Suffolk Carpet Bowls Association

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» 2017 ECBA Champion of Champions

The 2017 ECBA Champion of Champions was held at Stanley, County Durham over 3rd-4th June.

Mick Watkins

Mick strolled to a very comfortable 15-4 win over Norfolk in his first game and was off to a good start against Northumberland, a 6-0 lead was reduced to 6-4 but he won the next couple of ends and finished with a 9-5 win to lead the way overall.

With Mick and Sunderland leading the way the game between the two of them would be crucial, unfortunately for Mick his opposition had the better of the game and he lost 11-2.

Saturday's last game against Bedfordshire turned out to be another struggle, Mick was always behind and though he came back towards the end he finished with an 11-10 loss and some way adrift of leaders Sunderland who had not yet dropped a point.

Unfortunately Sunday started with another loss, against Cambridgeshire (6-11), dropping him down to 6th.

He finally picked up another win, with victory over last year's champion from Durham (10-6), bringing him to the top of the mid-field struggle.

This was followed by another, this time against Essex (8-6) who was vying for the lead of the competition and finished by comfortably defeating Hertfordshire 13-2.

But for the poor run of games at the end of Saturday it might have been a different story, in the end Mick finished on 10 points, only points behind the top 2 and only just missing out on 3rd place on shots against.

The winner was Don Poulter from Essex.

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

Steven Cain and David Ford

It was a late start as Suffolk's first scheduled game was against the Norfolk pair who had moved over to make up the team in the Rinks which was short owing to illness.

Their first game then was against Northumberland. They were behind early on but took the lead back halfway through, however they fell behind again immediately and although they won the last end they lost the game 8-7.

Suffolk picked up their first points with a 9-4 win over Sunderland and beat Bedfordshire 9-6 to finish Saturday on 4 points from 3 games. Cambridgeshire were leading the way on 8 points having played one game more but despite their deficit Suffolk stood the best chance of catching the leaders.

Sunday's first game was against Cambs. If Suffolk didn't win their opponents would have one hand on the trophy. It was a tense start, but 4 ends in Suffolk started to edge ahead and ended up running away with the game, winning 14-1. That meant that they were now 2 points behind Cambs with a game in hand.

Durham were up next and although it was close halfway through Suffolk picked up a 4 which helped them to an 11-6 win. That brought them a shot closer to Cambridgeshire who also won.

Next up was Essex and at 5-1 with 4 ends to go down it was not looking good for Steven and David, but they finished very strongly, picking up 9 shots over the last 4 ends to win 10-6, what's more Cambridgeshire lost in what was their final game. All of that meant that Suffolk had won the title with a game to go. The two teams were equal on points, but Suffolk had one extra shot to their name and no one else could catch them.

They finished off with a 9-3 win of Hertfordshire, ending up with 12 points.

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

Tom Runnacles, Clint Watling & Sam Runnacles

Suffolk were behind for most of their opening game against Bedfordshire and were a shot behind going into the last end, however they managed to snatch an 8-7 win with 2 on the last.

And it was another game which had to be rescued as they faced Cambridgeshire. They picked up a 4 on the first end then lost 3 ends, 2 on the fifth put them ahead again then lost the next 3 with left them 10-6 down going into the last. But somehow they picked up a 4 to snatch a draw and remain undefeated.

It was a much more clear cut result in their third game, this time against Durham. The swept out to an 11-0 lead after 6 ends, and limited the damage over the last 3 to win 11-4. That left them a point behind leaders Northumberland, although Hertfordshire were lurking close behind with a game in hand.

As Northumberland lost Suffolk made the most of it and took a big 16-3 win over Essex to go top, although Herts had a game in hand and were just a point behind.

Saturday ended badly though, not only did they lose (6-7) but it was to their closest rivals. Herts were now a point ahead and had a game in hand. They would need to slip up for anyone else to stand a chance.

It was a good start on Sunday with a 12-2 win over Norfolk, maintaining their second place, followed by an even better 14-3 beating of Northumberland, but still Hertfordshire hadn't dropped a point.

However as Suffolk sat out a session Herts finally cracked, losing to Cambridgeshire, but they were still a point ahead of Suffolk with one game to play.

Suffolk did all they could in the final session by beating Sunderland 10-5 but had to watch as Herts came from behind to beat Durham and take the title by a point.

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

Jim & Sally Goodrich and Sue & Steve Isles

Suffolk opened with a comfortable 14-3 win over Bedfordshire.

However Cambridgeshire looked as if they were going to be stiffer opposition, particularly when they picked up 4 on the first end. But Suffolk fought back and were level after 6 ends after which they ran away with it, finishing 14-6 winners to lead the competition.

With one of the Durham players unable to play due to a back problem Suffolk's third game was a 9-0 walkover, keeping them at the top.

It was another win for Suffolk, 11-7 against Essex that saw them keep their position at the top although Hertfordshire had won all 3 of their games, the next match would be a crucial play-off between the two.

It was a suitably close game against Herts but Suffolk were able to pick up a shot on the last end to rescue a draw. They would head into Sunday 2 points ahead of Herts who had played a game less.

Durham did not rejoin on Sunday so their results from Saturday were cancelled which made things much clearer. Hertfordshire and Suffolk were both tied for the lead on 7 points.

Sunday did not start well as they lost to Norfolk 9-6 but Herts also lost and that was now bringing Cambridgeshire into the frame.

And things got worse as they lost 11-5 to Northumberland while both Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire won, removing any chance of an overall win for Suffolk.

The final session though was much better as they took a 10-5 win over Sunderland, securing 3rd place while the title finally went to Hertfordshire.

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

With two full sessions played Suffolk were 2 points clear, although other teams had games in hand over them. The third session saw Suffolk fall behind Cambridgeshire as the Pair and Single had to sit out a session, but they were only a couple of points behind with games in hand.

Things remained much the same through the next session, Suffolk just 2 points behind with games in hand.

As Saturday finished Cambridgeshire were still ahead, now by only one point, but crucially Suffolk no longer had any games in hand. Hertfordshire and Sunderland were both in contention as well but the situation was complicated by sessions which had to sat out and games involving missing teams, so it wouldn't all play out until the end of Sunday.

Cambridgeshire started well on day 2 and extended their lead to 3 points. Suffolk kept pace with them in the next session and again in the following one but crucially Suffolk had been sitting out games while Cambs had been losing theirs.

So going into the final set of games Suffolk were 3 points behind but had 2 games in hand. Now it was Cambridgeshire who sat out while Suffolk's Pair and Single both won to take the team into the lead and with both the Triple and the Rink winning the in day's final set of games Suffolk had won the team title for the first time since 2002.

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