Mann pipped in indoor bowls quarters

Chris Mann, Andrew Stratton and Jack Barrett of Wymondham and Norfolk played in the English Masters at Wye Valley IBC at the weekend.

Mann qualified for the main knockout section after finishing as runner-up in his group behind Dom Reed of England who started the day as number one in the SMPT World Rankings. Mann won four of his five games with his only defeat coming against Reed. His victories included a 13-4 win against Dimitri Payne of Belgium and a 9-8 win against Andrew Newell of Jamaica.

Mann then beat England's Jack Rollings to reach the quarter-finals where he lost by just 11-10 against Joel Hager of Sweden. Andrew Stratton also qualified as runner-up in his group despite losing to Irish ace Mark Beattie and Sweden's Annelie Wikstroem. Stratton's wins were against Mark Jones and Charlotte Rollings of England. In the last 16 Stratton was eliminated losing 11-7 to Irish player Andrew Leckey. Young Jack Barrett took a pounding in his opening match losing by 24-4 to Mitchell Young of England but recovered well to record a 15-4 win against Sibe Laureys of Sweden and a 15-9 win against Bob Rigby of Cyprus. He finished third in his group and qualified for the Plate competition where he performed very well. In the knockouts he beat Ken Sleat of England by 12-8 and then beat Tommy Dahlgren of Sweden 19-5 to reach the semi-finals. Jack's run of success came to an end as he was defeated by Dimitri Payne by 13-3.

It was an all-Irish final in the English Masters with Joseph Beattie beating Jai Richardson 10-9. The Plate section was won by Dimitri Payne who beat Darren Witherspoon of Ireland 12-9.

Connaught A kept up the pressure on Breckland League leaders Wymondham with a 10-0 home win against Watton. Four solid wins saw their shot difference also improve as Sheila Bragg's triple won 28-6, Lee Fallows' triple won 28-9, Owen Secker's triple won 22-10 and Bob Oatway's triple won 18-10.

Watton fared better at home to Forncett winning 8-2 with Eddie Bebee's triple winning 22-8 while Dennis Rumsby collected the visitors two points with a 20-8 win. A close match at Harling saw the home team beat Carleton Rode by just one shot for a 6-4 win.

M Tarrant's triple led the way for Harling with a 20-9 win while Terry Newby's triple were on form for the visitors with a 23-10 win.

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In the South Norfolk League Connaught moved top after beating Watton 8-2. Sylvia Parson's triple made sure of the match points for Connaught with a 20-6 win. Roger Frank of Horsford Heroes skipped his triple to a 33-9 win as his side beat Mulbarton 10-0.

Cheshire's Darren Whittaker has been appointed England team manager by the ESMBA. Speaking to me this week Whittaker said: 'I'm delighted and very excited at the prospect of managing the England Team over the next few years.

'Since becoming assistant manager and working with Keith Smith we were part of some great successes and I want to try my very best to set challenging and achievable targets for the team. I also intend to be looking at areas which affect not only the England senior squad, but also the Under 21s, 18s and anyone who wants to fulfil a bowling ambition in England. '

Talking about his team selections he said that, with his assistant manager Keith Lackford, they will work to blend experience, youth, ability and ambition.