Norfolk suffer semi-final blow
BOWLS: Yesterday saw the semi-finals and final of the Yoplait EBA Fours championship where Mervyn King's Hunstanton, representing Norfolk B took on Cornwall, while Brett Morley flew Nottinghamshire's flag against Paul Broderick of Northamptonshire.
Yesterday saw the semi-finals and final of the Yoplait EBA Fours championship where Mervyn King's Hunstanton, representing Norfolk B took on Cornwall, while Brett Morley flew Nottinghamshire's flag against Paul Broderick of Northamptonshire.
Having conquered the strong Lancashire quartet skipped by David Holt in the quarters, King's men needed to continue firing on all cylinders to stave off the challenge of a lesser known but highly proficient Corwall four comprising Gary Watkins, Tim Phillips, Mark Foster and Steve Lawer. This was sadly not the case, however, as the Cornwall bowlers dominated the early ends to build up a 6-0 lead after four ends.
Just as Norfolk started to settle, they suffered the massive blow of dropping a count of six shots, Lawer forcing out the nearest Hunstanton bowl to establish a 15-3 lead. From this point King only managed to score on one more end and Cornwall sprinted home 25-7.
Meanwhile, in the other semi-final, former world fours gold medallist Brett Morley found his strong Nottinghamshire rink ten shots in arrears as Neil Rees, Darren Lyman, Maurice Allen and Paul Broderick showed every intention of contesting the final. In a dramatic twist, the last seven ends swung in Morley's favour as new international Nick Cammack, Michael Owen, Duncan Robinson and Morley went up a gear to score thirteen shots to three to force a nailbiting extra end.
If the tension had mounted for the Northamptonshire men over the last seven ends, it was to crescendo over the last three bowls. First Duncan Robinson drew an immaculate back toucher that just nestled inside the Wellingborough shot bowl. Yet the response was immediate as Paul Broderick played with weight, contacting the surrounding bowls and rolling out the Robinson bowl.
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With one Morley bowl remaining, Northants had one foot in the final but the so experienced Siemens Bowls Club man played with adequate weight, gaining the merest touch on a foot-short bowl to edge it down for the matchwinner.
The final was a high quality affair which saw the two sides evenly matched during the first half. From this point, the Nottinghamshire quartet struck their best trophy-lifting form scoring eight ends of the next nine and making a cushion of nine shots. The Cornwall four had made valiant efforts but had to chase shots as they felt the game slipping away. The last end was not played as Nottinghamshire had taken the score to 25-12. Morley has now lifted the singles, triples and fours titles over a period of eight years and he has been a national pairs runner-up. Today he starts the defence of the triples championship he won last year with Nick Cammack and Duncan Robinson.
History was also made yesterday as James Price became the youngest competitor to take part in the national championships. Aged just ten years, the Huntingdonshire prospect teamed up with his father, Robert, and Peter Holmes. James was called in as a reserve at the championships so did not actually make Worthing as a qualifier. This record is still held by Darren Allsop of Derbyshire who represented Derbyshire last year and became a national fours champion in the same season, aged thirteen.
Play continues today with the EBA National Triples as Suffolk champions Ian Ward, Calvern Kemp and Mark Royal of the Rookery Bowling Club, and Steve Mayes, Colin Long and John Roper of the Felixstowe and Suffolk start their campaigns.