Norfolk’s frustrating week ends with Derbyshire Trophy success

Norfolk's successful Derbyshire Trophy team with National EBF president L Clarke, Norfolk EBF presid

Norfolk's successful Derbyshire Trophy team with National EBF president L Clarke, Norfolk EBF president J Hudson and captain C Woodcock. - Credit: Archant

Norfolk had a frustrating week of near misses in the individual competitions at the National Federation Bowls Indoor Championships at Newark – reaching three finals but losing all of them.

But the Derbyshire Trophy team gave them some belated success at the end of the week with a thrilling 127-117 win over Durham.

Norfolk held a 15 shot lead after ten ends and eight at 15 before Durham fought back to cut the deficit to two shots going into the last five before Norfolk produced a strong finish to take the trophy.

Bryan Sadler came up empty handed from two finals having gone the distance in the men's senior singles and, with Linda Blake, in the mixed pairs. Norfolk's other finalists were Molly Auld and Geraldine Reeve in the ladies pairs.

Sadler had singles victories against North Cambs and Derbyshire before losing 21-15 to an opponent from Nottinghamshire in the final.

In the mixed pairs he and Blake played three games on Friday to qualify for Saturday's final. They opened by beating Northumberland 19-13 but needed an extra end to beat Hunts – who drew shot with the last bowl on the 21st end to force the sudden death decider. In the semi-final they trailed Suffolk 8-9 at 12 ends before scoring seven shots in taking the next four ends on their way to a 19-10 win.

In the final they came up against a strong Derbyshire pairing of Jean Baker and Ashley Clipston and lost a thrilling encounter by 17-19. Derbyshire were on top in the first half of the game but Norfolk fought back from 3-9 at nine ends to lead 17-12 at 18 before a late flourish from Derby saw them home.

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Molly Auld and Geraldine Reeve began their ladies pairs campaign in thrilling fashion against Cleveland. After scoring on the first end Norfolk were never in front again until the 18th, when they took a two to lead 14-13. Molly killed the 20th end with Norfolk shots down to keep the score at 14-14 and on the replayed end took two to lead 16-14 going into the last end, where they took a further shot to win by 17-14.

They went on to defeat Notts 16-15 on an extra end in the semi-final, winning 16-15 and had the better of the early stages in their final against Derbyshire before losing 21-16.

Other bids for national glory ended, perhaps even more agonisingly, in the semi-finals.

The ladies 2-bowl rink, comprising Linda Bennett, Elaine Cole and Melanie Haylett, beat North Cambs 21-8 before losing 24-15 in the semi-finals to Notts. That was, in fact, a brave performance from the Norfolk ladies, who trailed 9-0 after six ends before hitting back with a five on the seventh end .

Daniel Seabourne also fell at the penultimate hurdle of the Under-25s singles. The Acle prospect beat Humberside's Dani Martinson 21-11 to reach the last four, where he lost 21-15 to the eventual winner from Hunts.

Acle's Tony Dunton, Rob Parker and Jamie Howlett lost 18-15 in the men's 2-bowl rinks to Hunts and there was further disappointment for Parker when he teamed up with Barbara Meeks and Denis Goodley in the mixed rinks.

The Norfolk trio were leading until the half way point, when their Notts opponents picked up 12 shots without reply on their way to winning 18-15.

Ian Wones had two titanic battles in the men's 4-bowl singles. Against Durham's Ian McIntosh in the first round he won 21-20 after 27 ends of highly competitive bowls. Having led 13-9 up at 14 ends and 17-11 after 17 he found himself 17-20 down after 23 ends before scoring one shot on each of the next four ends to secure victory.

His second round battle with M Dolby from Northants was equally nail-biting. From 15-15 at 17 ends Wones took four shots over the next three ends to lead 19-15 only to be pegged him back to 19-19 after 24 ends. A single put Wones on the brink – but the Northants player then took a count of two to win the match.

There was another dramatic contest in the 4-bowl ladies singles, which saw Melanie Haylett go down 21-19 to Humberside youngster Dani Martinson on the 26th end.

Haylett seemed to be heading for the second round when she held a 17-9 advantage at 18 ends. But her younger opponent responded with two full houses on the 19th and 20th ends to make it all square. The remaining ends kept the spectators gripped before Martinson moved through.

Colin Blake and Ian Wones needed an extra end to to beat Northumberland in the men's pairs, despite leading 17-15 after 19 ends. But they lost 22-17 in the second round despite leading 17-11 after 15 ends.

In the ladies senior singles Melanie Haylett was a 21-6 winner against North Essex after only 15 ends but then found her match in North Cambs' Chrissie Wadlow, who won 21-16.

Norfolk finished mid-table in the ladies' Harry Carver Trophy, a game for counties' executives and past presidents.