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Bedfordshire v Suffolk

On Sunday 19 March, Suffolk played their final ECCBA league match of the season, away against Bedfordshire.

Suffolk went into the match with an all but unassailable lead at the top of the league, a thirty three point advantage over Essex and Hertfordshire. Only four points were needed to win the league, however Suffolk were looking to finish the season unbeaten with their fifth consecutive win.

The Suffolk team had a couple of changes from the previous matches, the rinks selected were:

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

When you’re playing a county match away from home, the first few ends of the first session are all about getting used to the carpets and keeping shot concession to a minimum. Rinks S1, S3 and S5 did just that, with all three games tight and low scoring after three ends. The Suffolk rinks were rewarded for keeping the games close early on, as they all started to amass shots as the games progressed. Indeed they all followed a similar pattern, S1 were the highest scorers as they eased away to a 15-5 win. S3 and S5 weren’t that far behind them winning 13-2 and 11-3 respectively.

Just the start that Suffolk were looking for, 6-0 ahead and the league won.

The second session started in a similar fashion to the first, with the other three Suffolk rinks quickly getting to grips with the carpets over the early ends. The remainder of the session was then pretty much a repeat of the first, with all of the Suffolk rinks steadily picking up shots and controlling the games. S4 were the highest scorers with 13-8 win and it was just as comfortable for both S2 and S6, who won 11-5 and 10-3 respectively. Another whitewash session and a thoroughly deserved 12-0 overall lead for Suffolk.

In the third session, it was S3 who flew out of the blocks and their consistent bowling throughout the nine ends hardly gave their opponents a look in. By the finish they had racked up a very impressive 18-4 win. Playing just as steadily were S1 and whilst not scoring as many shots, their game also never looked in doubt and they finished with a comfortable 12-6 win. Meanwhile S5 weren’t having it all their own way, in a game that always looked like going to the wire. Having dropped some shots early on, they did particularly well to claw their way back into the game and it was all up for grabs on the final end. With the jack moved to the back edge, there was very little room to play with and the run of the bowls simply went against S5 and the game was lost by the slimmest margin of 9-10.

At halfway, it was Suffolk who had dominated and earned themselves an overall 16-2 lead. Keeping the games tight in the early part of the first two sessions had been crucial and consistent drawing bowls had kept the wins coming.

The start of the fourth session saw S2 make the quickest start and the outcome was never in doubt. Again it was consistent drawing bowls that was the key, a fully deserved 14-4 win. The other games were closer though and Bedfordshire were making Suffolk earn every point. Both S4 and S6 always looked like they were doing just enough but the games went to the final ends before wins were a certainty. By the finish though, it was another two Suffolk wins, S4 by 10-7 and S6 by 11-5.

The start of the penultimate session saw S5 get off to the best start, bouncing back well from their previous close loss. The game followed a similar pattern to many that had gone before, the Suffolk rink securing an early advantage and gradually adding to the shot count. S5 played their best game of the day and were rewarded with a 15-5 win. Not to be outdone though were S1 and S3, who had probably been the most consistent Suffolk rinks during the day. S1 played yet another steady game, doing the simple things well and deservedly got their third win of the day, by 13-6. Lastly S3, whilst not their best game of the day, were always ahead and doing enough to stop the opposition getting close on the scoreboard. A 10-5 win for S3 and Suffolk’s fourth whitewash session of the day.

The final session was one of contrasting games. The highlight for Suffolk was the highest score of the day from S2. Playing their best game of the match, the shots kept coming as they raced away to a 17-6 win. Meanwhile, both S4 and S6 were not having it quite so easy. It was looking good for S6 early on as they built a lead, but their advantage was gradually whittled away to the extent it was a level 7-7 game with the final end to play. The holding shot changed a number of times on the last end, but it was S6 who held finally and edged a 9-7 win. Lastly S4 had a small deficit to catch up early on which they did and again it came down to a final end shoot out. For a while S4 held a game winning position, but the Bedfordshire skip did just enough to take the holding shot, resulting in a 6-8 defeat for S4.

Overall the match finished with an excellent Suffolk win, 32-4 (shots: 217 - 97).

It had been a fantastic way to finish the league campaign, with another convincing win for Suffolk. Every rink had contributed to the victory against a spirited Bedfordshire team who never gave up.

This was Suffolk’s seventh consecutive ECCBA league title with a record points total of 139. The squad can be very proud of their performances this season and also in the manner in which they have conducted themselves in every match.

The next outing for the Suffolk team is the Six Counties Championship at Braintree Leisure Centre on Sunday 9 April. Suffolk will be hoping to retain this event and in doing so, win it for the third consecutive year.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


Essex v Suffolk

On Sunday 19 February, Suffolk played their penultimate ECCBA league match of the season, away against Essex.

It was first (Suffolk) versus second (Essex) in the league, with both counties having won their first three matches, so something had to give. The venue was Great Salings Millennium Hall, the first time Suffolk had played there, so they were expecting a challenging day against what would be a confident Essex team.

The Suffolk team was again unchanged for the fourth match, the rinks selected were:

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

The first session of the day was all about getting used to the carpets as soon as possible and stopping Essex from getting away to a quick start. S5 certainly did that, picking up the lines on their carpet very quickly and settling into a steady drawing game. It paid dividends as they eased away from their opposition, not giving them a look in on many ends, resulting in a comfortable 14-3 win. S3 didn’t make such a good start, down after a couple of ends but a few ends later they levelled the game at 4-4. After that it was one-way traffic, all in S3’s favour as they dominated the remainder of the game, not losing another end on their way to a 13-4 win. Lastly S1 had made the slowest start, losing four shots on the first end. However as the game went on, they picked up the pace of the carpet and there was very little to separate the rinks. S1 just couldn’t do enough though to catch up on the scoreboard and a single shot last end saw them fall just short, losing 5-6.

