ABINGTON have cruised through the first half of the Friday evening triples league, picking up at least a point in all of their first four matches, and achieving a clean sweep of points on two - almost three - occasions.

They have been helped by the scheduling of the majority of their home matches in this first half, and the challenge now will be to recreate this imperious form regularly away from their own turf. Nevertheless, they've thrown down a marker that is proving hard to match for any team in Division 2.

And they did it right from the kick-off, with their opening fixture at home to Harpole a comfortable win only marginally offset by Pam Wills' rink letting slip six shots on their last three ends. That belied a match that had been killed off as a spectacle after just a handful of ends. Lis Milburn's rink racked up nine shots from the opening three and doubled that by the end of the first half while Wills' girls racked up notches of six and seven early on.

Milburn was at it again the following week at home to Abbey Park, her rink keeping their cool despite several invitations to bottle it in the closing stages, clawing out a 16-13 win. Unfortunately, this was not to be Abington's night overall with Anita Petrucci's rink only scoring on three ends. They never dropped a big amount in one go, which could prove handy later in the season for the shot difference, but they were ultimately punished for their inconsistency.

Thankfully, this has been Abington's only black mark (or red mark, going by our results colour scheme) of the campaign to date. Even though Milburn ruled herself out of action with a vicious car accident, from which she was lucky to emerge with only minor injuries, Abington have kept piling on the points.

Margery Keal's 22-10 win at Cold Ashby in week three may be the finest individual result of the season to date, seeing as it came away from Abington's hallowed green. Big scores of six and five were enough to ward off two attempts at an Ashby comeback, but all the drama was contained on Wills' rink, who produced a sensational fightback over the closing stages. From eight shots down to a draw in four ends, having been out-bowled all night, hearing of this should strike a major psychological blow to any other team who fancies they can still overhaul Abington for the only promotion place.

The halfway fixture that took us to this point, Whyte Melville at home, was a by-now routine win. Both rinks suffering only the slightest of wobbles before winning. Wills and company began the second half with a great run of eight shots in four ends before giving half of that straight back. However, that was to be their only mark against in that period. Meanwhile, Keal was once again steady as a rock, even after an early lead of 12-5 was cut to 12-10. Greater consistency prevailed again and they went on to win by seven, while Keal leaps to the top of the merit table with a 100% record gleaned from all four matches.


Match 1 vs Harpole
Doreen McLaughlin, Margery Keal, Lis Milburn 21-9 J Riome
Pat Grant, Debbie Bradshaw, Pam Wills 19-15 J Smith

Agg: 4-0 (40-24)

Match 2 vs Abbey Park
Margery Keal, Diana Brown, Lis Milburn 16-13 J Bedford
Doreen McLaughlin, Debbie Bradshaw, Anita Petrucci 6-16 JS

Agg: 1-3 (22-29)

Match 3 vs Cold Ashby
Margaret Sidebottom, Doreen McLaughlin, Margery Keal 22-10 F Stacey
Judy Jones, Debbie Bradshaw, Pam Wills 12-12 F Brown

Agg: 3.5-0.5 (34-22)

Match 4 vs Whyte Melville
Gill Crossley, Diana Brown, Margery Keal 19-12 E Munton
Molly Atterbury, Doreen McLaughlin, Pam Wills 17-11 K Moore

Agg: 4-0 (36-23)