County line-up in new bowls triples success
The inaugural Potter's East Coast Triples and Pairs event took place at Potter's Leisure Resort in Hopton-on-Sea with entries from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent taking part in the week-long competition.
Audrey Johnson, Derek Coates and Dave Ashpole of Stonyhills SMBC in Essex started in brilliant form, winning one game after another to lead the field with five straight wins. Four triples were hot on their heels, winning four out of their first five games. Richard Stevens, Debbie Phillips and Jon Sparham of Hingham and Wymondham and Mick Harris, Diane Boswell and Mike Boswell of Felthorpe and Anglian Windows led the challenge from Norfolk, while Margaret Barley, Paul Swain and Derek Barley of Carlton in Suffolk were also in contention early on.
Ashpole's triple continued to set the pace, but finally suffered their first defeat, 8-6 to Margaret Steele, Roger Steele and Graham Tweed of Wymondham and Hingham.
Halfway through the final day Ashpole's triple still led with 18 points, but had been joined on that total by Brenda Neil, Kerry Greenacre and Tony Hayes of Stonyhills and Haddiscoe. The final sessions saw points dropped by some of the contenders as Tony Hayes' triple went down 10-4 and drew their following match while Derek Barley's triple lost two in a row.
With one session remaining Mike Boswell's triple faced Jon Sparham's triple with both triples sharing the lead on 21 points.
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Ashpole's triple were one point behind, but knew that if they won their final game and Boswell and Sparham drew they could still lift the cup. The Essex triple did their job by winning their game, but Jon Sparham's triple had taken an early lead against Boswell.
A great comeback by Boswell's triple saw them take two shots on the final end, but Richard Stevens, Debbie Phillips and Jon Sparham had held on to win 6-5 and become the first ever winners of the Potter's East Coast Triples.
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Second place went to Audrey Johnson, Derek Coates and Dave Ashpole while Brenda Neil, Kerry Greenacre and Tony Hayes were third.
Potter's East Coast Pairs saw four counties represented in the semi-finals. Margaret Hastings and Bob Cousins of Pauls Sports Club in Ipswich faced Audrey Johnson and Dave Ashpole of Stonyhills in Essex.
In the other semi, Lynn Hall and Geoff Hall of Whitstable in Kent were up against Hingham's Moira and Richard Stevens. Both games produced heavy wins, with the Halls winning 12-1 and Hastings and Cousins winning 10-3.
In the final, Margaret Hastings and Bob Cousins were quick off the blocks and led 5-0 after two ends. Two great bowls by Geoff Hall on the next end drew appreciative applause from spectators and the deficit was cut to 5-2, but after that Hastings and Cousins moved up a gear to win the final by 10-2. In the third place play-off Audrey Johnson and Dave Ashpole led Moira and Richard Stevens by 5-0 after four ends, but the Stevens pair took six shots off the final three ends to win 6-5.
Norfolk Summer League new-boys County Council opened their campaign with a 6-2 home win against Deaf Sports in Division Three with R Cranston's triple winning both their games.