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Norfolk - v - Suffolk

On Sunday 20 January, the Suffolk team travelled to Wortwell to face Norfolk in their third ECCBA league match of the season. Two home wins in their first couple of matches had taken Suffolk to the top of the league, with a twelve point advantage over second place Hertfordshire. They were looking to consolidate that position and hopefully get another win on the board.

The Suffolk team was unchanged from the previous match, the rinks selected were:

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

It was a low scoring start to the first session, as the Suffolk rinks got used to the away carpets. S3 were the first Suffolk rink to gain control of a game as they extended an early lead to a comfortable 7-1 advantage after five ends. From there it was just a case of managing the remaining ends, which they did well, for a deserved 9-5 win. That win was followed up with another two points from S1, but at 5-5 after six ends, their game was in the balance. They saved their best for last though, controlling the latter ends for an 8-5 win. Unfortunately S5 were unable to make it the perfect start, although they had a good opportunity. They did the hard work, recovering from 1-5 behind, to go 8-5 ahead after six ends. However the last three ends went to the opposition and it was an 8-10 loss.

The second session started really well for the other Suffolk rinks, with all of them securing leads in the early ends. It was S4 who grasped control of their game first, progressing a 4-1 lead to a comfortable 10-2 after six ends. They weren’t going to lose from there, S4 winning 11-3. S6 then added another Suffolk win, it was a tight game at 4-3, but a few ends later it was 8-4 and they did just enough during the remaining ends for a 9-6 win. The best game of the session involved S2, who at 4-0 up looked set for the win. There was very little in the ends though and it was no surprise when the game was level at 5-5 with two ends to play. That was the way it stayed, the final two ends were shared, for a 6-6 finish.

The third session started poorly for the Suffolk rinks and it didn’t get much better from there. After three ends played, all three Suffolk rinks were behind and chasing their games. For S3, things went from bad to worse, without playing that badly the ends slipped away, as did the game for a 2-11 loss. Meanwhile S1 rallied in the middle of their game, to cut an early deficit down to 6-7 after six ends. Their scoring ground to a halt there though, the remaining ends lost and the game by 6-10. Could S5 salvage anything for Suffolk from a disappointing session? Having recovered well from 1-4 down to 8-4 ahead after six ends, it looked promising. Then it all went wrong, last three ends lost and an 8-8 drawn game.

From 9-3 ahead after two sessions, after a poor session and at halfway, it was now 10-8 to Suffolk and game on. Suffolk had generally played well, but they would need to go up a gear in the afternoon to win the match against a spirited Norfolk team.

The fourth session was now crucial, the momentum was with the home team and Suffolk needed to bounce back and quickly. S6 flew out of the blocks, beating their opponents to the jack with accurate early bowls and then blocking up was a successful tactic for six ends as they steadily built a commanding 10-0 lead. That proved to be enough and the game was won convincingly 11-3. S2 also controlled their game from the early ends, building up a good lead, which allowed them to relax over the latter ends, for a comfortable 12-6 win. Most of the entertainment though was coming from the game involving S4, who looked down and out at 0-7 behind. But then they started to play and with two ends left, they had a glimmer of hope, having pulled it back to 6-8. An end later, the recovery was complete at 8-8 and playing a perfect final end, they finished the job with a single shot and a very hard earned 9-8 win.

It was a mixed start to the penultimate session for Suffolk. The highlight was S5, who were quickly 5-1 ahead, which they maintained to 7-3, with two ends to play. They competently saw out those ends for a deserved 7-5 win. S1 also secured themselves an early lead, which at its best was 5-2, but they were then pegged back to 5-5, with two ends to play. They did well to score a single on the eighth end, but when the jack got moved out into the open late on in the final end, the outcome was in the balance. Come the end of the game, S1 could probably counts themselves a little fortunate to escape with a 6-6 draw, but it was still a valuable point overall. Finally for S3, they just couldn’t get an early foothold in their game and despite a rallying effort over the later ends, the game was lost 5-7.

With the overall score at 19-11, the match was won but Suffolk now had the opportunity in the final session to turn a reasonable day, into a very good day. S4 and S2 both got a grip of their games very quickly and bowled well to build early leads, which they would not relinquish. S4 playing particularly well and easing away to a comfortable 10-3 win. Not quite so straightforward for S2, but they played sensibly over the final ends to hold on for a 9-7 win. The closest game of the session was always going to be S6, but after a slow start, they recovered well and earned themselves a 7-5 lead with an end to play. The final end went right down to the last bowl of the day, S6 doing just enough, conceding one for a tough 7-6 win.

Overall the match finished with a Suffolk win by 25-11 (shots: 143 - 116).

It’s never easy to win a county match away from home and this match had been no different. A disappointing third session had put Suffolk in a potentially tricky position, but they recovered well, losing only one game during the final three sessions. It had been a decent overall team performance and an improvement on their previous match. Particular mention should go to the three unbeaten rinks, S2 (two wins and a draw) and S4 and S6, three wins.

