New format for an old tournament

NORFOLK LADIES: Spectators were treated to an exciting match when Norfolk Ladies met Essex in the first round of the national Johns Trophy competition.

The game was played at Suffolk's Halesworth Angel Bowls Club, a mid-way venue for the teams. Norfolk were 15 shots ahead on 15 ends but trailed by three shots on the green when five of the six rinks had completed their game.

All the pressure was then on the last rink, who were looking for three to draw and so force another end but were unlucky to get just two shots.

Scores: A Read, J Morton, J Webster and B Whitehead 26/16, M Hooper, J Walmsley, C Neave and J Roylance 18/21, P English, M Johnson, J Dearman and T Scarffe 16/20, S King, P Frost, Sandra Curtis and C Webb 13/22, P Clarke, M Watson, J Gibson and Sue Curtis 16/15, A Leverett, A James, J Rose and L Millbank 23/19. Final score: 112/113.

The Johns Trophy was presented in 1933 by the bowls pioneer Clara Johns to the English Women's Bowling Association, the national body for women bowlers, of which she was a founder member and its first president.

Norfolk have competed in this prestigious national trophy for many years, winning on three occasions – 1985, 1987 and 1991 – and finishing runners-up in 1996 and 2001.

This competition has always been held on a knockout basis but next year will see a new format where counties will play all the counties in their zone and be awarded points on much the same basis as the men play their Middleton Cup.

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So in future losing the first round may not be such a disaster as counties would still have the opportunity to compete in the final stages.

Play in this new format will take place at weekends on a home and away basis, the change having been brought about to give more opportunity for working ladies to participate.

• Norfolk's next games in the Donald Steward Trophy and Silver Jubilee Vase are this Saturday, when they travel to March to face Cambridgeshire.

In their most recent matches, against North Essex, Norfolk had a 174-100 win in the Steward Trophy at RG Carters and a 154-109 victory in the Silver Vase at County Arts.