Swaffham’s grand finale
Swaffham A lifted the final silverware of the Norfolk EBA bowls season – the Hansells Cup – after a thrilling day's play at Wymondham Dell Bowls Club.
Trophies were presented by Roger Holden, managing partner of cup, league and county sponsors Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers, accompanied by marketing executive Dawn Towns.
Roger Holden complimented all four semi-finalists on the standard of their play and the spirit in which games were conducted on a thoroughly enjoyable day of bowls. He singled out 11-year-old Jake Larter of Cantley for particular praise.
'By the end of the day Jake had played 42 ends of bowls and for someone of his age to maintain that level of concentration is very commendable,' he said.
In an absorbing final, Swaffham beat Cantley by 16 shots (65-49). The match was in the balance until the final two ends when Swaffham picked up 13 shots to clinch victory.
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While Keith Brand's rink overcame an early deficit to be comfortably in front for most of the match, the other two fours had to pull something special out of the hat to lift the trophy. Neil Patrick's rink were trailing 14-16 after 17 ends, but won 22-16. Meanwhile, Brian Cocksedge's four picked up a six and a two on the final two ends to win by one shot.
Earlier in the day, Swaffham had beaten Holt 69-61 in one semi-final, while Cantley had edged out Watton by four shots thanks to a spectacular final end which they won by eight shots.
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Swaffham captain Mo Moseley said he was 'over the moon' with his team's success in completing a league and cup double – and revealed how close his club had been to having two teams at Wymondham for finals day.
'Our B team lost on the very last end to Watton in the quarter-finals,' he said.
Cantley chairman Chris Carter, who skipped one of the rinks, in a team captained by his son Matthew, was very proud of his club's achievement.
'We are a very small family club and we've never been to anything like this before. It was a great experience. We are also a very, very young club five of our team were under 25.'
Congratulating Swaffham on a deserved victory, he commented: 'I think it was experience and concentration that told in the end.'
He was certain 11-year-old Larter, who played in every league game in the season, was a star of the future.
Norfolk EBA President Derek Talbot praised all competitors for the high quality of bowls played on the day.
'These were four teams who have each finished top of their division – and they certainly lived up to their reputation,' he said.
Roger Holden said Hansells were proud not only to back the EBA at county level, but to provide silverware for clubs at grassroots level, too.
'Holt, Watton, Cantley and Swaffham can be proud of their achievement in beating over 50 other teams playing in league divisions two and three to reach today's climax and provide such rich fare as we have enjoyed,' he said.
Semi-finals: Watton lost to Cantley by four shots (56-60). Scores (Watton names first): G Pask, M Muggridge, T Watson, M Hodges (skip) 26; B Soanes, I French, A Carter, J Lake (skip) 16. K Hemming, M Hamilton, A Hubble, N Watson (skip) 19; J Larter, J Beck, M Carter, C Mole (skip) 19. D Ashenden, P Myhill, T Crockett, H Moult (skip) 11; N Brown, P Cooper, P Clayton, C Carter (skip) 25. Holt lost to Swaffham A by eight shots (61-69). Scores (Holt names first): S Walker, R Painter, R Nurse, K Medlar (skip) 25; S Garner, G Pearce, M Moseley, N Patrick (skip) 21. E Cox, K Mahitis, J Shackleford, M Eldred (skip) 12; K Bush, K Green, L Garner, K Brand (skip) 28. B Dennis, D Savage, B McQuade and D Bean (skip) 24; M Percival, J Lovick, D Futter, B Cocksedge (skip) 20.
Final: Swaffham beat Cantley by 16 shots (65-49). Scores (Swaffham names first): S Garner, G Pearce, M Moseley, N Patrick (skip) 22; B Soanes, I French, A Carter, J Lake (skip) 16. M Percival, J Lovick, D Futter, B Cocksedge (skip) 19; N Brown, P Cooper, P Clayton, C Carter 18. K Bush, K Green, L Garner, K Brand 24; J Larter, J Beck, M Carter, C Mole 15.