With Cambridgeshire beating Hertfordshire, Suffolk’s win had increased their lead at the top of the league, to twenty one points over Cambridgeshire. Suffolk’s next match is again on their travels, away against Hertfordshire on Sunday 16 February (10.30am start) at Applecroft School, Welwyn Garden City.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)

You can see (silent) footage of the day's play here.


Suffolk - v - Bedfordshire

On Sunday 8 December, Suffolk played their second ECCBA league match of the season, at home (Needham Market Community Centre) against Bedfordshire.

A fortnight earlier, Suffolk’s league season had got off to a fantastic start, with a 34-2 annihilation of Essex. The Suffolk bowlers were hoping for a repeat performance and result.

There was one team change from the first match, Peter Elmy was unavailable, but Sam Runnacles was available again and returned to the team. The rinks selected were:

Suffolk 1 (S1): Sue Isles, Steve Isles, Peter Fellingham, Clint Watling
Suffolk 2 (S2): Sally Goodrich, Emma Watling, Andy Pooley, Sue Gilder
Suffolk 3 (S3): Karen Hubbard, Rita Runnacles, Ellen Grube, 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, Colin Fellingham, Neil Jolly

It was an untidy start from all of the Suffolk rinks in the first session, with none of them able to get any early momentum as a result. S3 were the best of a bad bunch, edging out to a 3-1 lead after four ends, which they increased to 6-2, two ends later. Sharing the last couple of ends was enough for a 7-3 win and the first points on the board. For S1, 0-4, then 3-8 behind and it was odds against for another Suffolk win. However this Suffolk team do not know when they are beaten, three ends and nine shots later, S1 had reversed the likely outcome for a superb 12-9 win. It wasn’t as good news in the remaining game though, S5 were in their game at 4-5 down after six ends, but four dropped shots on the next end proved crucial. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to score enough shots on the last two ends and the game was lost 7-9.

The start of the second session wasn’t much better than the first, with the exception of S2 who flew out of the blocks to secure an early 7-0 advantage after just three ends. Losing only two single shots during the remaining ends, they eased away to a comfortable 13-2 win, reflecting a fine all round rink performance. Meanwhile for S4, it was definitely a game of two halves. The first four ends were shared, with S4 being a shot behind at 2-3. However it was one way traffic for the next four ends, with S4 dominating and scoring ten unanswered shots. That proved enough and the game was won 12-4. The closest game of the session involved S6, during which they were only ahead twice. They scored a single shot on the first end, but the game was level at 3-3 after five ends and three ends later, the game looked lost at 3-6. However, again not knowing when they are beaten, with the final bowl of the game, S6 scored an unlikely four shots to steal a 7-6 win.

Again, it wasn’t the most convincing of starts to the third session, aside from S1 who scored a first end four. Whilst the remaining ends were shared, S1 were always doing just about enough to maintain their early advantage, with leads of 6-2, 8-4 and finally the 10-5 win. For S5, early on they were 0-2 and 2-3 down but then they hit a fine run of form, winning five consecutive ends and scoring heavily in the process with fourteen shots. The performance of the day so far and a well deserved 16-4 victory. In the other game, S3 were far from comfortable and at 0-3 and then 2-6 down, a win looked improbable. However it was again an example of not knowing when you are beaten, as they won all of the remaining four ends, scoring five shots and salvaging a 7-6 win, from the jaws of defeat.

At the halfway stage, Suffolk held a 16-2 lead, which was arguably a little unfair on the opposition. However Suffolk knew they were in a match, where every point scored would have to be earned.
In the fourth session, the slow starts from the Suffolk rinks continued, with shots hard to come by. S6 dropped a three on the first end, but then bounced back well to score six unanswered shots over the next three ends. The remaining ends were shared, with S6 just about doing enough to keep their noses in front, for a tight 9-7 win. S4 had got off to a reasonable start for an early 2-0 advantage, but three ends later and they were 2-6 behind. Not for the first time on the day, a recovery job was needed and duly delivered. S4 winning all of the latter ends, scoring seven shots without response for a 9-6 win. Lastly, S2 were involved in the tightest game of the session, during which they were mostly the team in front, but just couldn’t secure a significant advantage. Ahead by 4-1, 6-4 and 6-5, led to a last end decider and it was the away rink that scored a single shot for a battling 6-6 draw.

