and John Freeman have been retained yet again, as front-enders for Burton Latimer's Paul Broderick and West End's Darren Childs respectively. Meanwhile, Adam Brown is recalled to the county side as lead for Vernon Gearey of Kingsthorpe.

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7/5/2018

ABINGTON 'A' (OR 'C') SET STANDARD DESPITE DEFEAT

THE SUN was scorching on Sunday May 6th, and Abington very nearly produced a result to match at Northampton Express in the National Double Rinks.

Although competing as 'Abington A', this was in effect the C-team. Before the season started, it was agreed that from this year, the assignation of the double rinks units would be randomly drawn - and it just so happened to give the nominal third-choice set-up the hardest task of the opening games. A prelim against a side who can boast some of the biggest stars in the county.

However, the label proved far from a lie as our men gave an excellent account of themselves. For the majority of the game, they held a narrow advantage over their garlanded opposition, and away from their own turf to boot. Sadly, they couldn't keep it up for the entirety of the match, surrendering any semblance of control over the final third, but regardless, they have laid down a marker for their supposed superiors. If 'team C' can keep a lead against a national championship-winning rink for 14 ends, then 'team A' - who will compete as 'Abington B' this season - should have nought to fear.

More details in the men's section.

*AS REPORTED last week, five of our men were in action at the Northamptonshire county-team trial on Saturday May 5th. Three of whom have also been selected for this coming Saturday, when the team travels to Oxford for a Middleton Cup trial match. However, what squad rotation takes away, it can also give back. A sixth member of our club, Alan Dunkley, who didn't take part in the exhibition, will be coming in to play Oxfordshire, with Jonathan Brown, John Freeman and Tony O'Leary's services also retained by their team manager (and, on his days off, clubmate) Phil Reeve.

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30/4/2018

ABINGTON START WITH CONVINCING WIN

ABINGTON'S first Saturday fixture has been, in modern times, in the village of Earls Barton. This time round though, the tables were turned as Barton instead came to our HQ to kick things off for 2018.

The hosts' generosity only went so far as the use of the green though, as Abington ran out convincing winners. With a final aggregate score of 113-80, the winning margin was an average of 5.5 per rink, with all six rinks being used.

Of course some played a greater role in the despatching than others. Jonathan Brown's trio hit a five and a seven on consecutive ends to set up an eventual 28-14 thrashing, while John Freeman's achieved a win in double figures despite dropping heads of four and five.

Not everything went quite so smoothly. In fact, possibly the strongest overall trio of Adam Brown, Colin Barnes and Dave Vernon - certainly the only one to contain three county-level players - surprisingly lost 14-19. They didn't even score until the seventh end and trailed throughout, with the exception of the very last end. However, a 12-shot fightback to draw level proved academic as they conceded a five.

This week, the women's and Thursday men's teams begin their campaigns (weather permitting - the latter had been due to start at Daventry last week until the rain intervened). Elsewhere, minds are increasingly being tuned towards competition play. Abington's Saturday squad will (hopefully!) have to continue this good start without some of their bigger name players as the county team swoops in to claim their attention.

Five of our men have been selected (by a sixth, new county team manager Phil Reeve) for a Middleton Cup trial exhibition at Kingsthorpe on May 5th. In amongst two teams of 20, Freeman, the two Browns and Tony O'Leary will all play for one side, with our new recruit from Bugbrooke, Dave Jones, on the other.

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23/4/2018

ABINGTON'S YOUNGEST MEMBER BOWLS THEM OVER

THOMAS MANDERSON continued his rapid development as a bowler with a sensational 21-3 victory in the final of the NYBDS U15 indoor singles.

The Northamptonshire Bowls Youth Development Scheme works to give our county's youngsters an early organised start in the game, and 13-year-old Manderson is currently one of their main beneficiaries.

Representing his indoor club, Northampton & District, he beat Keira Garner of Rushden Town 21-3 in the final. His opponent collected all her shots on just one end, five ends in, by which time Thomas already had eight himself, and he didn't look back after that. The final scoreline was a little harsh on Keira as she was bowling pretty well but could not dislodge Thomas' woods.

Having been introduced to the game less than two years ago by his grandad Dave Fage - Abington's head bar-man and a player with a decent bowling record himself (twice club champion and twice a National Championship qualifier) - young Thomas has progressed quickly. Already he's skipped at least one game on a Saturday afternoon, and been declared man of the match by his team-mates, as they recorded the highest-winning rink. More prizes will surely come.