In the second session it was S4 who started the better of the other Suffolk rinks. Again relying on their consistent drawing game, saw them pick up regular shots and ease away from their opposition. A comfortable 11-4 win for S4. It wasn’t quite so straight forward on the other mats though. The start of S6’s game was very even and there was still very little separating the teams during the middle ends, but with an end to play, S6 held a decent 8-5 lead. However they got themselves in trouble on the last end, but their final bowl saved a heavy shot count and when the opposing skip then knocked the jack off, it was a nervous 10-5 S6 win. Finally S2 were involved in the tightest game and traded shots with their opposing rink from start to finish. As a reflection of that, the game went into the final end tied at 7-7. Unfortunately despite their best efforts, S2 just failed to move the jack into an end winning position and the game was lost 7-8.

Following on from their comfortable win in the first session it was S3 who settled the quickest in the third session. With a good balance of attacking and defensive bowls, they were soon in control again and a second S3 win was never in doubt, again by the same scoreline of 13-4. The other two games were far closer though and both S1 and S5 would have to battle to the end to get more Suffolk points on the board. However they both did just that, S1 playing particularly well to bounce back from their first session loss to record a 9-4 win. Then S5 completed a fine whitewash session for Suffolk, putting in another good all round rink performance, doing just enough to win their game by 7-4.

At halfway, Suffolk were delighted with their overall 14-4 lead. Concentration in the first two sessions had been key in picking up the pace and lines on the carpets and preventing the Essex team from controlling the games. However the Suffolk team would need to retain their focus for the second half to ensure overall victory.

The start of the fourth session saw S2 react positively to their opening game loss and they were soon in control. Confidence grew as the game progressed and there was only ever going to be one winner, S2 with a very comfortable 15-5 win. Meanwhile there was nothing comfortable about S6’s game, a real see-saw encounter where neither rink could do enough to earn themselves a strong position. It always looked like going to the final end with the game level and undecided and that’s exactly what happened. On the last end, S6 did just enough to hold a shot and protect it, for another nervy 8-7 win. Could S4 make it another whitewash session for Suffolk, unfortunately not. They simply didn’t get a foothold in their game and were always playing catch-up. Despite a late rally, it always looked an impossible task and the game was lost 6-11.

The start of the penultimate session saw a tight start to all three games and that didn’t really change throughout. However confidence was high in the Suffolk rinks, having won all their games in the third session and this helped them all through to three more wins. S3 deservedly recorded their third win of the day, again consistent bowling throughout the rink saw them to a 7-4 win. S5 also secured their third win of the day, it went right to the wire but they played an excellent last end to sneak a 7-6 win. Lastly it was S1 who completed the Suffolk dominated session, playing their best bowls of the day for an 11-9 win.

The final session proved to be a disappointing one for Suffolk but it could have been so very different. Firstly the only good news, a win for S4, but only just. In a close game, they went into the final end a shot behind but finished it a shot in front, with a hard earned 9-8 win. In the other two games, it was final end disappointment for both S2 and S6. S6 had been involved in another close game and going into the final end, they’d sneaked a one shot lead. Unfortunately a disappointing last end saw them drop two shots and the game was lost 7-8. Lastly S2 started their game well, an early six shot end took them into a good lead. However that was whittled away and they also went into the last end with a tied game. Like S6, it was not to be, a horror final end saw them drop a five and the game was lost 14-9.

Overall the match finished with a superb win for Suffolk, 26-10 (shots: 168 - 114).

A great day for Suffolk, in what was their best team performance of the season so far. Crucially they had picked up the carpets quickly, then consistent drawing bowls and good tactical play were the deciding factors.

Particular mention should go to both S3 and S5, as they won all three of their games.

Suffolk now have a massive thirty three point advantage at the top of the league, over both Essex and Hertfordshire. Their final league match is away, against Bedfordshire on Sunday 19 March at Barton-le-Clay Village Hall.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


Suffolk v Cambridgeshire

On Sunday 15 January, Suffolk played their third ECCBA league match of the season, against Cambridgeshire at Needham Market Community Centre.

Suffolk were sitting top of the league, having won their first two matches. This was their third consecutive home match so another good win was hoped for, before going on the road for their final two matches.

The Suffolk team was again unchanged for the third match, the rinks selected were:

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

In a home match you are always looking for a quick start, before the opposition get to grips with the carpets and S5 certainly did that. A near perfect first end, seven shots scored and they increased their lead to 10-2 after just three ends. They weren’t finished though, scoring a further fourteen unanswered shots on the final five ends to amass an incredible 24-3 win. Not to be outdone, S1 had also got off to a good start, they were also 7-0 ahead, but it took them two ends to do it!!! Whilst they conceded the next two ends, normal service was resumed over the following four ends, scoring twelve shots to put the game out of sight. A fine 19-4 win for S1. In the other game, S3 weren’t having it all their own way, indeed after four ends, they were 1-5 behind. However the sixth end proved crucial, S3 finding their form to score four shots and drag themselves back into the game. It still had to be won though and two single shot final ends secured a tight 8-6 win.

