Norfolk triumph to keep hopes alive

Norfolk kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Middleton Cup with an emphatic victory over last year's beaten finalists Huntingdonshire by 141-113 shots in a rain affected match at Norfolk Bowling Club.

The victory was built around big wins from the rinks skipped by Jamie Chestney and Philip Barr and backed up by wins by those skipped by Mark Turner, Wayne Willgress and Peter Boldero.

Norfolk took a lead of six shots at five ends which was doubled at 10 ends. Two delays because of heavy rain failed to halt Norfolk's progress and a surge over the closing ends gave the County an important victory and 20 of the 22 points at stake.

In the other group match Essex gained a narrow victory over Bedfordshire but the 18 points they took meant that Norfolk must beat Bedfordshire in their final group match at Norfolk BC in three weeks time and hope that Essex slip up in their match against Huntingdonshire.

After the match manager Brian Taylor said: 'It was a great win over a good Hunts team. Conditions were far from ideal but we coped very well. With Essex winning our fate is not in our own hands but we are not out of it yet There's no reason why we shouldn't beat Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire are more than capable of beating Essex.'

Rink scores: Gary Mallett, Rob Parker, Daniel Noble & Wayne Willgress 21; Nicky Brett 18. John Colcombe, Chris Gaul, Roger Guy & Peter Boldero 21; Ean Morton 17. Sam King, Jake Willgress, Paul Shackcloth & Jamie Chestney 28; Trevor Collins 10. Steffan Adcock, John Hunter, Mark Riches & Philip Barr 30; Stuart Popple 15. George Tubby, Michael Hunter, Andy Siely & Mark Turner 19; Tristan Morton 15. John Ottaway, Mick Brown, Bernie Perrett & Brian Taylor 22; Ryan O'Flanagan 28.

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The County Championship group games are nearing completion with the Fours and Triples having reached the quarter final stages.

Fours quarter-finals at Aldiss Park (Dereham), Monday, June 27: J Hunter, A Goodson, K Breame & M Hunter (RG Carter) v J Hudson, S Peach, M Chapman & I Whiley (Wootton Park); O Allen, G Guy, K Guy & R Guy (Wymondham Dell) v D Richards, J Applegate, B Wymer & G Punchard (Caister); M Percival, M Lovick, M Moseley & B Cocksedge (Swaffham Town) v C Knights, C Boon, J Willgress & P Day (Norfolk BC); K Mikulik, D Peaks, A Byford & J Downie (GW Staniforth) v J Howlett, A Smith, L Moore & R Parker (Freethorpe).

Triples quarter-finals on Tuesday, June 28 (venue to be confirmed): P Long, R Summers & B Perrett (Norfolk BC) v J Hudson, I Whiley & M Chapman (Wootton Pk); M Harrison, R Lewis & P Boldero v D Richards, P Barber & B Wymer (Caister); F Ray, A Hubbard & A Curtis (County Arts) v D Kaye, W Pattee & J Wright (GW Staniforth); R Harvey, G Oakley & G Goodrum (Wymondham Dell) v G Gallent (Martham).

The Norfolk Club Championship for the Bales Cup has also reached the quarter-final stage. In the third round, holders County Arts continued the defence of the title with a tricky looking tie at Caister and came away with victory by 65 shots to 54.

The third round produced one surprise result with Downham Market travelling to Premier League Hunstanton EBA and winning 64-52. Elsewhere there were victories for Wymondham Dell against Ashill, Gissing against Attleborough Connaught, Norfolk BC against Aylsham, RG Carter against Aldiss Park, Swardeston against Norwich Union and Swaffham Town against West Winch.

The draw for the quarter finals, to be played on Friday, June 24 is: Swaffham Town v Wymondham Dell (at Norfolk BC), County Arts v RG Carter (at Norfolk BC), Gissing v Downham Market (at GW Staniforth), Swardeston v Norfolk BC (at GW Staniforth).

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