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Suffolk v Norfolk

On Sunday 17 February, Suffolk played their penultimate ECCBA league match of the season, at home against Norfolk. With Needham Market Community Centre unavailable, the match was played at the Chamberlin Hall in Bildeston.

Going into the match, Suffolk sat top of the league, having won their first three matches. The team showed a couple of changes from the previous match, Ally Hobbs and Clint Watling were available again and came back into the team. The rinks selected were:

Suffolk 1 (S1): Sue Isles, Steve Isles, Peter Fellingham, Clint Watling
Suffolk 2 (S2): Sally Goodrich, Graham Davey, Andy Pooley, Sue Gilder
Suffolk 3 (S3): Karen Hubbard, Rita Runnacles, Colin Fellingham, Tom Runnacles
Suffolk 4 (S4): Pete Runnacles, John Varden, Mick Watkins, Paul Daniels
Suffolk 5 (S5): Ralph Sadgrove, Adam Hubbard, Andy Gilder, Sam Runnacles
Suffolk 6 (S6): Sue Davey, Ally Hobbs, Ellen Grube, Neil Jolly

In the first session, all of the Suffolk rinks were slow out of the blocks and Norfolk controlled the early ends. It was S3 who were the first Suffolk rink to get a foothold in their game and by the fifth end they had edged a slim 5-4 lead, which they then increased to 6-4. Unfortunately their scoring ended there, three ends and six conceded shots later, the game was lost 6-10. S5 had got off to a terrible start, losing five shots on the first end, but bounced back immediately with five of their own on the next end. Shots were traded on the next few ends and S5 held an 8-7 lead. Then like S3 it all went wrong on the final three ends, no more shots scored and the game lost 8-11. It was going to need S1 to prevent the worst possible start and at 1-5 behind, that didn’t look likely. However in a reverse of the other games, they hit top form, winning the final four ends to secure a vital 9-5 win.

The second session saw the other Suffolk rinks take to the carpets and this time, a slightly better start was made by the home team. S6 made the best start and ends three to seven proved crucial to the outcome, within which they scored ten unanswered shots to earn an 11-2 advantage. That was always going to be enough and despite losing the final two ends, the game was won 11-5. At 7-0 up and playing well after five ends, it was all looking good for S2. It was then that the game turned and two ends later it was 7-5, which went to 8-5 with an end to play. Unfortunately a disappointing final end saw three shots dropped and the game drawn 8-8. That was the end of the Suffolk scoring, as again the final ends proved costly for S4. It was anyone’s game at 3-3 after four ends but losing the next four ends was the difference and the game lost 4-7.

The start of the third session saw S1 carry on where they had left off and they quickly raced into a commanding 6-0 lead. Losing the fifth end was only a temporary blip and they proceeded to dominate the remainder of the game, not losing an end for a comfortable 13-1 win. Meanwhile S3, despite a slow start were now playing some really good bowls, 0-2 down was swiftly turned around and four ends later, they led 10-2. It was just a case of playing sensibly from there and they were always doing enough to ensure the win, finishing 11-5. Unfortunately S5 were unable to make it a maximum six point session, they were 3-1 up early but then struggled to recover from dropping five shots on the fourth end, in what was otherwise a low scoring game. S5 losing 4-11.

So at the halfway stage, the match was level at 9-9, a fair reflection on the play. Suffolk would need to up their game to win this match.

The fourth session started well for Suffolk, with all three rinks getting early leads, albeit only slim ones. S6 were playing well again and four shots on the fourth end took them to 8-2 up. Shots were then swapped over the next few ends and with an end to play, the lead was down to three shots at 9-6. A tight end of bowls followed, S6 preventing the opposition from getting a multiple count and the game won 10-6. It was the middle ends of S4s game which was the deciding factor, eight unanswered shots took S4 from 1-3 behind to 9-3 in front. Dropping three shots on the next end put the game back in the balance but sensible bowls on the last two ends protected their lead and the game was won 10-8. Unfortunately S2 could not register the third win, they were briefly ahead at 3-1 but after that, were always playing catch up. In a low scoring game, shots were hard to come by, the ends ran out and the game was lost 5-7. However Suffolk now led for the first time in the match overall, by 13-11.

The penultimate session saw all of the Suffolk rinks make losing starts, but that was not a sign of things to come. Top performers were again S1, playing confident positive bowls, they had soon secured themselves an 8-1 lead. Nothing was going to stop them from registering another win and they duly controlled the final ends, finishing as convincing 12-2 winners. At 1-3 behind for S5, things were not looking promising but they dug in and were rewarded with a four shot end to take them 6-3 ahead. Then a further three shots on the penultimate end extended their lead, allowing them to relax on the last end, a well deserved 10-4 win. That just left S3 and eight shots scored between the second and sixth ends took them to a healthy 8-3 advantage. As with a few games before them, it was then just a case of playing sensibly, keeping it tight and they did that, finishing with a 9-6 win. A maximum six point session at just the right time, Suffolk now led the match 19-11.

The final session turned out to be a disappointing one and a missed opportunity for a mid twenties final score. The only highlight was the closest of wins for S2, but they were looking out of it at 2-7 behind with three ends to play. They continued to battle though and were rewarded with levelling the game with an end to play and then sneaking a single shot for an 8-7 win. S6 were involved in a real see-saw game, which was level at 9-9 going into the final end. Unfortunately they couldn’t repeat S2s heroics and the game was lost 9-10. Finally, S4 had a game to forget, from 4-4 it all went horribly wrong and the game drifted to a 6-13 loss.

Overall the match finished with a 21-15 Suffolk win (shots: 153 - 126).