In the second session it was S2 who started the better of the other Suffolk rinks. Consistent bowls took them to 8-0 up after just three ends. It was looking comfortable but then the game turned, with the loss of four of the next five ends, including four shots on the penultimate end to take the score to 10-8. Whilst it wasn’t the most convincing of final ends, S2 did just enough to score a single shot to win 11-8. S4 had got off to a similar start, a confidence boosting five shots on the first end did most of the damage and they were 10-1 ahead after five ends. The opposing rink then staged a mini-revival, taking it to 10-6 but S2 controlled the last end to see them home by 11-6. In contrast S6 were unable to get an early lead to protect, 2-3 behind after four ends, soon got worse at 2-5, without them playing that badly. The game wasn’t over though, winning the next two ends levelled the game and an opposition mistake gifted them two shots on the final end, for a 7-5 win.

Just like the first session it was S5 who made the better start in the third session. Winning five of the first six ends, took them to a convincing 9-1 advantage and they weren’t going to lose from there. Another good S5 performance and an 11-3 win. Meanwhile it was looking like S3 were going to be involved in another close game, 2-2 after four ends and then 2-4 behind an end later. However with impeccable timing, they all then found their best form, four shots on the next end turned the game around and five further shots on the remaining ends secured an 11-4 win. Lastly S1 were having a real see-saw match, a poor start conceded three shots on the first end, but they hit back on the next end to level the game. From 3-3, the score went to 4-4 and then S1 took control going 8-4 ahead. However it wasn’t over yet, as a sloppy penultimate end, dropping three shots levelled the game again at 8-8. The final twist was a favourable one though, S1 holding their nerve on the final end to score a double and take the game by 10-8.

So at the halfway stage, quite incredibly Suffolk had not lost a game and were 18-0 up. It was only halftime though, plenty of bowls left to play and there had been enough tight games to suggest the rest of the day would be competitive.

At the start of the fourth session, it was clear that the Suffolk rinks wouldn’t be taking their foot off the pedal, as they all made good starts. The best start was made by S4, not conceding a shot for the first five ends to earn a 7-0 lead. Whilst they lost the next end, that was the only one as they went on to win the last three ends. A convincing display of consistent bowls and a deserved 11-3 win. S2 made a similar start to go 6-0 ahead after four ends, but then made things difficult for themselves, dropping five shots on the sixth end and the game was level at 6-6. They quickly regained their composure though, controlling the next two ends and scoring five shots in the process. No way back for the opposing rink and an 11-7 win for S2. Finally for S6, their good start at 5-1 ahead was quickly reduced, but ends five to seven proved crucial, scoring five shots to take them to 10-4 ahead. This was a lead they were able to protect and they did just that, winning the game 10-8.

At the start of the penultimate session, at 1-1 after two ends, it looked like S1 were going to be involved in a really close game. Six ends and fifteen unanswered shots later, it was anything but. Another good all round rink performance from S1 and a fully deserved and convincing 16-2 win. In contrast, at 4-0 ahead after two ends, S3 looked like winning relatively comfortably. However five ends and seven dropped shots later, they were staring defeat in the face. Then for the third consecutive game, S3 fought back, three shots on the penultimate end levelled the game and two shots on the final end won it, final score of 9-7. Lastly it was not looking very good for S5, 0-5 behind after four ends, but they didn’t give up. They dug in and reduced the deficit over the next couple of ends and with an end to play, they’d done well to level the game at 7-7. The last end shoot-out went right to the final bowl and the S5 skip was literally millimetres away from the perfect draw and the winning shot. It wasn’t to be though, a great effort but unfortunately a 7-8 loss.

The final session proved to be a disappointing one for Suffolk. S2 just couldn’t get a foothold in their game and whilst they were only losing single shots, the game drifted away from them, finishing with a 4-7 defeat. The closest game involved S4, they were 4-1 up, then level at 4-4, 4-6 behind and then level again at 6-6. They controlled the last end, were holding three good shots until an outrageously fortunate final bowl wicked off an outside wood and stole the winning shot, resulting in a 6-7 defeat. The only Suffolk points came from S6, 7-0 up after four ends and then with their own slice of luck, 11-0 ahead an end later. The game was over as a contest and finished 12-4.

Overall the match finished with a great win for Suffolk, 30-6 (shots: 198 - 100).

It had been a superb all round team performance by Suffolk and they had fully deserved such a convincing margin of victory. S1, S3 and S6 won all three games, but every rink bowled well and contributed to the win.

This win keeps Suffolk at the top of the league. It’s a seventeen point advantage over second place Essex, who are Suffolk’s next opponents, on Sunday 19 February at The Great Salings Millennium Hall.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


Suffolk v Hertfordshire

On Sunday 11 December, Suffolk played their second ECCBA league match of the season, against Hertfordshire at Needham Market Community Centre.

Having won their first match (29-7 against Norfolk), Suffolk were looking for another strong performance. It would be needed against Hertfordshire, a team that have improved significantly over the past couple of seasons.

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

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

In the first session it was only S5 who made a good start, but even their early 3-0 advantage had gone by the third end. They bounced back well though, losing only one of the remaining six ends, amassing eight shots in the process to record a comfortable 11-4 win. Despite losing the first end, S3 then went 6-2 ahead, but at 6-5 after six ends, the game was in the balance. It was still all to play for at 8-7 with an end to go, but a steady final end saw another three shots scored and an 11-7 win. At 4-7 behind with only three ends to play, S1 needed to make something happen and with impeccable timing, they did just that. Scoring a three, followed by a five swung the game in their favour and they held on to secure a 12-8 win. A maximum point session was just the start Suffolk had hoped for.

