Norfolk hold their nerve secure semi-final place in Johns Trophy after Leicestershire win

Norfolk celebrate their win over Leicestershire. Picture: Norfolk County Women's Bowls Association.

Norfolk celebrate their win over Leicestershire. Picture: Norfolk County Women's Bowls Association. - Credit: Archant

A nail-biting end to a high-quality quarter-final match up against Leicestershire's Johns Trophy team saw the Norfolk ladies reach the last four in the inter-county bowls championship.

They will face the team from Lincolnshire on Saturday, August 5 at 9.30am at Royal Leamington Spa.

It is fair to say, the ladies from Norfolk probably thought they were down and out as at 10 ends it was only the team of Claire Turner, Marie Morton, Sandra Curtis and Christine Webb leading their opponents. Bowls can be a strange game, and we could certainly call this a game of two halves, as despite trailing by 30 shots in the middle, Norfolk staged a remarkable comeback claim their place in the semi-final, only hitting the front from 17 ends onwards.

Crucial to the victory was the winning score from the rink of Ada Sumpter, Jan Dearman, Thelma Scarffe and Jenny Kirby. At 10 ends, the card read 15-5 in Leicestershire's favour but the team from Norfolk won eight of the next 11 ends with one count of four and two threes, giving them a commendable shot difference of plus five, a huge turnaround of 15 shots in the second half of the game.

Christine Webb's rink was in the lead throughout, and the four did well to keep the pressure on their opponents, not letting them creep back into the game, returning a final scorecard of plus 21. This balanced the rink of Rita Basted, Debra Wright, Emily O'Hanlon and Amy Barker, who struggled to hang onto any shots they were laying, eventually finishing 9-28. The all County Arts rink of Marlene Hooper, Pauline Tomlinson, Mary Watson and Sue Curtis also had their work cut out on a very difficult rink, fighting well at the end to pick up five shots in the last five ends to make their final score 14-22.

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Jackie Devitt skipped a rink with Rebecca Field, Carole Baker and Suzanne King to take on the rink from Leicestershire skipped by Commonwealth Games medallist Jamie-Lea Winch and in a high-quality battle it was the Norfolk four who finally came out on top, two decisive counts of four and five on the 18th and 19th end helping them to a 10-shot victory, despite trailing by three at the halfway mark.

But the pressure came on the rink lead by Louise Knights with Jean Webb at two, Joyce Webster at three and Brenda Whitehead skip. Last on, with two ends to play, the master scoreboard was set at six up to Norfolk. On their 20th end the head was well set up by Louise and Jean as the number threes went to bowl. A connection on the shot bowl took the jack behind, and Brenda could only manage third bowl with her last, taking Norfolk four up with her final end to play.

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A brilliant opening bowl again from Louise, put the Leicestershire team under pressure, and although they took the jack behind, it was not enough, with the rest of the head now too short to make a difference to the result. Their final score finished 12-18 and Norfolk were the overall winners by three shots.

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