Norfolk off to flyer in bowls’ Eastern Counties League

Norfolk made a winning start to the their outdoor season at the weekend with matches against Huntingdonshire in the Eastern Counties League, which was treated as a trial for the Middleton Cup, and then a trial match against Essex.

In the match against Huntingdonshire at Brampton Institute, Norfolk won 130-106 and by winning on five rinks took 20 of the 22 points at stake. The stand-out performance was the rink skipped by Ian Catchpole of Norfolk BC, on his county debut having previously represented Suffolk, who returned a score of 35-13. Stephen Winter's rink had a 10-shot victory and their were also other rink wins for Andy Siely, Darren Rowsell and the executive rink skipped by Tony Dunton.

The match against Essex was a tight affair with Norfolk putting in a strong finish to win the match 108-105 and winning on four rinks.

After two matches Brian Taylor said: 'Even though it's early in the season and there is nearly a month until we begin our defence of the Middleton Cup, the weekend gave a good opportunity to take a look at both the established players and those looking to break into the team. 'Both matches gave us run-outs against two competitive teams and it was good to get the winning results.'

Having lost in the final of the White Rose Trophy last year, and with most of last year's squad still eligible, Norfolk's young bowlers hope to go one better this year and begin with a match against Hertfordshire at Royston on Sunday.

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Team manager Daniel Noble has selected: John Tufts, Liam Stevenson, Ian Catchpole and Wayne Willgress; Max Harrison, Ollie Allen, Sam King and Jake Willgress.

President Peter Cottee takes his tour party on the 71st county tour next week. The tour is to Kent, based in Hythe, and features matches against Betteshanger BC, Hythe BC, Folkestone Park BC, Aylesham and Snowdon BC, Canterbury BC and the Kent County Bowling Association.

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