The second session saw S6 get off to the best start, 5-0 up after three ends, which became 5-2. Then what looked like being a close game turned into anything but, S6 scoring eight shots over the next three ends, followed by a five on the final end saw them run away to a convincing 17-3 win. Meanwhile the other two Suffolk rinks were involved in far tighter games. In a low scoring start, S2 were all square at 2-2 after four ends. The next three ends proved crucial though, as S2 won them all to go 8-2 ahead. With the final two ends shared, it was a 9-3 win for S2. Finally for S4, they were 2-2 after three ends, then 3-3 after five ends and 6-6 with an end to play. Unfortunately the last end didn’t go their way and it was a slim 6-7 loss.

The third session saw all of the Suffolk rinks making poor starts and at the halfway stage of the games, you couldn’t see a Suffolk win coming. It was S5 who saved Suffolk’s blushes, as they turned a 2-4 deficit after four ends into an incredible 18-4 win. Most of the damage was done on the fifth and eighth ends, where they scored a six and a five. S1 came the closest to adding to Suffolk’s points total, early on they were 1-3 and 3-5 behind and did well to level at 5-5. However losing two of the last three ends stopped the comeback and the game was lost 7-9. Finally for S3, they were made to pay for a terrible start, dropping five shots on the second end and finding themselves 0-8 down after four ends. Despite a late rally, it just proved too many shots to claw back and they lost 7-11.

So after a good start, a setback in the third session for Suffolk and the overall score at the halfway stage was 12-6. As expected this was proving to be a competitive match and one that Suffolk would have to play well in the second half to win.

It was S2 who made a positive start to the fourth session, playing well to earn themselves an early 6-0 lead. Whilst at 8-4 ahead it was still all to play for, S2 dominated the final three ends and deservedly won 13-4. S6 weren’t far behind them, controlling their game to go 6-1 up, which was progressed to 9-2 ahead. Despite losing the last three ends, but only with single shots, they never looked in any real danger and the game was won 9-5. For S4 it was a different story though, involved in another tight game which they were still in, at 3-5 down. Losing a couple of shots on the sixth end was pivotal though and despite their best efforts, they couldn’t do enough on the remaining ends to salvage anything, losing 5-9.

With a 16-8 overall lead, the penultimate session was crucial for both teams, Suffolk needed to win it well to avoid a nervy final session. It was S1 who got off to the best start, consistent team bowling resulted in them continuing to score steadily and secure a healthy 9-0 lead. They were playing too well to lose from there and finished with a comfortable 11-1 win. For S3, yet again they were off to a poor start, this time 0-6 down after four ends. This turned out to be the proverbial “game of two halves” though, and with an end to play they’d reduced the deficit to just two shots at 5-7. Still a lot of work do though, but playing their best bowls at the right time, they scored four shots to complete a remarkable comeback and a 9-7 win. Lastly S5 were involved in the closest game and one they were leading most of the way, without being in complete control. Unfortunately at 6-2 in front, it started to go wrong and a single shot conceded on the final end resulted in a 6-7 loss.

At 20-10 ahead overall, the match was won and a good job it was, as the final session was not a good one for Suffolk. Both S2 and S4 were always behind in their games, they continued to battle away right until the end but just couldn’t do enough to get any more points on the board. At 4-6 down with two ends to play, S2 had a chance but the final ends were disappointing and it was a 4-11 loss. It was similar story for S4, 3-5 down with three ends to go, but again the final ends went against them and it was a 4-8 defeat. The only good news for Suffolk came from S6, who had raced into an early 7-0 lead, which they didn’t look back from. Controlling the latter ends, they eased away to a 13-4 win.

Overall the match finished with a Suffolk win 22-14 (shots: 172 - 112).

Suffolk had been pushed all the way by a competitive Hertfordshire team, who had more than played their part in an entertaining and close fought match.

Whilst it may not have been the best Suffolk performance, they had done enough to win the match and this may prove crucial come the end of the season.

Congratulations should go to S6 who won all three of their games.

This second win keeps Suffolk at the top of the league with an eight point advantage over Essex, who have also won both of their matches so far.

Suffolk’s next match is against Cambridgeshire, again at Needham Market Community Centre on Sunday 15 January, a 10.30am start and supporters are welcome.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


Suffolk v Norfolk

On Sunday 27 November, Suffolk played their first ECCBA league match of the season in defence of the league title. With Needham Market Community Centre unavailable, the match was played at Bildeston Village Hall, with Norfolk providing the opposition.

The Suffolk team showed a few changes from the Nationals winning team, the rinks selected were:

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

In the first session it was S5 who made the best start, four shots on the first end and 5-0 up after two ends. Their lead was extended to 11-2 with a couple of ends to play and that proved to be enough. Despite losing the last two ends, it was an 11-7 win and the first Suffolk points on the board. S1 had lost a single shot in the first end of their game but it was all one-way traffic after that. Seven consecutive winning ends, scoring eleven unanswered shots in the process, wrapped the game up with an end to spare. A convincing 11-3 win for S1. Meanwhile S3 were involved in the closest game and at 3-0 and then 7-3 up, it was looking like a third Suffolk win. Unfortunately four dropped shots on the sixth end was the start of three losing ends and despite their best efforts on the final end, they fell just short, losing 9-10.