Generally it had been a below par and an unusually inconsistent Suffolk performance. However on a positive note, it was an important win that keeps them at the top of the league. Particular mention must go to S1, who won their three games.

In the other league matches, Suffolk’s closest rivals Hertfordshire lost at home to Cambridgeshire 20-16 and Essex beat Bedfordshire 25-11. The results mean that Suffolk have a twenty point lead over Hertfordshire, with one match left to play.

Suffolk’s final league match is a top two clash, at home against Hertfordshire at Needham Market Community Centre on Sunday 17 March, a 10.30am start and supporters are welcome.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


Bedfordshire v Suffolk

On Sunday 20 January, Suffolk played their third ECCBA league match of the season, away against Bedfordshire at Barton-le-Clay.

With Bedfordshire having beaten Hertfordshire in the last round of matches, a difficult day was expected. However Suffolk had won their first two matches, so went into this match on a good run of form.

Two enforced changes were made to the team which had started the first two matches, with Jim Goodrich and Don Allum coming into the team, the rinks selected were:

Suffolk 1 (S1): Sue Isles, Steve Isles, Peter Fellingham, Andy Pooley
Suffolk 2 (S2): Don Allum, Graham Davey, Pete Runnacles, Sue Gilder
Suffolk 3 (S3): Karen Hubbard, Rita Runnacles, Colin Fellingham, Tom Runnacles
Suffolk 4 (S4): Jim Goodrich, John Varden, Mick Watkins, Paul Daniels
Suffolk 5 (S5): Ralph Sadgrove, Adam Hubbard, Andy Gilder, Sam Runnacles
Suffolk 6 (S6): Sue Davey, Sally Goodrich, Ellen Grube, Neil Jolly

The first session of the day saw a low scoring start, with not much to separate the teams in any of the three games. The Suffolk rinks got to grips with carpets quite quickly but the home rinks also started well. S5 made the best start and had a slim 5-2 advantage after five ends. They increased that over the next couple of ends and saw out the game comfortably for an 8-4 win. Meanwhile at the five end stage in the other two games, both were level. S3 sat at 3-3, but two ends later they had edged a 6-4 lead. They played well to maintain that and held on for an 8-5 win. For S1, from a 6-6 position, they also secured a small lead at 9-7 with two ends to play. The penultimate end proved crucial though, four shots conceded and despite best efforts, the game was lost 9-12.

The second session saw the other Suffolk rinks take to the carpets and again a reasonable start was made. S6 picked up the lines on their carpet the quickest and soon earned an early 6-0 advantage. From there it was all about protecting that lead and that proved successful, the game finishing with a 9-6 win. Not quite so good news on the other carpets though for the Suffolk team. In two see-saw games, neither S2 nor S4 could get away from their opposition. S4 were in their game all the way, going into the last end only 6-7 behind, but the final end eluded them and the game was lost 6-9. Finally for S2, losing a big shot count on the penultimate end resulted in a deficit they were unable to claw back and the game was lost 7-13.

The start of the third session again saw S5 make the better start of the three Suffolk rinks. Their 8-3 lead after five ends was increased further to 11-5 after seven ends. From there they could afford to lose the last two ends, which they did, but again looked comfortable for their 11-8 win. Meanwhile S1 were responding well to their first session loss, playing consistent bowls to secure a 6-1 lead after five ends. The sixth end was crucial, a six shot count for S1 put them out of sight and they eased away to an excellent 15-3 win. Lastly in the other game, S3 weren’t having a great time, 1-6 behind after five ends didn’t get any better as the game went on. They just couldn’t get a foothold in the game and it ended with a 2-11 defeat.

The fourth session saw the even numbered rinks return to the carpets. This time it was S4 who bounced back well from their earlier defeat. In a game where they were always in front, they gradually pulled away from their opposition, playing good bowls on their way to a 12-3 win. Unfortunately that was the only good news out of the session for Suffolk, but it could have been so very different. S2 were involved in a very tight game, which they more than played their part in. Nothing much between the two rinks, the game was level at 3-3 and 5-5, but the final end went to the home rink and the game was lost 5-6. Meanwhile for S6, everything went against them for the first part of the game and it looked a certain defeat at 1-8 behind. However with an end to play, they had dragged themselves back to 7-8. It didn’t prove enough though, as a touch of fortune aided the home rink on the final end and the game was lost 7-10.

So with two sessions to play, Suffolk had been 4-2 and 10-8 ahead, but the match sat level at 12-12. Suffolk hadn’t bowled badly, but there was definitely room for improvement and that would be needed if they were going to leave Bedfordshire with an overall win.

The fifth session started well for all of the Suffolk rinks. This time it was S3 who made the quickest start and they had soon opened up a healthy 7-1 lead. They then played even better in the second part of the game and the shots kept coming, finishing with a superb 18-1 win. The other two Suffolk rinks weren’t having it quite so easy though. S5 were continuing to play well and had done enough to earn a 6-3 lead, but two ends later they were 6-7 behind. The penultimate end proved crucial though when an opposition mistake turned the end around. From 8-7 up, S5 played a fine tactical last end to hold on for an important 9-7 win. Lastly S1 were also involved in a close game, but a well constructed three shots on the sixth end took them to a 6-3 lead. Single shots were swapped on the next two ends and the opportunity to knock the jack off on the final end was well executed, resulting in another important 7-6 win.

Suffolk could no longer lose the match, but a win was what they were looking for. After a few ends the match win was secured, with both S2 and S6 earning good leads. S6 hit top form in their game, with consistent drawing bowls the key, a win never in doubt, finishing 16-2. S2 weren’t far behind them, playing their best game of the day, to win 12-2. For S4 it was not quite so straightforward, behind early on, which they recovered well from. They played better bowls in the last few ends though and that was difference, a hard earned 12-8 win for S4.

