Norfolk get the points they need to secure their place in quarter-finals

Jayne Roylance picked up her 100th cap Johns cap for Norfolk against Essex. Picture: Brenda Whitehea

Jayne Roylance picked up her 100th cap Johns cap for Norfolk against Essex. Picture: Brenda Whitehead - Credit: Archant

Norfolk are through to the quarter-finals of the xxxxx after returning from Essex with 20 out of 22 points to top the East B group.

Trailing Cambridgeshire by 18 points in their group prior to the match on Saturday, Norfolk knew a quarter-final spot was on the cards if they could win on four rinks as well as a score of plus 24 across the four rinks.

The two rinks skipped by Jackie Devitt and Jayne Roylance got their points on the board first. Roylance, who was honoured by the county association following the match to celebrate her 100th Johns Trophy match, put in a performance to mark her 100th cap to lead her team of Ada Sumpter, Debra Wright and Amy Barker to an eight-shot victory. Devitt was well supported by Rebecca Field, Carole Baker and Suzanne King picking up 15 shots in the second half of the game to return a score of plus 18, dropping no more than a count of two throughout the 21 ends.

With four points in the bag, and a 26-shot lead between the two rinks, the pressure was on the other four rinks to deliver their wins to ensure the team progressed through to the next round.

The next skip to return her winning scorecard was Jenny Kirby, who was joined by Claire Turner, and Swaffham duo Jan Dearman and Thelma Scarffe. Early in the game the scores were nip and tuck, and while the rink from Norfolk were always ahead, they didn't stamp their authority on the game until the 13th end, where a count of four took them 16 shots to 7 ahead. Essex were determined however, and hit back with seven shots in four ends, cutting the Norfolk rink's lead down to 3. The rink from Norfolk held their nerve and hit back with a one, three and stunning count of six shots to take the game out of their opponent's reach winning 27-15.

So with three rinks left on the green, and a shot difference of 45, the ladies in red needed just one more rink over the line to make sure of that quarter final spot. Next to finish was the all County Arts quartet of Marlene Hooper, Pauline Tomlinson, Mary Watson and Sue Curtis. Flying out of the blocks, Curtis' rink led 10-0 after four ends but Essex plugged back with a full length jack, and with just two ends to go they trailed by three. Holding a strong two shots, the opposing skip failed to turn the head around, and Curtis drew in a third shot to take the game all level. With the shot changing hands on more than one occasion on the last end, it was the four from Essex who had the final say, picking up a single shot to take the winning rink.

It was then the turn of Louise Knights, Jean Webb, Joyce Webster and Brenda Whitehead who confirmed the win for Norfolk, though it came down to the wire. Five up with five to play, the Essex four picked up three singles on the 17th, 18th and 19th ends. On the penultimate end, Knights and Webb set the head up well and despite a determined effort from Essex, the Norfolk four picked up a count of two, giving them a four-shot cushion going into the last. The final score finished 22-19 and Norfolk knew their place in the quarter-final was safe.

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The final two points came from the team of Anna Chalk, Marie Morton and the skip and three combination with over 150 Johns caps between them, Sandra Curtis and Christine Webb. It was another close game, and with the two teams locked at 14 all with just three ends to play it was the Norfolk quartet who again held their nerve, a double on the 19th end put their noses in front and the count of four which followed on the 20th, provided the lead the Norfolk four needed. Not resting on their laurels, a final count of three meant Webb returned home with a nine-shot lead.

Norfolk will play Leicestershire on Saturday, July 15, time and location to be confirmed.

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