Bowls clubs get their teeth into the nitty gritty of competition as county and district cups begin

Harpenden's John Beecham contributing to a 14-13 rink win.

Harpenden's John Beecham contributing to a 14-13 rink win. - Credit: HARPENDEN BOWLING

A friendly match lived up to its name as Harpenden played Berkhamsted in an enjoyable atmosphere - even if the contest itself was a very tight affair.

Four rinks of four players ended with Harpenden sneaking a seven-shot success with the top rink led by Linda Brooks.

There was more good news for the Spenser Road-based bowls club as three pairs of ladies won their county first round matches with two more teams receiving byes.

The first ladies' game though ended in a two-shot defeat at Bushey.

Townsend Bowls Club were visitors to Harps on two separate occasions.

A five-rink mixed triple was scheduled for 18 ends but called off after 15 as the rain fell.

By that time Townsend had nosed in front, leading 86-59 and ahead on three rinks, with a draw on another. The top rink was Brian Piggott, Ann English and Robbie Ransted.

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The other game saw Bob Lawrie, Peter Thomson and Alan Charran compete in the St Albans & District two-wood triples and they returned back to Waverley Road with a 22-14 win.

A weekend friendly at home to North Mymms was won by the visitors, 3-2 on rinks. The best Townsend managed was a 19-14 win for Mike Cowell, Ransted and Brian English.

The first fixture in the County League saw Townsend away to St Albans and thanks to a 28-14 rink win for Ranstead, Thomson, Roger Potter and Charron, plus seven shots recovered late on by Lawrie, Cowell, Gordon Williamson and skip Matt Pope in a 22-16 loss, they claimed a 44-36 win overall.

For St Albans there was a defeat for John Bartlett in the SADBA singles, losing 21-19 to Patrick Jones of Welwyn & District, and a mixed friendly at home to Potten End resulted in a 62-52 loss, the top rink for Saints being Ian Woodcock, Alison Thomas, Alan Turner and skip Peter Kay.

They did manage a mixed triples win at home to Baldock, the top rink of Michael Bromley, Brenda Pitkin and Kay guiding them to a 47-46 success.

The club's first open day is on Saturday between 10am and 4pm and anyone is welcome to come and try the sport. Flat-soled shoes is the only requirement.

Batchwood's Tricia Gascoine and Jenny Gauthier bowed out of the county pairs with a 17-15 loss to Hatfield but Lesley Tutt and J Bell beat Sue Fogarty and Alison Thomas of St Albans 19-13.

Tutt also advanced in the singles with a 21-18 win over Welwyn & District but Martin Duke was beaten 21-19 at Welwyn Garden City in the men's event.

There was also a win in the two-wood district triples against Potters Bar, the one -shot win coming on the final wood of the extra end.