EIBA National Finals at Melton: County glory for Northants and Yorkshire

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A classic six-rink game went down to the wire, as Northamptonshire won the Liberty Trophy for the first time in the event’s 40-year history.

They had to work hard to win the men’s inter-country team final against a star-studded Lincolnshire team.

Wellingborough’s Paul Broderick skipped his Northants rink to a telling 24-14 victory over Martin Spencer, while Vernon Gearey (22-19), Neil McKee (16-15) and Jamie Walker (18-17) added more modest wins.

Lincoln club duo Danny Brown and Billy Jackson replied with wins of 22-13 and 20-17 for the Imps. A late five from Brown seemed to tip the balance Lincolnshire’s way, helping the county reach the century mark first, normally a guarantee of victory.

But, after trailing for most of the game, Northants, who were 101-107 behind with a handful of ends left to play, scored eight shots across the green, leaving a desperate Jackson attempting to make two shots to tie on the very last end.

But Mick Sharpe’s rink took a single, which was enough to see an ecstatic Northants home, 110-107.

Three of the Northants side were in the county’s over 60 team which claimed the national seniors inter-county title at Nottingham just over a week before, while two of the Wellingborough team which won the national under 25s inter-club title were also involved.

* In the women’s county final, Yorkshire had won the Atherley Trophy once before while Devon were looking for their first win.

But there was only one team in it as the northerners added to their 1999 title with a 139-101 triumph .

Helen Wood, who skipped a rink playing from a wheelchair, won by 27 shots to 11, and at the other end of the green, Carol Instone chalked up a 29-12 win.

Sue Allen’s rink won by eight, and Helen Walker’s rink added a 22-18 win, while Beryl Alderson’s rink tied, 22-22, with a Devon rink skipped by Barbara Bellamy. Linda Harrison kept her defeat at the hands of Carole Binmore within bounds at 24-18.

Yorkshire fielded several young players, which bodes well for the future, but six of the team, June Clayton, Carol Instone, Helen Walker, Linda Harrison, Beryl Alderson and Betty Richardson, were also in the 1999 winning side.