Thrilling Norfolk Triples Championships decided by final delivery

The Norfolk Triples Championships provided a feast of fascinating bowls as Bob Carter's Melvin Woods and Nigel Willard, with East Tuddenham's John Turner at number two, emerged as champions after a running bowl played by skip Nigel Willard wicked off a short wood and sent a Carter toucher into the ditch beside the jack.

Willard's triple faced Wymondham's Andrew Stratton, Debbie Phillips and Chris Mann in the final and Mann drew shot on the first end to give Wymondham the lead. A superb exchange of woods between Phillips and Turner on the next end finished with Turner holding shot.

Chris Mann then drew in a great wood with his first bowl but then managed to inexplicably play too wide with his second and give the shot away. Willard placed a short jack for the third end but two super bowls by Stratton put Willard in trouble.

Mann drew in a third but Willard responded with a forehand shot to take two shots and a 3-1 lead. Turner was on the jack with his first wood on the fourth end but took his wood off the jack with his second. Two brilliant bowls by Willard forced Chris Mann to attack and the young Wymondham and Norfolk ace earned his triple a shot.

The fifth end looked like going Wymondham's way too as they held two shots but an attacking bowl by Willard brought the jack out and gave his triple three shots to the consternation of Wymondham.

With Willard's triple 6-2 up Mann's triple knew they needed shots on the sixth end and Chris Mann was forced into playing a running bowl with his final wood of the end. Somehow Mann conjured up three shots to close the gap to just 6-5 with two ends remaining.

Melvin Woods drew right onto the jack with his first bowl on the penultimate end and also drew in a good second bowl. Debbie Phillips removed one of them with a running wood before Mann drew onto the jack to match the Carter bowl and a no-scoring end was agreed. This left Woods, Turner and Willard still leading 6-5 with one end remaining. A super bowl by Stratton drew shot early on but a great John Turner bowl soon took shot. With the jack almost on the ditch line both triples were forced into attempting to ditch it.

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Chris Mann succeeded but his bowl did not keep with the jack. Willard needed to put a Carter toucher into the ditch to win the title with his final bowl and the hall was silent as he stepped up to play the vital bowl.

As his running wood came down the mat Willard's face took on a look of anguish as he realized he had played it far too tight, but his face then took on a look of joy as it wicked off a short bowl, dramatically changed course, and sent the Carter bowl into the ditch to give his triple the title.

In the third place play-off Wymondham's Mikey George, Jack Barrett and Mark Linsdell beat Maureen Mumford, Colin Coman and George Munford 16-9.

The five Bure Pairs Championship heats took place in the newly enlarged Bure League and provided some superb bowling. The action began at Anglian Windows where Halvergate's Josh Baxter and David Lamb's evening began disastrously as they went down 9-0 against East Tuddenham's Linda and Les Chadwick. But by the end of the evening both pairs were smiling as six points apiece saw them qualify for finals night.

At East Tuddenham Maureen and George Munford of Coltishall also recovered from a first game defeat to finish first while Cromer's Jane James and John Andreae finished second but with insufficient points to progress.

Keith Cooke and Ray Lamb of Halvergate won all four games at Coltishall to qualify with ease while defending champions Ian McLean and Vic Woods of Hevingham were eliminated. Hevingham's Maurice Kemp and George Clarke won the Woodbastwick heat with second placed Sheila Redwood and Tony Turner of Thorpe Marriott also qualifying.

At Hevingham Gillian and Robin Amos lost their last game by 4-3 against Jan Hewitt and Alistair Hunter of Kirby Bedon but had already done enough to win the heat. Woodbastwick's Trevor Hallett and Jom Couling, who won the title two years ago, also qualified with six points.