Thrilling fightback clinches pairs title

David Lamb of Halvergate and Jon Sparham of Hempnall won their first ever Norfolk County Pairs title on a dramatic extra end at Lakeside.

Chris East of Hempnall and Charlie Archer of Broome looked to have their hands on the trophy with one end to go, but they had a meltdown on the last scheduled end and conceded four shots which took the final into a sudden death extra end on which Lamb and Sparham scored two shots.

It was the first Norfolk Pairs final for all four bowlers and after four ends the score was tied at 3-3. Archer played a great bowl on the fifth end to take his pair 4-3 up and, despite a super last bowl from Sparham, the next end earned East and Archer another single and they moved 5-3 up.

The seventh end saw East put Lamb and Sparham under intense pressure with a great opening wood and Archer consolidated their position, putting them 7-3 up with one scheduled end to play.

With Lamb and Sparham needing a full house to force an extra end East and Archer just needed a good bowl in the head.

Unfortunately for them the pressure seemed to tell as they failed to find the killer wood, leaving Lamb and Sparham to draw in the four bowls they needed. The extra end saw Lamb and Sparham dominating the game as they drew their woods to the jack while their opposition overdrew to the back. Archer attacked the head with his last bowl in an attempt to force the jack back, but it was not to be as Lamb and Sparham took two shots to win 9-7.

In the play-off for third, Jenny and Peter Walker of Thorpe Marriott beat Chris and Tyrone Musk of Connaught 8-4.

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Meanwhile, Forncett produced the shock result of the season as they fought back from 10-2 down to dump South Norfolk and Tens League giants Hempnall out of the Norwich Cup. Forncett, struggling in the bottom half of the Breckland League, entertained the star-studded Hempnall side and the match seemed to be out of their reach by half-time.

Hempnall's Colin Stevenson, Roger Parker and Neil Davidson easily won their first two games by 8-0 and 15-1. Paul Baker's triple won 8-1 and Richard Harrowing chalked up a 7-3 win. Charlie Archer's triple added a 7-4 win against Tony Ottewell while Merv Boulter's Forncett triple achieved Forncett's only first-half win, beating Archer 14-0.

At this point Hempnall could be excused if they were already thinking ahead to the next round, but the unthinkable happened.

Daphne Coleman, David Girling and Keith Humphreys began the recovery with a 7-4 win against Mick Pearce, Jon Sparham and Richard Harrowing while Rebecca Humphreys, Martin Humphreys and Peter Lock beat Beryl Smith, Bernie Cudden and Paul Baker by 9-3 to cut the deficit to 10-6.

The black clouds began to gather for Hempnall in session five as David Barnes, Ethel Coleman and Tony Ottewell stormed to an 11-2 win against Paul Baker's triple and Keith Humphrey's triple snatched a 6-5 win against Charlie Archer. With the points now level at 10-10 and only one session remaining the stage was set for an exciting finale.

Peter Lock's triple put in a magnificent performance, beating Davidson's triple 5-2, while Mary Boulter, Linda Preece and Merv Boulter completed a fabulous 14-10 points victory for Forncett by beating Richard Harrowing's triple 4-3.