The penultimate session finally saw all of the Suffolk rinks make decent starts and as a result they were all able to mostly control their games and put their opposition under pressure. The best start was made by S5 who were quickly 5-0 in the lead. However it was their sixth end which was pivotal to the outcome of the game, a well constructed six shots, took them to 12-3 up and it was game over. S5 winning comfortably, by 14-4. Meanwhile, it was a high scoring encounter for S1, who looked fine at 4-0 ahead, then not quite so good at 4-6 behind, but incredibly two ends and ten shots later, they were all but over the winning line at 14-6 in front. Despite then dropping a four, S1 held on for an entertaining 15-10 win. Not scoring quite so many shots were S3, but again a good start for a 3-0 lead. The game got tight after that, indeed it was level at 5-5 with two ends to play. However, S3 showed good composure to control those ends, scoring two doubles for a 9-5 win.

The final session saw S4 make a good start and scoring single shots, they continued to pull away from their opposition for a 6-1 lead. Breaking their scoring pattern, with three shots on the penultimate end proved crucial and it was a comfortable 10-1 win. It was also a low scoring start for S6 at 3-2 up after three ends. They then hit a real purple patch, consistent bowls resulting in eleven shots scored over five ends to go 14-2 up after eight ends. S6 winning 14-4. The tightest game involved S2, a see-saw game with the outcome always in doubt. They looked in trouble at 2-6 down, but recovered well to be 7-6, 9-7 and 10-9 up. Unfortunately the final end went against them and they were unlucky to lose by 10-11.
Overall the match finished with a Suffolk win 31-5 (shots: 187 - 102).

The final score suggests a comfortable win, but it had been far from it. Generally it had been an inconsistent team performance, but during the day all of the Suffolk rinks showed great character and determination to win games from losing positions. In that respect it was a rewarding overall victory, but certainly room for improvement.

In the other league matches, Hertfordshire won 25-11 away at Norfolk and Essex bounced back well with a 20-16 home win over Cambridgeshire.

Suffolk now have three matches on their travels, starting with an away match against Norfolk, at Wortwell Community Centre on Sunday 19 January, a 10.30am start and supporters are welcome.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


Suffolk - v - Essex

On Sunday 24 November, Suffolk played their first ECCBA league match of the new season in defence of the league title, at home against Essex.

With Needham Market Community Centre unavailable, the match was played at the Chamberlin Hall in Bildeston.

After a couple of late withdrawals, the Suffolk team showed a number of personnel and positional changes from the Nationals winning team of a fortnight before, with Peter Elmy returning to the team and Emma Watling making her county debut. The rinks selected were:

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

With the venue change and new combinations within the Suffolk rinks, it was expected to be a challenging start to the league season for the Suffolk team.

If there were any early morning nerves within the Suffolk team, they certainly didn’t show them, as all three rinks made good starts, indeed it wasn’t until the fourth ends that Essex got on the scoreboard. It was S5 who made the best start, shutting their opposition out until the seventh end, by which time S5 were already 8-0 ahead. Dropping only the two shots, S5 cruised to a comfortable 12-2 win. S3 weren’t too far behind them, looking good at 7-0 up, but then a dodgy patch saw the game close to 8-5, before getting back on track for the last couple of ends for a 12-5 win. S1 were involved in the lowest scoring game, with three singles shot ends taking them to a 3-0 lead. Two shots dropped tightened it up but then four consecutive winning ends eased them out to a winning position and the game was won 9-3.

The second session saw the other Suffolk rinks again all make decent starts. Five shots on the second end helped S4 to an early 7-0 lead and at 11-3 with two ends to play, the game was all but won. However just to entertain the crowd, S4 made it difficult for themselves by dropping a three and then a four to just about cling on for an 11-10 win. It was nearly a similar story for S2, 8-0 ahead, then 12-2 up after six ends and again the game was over. Dropping four shots on the eighth end made things interesting, but they did enough on the last end to ensure a 12-8 win. S6 were involved in the closest game, 3-0 up after the first end, but all square again at 4-4 after five ends. S6 then had a timely purple patch, seven shots scored over the next three ends was enough to guarantee the win, finishing 11-6.

The start of the third session saw S1 make the best start of the Suffolk rinks, in complete control at 12-0 up after six ends. They could afford to relax during the remaining ends and the game was comfortably won by 14-4. Not to be outdone, S3 proceeded to win their game by exactly the same score. Despite losing the first end, they reeled off six consecutive scoring ends to go 11-2 ahead and were able to share the last two ends for the win. Meanwhile S5 were having a tough time, on occasions not having the run of the bowls, but against an Essex rink who were playing well. S5 were always chasing the game and despite their best efforts, the game was lost 4-9.

So at the halfway stage, Suffolk were delighted with their 16-2 lead, but knew they had to keep their foot on the pedal to secure a high scoring overall match win.

In the fourth session, S2 flew out of the blocks scoring five shots on the first end. However four ends later, the game was all square again at 7-7. S2 bounced back well though and four ends later, they’d won the remaining ends for a 13-7 win. On the other two mats, the Suffolk rinks had not got off to good starts. S4 were 0-4 down after two ends, but then hit back with a five and a four to lead 9-4. Despite losing the next two ends, they finished with a flourish, scoring a further seven shots for an excellent 16-6 win. Finally for S6, despite winning the first end, this was a game they were always fighting to stay in. Behind 1-3, 2-6 and 5-7 before two singles shots squared the game at 7-7 with an end to play. S6 had saved the best for last though, the perfect end, four shots scored and a battling 11-7 win.