The second session saw S2 and S4 get off to flying starts, both scoring five shots on the first end. It was S4 who continued in the same vein, losing only two of the next seven ends and increasing their advantage to an unassailable 13-2. Despite losing the final end, the job was done and a comfortable 13-5 win. For S2 it wasn’t quite so one sided, their 5-0 lead was whittled away to just one shot after five ends and with an end to play they held a slim 7-5 lead. It was enough though as a fine last end saw them score a further three shots to earn a 10-5 win. Lastly S6 were involved in a tight low scoring encounter that always looked like going to the final end. In a see-saw game, they were 1-0 and 2-1 up, but with two ends to play they were 3-4 behind. They then played their best two ends, scoring a two and then a single, to sneak a 6-4 win. It was a hard earned maximum point session for Suffolk.

The start of the third session saw S3 make the better start, 6-0 up after two ends. They were thankful for those shots because with a couple of ends to play, their advantage was down to a single shot at 7-6. It was another good Suffolk finish though, winning both of the last two ends to secure a 9-6 win. S1 had also made a good start to be 5-0 up early and they sustained that lead, going 7-2 and then 9-4 ahead. Playing out a sensible last end which resulted in a dead end and a 9-4 win for S1. Could S5 make it a another full house of Suffolk wins, well at 1-8 down after five ends, that was looking highly improbable. However they didn’t give up and three winning ends later, they’d reduced the deficit to a shot. A great final end completed the comeback, three more shots and an excellent 10-8 win.

Another maximum six point session and at the halfway stage, Suffolk had a 16-2 lead. It had been a decent overall performance so far, but this would need to continue to ensure the match was won and won well.

The fourth session did not go to plan though, with the exception of S4. Playing their usual brand of consistent bowls and losing only two ends, they amassed seventeen shots on their way to a convincing 17-3 win in the performance of the day. That was the only good news for Suffolk though, as the two other rinks were struggling. S2 just couldn’t get a foothold in their game and without bowling that badly, they found themselves 1-10 behind. Despite controlling the last three ends, scoring enough shots never really looked likely and the game finished with a 6-10 defeat. Lastly S6 did get off to a good start, going 4-0 ahead but then it all went wrong. The game was level after four ends but with an end to play, they were 5-8 down. They tried everything on the last end but could only manage two shots and it finished 7-8.

With an 18-6 overall lead, the penultimate session was one Suffolk wanted to win well, to avoid a nervous final session. It was S1 who eased any Suffolk nerves, play their way into a 3-0 lead, which they increased to 6-1 and then 8-2. Losing three shots on the penultimate end made the final end interesting, but they regained control scoring four more shots to record a 12-5 victory. Meanwhile S3 were also ahead throughout most of their game, but never comfortably so. A 5-3 lead after six ends was increased to 7-3, but then cut back to 7-4 with an end to play. They were thankful to knock the jack off on the last end to ensure the 7-6 win and two more crucial points. Finally S5 were again making it difficult for themselves. A level 3-3 game after four ends went wrong over the next three ends and they were staring defeat in the face at 3-8. However yet again they staged a remarkable comeback, three shots on the penultimate end, a double on the last and it was a point gained with an 8-8 draw.

With the match won, the Suffolk rinks were still eager for more points and again it was S4 who set the standard. It was looking like a close game at 1-1 after three ends, but S4 had different ideas, winning all of the final six ends in racing away to a superb 13-1 win. It wasn’t quite so comfortable for either S2 or S6 though. S2 had got off to the better start, but they were back level at 3-3 after five ends. They finished with a flourish though, winning all of the remaining ends to secure an 8-3 win. Finally at 2-4 behind after five ends, it didn’t look like S6 would make it a third Suffolk win. However the next three ends saw them play their best bowls of the day, taking a 9-4 lead. That proved to be enough, with S6 finishing as 9-5 winners.

Overall the match finished with a Suffolk win 29-7 (shots: 175 - 101).

Suffolk were pleased with their start to the season, a significant margin of victory over an experienced Norfolk team. It had been a good all round team performance and one that can be built on in future matches.

Particular mention should go to S1 and S4 who won all three of their games, and S5 who were also unbeaten with two wins and a draw.

The win took Suffolk straight to the top of the league and they will be looking to stay there for the rest of the league season.

Suffolk’s next match is against Hertfordshire, at Needham Market Community Centre on Sunday 11 December, a 10.30am start and supporters are welcome.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


2016 National County Championships

Over the weekend of 12 and 13 November the Suffolk team and their supporters were at the Potters Leisure Resort, Hopton-on-Sea for the 2016 National County Championships.

They were up against 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 weekend of bowling.
The team representing Suffolk was:

A: Pete Runnacles, Nick Wood, Mick Watkins, Paul Daniels
B: Sally Goodrich, Graham Davey, Andy Pooley, Sue Gilder
C: Sam Runnacles, Rita Runnacles, Clint Watling, Tom Runnacles
D: Don Allum, John Varden, Colin Fellingham, David Ford
E: Jim Goodrich, Ralph Sadgrove, Andy Gilder, Steven Cain
F: Sue Davey, Paul Leach, Peter Fellingham, Neil Jolly

First up on the Saturday morning saw Suffolk rinks A, B and C against Norfolk. It was B who got Suffolk off to the best start and they soon played their way into a strong position. They continued to look comfortable on their way to a 12-3 win. The other two games weren’t as one-sided but as they progressed, two more Suffolk wins were achieved. After a poor start, C hit back well to win 11-6 and A made it a full house with an 11-9 win. It was just the start that Suffolk were hoping for.

In the second session rinks D, E and F came to the mats to face Sunderland. If there were any early competition nerves, D weren’t showing it as they flew out of the blocks building a significant advantage which they didn’t look back from. Two points in the bag with a resounding 18-4 win. At the half way point, it looked like that was going to be the only Suffolk points, but then the games began to turn. F were 0-6 and 2-8 behind but salvaged a creditable 9-9 draw and E battled until the end to deservedly earn a slim 8-7 win. Five points was a great return from a strong Sunderland team.

