Herts qualify for the knock-outs with victory over Northamptonshire

Hertfordshire short mat bowls
Hertfordshire short mat bowls
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The Hertfordshire bowls team completed their Inter County Championship qualifying group matches with a 23 points to 17 away win against Northamptonshire.

The result sees Hertfordshire finish second in the group which is good enough to qualify for the knockout stage of the competition.

Michael West got Herts off to a great start with an emphatic 24-3 win. He scored 12 shots before his opponent got on the scoreboard and continued to dominate, losing just one more end.

Tony Gayler lost the first three ends to trail by seven shots and wasn’t able to close the gap until the last three ends when a six-shot flourish brought him back to lose 10-13.

Audrey Fowler and Darren Stanford led virtually from start to finish in their 17-10 victory. Similarly, Pauline Taylor and Jeanette Gayler were never headed. They lost only six of 15 ends and kept their opponents to singles, running out 17-6 winners.

In session two, Margaret Regan, Peter Griffiths and Liz Bradley had a close encounter, with the lead changing hands five times. Tied at 10-10 with two ends to play, they couldn’t close out the win and went down 10-13.

Sue Murray, Jill Oakes and Brian McGivern went ahead on the third end and never looked back, finishing 18-6 up, but Margaret Hare, Brian Hatherly, Sam Salmon and Alan Hare couldn’t quite get going and won just two ends in their 13-3 loss.

Adrianne West, Graham Yates, John Taylor and Brian Fowler led 9-3 with four ends to play before their opponents fought back to snatch a 9-9 draw.

In session three, Tony Gayler had a much better time in his singles game and ran out a 16-9 winner. Michael West, the star of the first session, came up against an opponent who could do no wrong as Michael finished 11-15 behind.

Audrey Fowler and Darren Stanford slipped 0-7 behind after three ends before clawing back the deficit to be tied at 9-9 after 10 ends. A maximum four-shot count gave them a lead which they didn’t relinquish, finishing at 15-11.

However, Pauline Taylor and Jeanette Gayler lost out to the last bowl of their closely contested game, losing 11-13.

In session four, Margaret Regan, Peter Griffiths and Liz Bradley were behind for most of their game but came back strongly, winning 14-11.

Sue Murray, Jill Oakes and Brian McGivern started well enough and led by two shots after six ends. They then went into reverse gear, dropping nine shots without reply and finishing on the wrong end of a 9-15 score line.

Adrianne West, Graham Yates, John Taylor and Brian Fowler were playing catch up for most of their game and, despite picking up four shots on the last end, lost out 8-13.

Margaret Hare, Brian Hatherly, Sam Salmon and Alan Hare quickly took a 9-0 lead including a five-shot count on the second end. The remainder of their game was tightly contested, with single shots being traded. The final result was an 11-7 win for the Hertfordshire quartet.

Hertfordshire finished their qualifying campaign as group runners-up and now progress to the knockout phase. With 18 teams left in the competition, Hertfordshire will hope to have done enough to avoid a preliminary match when the draw takes place in early January.