The penultimate session saw the Suffolk rinks all lose their first ends. S1 reacted the quickest, jumping out to a 5-1 lead but the game was back in the balance at 5-4 after six ends. S1 scored a single shot on the next end, but it was three shots on the eighth end that was crucial and enough to get them over the line at 9-6. There was no certainty in either of the other games though, with S3 and S5 just about doing enough to stay in their games until the later ends. For S3, things looked grim at 1-7 behind but they slowly worked their way back into the game and the recovery was completed on the penultimate end when four shots took them into a 10-8 lead. Two further shots on the final end secured them a hard earned 12-8 win. Lastly S5 were 0-3, 3-6 and 6-8 behind, but again the penultimate end was pivotal to the final outcome, three shots scored and into the lead for the first time. They completed the job with a fine tactical final end, holding onto a single shot for a gritty 10-8 win.

The final session saw another comfortable win for S4, who without scoring lots of shots, continued to pull away from their opposition as the game progressed, losing only two single shot ends on their way to a 12-2 win. It wasn’t going to be so straightforward for S2 and S6 though. S2 recovered well from an early 1-3 deficit to lead 5-4 after seven ends. Not for the first time during the day, the penultimate end pretty much decided the game, a timely three shots for S2 and they did enough on the last end to ensure a win, by 8-5. Finally S6 were having another battle, 1-5 and 3-6 behind, but then they started to play. Finishing the game in style, four consecutive scoring ends and a hard earned 10-6 win.

Overall the match finished with a Suffolk win 34-2 (shots: 200 - 106).

It had been a remarkable start to Suffolk’s league season, with the final score equalling their best win ever. Overall it had been a good team performance, taking into consideration the venue and rink changes. Most rewarding were the games where Suffolk rinks were behind and showed character and composure to fight back for important wins.

In the other league matches, it was also the home teams that came out on top, Hertfordshire beating Bedfordshire 28-8 and Cambridgeshire winning 26-10 against Norfolk.

Suffolk will be hoping to continue their winning start in their next league match. They have another home match, this time against Bedfordshire at Needham Market Community Centre on Sunday 8 December, a 10.30am start and supporters are welcome.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


2019 National County Championships

Over the weekend of 9 and 10 November the Suffolk team and their supporters travelled to Potters Leisure Resort, Hopton-on-sea with the one vision of winning the 2019 National County Championships. Indeed the Suffolk team were hoping to win the event for the seventh year in succession

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.

The team representing Suffolk was:

A: Pete Runnacles, John Varden, Mick Watkins, Paul Daniels
B: Sue Isles, Steve Isles, Peter Fellingham, Clint Watling
C: Ralph Sadgrove, Adam Hubbard, Andy Gilder, Sam Runnacles
D: Karen Hubbard, Rita Runnacles, Colin Fellingham, Tom Runnacles
E: Sally Goodrich, Graham Davey, Andy Pooley, Sue Gilder
F: Sue Davey, Ally Hobbs, Ellen Grube, Neil Jolly

Suffolk’s first opposition of the competition were Sunderland, the team they had beaten the night before for the Inter-League title and it was rinks A, B and C who hoped to get Suffolk off to a winning start. It was Suffolk B who got the team’s campaign off to a flying start with five shots scored on their very first end. That proved to be the difference, as they held on to that lead for an 11-8 win. Suffolk A then doubled up that win, a controlled performance and a relatively comfortable 11-6 win. The game involving Suffolk C always looked like being the tightest of the session and destined to be a last end decider. In the end, a 6-6 draw was a fair outcome and overall Suffolk were happy with that five point opener.

In the next session rinks D, E and F commenced their weekend, facing Norfolk. None of the rinks made promising starts, but things improved as the games progressed. F’s slow start saw them ship four shots on the first end, but that quickly stirred them into action. They then didn’t lose another end on their way to a one sided 14-4 win. That wasn’t the only turnaround of the session though, as D were staring defeat in the face at 4-6 behind. They saved the best for last though, scoring four late shots for an 8-6 win. Unfortunately E were unable to make it another unbeaten session, always chasing their game and eventually losing 2-10.

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. It was a session full of high quality bowls from both sides. This time it was A who made the better start and they duly returned their second consecutive win, by 12-5. The other two games were lower scoring and tighter, with the outcomes in doubt until the final ends. By the end, those games were shared which was a fair reflection. C went one better than their first game draw, with a 7-4 win, but B were just edged out by 4-6.

