Third time unlucky for Norfolk in Denny Cup at National Indoor Bowls Championships

Norfolk celebrate with the Denny Cup runners-up trophy after defeat in the final to Cumbria. Picture

Norfolk celebrate with the Denny Cup runners-up trophy after defeat in the final to Cumbria. Picture: Dave Rhys Jones - Credit: Archant

It wasn't to be third time lucky for Norfolk in the final of the Denny Cup at the National Indoor Bowls Championships as they were defeated by Cumbria.

Having lost finals in 1984 and 2016, Norfolk had hoped it would be their year but Cumbria emerged victorious - the ninth time they have won the competition.

This record ninth success puts them four ahead of both Paddington and City of Ely, who are next in line with five wins, and five ahead of Bristol and Cyphers, who have lifted the beautiful and historic trophy four times apiece.

Astonishingly, four stalwarts of Cumbria's 16-man team have been in the team on all nine occasions. They are team captain Stuart Airey, Scot Rae Graham, England ace Stephen Farish, and former international Paul Barlow.

Cumbria, playing confidently, were 21-12 overall at five ends, and kept a firm grip, ruthlessly extending their lead to 44-29 by the halfway stage, and were 67-39 in front after fifteen ends, and Norfolk threw in the towel with a few ends left to play, with the score at 81-48.

The Cumbria rink skipped by England star Farish returned a 20-12 card, Stuart Irwin's men scored six shots over the last three ends to win, 19-7, Gavin Taylor's quartet won, 21-14, and team captain Airey picked up five shots on the last end to win, 21-16.

It was a very special day for one of the Cumbrian team, Graeme Vipond, who led on the rink skipped by Gavin Taylor. He was celebrating his 52nd birthday.

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Club president, Anthony Little, said: 'We lost in the semi finals last year and the year before, and I think that motivated the lads to make sure we didn't slip up again. They played well as a team, and thoroughly deserved their convincing victory.'

Airey agreed: 'We've had some bad luck at the club over the years, including some serious flooding twice in the last ten years. We've also lost some players along the way.'

In the semi-final Norfolk had defeated Dorset-based Moonfleet 70-63. Norfolk rinks skipped by Bernie Perrett, Wayne Willgress and Rick Summers won by eight, four and two shots respectively, while Adam Tidby's Moonfleet rink defeated James Segolo's quartet, 22-15.

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