No success for Suffolk at Worthing
BOWLS: Geoff Ramsbottom, Suffolk's last remaining representative in the Yoplait EBA championships, enjoyed the experience of making his debut at Worthing, but was on the losing side as he played second fiddle to Steve Wade of Leicestershire.
Geoff Ramsbottom, Suffolk's last remaining representative in the Yoplait EBA championships, enjoyed the
experience of making his debut at Worthing, but was on the losing side as he played second fiddle to Steve Wade of Leicestershire.
The Beccles player, who thoroughly deserved his chance following a number of high quality performances in the Suffolk championship, played well in an evenly contested first round match. Indeed there was nothing to choose between the two as Ramsbottom found good line and length from the start.
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At 7-7 the match had turned into a top class drawing exhibition, but the Knighton Victoria contestant was to turn the screw with a number of accurate last-bowl trails and conversion shots which served to inject confidence.
Playing his best bowls of the match, Wade pushed the score to 16-7, and despite valiant efforts from Ramsbottom, ran out a 21-13 winner.
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Spectators were treated to a feast of text-book singles play as the leading contenders paraded their skills in the early rounds.
Norfolk's John Ottaway, a likely pre-tournament favourite to take his third title was at his very best in his first two matches as he dispatched Berkshire's Jon Stradling, himself a very capable exponent, by 21 shots to 7.
The menacing form continued as the Wymondham Dell international who recently won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games fours conceded only five shots in his second round tie. On this occasion it was Alex Bryden of Durham who was the unfortunate victim.
But the biggest shock of the day saw the player who frankly looked unbeatable brought down to earth by junior international Andrew Briden of Hertfordshire. Ottaway scored a close three on the first end that looked to set the trend of the game.
However, Briden made an impact over the next three ends with a variety of aggressive running bowls to deprive the Norfolk man of shots, and at the same time score seven points from the conversions.
From this point, a combination of Briden' precision drawing, and Ottaway's uncustomary lapse of form saw the Hertfordshire player stampede into an 18-7 lead, to the delight of his county's supporters and friends of the lesser-known bowler. Just four ends later, the victory was complete.
Mervyn King, also of Norfolk made progress to the quarter-finals as he eventually got the better of Middlesex's Tony Howard, 21-16 in Round 2.
The Hunstanton man sprinted to a 16-4 lead but stuttered as his opponent found his form and clawed back to 16-18. King was doubtless relieved to score a three to halt the run and take his place in the third round.
He was in for a more comfortable ride in the last sixteen though as he overwhelmed Lincolnshire's Gary Hope 21-7. He now meets former winner, Richard Bray of Devon, looking to add the outdoor singles crown to his two indoor national titles.
In the match of the day, three times Champion of Champions Danny Dennison conquered former British Isles Singles champion Nicky Brett of Huntingdonshire, only to bite the dust in the next round as Mike Newman of Berkshire caused another major upset, cruising to an 18-4 lead before winning 21-15.