It was Eastern Counties opposition again in the fourth session, with Bedfordshire the opponents. D set the standard on their first end with an amazing seven shot count and then continued relentlessly scoring shots, a procession, on their way to an incredible 25-3 win. Whilst the other two Suffolk rinks couldn’t compete with that, two further wins were duly delivered. E with a comfortable 10-3 win and F with a convincing 13-1 win. Suffolk’s first maximum six point session of the weekend and hopefully not their last, had taken them into top spot overall, a single point ahead of Cambridgeshire.

It was Durham who Suffolk faced next, in a session of bowls that was very much a repeat of the session that had gone before. Three decent performances which resulted in another three wins. B led the way in a near unblemished game, bouncing back from their last game loss and cruising to a 20-1 victory. A weren’t too far behind them, untroubled on their way to a 14-3 win. C’s game was far tighter, but a win always looked on the cards and so it proved to be, by 8-3. Another six point session maintained Suffolk’s top spot position.

Essex were next for D, E and F and mid way through the session it wasn’t looking great, with all three Suffolk rinks behind on the scoreboards. However this Suffolk team do not know when they are beaten and they just had to hang on in there until performances slowly and steadily picked up and the picture started to look more promising. Indeed by the end of the session, it was the perfect picture of another three Suffolk wins. In three battling displays, D won 11-7, E won 7-4 and F won 9-7, wins that increased Suffolk’s overall lead to three points over Cambridgeshire.

With an odd number of counties, Suffolk sat out the next session and Cambridgeshire took full advantage by scoring six points and leapfrogging Suffolk into top spot. The next session saw the top two play each other in three crucial games. F quickly settled into their rhythm, opening up a comfortable lead that they were never going to relinquish, racing away to a convincing 16-2 win. The news wasn’t as good on the other carpets though, particularly for E who struggled in their game and were always behind, finishing with a disappointing 4-13 defeat. Lastly, whilst D had a tight game, they couldn’t do enough to get over the line, another loss by a slim 7-9. A far from ideal session result meant that Suffolk were now five points behind Cambridgeshire overall, albeit with three games in hand.

Could Suffolk make those additional games count in the final session against Northumberland and finish the day off in style? Well not quite, two wins and a narrow defeat. The wins were secured by B (14-7), helped by a six shot end which took them into the lead, and C (12-5) in a game which they were always ahead in. A lost by the odd shot (8-9), despite a valiant effort on the last end to score a four, which would’ve earned them a draw.

Looking back at the first day, there had been some very good bowls played and some erratic stuff too, particularly towards the end of the day. But the show must go on and consistency would need to improve on the Sunday, if the National title was to be retained by Suffolk. Overall, it was a three horse race and a close one at that. Cambridgeshire sat in top spot on thirty eight points, Suffolk were just a point behind and the dangerous looking Hertfordshire a further point back in third.

Sunderland again provided the first opposition of the day on Sunday morning. Despite an inconsistent Saturday, it was E who pleasingly made the best start of the Suffolk rinks, earning an early advantage and sustaining it, on their way to a confidence boosting 12-5 win. F had a similar result, but they needed a game breaking six shot end in the middle of their game to be sure of the win, by 12-6. D were involved in the closest game of the session, indeed it was a nervy last end decider, with the score at 6-6. Unfortunately for D, they couldn’t quite move the jack to their back bowls, a lost opportunity and a 6-7 defeat.

Could rinks A, B and C go one win better in their first games of the day against Norfolk? Part way through the session, it looked like the answer was “no” following a slow start. But then performances started to improve, consistent bowls started to apply pressure and the games turned. Both A and B ended as comfortable winners by 12-4 and 15-6 respectively. However the excitement came from the game involving C, a tight affair which they were never in control of and they were 6-7 down with an end to play. Indeed with one bowl left, the game was lost until the miracle bowl from skip Sam Runnacles, an incredibly precise drawing bowl tipped out the holding Norfolk shot, moved the jack a fraction to take three shots and a 9-7 win. An important six point session, but Suffolk still trailed Cambridgeshire by a point overall.
The next session saw second versus third, with Hertfordshire the opponents in three crucial games, where neither county could afford to lose them all. It was D who made the better start of the Suffolk rinks, securing an early 4-0 lead. However that was as good as it got, with their lead disappearing and not being able to do quite enough on the last end to avoid defeat, losing 7-8. There was better news from E though, who despite falling behind early on, recovered well to dominate the latter ends and ease away to a 13-7 win. So who would get the session win, well when F were 1-6 down and not playing well, things looked bleak for Suffolk. However they edged their way back into the game with single shot ends and then doubled up on the final end to sneak an unlikely but important 7-6 win. Suffolk were relieved with the 4-2 return against one of their closest rivals.

Staying with local opposition, Bedfordshire were next up and the Suffolk rinks didn’t make great starts. However it is not how you start, but how you finish, and by the end three important wins and a maximum six point session had been secured. B were made to work very hard for their tight 11-8 win, whereas the others eased away to comfortable wins from the middle ends onwards. Good performances from both, C winning 17-7 and A by 13-3.

