No joy for Suffolk pairs
IT may have been carnival day at Worthing but Suffolk's representatives in the Yoplait Pairs ended the day with little to celebrate.Having become an all-England champion in Top Fours, Adrian Holden, partnered by Andy Meikle, set out to further demonstrate the superb form he has shown this season.
IT may have been carnival day at Worthing but Suffolk's representatives in the Yoplait Pairs ended the day with little to celebrate.
Having become an all-England champion in Top Fours, Adrian Holden, partnered by Andy Meikle, set out to further demonstrate the superb form he has shown this season.
Despite the high hopes, it was Somerset's Barry Taylor and John Davies who made the early running, taking a 12-5 lead.
There were encouraging signs of a turning point, however, when having fought back to 14-10, Holden played a perfect nudge shot to deprive Somerset of their potential four count and take two shots himself.
The comeback continued over the next few ends and was almost complete when Meikle made a precise jack trail to hold two shots for match-lie. The Somerset lead attacked the head, running the jack several metres and into open space.
On this occasion the battle to draw close to a displaced jack was won by the Banwell player: Suffolk A's hopes laid to rest.
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There were better first round fortunes for Jack Jermy and John Catchpole who turned on the style to demolish Steve Mitchinson and Tony Nimmo.
Showing fine form, determination and compatibility, the Beccles men sprinted to a 15 shot advantage by the 17th end.
This fine victory set up an exciting second round encounter with former national pairs winner Michael Bennett of Northumberland, and his partner Stephen Harvey.
The Northerners made an instant impact, taking a 12-2 lead after eight ends, but looked decidedly tense as Jermy and Catchpole turned up the heat to trail just 17-16 with one end remaining.
Catchpole's last bowl on the 21st end drew the single to force the extra end, but hopes were dashed when Harvey played an equally high quality bowl to seal victory for the Northumberland pair.
Norfolk's hopes were still well and truly alive as North Walsham's Marty Long and David Ward raced to an early 9-1 lead over the newly crowned national triples front man Nick Cammack and his partner Michael Owen.
With Long edging the battle of the leads, Ward was able to capitalise on the fine heads his partner set up, playing his trademark delicate nudge shots and jack trails to change angle and maximise potential counts.
However, a slightly risky shot to make two shots into five on the ninth end resulted in giving shot away unnecessarily and served to give hope to the opposition.
At 14-9, tragedy struck for the Norfolk pair, the Nottinghamshire duo building perhaps their best head to hold five shots. Ward, one of the sport's best exponents of medium pace running bowls for once failed to cater for the inconsistent line of the rink and left the head of bowls unturned to see the scores close to within a single point.
Having scored single shots on the 16th and 17th ends, Norfolk looked to be seizing the initiative, especially when two well drawn shots looked unbeatable on the 18th.
A fierce firing shot from Owen deprived North Walsham of the shots, and in turn made three for the Nottinghamshire men to make the scores level.
Owen's ability to play a lethal last bowl wood was also in evidence on the next end when he drew a perfect bowl to save another brace; this giving him the lead for the first time in the game.
Ward replied with international class on the 20th to draw perfectly twice to a displaced jack and regain the lead with one end remaining.
In a tense finish, Cammack build a fine head of fine bowls for his skip which Ward was unable to outdraw or destroy. Norfolk hopes thwarted.
On the neighbouring rink, past indoor world pairs champions Gary Smith and Andy Thomson took on Berkshire's Trevor Broad and Neil Haines, and it was clear from the Thatcham pair's confidence and skilful length bowling that the Kent favourites were not going to have everything their own way. At 12-11 to Kent, the Thatcham pair stunned the former Commonwealth bronze medalists with a well deserved count of five, Thomson failing to make an impression with four running bowls.
A similar scenario just two ends later saw Broad and Haines secure a further four shots to take a seven shot cushion into the last end. Smith and Thomson could manage just two shots and a well deserved victory for the underdogs had been realised.
Last year's pairs champions Paul Barlow and Stephen Farish of Cumbria were given a fine run for their money by Yorkshire's Stephen Dilks and the experienced Alwyn Baron.
With nerves jangling around the auditorium Barlow played a fine end for the Cumbrians. On this occasion it remained untouched and the holders were through.