The next session saw rinks A, B and C play Northumberland. Following up their first session win, B again looked comfortable and eased to an 11-4 win. C then also got their second win with an improved display and a 12-7 win. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be another unbeaten session as A struggled and slipped to an 8-14 loss.

The fourth session saw Suffolk face Essex, who had also made a decent start to the competition. As the games progressed to the middle ends, two Suffolk wins always looked on the cards, with D and F controlling their games. D went on to win 13-7, with F recording an 11-3 win. Again a full house was missed out on, as this time it was E who lost 4-11.

The next session was Suffolk’s rest session, Sunderland took their opportunity and joined Suffolk at the top of the leaderboard, both counties on nineteen points.

It was old rivals Cambridgeshire who Suffolk faced next and right from the outset F was in trouble. Unable to recover an early deficit, the game slipped away, finishing with a 3-13 defeat. It was far better news on the other mats though, two fine performances by D and E saw them win 10-5 and 10-4 respectively.

Another Eastern Counties opponent in Bedfordshire were next for A, B and C. Again Suffolk always looked nailed on for two wins and so it proved to be, B winning 10-5 and C by 13-4. Meanwhile A weren’t having it all their own way, but holding their nerve, they made it a maximum session for Suffolk with a hard earned 8-5 win.

In the penultimate session, D, E and F returned to play Hertfordshire and this turned out to be the tightest session of the day. Three low scoring games followed, with the outcomes uncertain until the final bowls had been delivered. Suffolk were delighted to come out on top in two of the games, D played their usual controlled game in winning 7-3 and F protected an early lead to win 7-4. It was so nearly an unbeaten session for Suffolk, but unfortunately E just came out on the wrong side of a 6-7 result.

The final session on Saturday saw A, B and C face Durham and Suffolk were hoping for a strong finish to secure a lead in the overall competition. Three wins never really looked in doubt. A looked solid on their way to a convincing 10-2 win, apart from a poor final end, B were more than comfortable in winning 15-12 and C continued their winning ways with another fine performance and a 14-6 win.

Suffolk had had a good first day, losing only four games out of twenty four played, with rinks B, C and D all with unblemished records. Overall, Suffolk sat in top spot on thirty nine points, Sunderland were behind them with thirty three and Essex with twenty nine. It was looking like a three horse race but the second day always throws up some twists and turns.

As with day one, Suffolk faced Norfolk first, with rinks D, E and F on the mats. D continued from where they had left off, with their consistent bowling controlling the game and they were rewarded with an 11-4 win. No such certainty in the other two games though, which would go to the wire. By the end, F did just enough to record a win by 7-5, but no such luck for E as their game was lost by the smallest margin of 6-7.

Second place Sunderland were Sunday’s first opponents for A, B and C and this was a crucial session of bowls for both counties. Could Suffolk extend their overall lead or would Sunderland close the gap? Three quality and competitive games followed and Suffolk struck first with C doing well to maintain their unbeaten record with a 10-5 win. Meanwhile A and B were involved in real tussles and it was B who gained two more important points and their fifth consecutive win with a 9-7 victory. A weren’t going to miss out though, battling right to the end and it was a point gained with a 5-5 draw. In the context of the event, this 5-1 session win was massive for Suffolk, but there was still a long way to go.

It was essential that rinks D, E and F followed that up with wins over bottom placed Northumberland and they did just that. E played their best game of the weekend, dominating from start to finish, on their way to a fine 10-1 win. D again looked very comfortable as they eased away to their sixth consecutive win, by 12-5. Lastly F didn’t have it all their own way, sharing the early ends but then opponent errors helped them to a 12-4 win.

Overall Suffolk now held their biggest lead, with a twelve point advantage over Sunderland, with Essex still loitering in third spot.

It was Essex who were up next for A, B and C and for the first time over the weekend, Suffolk would lose a session. A just simply couldn’t get a foothold in their game, one to forget and a 1-15 loss. B weren’t faring much better, always behind and they lost their first game of the competition by 7-12. The only bright spark of the session from a Suffolk perspective came from C, in the circumstances two crucial points from their 11-8 win.

Whilst Suffolk had a rest session, both Sunderland and Essex took their opportunity to close the gap. Suffolk now only had a seven point lead over Sunderland and eight over Essex.

After the session break, next up were three important games against Cambridgeshire and Suffolk needed to get the momentum back. It just didn’t happen, B couldn’t get started and despite trying everything, their game was lost 1-13. It was a similar story for C, as their unbeaten record went with a 4-11 defeat. However it was A who saved Suffolk’s blushes, but they had to fight right to the final end to record a 9-7 win.

Suffolk’s overall lead was now only three over Sunderland and four over Essex. Perhaps crucially though, both those counties had a rest session to come, so Suffolk’s destiny remained in their own hands.

Rinks D, E and F had to put a stop to this afternoon wobble. Bedfordshire were the opposition and they were in no mood to give Suffolk any easy games. All three games remained close until the middle ends, but then both D and F got ahead and didn’t look back. D going on to win 10-8, and F winning 12-6. For E, despite their best efforts, they couldn’t recover from a slow start and the game was lost 5-12. However four important points to maintain Suffolk’s overall lead.

