King and Co make it into semi-finals
BOWLS: Following the disappointing exit of the Suffolk fours representatives at Worthing on Monday, attention turned to the remaining East Anglian representatives in the Yoplait EBA Fours.
Following the disappointing exit of the Suffolk fours representatives at Worthing on Monday, attention turned to the remaining East Anglian representatives in the Yoplait EBA Fours.
Hunstanton's Mervyn King, skip of the Norfolk B team consisting of Terry Beeston, Ken Frohawk and Paul Shackcloth faced Leicestershire opposition in the form of Robert Gardner in the last sixteen.
In a match in which neither side ever managed to establish a cushion of more than four shots, King stared defeat in the face, conceding a count of three shots on the penultimate end to trail by three shots.
Moments later, however Norfolk supporters' hearts were lifted as the Norfolk front men built one of their closest heads of the match.
With third man Shackcloth adding a forth shot the pendulum of pressure swung onto Gardner. Playing a well executed running shot, the Leicestershire skip split the red bowls, staying for second bowl.
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After studying the possibilities of removing bowls or trailing the jack, King elected to play a delicate shot to lift out the second bowl and stay for a match-winning count of four shots.
The resulting bowl was inch-perfect and Norfolk marched into the quarter-final to face one of the strongest fours in the event, Lancashire skipped by Commonwealth Games fours gold medallist David Holt.
The Lancashire four had progressed to the quarter-final with a well-deserved 23-11 victory over Bob Amos of Huntingdonshire.
Bedfordshire supporters were elated with their team's shock extra end victory over Kent B in the last sixteen. Kevin Tift, Vick Condron, Chris Tipping and Mick Bartalis quietly knuckled down to more than match the play of Jamie Dunn and his men.
In an amazing contrast of styles, the raucous Kent four with their fiercely competitive antics were ground down by dour consistency. The most noise came from the Bedfordshire supporters afterwards.
There was also disappointment for Essex as Nigel Smith's four fell victim to Devon B, skipped by Bill Davis.
The match was close throughout but Devon never relinquished the lead and edged through by two shots.
In the quarter-finals Mervyn King's three colleagues raised their respective games to match David Holt, who, with father and son, Alan and Iain Mayne and Gary Harrington, had won the title two years ago.
With the score at 14-10 to Lancashire. one sensed that Norfolk would have an up-hill struggle, yet they put together a scoring run of seven shots and entered the last end three shots to the good.
With Lancashire holding two, Paul Shackloth became the last-end hero, playing a peach of a drive to ditch the jack and put Norfolk into the semi-final.
Bedfordshire's bubble was burst in their afternoon quarter-final as Cornwall played with flair to outgun them 29-11.
Former pairs champion Paul Broderick also skipped his Northamptonshire four to the semis with an 18 –15 win over Devon.
Brett Morley's well fancied four from Nottinghamshire won a last end decider against former international Julian Haines of Hampshire and now look title favourites.