Norfolk set up thrilling Middleton Cup decider

Norfolk remain on course to defend their Middleton Cup title following victory over Northamptonshire at Kingsthorpe BC on Saturday by 117 shots to 113.

Norfolk won on three rinks to take 16 of the 22 points at stake. With Huntingdonshire beating Bedfordshire and taking 21 points in the other group match, qualification from the group to the quarter-finals is set for a thrilling finale when the final matches are played on July 6.

In these matches Norfolk entertain Bedfordshire at Norfolk BC while Northamptonshire play Huntingdon at Kingsthorpe. Currently Norfolk top the group on 30 points followed by Huntingdonshire on 29 and Northamptonshire on 28.

At Kingsthorpe on Saturday Norfolk knew a win was imperative and opened in dominant fashion to take an early lead.

The expected Northamptonshire recovery came and they moved into the lead going into the closing stages but Norfolk hit back to snatch the lead to win by a narrow margin.

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Once again the rink skipped by Downham Market's Peter Boldero were the star performers, winning by 12 shots with other rink wins coming from those skipped by Philip Barr and Wayne Willgress.

Team manager Brian Taylor said: 'We put in an excellent performance across the green and I thought we fully deserved our victory. We now top the group but it's very tight but will not underestimate Bedfordshire in our last match and if we perform as we have done there's no reason why we should not reach the quarter finals again'

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Rink scores: Max Harrison, Roger Guy, Chris Gaul & Peter Boldero 24, Vernon Geary 12; John Colcombe, Peter Wilkinson, Jake Willgress & Stephen Winter 18, Jim McKee 20; John Tufts, Neil Moulton Ian Catchpole & Wayne Willgress 18, Jamie Walker 12; John Ottaway, Robert Hadingham, Paul Shackcloth & Philip Barr 21, Paul Broderick 18; Mark Elliott, Justin Hudson, George Tubby & Andy Siely 14 Neil Corbyn 25; Sam King, Bernie Perrett, Mark Turner & Darren Rowsell 22 Darren Childs 26

nThere was disappointment for Norfolk's young bowlers in the regional finals of the White Rose trophy when they lost to Huntingdonshire by a single shot in the semi finals held at Maulden BC.

Huntingdonshire were in control throughout and Norfolk battled hard to reduce the deficit only to lose out on the final end. In the regional final Huntingdonshire beat Leicestershire to reach the National finals.

Rink scores: Max Harrison, Ollie Allen, Sam King & Jake Willgress 13, Alex Walton 22; John Tufts, Liam Stevenson, Ian Catchpole & Wayne Willgress 19 Tristan Morton 11

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