So with four playing sessions left, Suffolk’s were finally back in top spot overall, but Cambridgeshire were only a point behind and Hertfordshire were still lurking dangerously in third, a further five points back, but not out of the running. Who would have the staying power to take the title?

It was Durham who were up next for D, E and F. After scoring a fantastic seven shots on the first end, F never looked like losing their game. Indeed they continued to pile on the shots, recording a big 18-3 win. It wasn’t quite so simple for the others though, particularly when E were 0-4 down early on. They stayed calm and recovered well though, dropping only one more shot in a low scoring 8-5 win. It was just as low scoring for D, but they had an early 4-0 lead to protect. They did just that, winning a tactical game by 9-3. A second consecutive six point session and suddenly Suffolk had an overall three point lead.

A, B and C faced Essex next, knowing that three wins could prove crucial. The Essex session on the Saturday had been a tricky one, but this one turned out to be less of a test. It was only the game involving A that was in doubt towards the latter ends, but they held their nerve well for an important 8-5 win. It was more straightforward for the other two rinks though, who were in complete control from early on in their games. B ran out very convincing winners with a massive 19-2 victory and C were nearly as comfortable in their 12-2 win.

That was Suffolk’s third consecutive six point session, but still they only held a three point lead, with Cambridgeshire matching them. Suffolk sat out the next session but there was good news, when Cambridgeshire lost a game. However those four points took them back into top spot, albeit only by a point. The top two now played each other, if Cambridgeshire took all the points, they would be champions with a session to spare. Similarly, if Suffolk could win the session, they would be champions with a session to spare. Any other outcome and Suffolk would have to get something in the final session, which Cambridgeshire would be sitting out.

A, B and C took to the mats, knowing exactly what was on the line. If there were nerves, their body language didn’t show it, as all of the Suffolk rinks made positive starts. Indeed the tone of the session was set early on, with B skip Clint Watling playing a fantastic running bowl, to take out an opposition bowl to score a six. B didn’t look back from there and eased away to a 15-6 win, thereby stopping Cambridgeshire from winning the title in that session. Meanwhile both A and C were calmly and steadily increasing their early advantages and taking the games away from the opposition. With a few ends to go in both games, performances were dictating only one outcome, two more Suffolk wins, A and C winning 10-4 and 9-3 respectively. Three near bowl perfect performances under immense pressure and another maximum point session had taken Suffolk to the National title with a session to spare.

With all the pressure finally off and knowing that we are the champions, it was a very relaxed D, E and F who took to the mats to face Northumberland in the final session of the competition. This was reflected in the performances and shot making, as all three rinks secured early leads and comfortably held on to them. Yet another maximum three win session, D (11-5), E (13-4) and F (21-2).

Overall the finishing positions were:

PTS

F

A
Suffolk

81

540

247
Cambridgeshire

70

457

309
Hertfordshire

70

454

287
Sunderland

47

367

378
Essex

44

376

378
Norfolk

43

386

373
Durham

28

300

491
Bedfordshire

27

288

496
Northumberland

22

283

492

Suffolk were National champions for the seventh consecutive year, but for most of the event it had been a very competitive three horse race, with the overall outcome always in doubt.

Looking back over the weekend, Saturday had been a mixed day of bowling, albeit a decent points return, which had kept Suffolk near the top. However Sunday had been an amazing day, losing only two games from twenty four played and finishing the competition with five consecutive maximum point sessions. The second day performances under pressure, in particular those against Cambridgeshire, were Suffolk’s best ever at Potters. To win the event against very competitive Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire teams is arguably Suffolk’s greatest ever achievement and one of which, the team should be extremely proud of.

Across the weekend, every rink contributed good points to the team effort. Particular mentions should go to Suffolk F who had a fantastic weekend winning all eight games and to Suffolk C, who were also unbeaten with seven wins and a draw.

The weekend finished off an impeccable 2018/19 season for the Suffolk squad, winning everything available to them, ECCBA league, Six Counties and Teambowl titles, the ECBA Inter-League title and National Championships. It is one thing being successful, but this team also play the game in the right manner and with a smile on their faces.

During the weekend, the Webber Award (chosen by the captain and selectors) was deservedly won by Adam Hubbard, reflecting his consistent performances across the season and how quickly he had settled into the Suffolk team.

The Suffolk team would like to thank everyone who has supported them during this successful season and particularly to those that travelled to Potters for the National Championships, for their good company, unwavering encouragement and support over two long days of bowling, which was greatly appreciated.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)

You can find the full set of results here.