Overall the match finished with a hard fought Suffolk 24-12 win (shots: 173 - 116).

It had been a tough day for Suffolk, with the final score not reflecting how close the match had been. However when the pressure was on at 12-12, the Suffolk team responded well to win all of the last six games. Overall it had been a decent team performance and particular recognition must go to S5 who played very well to be the only rink to win all three games.

In the other matches, there were 19-17 home wins for Hertfordshire over Norfolk and Cambridgeshire over Essex. So after three league matches of five, Suffolk stay top of the league (74 points) with a fifteen point advantage over Hertfordshire.

Suffolk will be looking to maintain their unbeaten record next time out. They have a home match against Norfolk at the Chamberlin Hall in Bildeston on Sunday 17 February, a 10.30am start and supporters are welcome.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


Essex v Suffolk

On Sunday 9 December, Suffolk played their second ECCBA league match of the season, away against Essex at the Millennium Hall in Great Saling. It was only the second time Suffolk had played at this venue and against a decent Essex team, on slightly tricky carpets, a tough match was expected.

After a solid 24-12 opening match win at home against Cambridgeshire, the selectors stuck with the same team, the rinks selected were:

Suffolk 1 (S1): Sue Isles, Steve Isles, Peter Fellingham, Clint Watling
Suffolk 2 (S2): Sally Goodrich, Graham Davey, Andy Pooley, Sue Gilder
Suffolk 3 (S3): Karen Hubbard, Rita Runnacles, Colin Fellingham, Tom Runnacles
Suffolk 4 (S4): Pete Runnacles, John Varden, Mick Watkins, Paul Daniels
Suffolk 5 (S5): Ralph Sadgrove, Adam Hubbard, Andy Gilder, Sam Runnacles
Suffolk 6 (S6): Sue Davey, Ally Hobbs, Ellen Grube, Neil Jolly

In the first session, as with any away match, you are just looking to get to grips with carpets quickly and not let the home team get any early momentum. It was mission accomplished for both S1 and S5, albeit was S5 who made the better start, opening up what looked like a healthy 7-0 advantage. Then the game swung dramatically the other way and unfortunately S5 had no answer, winning only one more end in an 8-12 defeat. Meanwhile, for the most part, S1 were looking good for getting Suffolk’s firs points of the day, but again the second half of the game proved to be their downfall. A couple of dropped shots on the final end resulted in an arguably undeserved 9-10 loss. That just left S3 and at 0-6 down, they looked the least likely of the Suffolk rinks to win. However they slowly eased their way back into the game and by the penultimate end, they had completed a remarkable comeback to lead. That advantage was protected on the final end for an excellent 9-6 win and two very crucial points.

The second session saw the other Suffolk rinks take to the carpets, having had the benefit of seeing how the carpets bowled. It showed as well, as all three Suffolk rinks picked up the lines and pace very quickly. Their good play was rewarded, with both S2 and S4 securing early leads. There was no looking back for either of them, with consistent drawing bowls being the key to the wins. S2 winning well by 10-4, with S4 not far behind them with a 10-6 win. Meanwhile, whilst S6 had also made a decent start and got themselves in front, with an end to play, the game had turned and they were staring defeat in the face, a shot behind. All was not lost though, with a well constructed final end, two shots were scored and a tight 10-9 win.

The start of the third session again saw all three Suffolk rinks make good starts, gaining early control and as a result, get their noses in front. Indeed after five ends of each game, you couldn’t see anything other than three Suffolk wins. That proved to be the outcome. The performance of the session came from S5, who got themselves 5-1 up and then raced away to a convincing 12-2 win. S1 secured a similar advantage and in a high scoring encounter, won 15-7. Finally, a more routine win for S3, continuing from where they left off in the first session, this time easing away to a comfortable 10-5 win.

So at the halfway stage in the day and after a difficult first session, Suffolk had won six games on the bounce to earn a very good 14-4 lead. Full concentration would be needed though, to press on and maintain that lead until the end.

The fourth session proved to be very difficult for the Suffolk rinks, with a revitalised showing from the home team. For S4 it was simply a game to forget, so to keep it brief, they lost 4-16. Meanwhile, both S2 and S6 were involved in the closest and low scoring games imaginable. In both games, every end saw only one shot scored, with the lead swinging one way and then the other. Reflecting the evenness of the games, both went into the final end at 4-4. For S2, unfortunately the jack got moved to a corner, where the opponents holding bowl couldn’t be removed and the game was lost 4-5. Finally for S6, their first bowl on the last end sat touching right behind the jack, they did everything they could to protect it and succeeded. Game won 5-4 for S6 and two valuable points might just have stopped an Essex comeback.

Having delivered a whitewash session last time out, S1, 3 and 5 returned to the carpets, bowling confidently and looking to do the same again. In a mirror image of their previous games, again all three rinks got off to good starts to earn early leads. Without running away with any of the games, the Suffolk rinks were always doing enough to stay in front and not give their opposition a way back in. Come the end of the session, it was another three wins. S1 playing particularly well for their 9-5 win, S5 again looking solid for their 10-4 win and S3 completing a superb day for them with a 7-3 win.

The final session was an opportunity for Suffolk to finish a good day on a high and for the most part, that’s what happened. The one blot was a loss for S6, not quite at their best and as a result always chasing the game and losing 6-9. Better news for S4 though, bouncing back well from their last game defeat, with an improved performance. Always in control, but without scoring heavily, they held on for a 7-5 win. The last game to finish was S2, a low scoring affair which would go to the wire, but they played a good final end to sneak a deserved 8-6 win.

