Bowls round-up: Legend John Ottaway becomes president of the Norfolk association
- Credit: Jason Bye
World stage bowls player John Ottaway has been named the Norfolk Bowls Association men's president for the 2014 season.
Top of Ottaway's wish list during his year in office is a fifth Middleton Cup victory for Norfolk. The cup final will be held at Royal Leamington Spa this year, as the 40-year tradition of national championships at Worthing is broken.
As league president, Ottaway has a full programme of games against teams from other counties and associations and friendlies against Norfolk clubs celebrating milestone seasons. In addition Ottaway is taking a team of 30 Norfolk bowls players on a six-match tour of Cumbria and Southern Scotland next month. He has chosen Wymondham's Star Throwers cancer charity as his charity of the year.
'Locally, I'm looking forward to going round some of the clubs I've never visited before, especially on the county's fringes,' he said. 'I want to show the county's face at some of the smaller clubs in the association.'
On the domestic league front, Norfolk Bowling Club A will be looking to complete a hat-trick of Hansells Norfolk League Premier Division crowns, having won the title by two points from Acle A last year. Getting their first-ever taste of top flight bowls are R G Carter A, last season's North Division One champions, and winners of the W P Baker Cup.
Roger Holden, managing partner of association sponsors Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers, warmly welcomed the appointment, describing Ottaway as a legend of the international bowls world.
'Hansells has sponsored the men's section for the last 11 years and throughout that time I've had the pleasure of working closely with John,' said Holden. 'His unwavering loyalty, enthusiasm and commitment have always impressed me.'
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The outdoor bowls season gets under way at the beginning of May with the county teams in action on the first weekend as they build up to the Middleton Cup which starts later in the month.
The Cup campaign kicks off with a home match against Huntingdonshire at Norfolk BC on May 31 followed by another home tie against Northamptonshire on June 14. The group qualification finishes with Norfolk travelling to Bedfordshire on July 5.
Ahead of this there are trial matches against Huntingdonshire in the Eastern Counties League and a match against Essex where manager Brian Taylor will be able to run the rule over the players prior to the Middleton Cup where the county will look to improve on last season when they lost in the quarter final to Essex. The teams selected for these matches are:-
Eastern Counties League/Middleton Cup Trial v Huntingdonshire on Saturday, May 3 at 10.30am.
Senior Rinks: Max Harrison, Tom Baker, Clive Derry; Mick Brown, Matthew Carter, Charlie Boon; Mark Turner, Simon Elliott, Alistair Stevenson; Darren Rowsell, Ian Whiley, Andy Siely.
Executive rinks: Fin Smith, Jack Wells, Peter Bird (Hon Sec); Dean Rudling, Alfie Smith, Derek Talbot (Hon Match Sec); Danny Noble, Chris Wells, John Ottaway (President); Richards Summers, Jake Willgress, Tony Dunton (Hon League Sec).
Middleton Cup Trial v Essex on Sunday, May 4 at 10.30am: John Tufts, John Ottaway, Garry Mallett; Richard Summers, Robert Hadingham, Roger Guy; Ian Catchpole, Paul Shackcloth, Chris Gaul; Wayne Willgress, Philip Barr, Peter Boldero; Tom Baker, Mark Elliott, Daniel Seabourne; James Segolo, Justin Hudson, Neil Moulton; Bernie Perrett, Simon Elliott, Mark Riches; Mark Turner, George Tubby, Andy Siely.
President John Ottaway takes his tour party on the 72nd county tour on May 10. This year it is to Cumbria & Southern Scotland, based in Carlisle and features matches against Lockerbie, Croft (Cockermouth), Whitehaven, Wigton, Carlisle Subscription and the Cumbria Bowling Association at Keswick Fitz Park.
Norfolk's federation bowlers had a disappointing week at the National EBF and EWBF Bowls Championships staged at Newark IBC.
Norfolk's representatives lost in the first games in the men's two-bowl rinks as Peter and Stephen Winter, Ian Whiley lost 26-17 to Durham; the ladies' two-bowl rinks, when Ann and Maureen Leverett, Marion Himpleman lost 21-13 to Lincs, who eventually won the final. The men's pairs, where Peter Winter and Ian Whiley, sub for Stephen Winter, lost 18-17 after an extra end. Lyndsay and Terry Cator lost 30-2 to Lincs in the mixed pairs while in the under-25s, Matthew Sparrow lost 21-14 to Suffolk and in the men's senior singles, John Tuddenham lost 21-15 to North Essex. In the ladies pairs, Louise Knights and Melanie Haylett, had two comfortable wins, defeating Suffolk 21-11 in round one and Durham 22-7 in round two before losing to the Notts pairs in the semi final 21-8. The Notts pair were playing at their home club and went on to win the final.
In the mixed triples, Mel Haylett, Daniel Seabourne, Ian Wones won their first round game v Humberside 23-18 but lost in the second round to Northumberland 21-13. In the men's four bowl singles Norfolk's Ian Wones won his first round tie with Northants 21-17 but then lost in the second round to the eventual winner, G Shepperson from Derbyshire 21-15. In the ladies senior singles Linda Blake had a bye in the first round, defeated Hunts 21-18 in second, before losing to North Cambs, Chrissie Wadlow, in the semi final 21-15.
There was slightly better news in the ladies four-bowl singles with Linda Blake, again with a bye in Round one, defeated Durham 22-9 in round two, Suffolk 21-4 in the semis before being well beaten by Northumberland's Ann Lennie in the final 21-8.
The second leg of the Norwich Cup final between Bob Carter and Wymondham produced a night of drama as the former snatched victory in the last session.
Wymondham will have been disappointed to have failed to make home advantage count in the first leg that left the teams level at 8-8 on points but will have been delighted with the start they made at Carter. They led 15-9 at the halfway stage but needing, just one win to end their cup final hoodoo against Carter, came unstuck.
Jack Barrett's triple started well against Robert Howlett's triple and scored three shots on the opening end but a change of playing order for the Carter triple worked out well and they finished up comfortable winners by 12-5. This left Wymondham 15-13 up on points with one session of pairs remaining and a great finish in prospect.
Two tight games followed but it was Bob Carter who completed a superb comeback to lift the cup as Trevor Brown's pair beat Mark Linsdell's pair 10-7 and Melvin Woods' pair beat Andrew Stratton's pair by just 8-7.
Bure League winners Halvergate went down 6-4 at Kirby Bedon. The result left East Tuddenham as runners-up in the Bure one point ahead of Kirby Bedon. The last Tens League matches of the winter season took place with Kirby Bedon visiting Halvergate and Hempnall.
With Bob Carter already safely home and dry as champions and Hempnall having secured the runner-up spot nothing was at stake except pride. Halvergate won 2-0.
At Hempnall the home pairing of Chris East and Charlie Archer struggled in the first half as Kirby's Peter Johnson and Joe Brown stormed to a 19-4 win while Colin Stevenson, Bernie Cudden and Neil Davidson won by just 10-9 against Carol Johnson, Janice Hewitt and Shirley Brown. The hosts the fixture 2-0.