Suffolk Carpet Bowls Association

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» 2023 ECBA Champion of Champions

The 2023 ECBA Champion of Champions was held at Stanley, County Durham over 3rd-4th June.

Tom & Sam Runnacles and Clint & Emma Watling
Suffolk began with a comfortable 15-1 victory over Essex. They followed up with a very hard 7-6 victory over Cambridgeshire, won the final end. They were the only team to have won their opening two games.

Their third game saw them taking on closest rivals Sunderland. The first end saw Suffolk pick up a 5, after which the game wasn’t in doubt, they won 11-4, and were now 2 points clear at the top.

Saturday closed out with a game against closed rivals Hertfordshire. Suffolk spent most of the game in arrears, and at 9-4 down with 3 ends to go it didn’t look good, but Suffolk fought back, and picked up one on the last end to draw the game. That meant they kept their 2 point lead over a group of 3 teams.

After a slow start on Sunday morning, Suffolk came through to a convincing 12-4 win over Northumberland, to keep their 2 point lead over Sunderland.

Unfortunately, their winning run came to an end against Durham. Suffolk only won one end, and the game drifted away to an 11-2 defeat. However, their nearest rivals were only able to draw, which meant that they would carry a slender 1 point lead over both Durham and Sunderland, into the final game.

All they would need to do was to hold their nerve, and win the final game, although there was no guarantee of that against Norfolk. That said, the game could not have got off to a better start, as Suffolk picked up 4 on the first end, after which they never looked back, winning the game 10-5, to take the title, one point ahead of both Durham and Sunderland.

Weekend record: W-W-W-D-W-L-W

Andy Pooley and Sue & Steve Isles
After a slow start against Essex, Suffolk found themselves 6-3 ahead, but lost the last 3 ends to fall to a 10-6 defeat. Next up were Cambridgeshire, which looked lost as Suffolk dropped a 3 on the penultimate end, only for Andy to go from 1 down to 3 up with his last wood, to rescue a draw, and get the team off the mark with their first point.

Against Sunderland, Suffolk picked up 2 counts of 4 in the space of 3 ends, taking them into a comfortable lead, which they held on to, gaining their first win, 12-8. Saturday’s final game would be make or break, as Suffolk took on leaders Herts. Unfortunately it was break, as they quickly fell behind, eventually losing 12-4, and leaving them in 5th place.

Suffolk started out strong against Northumberland first thing on Sunday, leading 9-2 with 3 ends to go, and fended off a late comeback to win 9-8, raising themselves to 4th, but the other results meant that they were now out of the running for the title.

And they followed that up with victory over Durham, running out to a 9-1 lead, before winning 11-6, and rounded out the weekend with a very convincing 13-3 win over Norfolk.

Those Sunday wins, while others around them faltered, meant that by the end they had hauled themselves up to a very respectable 3rd place, only one point behind Hertfordshire, and eventual winners Cambridgeshire.

Weekend record: L-D-W-L-W-W-W

Colin Fellingham and Sue Davey
It was a tough start against Hertfordshire, who were probably the favourites to win the event, Suffolk were 6-1 down after 4 ends, and never got close, losing 11-5. Unfortunately, they didn’t fair any better in their second game, losing 12-3 to Northumberland.

Finally, Colin & Sue were off to a good start, taking on Durham, they had 9 on the board before their opponents were off the mark, finally winning 11-4 to open their account.

And it was a second win of the day as they came up against Norfolk, holding on for an 8-7 win, to finish the day in 4th place.

Sue & Colin’s run of wins continued on into Sunday, as they disposed of Essex 13-2, and moved up to 3rd place on shots.

Unfortunately, they stumbled in their penultimate game, which drifted away from them in the second half. They lost 11-4, slipping to 5th place, as Hertfordshire wrapped up the title with a game to go. And in their final game lost out narrowly to Sunderland 7-6.

That left them in 5th place overall, with Hertfordshire having comfortably wrapped the title with a session to spare.

Weekend record: L-L-W-W-W-L-L

Steven Cain
In the opening game, against Hertfordshire, after dropping one on the first end, Steven got a full house on the next, and was in no danger thereafter, winning 11-4 in what was bound to be the most closely contested event of the weekend.

Against Northumberland it was all square at the midway point, but the final 4 ends saw Steven pull away, to win 12-4. And against Durham, Steven made a good start, and drawing away, so that even dropping 3 on the last end, had no effect. He won 8-6 and was now leading the competition as his closest competitors all lost.

Unfortunately, the run of wins ended as the day closed out, as Steven lost 11-6 to Norfolk. That left the two of them tied on 6 points, while 5 others were only 2 points behind.

Sunday’s opening game against Essex began well for Steven, but after winning the first 2 ends, he lost 6 of the last 7, losing the game 10-5.

After starting with all 4 shots on the first end against Cambridgeshire, Steven kept a comfortable lead, finally winning 9-6. Two points behind, and with a game to go, he was still in with a statistical chance of the title, but it was a slim one.

While Steven won that last game, against Sunderland (9-6), Norfolk lost to Durham. That left all 3 of them on 10 points, but it Ian Clark (Durham) who took the title, thanks to the huge shot advantage he had carried into that final game. Steven was second, 11 shots behind, while Matt Frost was a further 7 shots back.

Weekend record: W-W-W-L-L-W-W

With 2 sessions completed, Suffolk were on 9 points, and in 4th place, but only 1 point off a 3-way tie for the lead. Maximum points in session 3, put Suffolk comfortably second, just 1 behind leaders Hertfordshire.

Saturday’s final session yielded only 3 points out of a possible 8, while Hertfordshire picked up 7, taking them to 25, with Suffolk 5 behind in second.

Sunday’s opening games saw Suffolk narrow the gap slightly to Hertfordshire, they were now 3 points behind.

The status quo was maintained with one round of games to go, with Herts still 3 points ahead of Suffolk. And it was the same in the final round of games, with Suffolk able to do no better than match Hertfordshire, who took the win.

You can find a full copy of the weekend's results here.