Overall the match finished with an excellent Suffolk 26-10 win (shots: 152 - 118).

It had been a very good all round team performance from Suffolk, with a noticeable improvement from their first match. It included three whitewash sessions, not easy to achieve on away carpets. Five of the Suffolk rinks won two games each, but the star performers of the day were S3, who after a slow start in the first game, played consistent bowls for the rest of the day, thoroughly deserving their three wins.

In the other matches, Cambridgeshire won 19-17 at Norfolk, and Bedfordshire beat Hertfordshire 20-16. So after two matches, Suffolk sit top of the league (50 points) with a ten point advantage over Norfolk and Hertfordshire.

Suffolk will be hoping to improve again and maintain their unbeaten record next time out. They have another tricky away match, this time against Bedfordshire at Barton-le-Clay Village Hall (MK45 4JY) on Sunday 20 January, a 10.30am start and supporters are welcome.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


Suffolk v Cambridgeshire

On Sunday 25 November, Suffolk played their first ECCBA league match of the new season in defence of the league title, at home against Cambridgeshire.

With Needham Market Community Centre unavailable, the match was switched to the Chamberlin Hall in Bildeston.

The Suffolk team showed a number of personnel and positional changes from the National Championship winning team of a fortnight ago, with Ralph Sadgrove, Adam Hubbard and Ally Hobbs coming back into the team, and Karen Hubbard making her league match debut. The rinks selected were:

Suffolk 1 (S1): Sue Isles, Steve Isles, Peter Fellingham, Clint Watling
Suffolk 2 (S2): Sally Goodrich, Graham Davey, Andy Pooley, Sue Gilder
Suffolk 3 (S3): Karen Hubbard, Rita Runnacles, Colin Fellingham, Tom Runnacles
Suffolk 4 (S4): Pete Runnacles, John Varden, Mick Watkins, Paul Daniels
Suffolk 5 (S5): Ralph Sadgrove, Adam Hubbard, Andy Gilder, Sam Runnacles
Suffolk 6 (S6): Sue Davey, Ally Hobbs, Ellen Grube, Neil Jolly

With the venue change, a new look to the Suffolk team and Cambridgeshire selecting a mixture of strong and weaker rinks, this would be a challenging start to the season for the Suffolk bowlers.

In the first session, any early morning nerves were quickly settled when all three Suffolk rinks made reasonable starts. It was S5 who were the first home rink to seize a hold of their game, with two four shot ends early on taking them into a 9-1 lead. They didn’t look back from there, increasing their advantage further, to win well by 14-3. The other two games were far closer affairs and both would go to the final ends. S1 were always ahead in their game, but never comfortably so. An early 4-0 lead was reduced to 4-3 and a superb skips final bowl on the penultimate end increased it back to 7-4. That proved crucial, allowing S1 to control the final end for an 8-4 win. Not such good news for S3 though, 3-1 in front after three ends was the highlight, as after that they were always playing catch up, in a low scoring game. Despite winning the last two ends, it wasn’t enough, game lost 5-7.

The second session saw the other Suffolk rinks take to the carpets and again reasonable starts were made by them all. It was S6 who gained control of their game the quickest and without scoring a lot of shots, they eased away from their opposition. Losing only two single shot ends, it was a comfortable 11-2 win. Like the session before though, the other two games would go to the wire. S2 were looking good at 4-0 up early on, but not quite so healthy at 4-6 behind after five ends. The game turned again though, with S2 winning all of the remaining ends for an excellent 9-6 win. Meanwhile S4 were 5-0 ahead after two ends, but as with S2, the game turned and after seven ends, they were 6-11 down. Despite a late rally, it always looked a long way back, the game was lost 10-11.

The start of the third session saw S1 make the better start of the Suffolk rinks, in complete control at 7-0 up after just three ends. They could afford to share the remaining ends to sustain that advantage, finishing in great style with a six shot final ends for a convincing 17-4 win and the performance of the day. For S5, their game was far closer but by the sixth end they had secured a 5-2 advantage, then maintained that to be 6-3 up with an end to play. Saving the best for last, they scored three shots on the final end for a controlled 9-3 win. Unfortunately S3 were having a tough time of it, always behind, within striking distance early on but just unable to apply enough pressure. The deficit increased and the game was lost 2-9.

So at the halfway stage in the day, Suffolk had earned a 12-6 lead, but the match was still very much in the balance.

The highlight of the fourth session was a dominant display from S4, completely shutting out their opposition from start to finish. Unusually they scored eight single shot ends, spoiling that pattern with three shots on the second end. An 11-0 win for S4 in a consistent display of bowls. The other two games were not so one-sided, although S2 were always in control on their mat. 4-0 up after two ends, was then increased to 9-2 after six ends. Despite losing the next two ends, a controlled final end saw them home for a 10-6 win. S6 were involved in the closest game of the session and an early 6-1 lead was quickly reduced to 6-5. Winning the next two ends proved crucial though to go 9-5 ahead, allowing S6 to do just enough on the final end, to cling on to a 9-8 win. A timely maximum six point session had extended Suffolk’s overall lead to 18-6.

The penultimate session saw S3 make the best start of the Suffolk rinks, playing well to earn themselves an 8-2 lead after four ends. Despite losing three shots on the next end, they bounced back well to win three of the last four ends, to record a deserved 12-6 victory. S1 had also done well to get ahead, with four single shot ends taking them 6-2 up. Losing two shots on the seventh end put the game back in the balance, but S1 were playing too well to let that affect them, winning the last two ends for a fine 9-4 win. Unfortunately S5 were unable to make it another full house of wins, behind from the second end and never really getting a foothold in their game. S5 losing their game 5-11.