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23/4/2018

A QUICK THANK YOU to all the members who came to open the green with a game on Our Day, Saturday 21st April. Five women and 31 men made this the best turn-out in a long while, with all six rinks being used for the first time in many years.

In a triples format, President Rob Archer's team edged out Captain Peter Milburn's 96-76, largely thanks to the 30-5 mauling dished out to Phil Reeve's trio by Alan Dunkley's. It is possible the victors were motivated to give the new county team manager the best possible display of their capabilities. If this is any indication of future opponents' determination, Reeve has several tough seasons ahead of him on the green!

However, it's not the result that matters on a day like this, but welcoming new faces and catching up with more familiar ones. Three brand new members were present, in addition to several more who've been recruited in the last few years. That, and a smooth-running playing surface, puts Abington in good stead for another successful year.

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19/4/2018

SO, HERE WE GO AGAIN. Another outdoor bowling season is imminent, enticing players with the heady promise of fresh starts and renewed hope. And yet again, Abington Bowling Club is especially keen to get the little white ball rolling. There's much to welcome this year that's new and different.

New names on the county honours board being among the most noticeable. 2017 was Abington's best year in a generation for representation at the National Championships - most notably our first ever female qualifiers. In fact, it was such a successful season, there's need of a new board as well. The aim is to start filling it in straight away.

We can be even prouder for bucking the national trend when it comes to membership. Yet again, there are a few new arrivals. And this time around, there will also be a guarantee of new opponents. Fixture secretary Adam Hawkings has spent the off-season working furiously to reinvigorate a friendly fixture list that's been in danger of withering in places. He has secured two brand new Saturday games - outside of the county - against Stony Stratford and Rugby Railway.

Rob Archer takes over as the new club president, only five years after taking up bowls fully. Very sadly, his predecessor Anita Petrucci - the club's first ever woman president - passed away shortly after completing her year in the job, at the age of 80. However, the club will endeavour to keep her memory going with a new honour. The Anita Petrucci Trophy, founded by her partner of recent years and fellow bowler Steve Unwin, will be contested between Abington and her previous club, Bedford Borough.

There's change too at county level, with the men's competitions beginning an annual rotation of order. This year, the fours will come after the triples and pairs, ensuring that all tournaments receive an equal share of the conditions, which can vary hugely between May (cold weather, heavy surfaces) and June/July (the complete opposite).

And in addition to this, there will definitely be an Abington presence at the heart of the men's county team one way or another, as Phil Reeve takes over as their new manager. Abington BC wishes him the very best of luck in this brave endeavour, along with the firm hope that the inevitable success rubs off on his club-mates as well!

Elsewhere, Gill Crossley will be representing the club in the National Champion of Champions as our brand new women's champion. But in amongst all this newness, there's plenty that will be staying the same as well. Same clubhouse, same game, same old faces. We wouldn't have it any other way. Whatever your aspirations for the next five months, and whether the final result lives up to them, just remember one thing:

THAT'S BOWLS, MATE

Have a glorious 2018 season. It begins this Saturday afternoon with the customary Our Day, followed by the 100 Club Draw. ALL members welcome.

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11/9/2017

CLUB FINALS: FACES OLD AND NEW

BOTH THE men's and women's club championship finals were played on Sunday, September 10th. Amongst the drizzle were two intriguing confrontations between established Abington champions of years past, and newer members.

In the men's final, it went the way of the old guard in the most dramatic fashion, but it was precisely the opposite in the women's. Gill Crossley stands proud as Abington's ladies champion at the end of only her second full season as a member - and as a bowler, full stop. That alone would be praiseworthy, but to have also thrashed Lis Milburn, a former three-time champion, against whom she had already lost the handicap and 2-wood finals after last-minute loss of bottle, confirms it as a classic.

The 2-wood had been earlier on the same day. Two up going into the last end, Crossley had allowed nerves to get the better of her and gifted Milburn a brace despite not being within a yard herself. The extra end proved a similar story. She picked the right moment to learn her lesson though.

For the main event, there was a clear determination on Crossley's part to establish a lead large enough that the finish-line jitters wouldn't strike. And so it happened. Crossley bowled with even greater consistency and reached 20 shots while Milburn was mired on six. Again, there was a hint of nervousness, and Milburn picked up five shots in two ends, but the gap remained large enough for Crossley to regain resolution and put one on top of the jack to win the crown.

