Royal's showing dashed in fours

BOWLS: Suffolk's hopes of progress into the second day of play in the Yoplait EBA National Championships Fours have been dashed.Mark Royal's Rookery Stowmarket team of Richard Leeder, Calvern Kemp and Carl Finbow lost out in a last bowl second round nailbiter to John Stafford of Cornwall.

BOWLS

SUFFOLK'S hopes of progress into the second day of play in the Yoplait EBA National Championships Fours have been dashed.

Mark Royal's Rookery Stowmarket team of Richard Leeder, Calvern Kemp and Carl Finbow lost out in a last bowl second round nailbiter to John Stafford of Cornwall.

In a match that was closely contested from start to finish, the Penzance front end laid a solid foundation on the last end that Carl Finbow did well to disturb.

Mark Royal drew a second shot within a foot of the jack, leaving the Cornwall skip only a perfect draw to win.

Stafford kept cool and delivered that perfect bowl at the right time to deprive Rookery's county champions of victory.

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In their first round encounter Royal's team were involved in a low scoring match which sprung to life on the seventeenth and eighteenth ends.

Facing an awkward head and a five shot count, Royal calmly drew second bowl to keep the score within two shots, at 13-11.

Inspired by this, the Suffolk four constructed and kept a brilliant six; this lead being defended until the conclusion of the game.

In their maiden voyage to Worthing, Chris Love's California Bowls Club four sailed a turbulent sea as they took on Cornwall in the first round.

Debutantes Shane Wildon, Ian Page and Arron Watling struggled to build the kind of close heads required to set up their skip who has twice represented Suffolk in the singles event.

At 12 ends, Suffolk had a mountain to climb as they trailed by 20 shots to five and they never recovered, losing out by 13 shots.

A disappointed Ian Page said the four had failed to produce the form of earlier rounds but had sincerely enjoyed the experience of reaching the national championships as a four for the first time.

The 2002 EBA Champion of Champions is Mike Sharpe of Northamptonshire who performed at his best to beat England international Stephen Farish of Cumbria, 21-17 in the final on Sunday.

Sharpe trailed 13-10 but piled on the pressure to lead 18-13 before reaching the finishing line.

Earlier in the day Sharpe ended Melton's Colin Ramsey's title hopes as they clashed in the quarter-final.

The Under-25 Singles championship was lifted by Simon Gilbert of Warwickshire, conquering Chris Gale of Acton Bridge, Lancashire, in the final.

Mark Griffiths of the Isle of Wight, who defeated Suffolk's Michael Rice, reached the semi-final stage before falling 21-11 to Gale.

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