The final session turned out to be the most disappointing one, of what had otherwise been a good day for Suffolk. The only good news for the home team was provided by S6, 0-2 behind was quickly reversed to take them 7-2 in front. S6 were able to protect that advantage over the final three ends, finishing with a 10-3 win. For S2 and S4 it was a session to forget. S2 were always chasing their game, although they did well to claw it back to a 4-5 deficit with two ends to play. A dropped three shots on the penultimate end was the deciding factor though, game lost 5-8. S4’s match was a see-saw one, 0-3 behind, 5-3 and 6-5 in front, but a disappointing finish saw the game drift to a 6-8 loss.

Overall the match finished with a Suffolk win 24-12 (shots: 162 - 103).

It had been a solid start to Suffolk’s league season, with a good win over a competitive Cambridgeshire team. Arguably a few points had been dropped late on, but overall it had been a good all round team performance. Particular mention must be made of both S1 and S6 who won their three games.

In the other league matches, it was also the home teams that came out on top, Norfolk beating Bedfordshire 23-13 and Hertfordshire winning 24-12 against Essex.

Suffolk will be hoping to build and improve on this performance next time out. They have an away match against Essex at The Millennium Hall, Great Saling (CM7 5DW) on Sunday 9 December, a 10.30am start and supporters are welcome.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


2018 National County Championships

Over the weekend of 10 and 11 November the Suffolk team and their supporters were at the Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton-on-sea for the 2018 National County Championships. Suffolk were hoping to win the Nationals event for the sixth consecutive year.

Eight other counties took part, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Durham, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Northumberland and Sunderland.
Each county were represented by six rinks (fours), each rink playing one nine end game against all of the other counties, over a long weekend of bowling.

The event did not start well for Suffolk, when Sam Runnacles fell ill on the Saturday morning and was unable to play. Jim Goodrich came into the team and Rita Runnacles was moved up to third bowler. So the revised team representing Suffolk was:

A: Pete Runnacles, John Varden, Rita Runnacles, Paul Daniels
B: Sally Goodrich, Graham Davey, Andy Pooley, Sue Gilder
C: Sue Isles, Jim Goodrich, Peter Fellingham, Clint Watling
D: Paul Leach, Steve Isles, Andy Gilder, Tom Runnacles
E: Don Allum, Peter Elmy, Colin Fellingham, Steven Cain
F: Sue Davey, Ellen Grube, Mick Watkins, Neil Jolly

Suffolk’s first opposition of the competition were last year’s runners-up, Norfolk and it was rinks A, B and C who hoped to get Suffolk off to a winning start. It was a mixed start though for the Suffolk rinks, but it was A who settled the quickest, building up a small early lead. They were able to protect that and a controlled performance resulted in the opening points, with an 11-7 win. B were involved in a close game, at least for the early part but a six shot end changed everything and they raced away to a convincing 17-5 win. C had made the slowest start, but grew into the game and as the ends went by they were able to reverse a losing scoreline into a winning one. A hard earned 9-5 win to complete the perfect start.

In the next session rinks D, E and F faced Sunderland, who had also made the perfect six point start in their first session. Again it took a few ends for the teams to settle, but when they did, it was D who always looked like getting a positive result. Without scoring big, they controlled the game for an 8-2 win. Meanwhile E and F were involved in close games. It was a strong finish for F that got them over the line for an 11-4 win. However it was the opposite for E, conceding shots on the final ends to draw their game 7-7.

The third session saw rinks A, B and C returning to the carpets to play Hertfordshire, who had also made a strong start to the competition. Three high quality games followed, with the outcomes in doubt until the final ends. It was Suffolk who just about came out on top, with wins for A and B. Both were ahead throughout their games, but never comfortably so, reflected by the final scores of 8-5 (A) and 8-7 (B). C were always chasing their game and just ran out of ends in losing 6-9.

It was first versus second in the fourth session, Cambridgeshire were the opposition and they sat just a point behind Suffolk overall. After a few ends, one game was never in doubt, as F had raced off to a big lead, they didn’t look back in winning convincingly by 16-3. The other two games were far closer and would go to the wire. D were always ahead and never looked like losing, that is until the final end when they so nearly conceded five shots. Fortunately that didn’t happen and they held on for a 9-4 win. E were involved in the tightest game, but a few late crucial bowls proved to be the deciding factor, in a 7-5 win.

At the halfway stage on day one, Suffolk were sitting pretty in top spot, seven points ahead of second place Cambridgeshire.

It was Northumberland who Suffolk faced next and performance wise, this turned out to be the scrappiest session of Suffolk’s day. Fortunately the quality of the bowls was not reflected by the results, as four points were secured with a win and two draws. It was A that got the solitary win by 7-4, whilst B drew 7-7 and C drew 9-9. A session that was best forgotten, but no damage done.

Bedfordshire were next for D, E and F. In this session it was F who were the early pace setters, flying out of the blocks and hitting top form on their way to a convincing and high scoring 23-2 win. The other two Suffolk rinks were involved in far closer games and had to work hard for their wins. However they were both always ahead, were able to stay in front and secured 8-3 (D) and 9-5 (E) wins.

In the penultimate playing session for Suffolk of day one, Durham were the opposition. These three games all followed a similar pattern, get in front early and protect the advantage. This was successfully achieved, with B getting the best result of 16-1, with A (12-4) and C (11-1) not too far behind them. Three good wins and this was Suffolk’s fourth maximum six point session of the day, a good day was getting even better.

