Clash of the Norfolk short mat bowls titans brings triumph for champ John Turner
Two of the giant figures of Norfolk short mat bowls over the last 25 years went head to head in the Bure Singles Championship final at Horsford SMBC.
John Turner of East Tuddenham, without doubt the most successful Norfolk player in the history of the association, was defending the title.
Vic Woods of Hevingham, six times a county champion, was determined to take it off him.
Turner drew first blood with a single on the first end but the Hevingham star they call 'The Quiet Man' won the next three ends to lead 4-1. Then Turner upped his game scoring a three on the fifth end followed by a single to lead 5-4.
Woods replied with a single to level the game but three more shots to Turner over the next two ends left him defending an 8-5 lead going into the final end. Despite Woods' best efforts he could only score two shots and Turner was the worthy champion yet again by an 8-7 scoreline.
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In the semi-finals Turner played another former England bowler, Margaret Harman of Coltishall, and got off to a great start leading 6-0 after two ends. Harman fought back but Turner held on to win 12-10.
In the other semi-final Woods faced Kirby Bedon's Joe Brown and a hard fought game was level at 5-5 after seven ends before Woods edged his way to an 8-6 win.
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In the quarter-finals Turner almost saw his title slip away in a great match against Mike Boswell of Anglian Windows. Boswell scored four shots over the last two scheduled ends to level a match that Turner won on an extra end. Woods defeated Horsford BC bowler Dennis Seaton by 12-8 in his quarter-final match.
Connaught A entertained Coltishall in the first leg of the Norwich Cup Final and built up a big lead to take into the away leg.
Ty Musk, Ollie Allen and Sheila Bragg piled up the points and shots for Connaught with wins of 14-4, 8-1 and 7-3 and were ably supported by Rita Secker, John Winup and Owen Secker who also won all their three games by 8-6, 5-3 and 6-4.
Chris Musk, Lee Fallows and Sylvia Parsons picked up two wins while Bill Adcock's triple won their opening game. For the visitors Willie Jefferies, Les Harman and John Aggas all won a game apiece to keep Coltishall's hopes alive.
Just like wine the National Championships have good years and bad years and for Norfolk the 2012 Nationals at Kempston BC will certainly go down as unpalatable.
It was more like a supermarket-bought Lambrusco than a 2005 Bordeaux that Norfolk tasted as all four days ended in disappointment for the county's finest.
In the National Singles, Neil Davidson of Hempnall and Robbie Lamb of Halvergate reached the last 16 stage before Davidson went down 11-9 to Mark White of Dorset and Lamb lost by 13-5 to Eric Pavey of Devon.
Craig Burgess of Essex emerged as the new England Singles champion, beating Bronagh Malone of North Yorkshire 12-6 in the final ending a long wait for his first national title.
Little did we know it at the time, but Davidson and Lamb's last 16 place in the singles was to be the height of Norfolk's achievements over the four days.
The National Pairs title was won by Nick Tideswell and Chris Williams of Shropshire who beat Malcolm Rollings and Peter Whale of West Sussex in the final. It was Tideswell's second pairs title, having previously won it in 2009 playing with Gareth Stanway.
In the National Fours final it was again Nick Tideswell of Shropshire celebrating success as he lifted the title with Chris Kearns, Martin Simcock and Glynn Berisford. They beat Oxfordshire's G Cross, G Davies, T Cross and A Brown 10-5.
In the National Triples final, Chris Weston, Ed Sawbridge and Chris Hopkins of Northants beat D Glennerstar, D Redfern and R Martin of Dorset 11-3.