Lowther & Co to fore in Hampshire promotion push

Fareham's Steve West
Fareham's Steve West
From left: Pairs winners Lee Smith and Les Rance, with runners-up Darren Barnes and Darrell Manchip

Portsmouth individuals final is a Barnes-stormer

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Hampshire secured a convincing win over Kent to take a seven-point advantage at the top of British Inter-County Championship division one.

The county squad sit comfortably at the summit after a 27-12 away triumph against their struggling rivals.

Sue Lowther, from Horndean, Sue Thompson (Gosport), Dawn Simmonds (Havant), Joanne Senior (Locks Heath) and Jaine Heaton (Gosport) were all on the mark as the ladies’ B side got Hampshire up and running with a 5-1 success.

Kent made a better start to the men’s B match, though.

They went 3-1 up as only Mick Street was able to offer any early resistance for Hampshire.

Fareham’s Steve West doubled the visitors’ tally but Kent soon replied to make it 4-2.

Hampshire then found their feet and rattled off three victories in succession.

Sam Rooney, Luke Getty and Dai Lewis were all on target as the visitors took the lead for the first time in the match-up.

Kent levelled and then – in an entralling battle – got their noses in front again.

But Hampshire were refusing to roll over and Richie Ford won the final tie to earn his county a share of the spoils in a 6-6 draw.

The results ensured the visitors led their hosts 11-7 going into the second day.

And Hampshire wasted no time in extending their lead.

The ladies’ A side replicated the feat of their second string with an impressive 5-1 triumph.

Nikki Stevens, Portsmouth’s Jane Monaghan, Tara Power-Gillet, Wendy Reinstadtler and Gemma Hayter were the stars of the show. The win meant Hampshire needed just three sets from the men’s A game to take an overall win.

But Kent made them work hard for it – as they took a 2-0 lead.

However, it didn’t take too long for Bradley Kirk, Mike Gillet and Steve Phipps, from Fareham, to turn the tables and put the Hampshire side 3-2 in front. Kent won the next two sets to regain the lead but that was all they could muster.

Chas Barstow, Gary Stafford, Danny Pitman, from Bordon, Andy Mitchell and Steve Musson took the remaining clashes.

That gave the men an 8-4 win and bagged three vital bonus points in Hampshire’s promotion challenge.