It was Hertfordshire in the penultimate session and Suffolk knew that two wins would be enough to retain the National title with a session to spare. Three quality games played out and it was A who got the first win on the board by 12-7. The job was then completed by C, who kept it tight to start with and then broke away to record a 10-3 win. Unfortunately B were unable to make it a full house, losing the later ends and a 6-11 loss.

The final games of the weekend saw Durham as the opposition, D, E and F wanted to finish the weekend with a flourish and they did just that. F raced away to a 12-2 win, E ground out a low scoring 7-3 win and D did what they had done all weekend, controlled and composed bowling and a 10-7 win.

Overall the finishing positions were:

PTS Shots+ Shots-

1st
Suffolk

72

441

323

2nd
Sunderland

63

434

330

3rd
Essex

60

402

327

4th
Norfolk

49

386

341

5th
Durham

45

369

375

6th
Cambridgeshire

43

348

369

7th
Hertfordshire

43

344

390

8th
Northumberland

29

326

460

9th
Bedfordshire

28

316

451

Suffolk were National County champions for the fourth consecutive year.

Looking back at the event, Saturday had been a good day and given Suffolk a lead they could protect. Then on Sunday, despite two disappointing sessions, the team held their nerve and bowling well under pressure kept them just ahead of their closest opposition.

Special mention must go to Suffolk D who won all of their games and their consistent bowls across the entire weekend was quite remarkable. That said, every bowler contributed to the win and Suffolk can be proud of how the team played and conducted themselves.

The Suffolk team thank everyone who travelled to Potters and supported them during this long weekend of bowls, it was greatly appreciated.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


Inter County League Play-Off Match

On the evening of Friday 11 November at Potters, the 2016 Inter County League Play-Off match saw Suffolk face Sunderland.

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

Suffolk were hoping to regain the trophy, having lost it to Durham last year.

Each county were represented by six rinks (fours), each playing one nine end game.
Suffolk’s team was:

A: Pete Runnacles, Nick Wood, Mick Watkins, Paul Daniels
B: Sally Goodrich, Graham Davey, Andy Pooley, Sue Gilder
C: Sam Runnacles, Rita Runnacles, Clint Watling, Tom Runnacles
D: Don Allum, John Varden, Colin Fellingham, David Ford
E: Jim Goodrich, Ralph Sadgrove, Andy Gilder, Steven Cain
F: Sue Davey, Paul Leach, Peter Fellingham, Neil Jolly

The slow carpets at Potters take a bit of getting used to, so it was a scrappy start by both counties, before bowlers started to find their lines and length.

Suffolk D found their form first and two points on the board never looked in doubt, as they eased away to an 11-5 win.

Meanwhile rinks A, B and C were all involved in close games and at the halfway stage, any Suffolk win was far from certain. However whilst Suffolk B lost a tight game 4-7, the latter ends saw A and C secure leads which they just held on to. Suffolk A winning 9-7 and Suffolk C winning 10-5.

So with three wins already and a reasonable shot advantage, could rinks E and F see Suffolk through to the overall win?

Suffolk F were involved in a low scoring game but managed to get ahead with a few ends to play. They did just enough on their final end to protect that lead, holding on to an important 7-6 win and a crucial two points.

Despite Suffolk E’s best efforts, they were unable to reverse an early game deficit, running out of ends in losing 6-10.

Suffolk had won the match 8-4 (shots: 47 – 40) and were delighted to retain the Inter-County trophy.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)


2016/17 Suffolk Squad

The Suffolk squad trials took place on Sunday 16 October at Needham Market Community Centre.

Each bowler played six rinks games during the day, with every bowl scored on its accuracy.

The Selection Committee thanks Jane and Richard Sago, David Schofield, Graham Clampin and Keith Jolly who assisted and scored all of the games.

There was very little to choose between a number of bowlers on the day.

Whilst the team will consist of 24 bowlers, it was decided to go with a squad of 28, to give the Selection Committee flexibility and cover in the event of unavailability during the season.

After careful consideration of all who wished to be considered for selection, the bowlers selected for the 2016/17 season are:

Neil Jolly - Brockley – captain
Sally Goodrich - Claydon – selector
Steven Cain - Great Blakenham – selector
Don Allum – Bealings
Paul Daniels – Kelsale/ Belstead
Graham Davey – Cockfield
Sue Davey - Cockfield
Peter Elmy – Bealings
Colin Fellingham - Cockfield
Peter Fellingham – Cockfield
David Ford – Great Blakenham
Andy Gilder - Barking
Sue Gilder - Barking
Jim Goodrich – Claydon
Ellen Grube – Hundon
Steve Isles – Claydon
Sue Isles – Claydon
Paul Leach – Thurston/ Stanningfield
Andy Pooley – Great Blakenham
Pete Runnacles – Barking
Rita Runnacles – Barking
Sam Runnacles – Barking
Tom Runnacles – Barking
Ralph Sadgrove – Hundon
John Varden – Great Blakenham
Mick Watkins – Barking
Clint Watling – Claydon
Nick Wood - Hundon

The first challenge for the new Suffolk squad is to successfully defend their Eastern Counties league title. The first match is at home against Norfolk on Sunday 27 November 2016 at Bildeston Village Hall. Supporters are more than welcome, the match starts at 10.30am and refreshments are available.

Neil Jolly


2016 Six Counties Charity Teambowl

On Sunday 25 September, Bedfordshire 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 bowlers, four pairs and four triples, each playing one seven end game against each of the other counties.