Inter County League Play-Off Match 2019

On the evening of Friday 8 November at Potters Leisure Resort, the 2019 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, Mick Watkins, Paul Daniels
B: Sue Isles, Steve Isles, Peter Fellingham, Clint Watling
C: Ralph Sadgrove, Adam Hubbard, Andy Gilder, Sam Runnacles
D: Karen Hubbard, Rita Runnacles, Colin Fellingham, Tom Runnacles
E: Sally Goodrich, Graham Davey, Andy Pooley, Sue Gilder
F: Sue Davey, Ally Hobbs, Ellen Grube, Neil Jolly

Overall, the Suffolk rinks made a steady start and it wasn’t until the third ends of the games, where any real advantages were gained.

Indeed it was on the third end when Suffolk C grabbed complete control of their game, scoring an amazing maximum eight count. It was pretty much one way traffic from there, as they eased away to a comfortable 15-4 win.

It wasn’t too long before Suffolk B added another win. In a game where they were always ahead, they continued to add to their shot total, winning convincingly by 14-6.

Two further points were added when Suffolk F wrapped up what looked like a relatively comfortable 12-4 win. However in reality it had been anything but, as they had to come from 1-4 behind.

Whilst Suffolk’s shot count from the already won matches was good, another point was needed to get them over the winning line. That point was secured by Suffolk A, but when they were 2-8 down, you would not have put any money on it. A fantastic recovery earned them a 10-10 draw.

In the other two games, Suffolk E were involved in a see-saw battle that went right to the final end. Unfortunately they couldn’t do quite enough and the game was lost 6-9. Meanwhile for Suffolk D, it was a case of what should have been. Winning the game well, it all went wrong on the final end, dropping a five to lose by the odd shot, 9-10.

Three wins and a draw was enough though and Suffolk had won the match 7-5 (shots: 66 – 43), to get their weekend off to a winning start.

In doing so, Suffolk had won the title for the fourth consecutive year and for the eighth time in the last nine years.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


2019/20 Suffolk Squad

On Sunday 13 October the Suffolk squad trials took place at Needham Market Community Centre.

35 bowlers were there from clubs all across the county, having put their names forward to try and get into the Suffolk squad.

Each bowler played four (8 end) rinks games during the day, with every bowl scored on its accuracy.
There was a high standard of bowling throughout the day and by the end of the trials, there was very little to choose between a number of bowlers.
This made picking the squad particularly difficult for the selection committee, but after lengthy debate and careful consideration the following 28 bowlers were selected:

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

From this squad, a team of 24 bowlers will be selected for Suffolk’s first ECCBA league match, at home to Essex on Sunday 24 November, at the Chamberlin Hall in Bildeston.

The Selection Committee thanks Michael Ashman, Jane and Richard Sago and Keith Jolly who assisted the selection committee, with scoring all of the trial games.

Neil Jolly


2019 Six Counties Charity Teambowl

On Sunday 22 September, Essex 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 the defending champions having had an amazing day last year, winning with a massive ninety four points. The team were also hoping to win the Teambowl for the seventh consecutive year. The team selected to represent Suffolk was:

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

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

S3: Sam Runnacles (single), Sue Davey & Peter Fellingham (pair), Karen Hubbard, Rita & Tom Runnacles (triple)

S4: Andy Pooley (single), Sally Goodrich & Paul Daniels (pair), Ralph Sadgrove, Adam Hubbard & Sue Gilder (triple)

Suffolk’s opening opponents were Cambridgeshire, so on paper, a difficult start. It proved to be a difficult start on the mats too, as all four Suffolk singles bowlers were behind early on. For most of the session, it looked like being a disastrous four defeats, but Paul and Andy did very well to salvage drawn games, 6-6 and 4-4 respectively. Mick lost by the odd shot 5-6, and Sam went down 4-7. The pairs had a repair job to do and Sally/Paul settled any early morning nerves by easing away to a comfortable 11-3 win. Two more points were then added by Sue/Peter with a tight 7-5 win and another point by Pete/Andy with a 6-6 draw, in a game they were disappointed not to win. Unfortunately Don/Colin couldn’t make it an unbeaten session, just edged out 4-6. It was now down to the triples to hopefully add further wins and S3 flew out of the blocks, cruising to a 14-2 win. Two more wins followed, in closer games, with S1 and S2 winning 6-4 and 8-4 respectively. Again an unbeaten session eluded Suffolk, with S4 losing 5-8. Whilst not the best performance, Suffolk were relieved to take thirteen points off Cambridgeshire and this was only a point less than early joint leaders Essex and Norfolk, the latter of whom, Suffolk would face next.

