The weekend brought the Northern Counties Championships at Dalston BC, Cumbria – this is where the county champions from the 5 northern counties compete. The disciplines are both 2 & 4 Wood Singles, Pairs, Triples, Fours and an under 25 rink.
Before play started the championships looked to be over as the weather had seemed to got the bettter of us, the green was under water at 7:45am, and then cleared up (picture was taken about 9:30 am on Saturday).
However play got under way with our under 25 champion Josh Minto playing in a prelim tie against Durham’s Josh Halcrow, and recorded a good 21-18 win. Next up up for Josh was the Cumbrian Champion Lewis Baxter, and Josh made light work of this and won 21-4. Josh then playing in his 3rd game of the day played the Lancashire champion who had a bye to the final, in a good quality game Josh took the game and title with a 21 – 14 victory.
Also on Saturday saw our pairs champions Michael Cymber & Simon Richardson in action but went out to Durham’s Gary Farquhar & David Bolt, who then went on to take the title.
Our other players in action were our fours, and it was the fours runners up of Alan Pomfrey, Ian Webb, Brian Rootham and Jonty King as our winners decided not to attend. Unfortunately our fours lost narrowly 16 – 14 to Durham’s Barry Hopkins. Cumbria took the title 14 – 12. The Cumbrian rink was David Forster Snr, Ian Williams, James Park and David Forster Jnr.
On Sunday brought yet more rain and the start of the under 25 rink(s), this year there were only 3 counties taking part, ourselves, Durham and Yorkshire – who we faced in the first game. After a slow start we got back into the game but unfortunately lost by 8 shots. Next up was Durham who had their full White Rose rink out (as they have also qualified for the national finals later this month). The game played in dreadful conditions but was played in the right spirit throughout and we recorded a great 10 shot win. Therefore Durham faced Yorkshire in the last game, Yorkshire knew they could lose and even lose by 6 shots to take the title. The game was going our way as Durham 17 – 7 ahead with 2 ends to go, Yorkshire then scored a single shot on the penultimate end to trail by 9, therefore we knew as long as Yorkshire did not score more than 4 shots we would take the title. However, with Durham needing to score two shots to take the title, the Durham 3rd and skip went for the jack and both missed and Yorkshire scored 7 shots on this last end and took the title.
The Northumberland lads that played were a credit to themselves – the rink was Josh Norris (Newbiggin), Shaun Brown (Rockcliffe), Jack Miller & Josh Minto (both Gosforth).
In the morning it was also the start of the 2 wood singles, with our champion Simon Richardson losing to Cumbria’s John Baird (14 – 3). Baird faced Durham David Bolt in the final and Bolt took and retained the title 17 – 11.
As rain continued through the day next up was our 4 wood singles champion John Harthen who took on Durham’s Barry Hopkins. Played under dreadful conditions Hopkins defeated John 21 – 11. Hopkins then took on Cumbria and England International David Forster, who had got the better of Lancashire’s Anthony Booth-Young in the semi final. Forster took the title with a great 21 – 10 victory.
At the same time our triples were in action where they faced Durham in the semi final, our lads won 12 – 6. Therefore we took our position in the final against Lancashire, and it was Josh’s 4th game of the day and 3rd game on the bounce. The lads got off to a slow start and played under worsening conditions, they clawed themselves back in to the game to level up at 9 all. Despite lying shots the Lancashire trio got results and they led 12 – 9 with 2 ends to go, again the head was in our favour but the Lancashire skip Dominic McVittie got a fortunate result to get the shot which meant we needed a 4 to tie. It was not meant to be as we collected only 1 shot and Lancashire took the title 13 – 10.
Overall it was a mixed weekend, but the overwhelming issue was around the weather – as many roads on Saturday getting to and from Dalston BC were flooded and barely passable or closed. It was credit to all players from all the counties to not only get there and to play through the rain. The green at Dalston stood up to the weather magnificently and was in great condition given all that was thrown at it. A big thank you to all concerned at Dalston BC for their welcome, hospitality throughout, and of course a well done to the winners.
The championships are a very useful exercise prior to the forthcoming national finals as it gives all players competitive games in a competitive environment.
|UNDER 25 SINGLES (21 SHOTS UP)|
|2 WOOD SINGLES (21 ENDS)|
|4 WOOD SINGLES (21 SHOTS UP)|
|PAIRS (15 ENDS)|
|TRIPLES (15 ENDS)|
|FOURS (15 ENDS)|
|UNDER 25 RINK (15 ENDS)|