Rampant Herts inflict a Halloween horror show on Northamptonshire

Hertfordshire short mat bowls

Hertfordshire short mat bowls

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Hertfordshire subjected Northamptonshire to a Nightmare At Elm Court on Halloween in their Inter County Championship Division A Qualifying Group.

The singles and pairs gave Hertfordshire the best possible start, taking maximum points from the opening session.

Tony Gayler led from start to finish and won 16-11. Michael West had a tougher time and trailed 8-13 with two ends to go, but he finished with a 3 and a 4 to win 15-13.

Pauline Taylor and Jeanette Gayler won six ends on the trot to lead 11-4 and held on to win 13-10.

Welsh U21 international Aaron Jones was making his debut for Hertfordshire alongside Darren Stanford, and the pair dominated their game, winning 23-5.

The second session was the highlight of Northamptonshire’s day, winning three of the four games.

Jill Oakes, Peter Griffiths and Liz Bradley led 7-6 after eight ends but didn’t score again, losing 7-15.

Sue Murray, Audrey Fowler and Brian McGivern led 8-5 after nine ends before falling to a 10-11 loss.

Eileen Prior, Margaret Hare, Margaret Regan and Brian Fowler lost 7-16, but the one bright spot in this session came from the four of Graham Yates, Rebecca Nightingale, John Taylor and Ken Murray. From 6-6 they finished strongly to win 12-6.

The singles and pairs proved too strong for the visitors and again took all available points.

Tony Gayler put in another dominant performance, winning 19-8, while Michael West continued his fine form to triumph 16-10.

Pauline Taylor and Jeanette Gayler won 16-7, and Aaron Jones and Darren Stanford got the better of a tight contest, winning 11-7 to complete a session whitewash.

With the match already won, it was down to the triples and fours to score as many points as possible.

Jill Oakes, Peter Griffiths and Liz Bradley started badly, dropping a 4 and a 3 before going on an eight-end streak to finish 15-9 ahead.

Sue Murray, Audrey Fowler and Brian McGivern were never in trouble, winning 14-6 which was enough to overturn a nine-shot overall deficit and secure the bonus points.

Eileen Prior, Margaret Hare, Margaret Regan and Brian Fowler very nearly snatched a win but fell just short 10-11.

Graham Yates, Rebecca Nightingale, John Taylor and Ken Murray completed a fine day for Hertfordshire, winning eight of their 11 ends to win 18-6.

The impressive 32-point return for Hertfordshire ties the county on points with Buckinghamshire at the halfway stage of the qualifying group.

By outscoring Northamptonshire by 71 shots (222-151), Hertfordshire are nominally top of the group on shots difference.

Hertfordshire team: Michael West (Cuffley Hall), Tony Gayler (St Margaret’s), Pauline Taylor (Harpenden), Jeanette Gayler (St Margaret’s), Aaron Jones (Greenwood Park), Darren Stanford (St Margaret’s), Jill Oakes (Greenwood Park), Peter Griffiths (St Margaret’s), Liz Bradley (Harpenden), Sue Murray (Harpenden), Audrey Fowler (Greenwood Park), Brian McGivern (Cuffley Hall), Graham Yates (St Margaret’s), Rebecca Nightingale (St Margaret’s), John Taylor (Harpenden), Ken Murray (Harpenden), Eileen Prior (Harpenden), Margaret Hare (Letchworth), Margaret Regan (St Margaret’s), Brian Fowler (Greenwood Park).