That lesson of giving yourself a safety net had already been borne out to some extent by the finish of the men's final. Again, it was between a multiple previous winner and a new member, albeit this time not from novice. Far from it. Phil Reeve's record at three previous clubs, Roade, Express and Kingsthorpe, and for the Northants county side, is an exemplary one. To reach the Abington final in his debut season, he'd attained a level of singles play not seen at this club in many years. And while waiting the entire season for news on an upcoming heart operation.

However, his final opponent was probably the last man he wanted to meet: all-time record club champion, Jonathan Brown. Whatever else is going on in his bowling life, Brown's focus on the Abington Club Singles remains strong, maintaining a winning ratio of (slightly more than) one every three seasons. This was his 14th in 37 years as an Abington member. A greater contrast to a new recruit can scarcely be found (even though not much separates them in age).

On this occasion, Brown came out of the traps flying, 8-1 up after just four ends, but then Reeve came alive, and it would ultimately prove to be a test of mettle for Brown, for whom ascending beyond 13 titles was partly a test on overcoming his superstition of that famously unlucky number. Reeve dominated the next portion of the match, taking the lead on the ninth end and gingerly extending it to the point where he only needed two more.

That Reeve didn't finish the job wasn't due to nervousness on his part, but instead another classic feature of singles play, the almost magical improvement that comes over many a losing player, when they realise they are potentially one end away from defeat. In response to this threat, Brown abandoned his weaker backhand, and began putting at least two woods on a sixpence each end. This forced Reeve to go on the extreme offensive. He remained strong enough to play some stunningly accurate drives, but he just couldn't prevent a torturous conceding of seven shots in four ends that saw Brown snatch glory from his grasp.

Brown's motivation for that final assault had extra motivation, beyond getting his name back on a trophy he has almost come to take ownership of. In doing so, he managed to succeed his own son Adam as club champion. And in addition, nobody had won the trophy in their first year at Abington since himself in 1981. It now looks like being a long time before that ever happens again.

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10/9/2017

HOPES FOR SILVERWARE FADE

ALTHOUGH it's been a season of success in many ways, Abington will end 2017 with few outright trophies. Two more slipped from our grasp recently. The women's County Top Club and the mens' Triples League Knockout Shield.

Both have taken pride of place in the Abington clubhouse in recent years, and with both teams strengthened since those triumphs, odds were good on a double repeat. However, in this instance, both were ended at the semi-final stage.

The ladies were removed from the reckoning by Higham Ferrers Town, losing three of the four disciplines. Only Diana Brown and Debbie Cadd on the pairs rink achieved the right result, with a convincing 25-11 stuffing of Jenny Dempsey and Viv Gaudyn.

With their teammates all struggling, it was a helpful margin. In this competition, aggregate shots are used to decide tied games. If only another rink could finish with a flourish, it might be enough. Lis Milburn pursued Helena Norman in the singles almost down to the wire, but was eventually beaten 17-21. It was the closest anyone would come to assisting Brown and Cadd's efforts.

Donna Williamson, Debbie Bradshaw and Barbara Astle lost their grip on the triples late on to lose by nine, while the fours, Judy Jones, Doreen McLaughlin, Gill Crossley and Pam Wills, were on the receiving end of an extraordinarily bountiful match which saw 55 shots in 21 ends! Only 22 of which went Abington's way.

Elsewhere, the other semi-final defeat has meant the sad requisition of an honour won only last year. Ultimately, West End A, smarting from another late fall in the league itself, were that bit more determined. Their famous gung-ho approach saw them through several tricky situations. At the very least the score was much closer than in either of the league fixtures this season, with only a few late salvos turning the screw in the away side's favour.

Bizarrely the only Abington rink not to be defeated, skipped by Tony O'Leary, had gone into the last three ends looking grateful to be propped up by the others. However, their incredible fightback, from 10 down to level, was enacted the other way elsewhere. Phil Reeve, John Freeman and captain Jonathan Brown all scored on the very last end (meaning Abington A took 12 in total at the climax), but it was no more than an outsized consolation. If this had been a league game, it would have returned only half a point. West End A had given another demonstration of the level Abington aspire to reach, and provided yet more proof that there is no opportunity to put your feet up against high-quality opponents.
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