Suffolk sat out the next session, but in the final session, could A, B and C finish the day off in style against Essex? Well very nearly, two wins and a narrow defeat in three tight games of bowls. All three games went to the final bowls, with the outcomes in doubt. B managed to protect a slim lead they had built up and held on for a 10-6 win. A had been behind for most of their game, did well to get it back to 7-7 and finished strongly for a 10-7 win. Similarly C had also been playing catch up, but despite a late rally they fell just short in an 8-9 defeat.

What a fantastic first day Suffolk had played, losing only two games out of twenty four, together with three draws and five of the rinks remained unbeaten. Overall, Suffolk sat in top spot on forty one points, with the dangerous looking Hertfordshire in second place with thirty one and Cambridgeshire a further four points behind them. However you don’t win this event on the Saturday and Suffolk knew that the second day would be hard fought with plenty of points still left to play for.

With Sam Runnacles still unwell and unable to play, the Suffolk team was unchanged from the first day.

Norfolk provided the opposition first on Sunday and the early start clearly caught the Suffolk rinks napping. Whilst Norfolk played well, D, E and F just didn’t get started and by the time they did, it was too little, too late. Always behind in all three games, and quite simply a session to forget and move on, both D and E losing 7-8 and F losing 4-9.

Could rinks A, B and C get their day off to a better start against Sunderland? For A and C, the answer was an emphatic “no”. As with the session before, slow starts proved costly and they were unable to turn their games around later on. Two more defeats, A by 3-11 and C by 5-12. The only shining light was B who played well for their hard fought but deserved 10-5 win.

So after the opening two sessions on day two, with the exception of B, every rink’s unbeaten record had gone. Worse than that, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Norfolk were now only seven points behind. The next session against Hertfordshire would be crucial and Suffolk needed to start playing, and quickly.

The previous two sessions proved to be a wake up call, as D, E and F all played far better against Hertfordshire. Both D and F secured decent early advantages which they were able to sustain, D in particular playing well for their 12-6 win and F, just about clinging on for a 9-8 win. E were involved in the closest game and whilst always ahead, come the end, they had to decide whether to risk going for a win or keep a draw. Sensibly, in the context of the competition, they decided to stick with a 6-6 draw, for a valuable point. Suffolk were delighted with the 5-1 return against one of their closest rivals.

However if Suffolk thought they were back on track, they were wrong as a resurgent Cambridgeshire dented their title hopes further in the next session. First the solitary piece of good news, another win for B, who were having a great weekend. It wasn’t straightforward but a valuable two points nonetheless from a 13-6 win. Now the bad news, two defeats for A (6-11) and C (5-9), both always playing catch up and despite best efforts, just not able to turn their games around.

So at the halfway stage of day two, Suffolk’s overall lead had been reduced to just five points over second place Cambridgeshire. However, potentially more threatening were Hertfordshire who were eight points behind, but had a session in hand. Suffolk’s nine point return (from twenty four) on Sunday morning would need to be significantly improved on, if they were going to hold on to top spot.

It was Northumberland who were up next for D, E and F. On the whole it was an improved performance, but it still only yielded two wins from three. They were two very good wins though, E in particular put on a perfect display on their way to a whitewash 20-0 win, with F not far behind them with a 13-3 victory. Unfortunately D fell just short in making a full house of wins, going down 6-10 in a tight game. At the same time, Hertfordshire had picked up maximum points from their games and were now only six points behind, still with that important session in hand. It was all getting a bit nervy and tight at the top.

A, B and C faced Bedfordshire next in their final games of the weekend, knowing that three wins were badly needed. With the pressure really on, three wins were duly delivered and two of them were never in doubt. C were rewarded for their efforts over the weekend, with an excellent performance and convincing 14-2 win. For B, it was business as usual, as they completed a superb unbeaten weekend with a 10-3 win. Finally for C, it would go to the wire, but a 7-5 win was hard earned and equally as important. Perfect timing for a maximum six point session and Suffolk’s overall lead over Hertfordshire had now been increased slightly to eight points.

In Suffolk’s penultimate playing session, Durham were the opponents for D, E and F. As with the session before, two games were always going Suffolk’s way. D hit top form as they shut out their opposition with a dominant 13-0 win. E always looked assured and in control on their way to a 13-5 win. It was only the game involving F that had any uncertainty, particularly early on. However they secured more control in the latter ends and finished with a tight 7-3 win. Another maximum six point session and Suffolk were now over their morning blip and bowling well again. With Hertfordshire dropping points, suddenly the overall lead was back up to eleven points and Suffolk were on the brink of winning the title.

The next session was Suffolk’s non-playing session, but it was still crucial. Hertfordshire needed a full house of wins against Essex to retain any hopes of toppling Suffolk. It was not to be, as two Essex wins meant that Suffolk could not now be caught.

With all the pressure off, it was a relaxed D, E and F who took to the mats to face Essex in the final session. This was reflected in the shot making and performances, as all three rinks eased to comfortable wins, D (12-8), E (12-4) and F (10-3).

Overall the finishing positions were:

PTS
Suffolk

72
Hertfordshire

63
Cambridgeshire

61
Norfolk

53
Essex

51
Northumberland

45
Sunderland

35
Durham

29
Bedfordshire

23

Suffolk were National County champions for the sixth consecutive year, but in the end, they had been made to work very hard for it.

Looking back over the weekend, Saturday had been a superb day of consistent bowling from start to finish, reflected by the forty one point return. That proved to be crucial given the difficulties during Sunday morning but then the team showed great resilience to bounce back in the afternoon when the pressure was really starting to increase. Across the weekend, every rink contributed good points to the team effort. Particular mention must go to Suffolk B who had a fantastic weekend, as the only unbeaten rink (seven wins and a draw) in the entire competition.

The weekend finished off a successful 2017/18 season for the Suffolk squad, who won the ECCBA league and Teambowl, ECBA Inter-League and National Championships.