Four quality single games followed, but despite improved displays, again wins proved difficult to come by. It took a magic final bowl from Andy to scored three shots and sneak a 6-6 draw and going one better with his last bowl, Mick scored the one shot he needed for a 6-5 win. Paul losing 4-7 and Sam by 2-7. Again the pairs had a job to do to get some points back and again it was Sally/Paul who led the way. Playing well again, they eased away to an 11-1 win, but not to be out done, Don/Colin also won their game by the same score. Sue/Peter then won a tight game 7-4, but unfortunately Pete/Andy were beaten by the smallest of margins, 4-5. The triples games were a mixed bag for Suffolk and in the end were shared, a fair reflection on the session. S2 secured their second win of the day by 7-4 and the other win came from S4 by 7-2. The other two Suffolk triples were always playing catch up, running out of ends, S1 losing a low scoring game 1-6 and S3 losing 4-6. Again, not a great overall performance but again thirteen points scored, leaving Suffolk in second spot, six points behind early pacesetters Essex.

Suffolk were hoping, that was the hardest part of the day over and that points scoring and performance would now go on the up and up.

Hertfordshire were up next and again the Suffolk singles had a tough time. The highlight was Paul’s convincing 11-0 win and two more points were added by Andy with a good 7-6 win. For the second time, Mick was unfortunate to be edged out 5-6 and Sam lost 2-8. The Suffolk pairs had been played the best bowls so far and they went on and had another solid session. Sue/Peter playing particularly well for their third consecutive win, a comfortable 11-3 and Don/ Colin equally as comfortable with a whitewash 11-0 win. Pete/Andy worked hard for a 6-4 win, but unfortunately Sally/Paul suffered their first loss, by 5-7. On to the triples and as Hertfordshire were unable to field a full team, S1 and S4 did not have an opposition. The two other games were contrasting affairs, S3 always in control on their way to a 12-1 win, but S2 made to battle all the way until the last end to record a 7-5 win. Overall Suffolk were pleased with their eighteen points from Hertfordshire. With Essex beaten by Norfolk, Suffolk were now top overall with forty four points, three points ahead of Essex and a further point ahead of Norfolk. Could Suffolk now stay at the top? (hopefully, yes!!)

The penultimate session and Bedfordshire were the opponents. As with their games before, the singles bowlers were made to work hard. Andy continued his fine form for a 6-4 win and he was joined in the winners circle by Mick (8-6) and Sam (9-3), Paul losing a tight game by 5-7. Generally all four pairs had played well all day and this time, their performances were rewarded with an unbeaten session. Top performers were Pete/Andy with an 11-2 win, closely followed by Don/Colin (10-3) and then Sally/Paul, back to winning ways by 8-1. The unbeaten pair of Sue/Peter maintained that record, securing a 5-5 draw from a losing position, for another valuable point. The triples session proved to be a mixed one for Suffolk, the highlights were good performances and wins for both S2 (13-2) and S4 (11-2). However both S3 and S1 struggled, S3 grabbed a 5-5 draw from a losing position, but S1 lost 4-6. The good news though was another strong eighteen point return and Essex were beaten again, increasing Suffolk’s overall advantage. Suffolk remained top with sixty two points, Norfolk had jumped into second with fifty six, with Essex and Cambridgeshire in equal third on fifty.

Could Suffolk finish the job in the final session against a faltering Essex?. It started well, with the Suffolk singles bowlers soon having their opponents in trouble and finally being rewarded for their efforts. A clean sweep of four wins and four good performances too, results of Paul (10-2), Mick (10-1), Sam (6-3) and Andy (11-3). Not to be outdone, the pairs then followed that up with another unbeaten session, this time, two wins and two draws. Sue/Peter completed an excellent day for them with a 10-4 win and Sally/Paul were just as comfortable in their 9-2 victory. As with earlier games, both of the draws were earned from losing positions, good fight backs from Don/ Colin and Pete/Andy for 6-6 draws. Going into the final triples session, Suffolk just needed to get a point on the board to be mathematically safe overall and that was soon safely secured when S4 raced off to an early lead, eventually winning 13-3. Another win was added by S3, 6-5 on a last end decider. At 0-6 down, all looked lost for S1, but again another fight back and a 7-7 draw was salvaged from the jaws of defeat. Unfortunately S2 couldn’t make it an unbeaten session, behind early and despite best efforts, just losing 5-7. Nineteen points from Essex was a great way to finish a successful day for the Suffolk team.

The final points and standings were:

PTS
Suffolk

81
Cambridgeshire

66
Essex

64
Hertfordshire

55
Norfolk

54
Bedfordshire

40

Despite a slow start and a below par performance in the first two sessions, it was a case of don’t panic, everything’s not lost. Performances picked up and it turned out to be another solid all round team display from Suffolk, reflected by the margin of victory overall.

Whilst not at their best for parts of the day, the most impressive feature of the team performance was the number of drawn games earned from losing positions. When not playing at your best, you have to battle for everything and during the day, the team showed great fighting qualities, resilience and the ability to play big shots under pressure.

All of the team contributed to the win, which is pleasing for the captain and selectors. Particular mentions should go to Andy Pooley, unbeaten in the singles with three wins and two draws and the pair of Sue Davey and Peter Fellingham, top performers on the day with four wins and a draw.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)

You can find the full set of results here.