Norfolk aim for improved Middleton Cup showing

Norfolk's outdoor bowls programme began this week with the start of the Hansells County League on Wednesday and the early rounds of the County Championships.

Norfolk's outdoor bowls programme began this week with the start of the Hansells County League on Wednesday and the early rounds of the County Championships.

In their defence of their Premier League title, Acle St Edmund open their campaign with a home match against Norfolk Bowling Club whilst Premier League new boys Cawston travel to Wymondham Dell.

In the first round of the Club Championship (Bales Cup) the holders County Arts travel to Honingham.

Ahead of the Middleton Cup campaign, which begins in June, Norfolk have three matches in the Eastern Counties League.

Last year's Middleton Cup was disappointing with Norfolk failing to progress beyond the group stages, manager Brian Taylor saying: 'After having great success in previous years, last season we under-performed.

'We have both experienced bowlers and a talented pool of youngsters and with the right blend I'm sure we can have an excellent season. Once again I will be using the Eastern County league games to check the form of the players and to come up with the right rink combinations for the Middleton Cup.'

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The first Eastern Counties League game is against Huntingdonshire at Norfolk Bowling Club on Saturday.

Norfolk team: John Tufts, Neil Moulton, Mark Riches, Trevor Webb; Max Harrison, Mark Turner, Chris Willgress, Jamie Chestney; John Ottaway, Mick Brown, Bernie Perrett, Brian Taylor; George Tubby, Simon Elliott, Andy Siely, Darren Rowsell; Steffan Adcock, Michael Hunter, Graham Potter, Philip Barr; Peter Bird (sec), David Naunton (ass sec), Brian Howes (president), John George (comp sec).The other games are against Hertfordshire at Norfolk Bowling Club on May 15 and Essex at Thorpe-le-Soken on May 29. The Middleton Cup fixtures are: June 5 Essex at Norfolk BC, June 12 Bedfordshire at Maulden BC, June 19 Huntingdonshire at Parkway BC, July 10 Cambridgeshire at Norfolk BC.

t The County President this year is Brian Howes of Norfolk Bowling Club with Derek Talbot (Aldiss Park) his Senior Vice President. George Hunter of Wortwell, a stalwart of bowls in South Norfolk, has just been installed as Junior Vice President.

The President's inter-county friendly programme starts with a match against the Eastern Counties Bowling Association at his home club today.

Norfolk team: Peter Bird, Tony Foulke, Stan Allcock, Trevor Webb; David Potter, Geoff Middleton, Bill Windsor, John George; Gordon Bryant, Walter Pattee, John Blackburn, Malcolm Nicholson; Alan McDowell, Mick Green, Roger Greef, David Naunton; Barry Cocks, Tony Mark, Dennis Cousins, Don Whyatt; John Withers, Ray Lusted, John King, Brian Taylor.

On Tuesday, May 11 there is a match against Lincolnshire at Long Bennington BC.

Norfolk team: Peter Bird, Phil Earnshaw, Walter Pattee, Brian Howes; Bob Blacoe, John Lilliweb, Peter Cottee, Mike Hartopp; Barry Cocks, Michael Halifax, Alan Humberstone, John Lacey; Bob Atkins, Mike Woodcock, John Godsafe, George Hunter; Ron Butcher, Terry Izzard, Terry Crockett, Terry Cocks; David Potter, Mick Green, Roger Lench, Roger Rudling.