During the weekend, two internal awards were given out. The Webber Award (chosen by the captain and selectors) was deservedly won by Steven Cain and the Players Player Award went to Clint Watling, reflecting his excellent performances across the season.

The Suffolk team would like to thank everyone who has supported them during the season and particularly those that travelled to Potters for the National Championships, your encouragement and support was greatly appreciated.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


Inter County League Play-Off Match 2018

On the evening of Friday 9 November at Potters, the 2018 Inter County League Play-Off match saw the Suffolk team face Sunderland.

This match precedes the National County Championship and is between the Eastern Counties League winners and the Northern Counties League winners.

Each county were represented by six rinks (fours), each playing one nine end game.

The Suffolk team was:

A: Pete Runnacles, John Varden, Sam Runnacles, Paul Daniels
B: Sally Goodrich, Graham Davey, Andy Pooley, Sue Gilder
C: Sue Isles, Rita Runnacles, Peter Fellingham, Clint Watling
D: Paul Leach, Steve Isles, Andy Gilder, Tom Runnacles
E: Don Allum, Peter Elmy, Colin Fellingham, Steven Cain
F: Sue Davey, Ellen Grube, Mick Watkins, Neil Jolly

Neither county made a particularly quick start, but after a few ends of each match, it was the Suffolk team that mostly held the upper hand.

By the halfway stage, three of the Suffolk rinks (C, D and E) all held comfortable leads. Meanwhile the other three games were close and could go either way.

It was Suffolk C who got the first two points on the board, with the performance of the night, a very convincing 18-2 win.

Two further points were added when Suffolk E wrapped up a relatively comfortable 11-3 win.

It was then that things took a turn for the worse, when Suffolk D dropped a last end five shots to turn what was a certain win, into an 11-11 drawn game.

In the remaining three games, Suffolk A and F were losing and not looking like they could turn that around. It was all going to hinge on Suffolk B who had led all the way, but were gradually being pegged back. It went to the last end, where they did well to hold on to a single shot for a crucial 9-7 win.

Meanwhile, Suffolk A lost 3-10 and despite a late rally, Suffolk F lost 8-9.

Three wins and a draw was enough though and Suffolk had won the match 7-5 (shots: 60 – 42), to get their weekend off to a winning start.

In doing so, Suffolk had won this one-off match for the third consecutive year and the seventh time in the past eight years.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


2018/19 Suffolk Squad

The Suffolk squad trials took place on Sunday 14 October at Needham Market Community Centre.

For the first time in many years, the number of entries was up, with 36 bowlers looking to get into the Suffolk squad.

Each bowler played four rinks games during the day, with every bowl scored on its accuracy.
There was a high standard of bowling throughout the day, very little to choose between a number of bowlers, which made selection particularly difficult.

After careful consideration the following bowlers were selected for Suffolk’s first ECCBA league match, at home to Cambridgeshire on Sunday 25 November, at the Chamberlin Hall in Bildeston:

Neil Jolly - Brockley – captain
Sally Goodrich - Claydon – selector
Tom Runnacles - Barking – selector
Paul Daniels – Darsham/ Belstead
Graham Davey - Cockfield
Sue Davey - Cockfield
Colin Fellingham - Cockfield
Peter Fellingham – Cockfield
Andy Gilder - Barking
Sue Gilder - Barking
Ellen Grube – Hundon
Ally Hobbs – Claydon
Adam Hubbard – Chelmondiston
Karen Hubbard - Chelmondiston
Steve Isles – Claydon
Sue Isles - Claydon
Andy Pooley – Great Blakenham
Pete Runnacles – Barking
Rita Runnacles – Barking
Sam Runnacles – Barking
Ralph Sadgrove – Hundon
John Varden – Great Blakenham
Mick Watkins – Barking
Clint Watling – Claydon

In addition to the above, the following bowlers were selected to make up the squad, to give the Selection Committee flexibility and cover in the event of unavailability during the season.

Don Allum - Claydon
Jim Goodrich - Claydon
Paul Leach – Stanningfield/ Thurston

The Selection Committee thanks Michael Ashman, Jane and Richard Sago, Keith Hull and Keith Jolly who assisted with scoring the games.

Neil Jolly


2018 Six Counties Charity Teambowl

On Sunday 23 September, Norfolk CBA hosted the ECCBA Six Counties Charity Teambowl at Littleport Leisure Centre.

The competition involved the six Eastern Counties, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Each county were represented by four singles, four pairs and four triples, each playing one seven end game against each of the other counties.

Suffolk were aiming to win the Teambowl for the sixth consecutive year but having finished runners up in the Six Counties at the same venue back in April, a much improved team performance would be needed. The team selected was:

S1: Paul Leach (single), Pete & Rita Runnacles (pair), Jim Goodrich, Ellen Grube & Neil Jolly (triple)

S2: Mick Watkins (single), Don Allum & Colin Fellingham (pair), Sue Isles, Graham Davey & Clint Watling (triple)

S3: Paul Daniels (single), Sue Davey & Peter Fellingham (pair), Steve Isles, Adam Hubbard & Tom Runnacles (triple)

S4: Andy Pooley (single), Sally Goodrich & Sam Runnacles (pair), Nick Wood, John Varden & Steven Cain (triple)

Suffolk’s first opponents were Essex and four tough singles games were expected. It was Andy who made the best start of the Suffolk singles, a win never looked in doubt as he eased to a 12-1 win. The other three games were far closer, but it was a dream start as Paul L (8-5), Mick (6-5) and Paul D (7-6) all held their nerve during the latter ends to record wins. Next on were the pairs and four tight games followed. Pete/Rita secured the first Suffolk points with a 9-7 win and that was quickly followed by Sue/Peter with a 7-4 win. Some last end magic from Sam then added another win, with Sally/Sam winning 5-3. Unfortunately another clean sweep was not to be as Don/Colin lost 3-8. Finally the triples and after four good games, those points were fairly shared. The Suffolk wins were comfortable ones for S1 (10-2) and S3 (8-2). The other two triples losing close encounters, S2 by 4-6, and S4 by 3-6. Suffolk were pleased with their eighteen points against Essex, which took them straight to top spot overall, Cambridgeshire just behind on sixteen points.

