EIBA National Finals at Melton: Devon pip Lincs to county title

Under 25s county champions Devon EMN-170327-134628002
Under 25s county champions Devon EMN-170327-134628002
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Devon won the first county title of the championshjips as they beat Lincolnshire in the men’s under 25s inter-county double rink final.

Devon and Lincolnshire are two of the strongest bowling counties in England.

The holders Devon had previously won this prestigious title fours times; while Lincolnshire had done so three times.

The nature of this age-group event is that changes are constantly forced on the selectors and both counties have lost some stars in recent years.

But eager replacements are always available, and this was a top-quality contest.

Devon took an early lead, which was soon countered by Lincolnshire, who kept their noses in front, just, for much of the remainder of the match.

When Lincolnshire’s Stephen Harris, James Staples, Ben Wilson and Jordan Philpott completed their 18 ends, they were five shots in front of Kieran Kniveton, Scott Eveleigh, Will Stevens and Zach Kidd, but there were two ends still to play on the other rink where the two sides were tied at 31-31.

The Devon rink of Kieran Daniels, Stephen Apsey, Harry Goodwin and James Hampton and the Lincs rink of Sam Ashton, Lewis Skinner, Adam Berridge and Jonathan West played out a tied penultimate end when the official umpire could not separate the bowls in contention for shot.

With the fate of the championship hanging on the very last end, the shot changed hands a few times.

But it was Hampton who drew close for three shots, which West could not beat, and Devon, whose previous successes were in 1998, 2012, 2014 and 2016, added a fifth title.