Next up, it was first versus second with Cambridgeshire the opposition. Four confident Suffolk singles took to the mats after their first games. This time it was Mick who made the best start and he didn’t give his opponent a look in, seven perfect ends and a convincing 15-0 win. The other three games were tight though, all went to the final bowls and again the Suffolk singles held their nerve. Paul L in particular played well for his 7-4 win, Andy won 6-4 and Paul secured a valuable point with a 4-4 draw. In the pairs, it was Pete/ Rita who made the better start and they quickly had control of their game, easing to a 9-1 win. Just like the singles before, the other three games would go to the wire. Don/Colin bounced back well from their first game loss to record a 7-5 win and Sue/Peter played well again for their 9-6 win. Unfortunately Sally/Sam couldn’t add a fourth win, going down 2-5 in a low scoring game. The triples games were a mixed bag, the high points were a convincing win for S2 by 13-3 and another win (6-2) for S3. S1 lost a final end shoot-out to lose 5-6 and S4 simply didn’t get a foothold in their game, losing 1-11. However Suffolk were more than happy with seventeen points from Cambridgeshire, which maintained their leaders position overall.

Norfolk were up next and again the Suffolk singles got the team off to a strong start. Both Andy (9-2 win) and Mick (7-4 win) kept up their fine form and recorded their third consecutive wins. Paul D also stayed unbeaten, another tight game for him but a hard earned 6-5 win. Paul L (4-6 loss) was a bowl away from winning as well, but his opponent snatched victory with his final bowl. In the pairs, Sue/Peter maintained their unbeaten record, but only just with a 5-5 draw. Performance of the session came from Sally/Sam, responding well to their previous game loss with a comfortable 10-4 win. The consistency of Don/Colin added two more points with a 7-3 win, but Pete/Rita dropped their first points of the day, losing 3-9.
In the triples games, S1 bounced back from their previous loss, to record a fairly comfortable 10-3 win. The other games were a lot closer though but as the ends went by, the Suffolk triples gained more control and three more wins always looked on the cards. S3 played well for their third consecutive win (7-3), a much improved S4 deservedly won by 6-4 and the full house was completed by S2 with an 8-5 win. Suffolk were very pleased with the nineteen points scored against Norfolk and that increased their advantage at the top to fifteen points ahead of Cambridgeshire, with Essex a further point behind.

The penultimate session and Hertfordshire were the opponents. On paper Andy had the toughest game but he more than rose to the occasion with a good performance and an 11-4 win. Further wins followed from both the Pauls, Paul L winning well by 9-5 and Paul D keeping up his record of close games, winning by the slimmest of margins, 4-3. In the pairs, the highlight was a dominant display by Pete/Rita as they hit top form on their way to a convincing 15-1 win. The steady duo of Don/Colin added two more points with a tight 6-4 win and in a similar game, Sally/Sam won again with a 7-5 win. Despite a fine effort on the final end, Sue/Peter’s unbeaten record went, with a 4-5 defeat. In the triples, it was the unbeaten S3 leading the way, in complete control throughout with a one-sided 14-2 win. S3 weren’t far behind them with a superb 16-4 win and not to be outdone, S4 played well again to record a 13-2 win. Finally, whilst not as high scoring, equally as important was S2’s 6-3 win for a full house of triples wins. Twenty points from Hertfordshire was more than expected and this increased Suffolk’s overall lead to eighteen points over Cambridgeshire. With only one county left to play, it was now Suffolk’s event to lose.

Suffolk’s final opponents were Bedfordshire and four quality singles games followed. Paul L was having a good day and he sneaked a final end 6-4 win, finishing with four wins from five. Going one better, Andy took his fifth win (7-3) of the day, a superb display and the only singles bowler in the event to win all five games. Mick (6-7, on the final bowl) and Paul D (4-10) lost but both played well all day and contributed good points. In the pairs, confidence was high and four more wins were secured, meaning they all had only lost one game each all day, a fantastic effort. There were two high scoring wins, Don/Colin (12-2) and Sue/Peter (13-2) and two closer games, Pete/Rita (6-4) and Sally/Sam (8-5). Then to add the icing on to the cake, the triples also finished their day with a whitewash four win session. After a slow start S4 were on a roll now, a convincing 13-2 victory for their third consecutive win. S1 (8-3) and S2 (11-3) both finished with four wins from five. Top performing triple were S3, finishing in great style with a 15-3 win, for a maximum five wins. Another twenty points from Bedfordshire completed an excellent day for the Suffolk team.

The final points and standings were:

PTS
Suffolk

94
Cambridgeshire

68
Essex

61
Hertfordshire

49
Norfolk

47
Bedfordshire

41

It had been an outstanding all round team performance from Suffolk, reflected by the significant margin of victory overall.

The winning points total (94) is the most number of points Suffolk have ever scored in this event and may well be the highest points total ever.

All of the team contributed to the win, with the points very evenly shared around the singles, pairs and triples.

Particular mentions should go to Andy Pooley and the triple of Steve Isles, Adam Hubbard and Tom Runnacles, both winning all of the games.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)

You can find the full set of results here.