Suffolk were hoping to win the Teambowl for the fourth consecutive year and add it to the league title and Six Counties already won in 2016. The team selected was:

S1: Steven Cain (single), Pete Runnacles & Andy Gilder (pair), Ellen Grube, Graham Davey & Sue Gilder (triple);

S2: Mick Watkins (single), John Varden & Colin Fellingham (pair), Sue Davey, Peter Fellingham & Neil Jolly (triple);

S3: Paul Daniels (single), Don Allum & David Ford (pair), Rita Runnacles, Nick Wood & Tom Runnacles (triple);

S4: Andy Pooley (single), Sally Goodrich & Sam Runnacles (pair), Jim Goodrich, Ralph Sadgrove & Clint Watling (triple);

Suffolk’s first opponents were Hertfordshire, with the four singles bowlers starting off. Two of the matches always looked like going Suffolk’s way with both Andy and Mick taking early leads, Andy winning 11-0 and Mick by 9-2. The other matches were tighter and ended up being shared, Paul winning 6-4 and Steven losing 3-7. Next on were the pairs and it was John/ Colin who made the best start and they eased away to an 11-3 win. Two further points were added when Pete/ Andy edged a close match 6-5. That was the end of Suffolk’s points though as Don/ David lost 6-9 and Sally/ Sam went down 5-9. Last on were the triples and S4 got off to a flying start and raced away to a convincing 13-1 win. The other three matches were far closer and went to the final ends with Suffolk just coming out on top, S1 winning 6-3, S3 winning 7-6 but S2 being edged out, losing 5-6. Overall it was a decent start from Suffolk, taking sixteen points off a strong Hertfordshire team.

Next up for Suffolk were Bedfordshire and again the singles got Suffolk off to a good start. Steven bounced back well to win 9-2, Mick and Andy carried on where they’d left off, winning 13-3 and 6-4 respectively. Unfortunately Paul was unable to make it a full house, losing a tight match 4-6. In the pairs, Don/ David responded well to their first match defeat by winning comfortably 11-4. Pete/ Andy gained their second win, with a 9-3 victory, but John/ Colin couldn’t do the same, losing 2-10. The highlight of the session though was a five shot last end from Sally/ Sam to steal a 10-9 victory from the jaws of defeat. The triples session started slowly for Suffolk but S1 settled any nerves by cruising to an 11-0 win. Further wins were added by S3 by 10-6 and S4 by 10-4. The maximum session was missed, but it was still a point gained when S2 salvaged a 6-6 draw. Nineteen points from the session against Bedfordshire took Suffolk into first place overall, five points ahead of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Essex were up next and four close singles matches were expected. Mick continued his fine form by winning 7-3. Andy and Steven were involved in similar matches, with a similar outcome, Andy winning by 6-4 and Steven by 7-4. Paul losing by 4-10.Three of the pairs matches were tight low scoring affairs and by the end Suffolk were delighted to come out unbeaten. John/ Colin winning 6-2, Sally/ Sam winning 6-3 and Pete/ Andy maintaining their unbeaten record with a single shot last end to secure a hard earned 4-4 draw. Unfortunately Don/ David just missed out, with an 8-10 defeat. The triples matches saw an identical outcome with Suffolk again getting five points. S4 played out an entertaining but very low scoring 3-3 draw and the wins were taken by S2 (7-2) and S3 (10-5). Again a full house was just missed when S1 lost 2-6. Overall Suffolk could be pleased with the sixteen points scored against Essex and that had increased their advantage at the top, seven points ahead of Norfolk and now eleven points ahead of Cambridgeshire.

The penultimate session and Cambridgeshire were the opponents. This time it was Paul who got the team off to a great start, two points never in doubt with a one-sided 15-1 win. Mick followed that up with another two points, doing just enough to win 8-6. It was session shared though as despite best efforts, Steven lost 4-6 and Andy by 5-7. In the pairs, Pete/ Andy continued their excellent form, controlling their match from start to finish, winning 11-1. For a while it looked like that might be it for Suffolk, as John/ Colin lost 4-9 and the other two matches were tight. However both Sally/ Sam and Don/ David battled until the end and were able to salvage a couple of crucial points with 6-6 draws. In the triples, it was S2 who got the first Suffolk points on the board with a dominant 15-1 win. The other matches were going to the wire though and all three Suffolk triples held their nerve to avoid defeat. S1 and S4 both winning by the odd shot 6-5 and 9-8 respectively, then with a superb last end, S3 snatched a 7-7 draw for another valuable point. Seventeen points from Cambridgeshire was a great return given how close some of the matches had been. However Norfolk had reduced Suffolk’s overall lead to just five points, with the top two to play each other next.

Suffolk went into their matches against Norfolk knowing that ten points were required to win the event. They needed the singles to get them off to another good start and they duly delivered. No-one was going to beat Mick and he secured his fifth win of the day, by 8-4. Further wins were then added by Steven (7-5) and Andy with a convincing 12-2. Four points needed quickly became just two when Don/ David eased away to a comfortable 13-4 win. Then overall victory was secured by Pete/ Andy with a 9-2 win. John/ Colin adding another point with a final end shot salvaging a 6-6 draw. Finally in the triples, there were three further wins for S2 (8-4), S3 (13-3) and S4 (7-4). Overall Suffolk had scored seventeen points against Norfolk, who had been their closest competition throughout the day.

The final points and standings were:

PTS
Suffolk

83
Norfolk

68
Hertfordshire

62
Cambridgeshire

58
Essex

48
Bedfordshire

41

It had been a good all round team performance from Suffolk with everyone contributing to the overall win and the significant margin of victory over the other counties. Particular mentions should go to:
Mick Watkins who won all of his singles matches;
The pair of Pete Runnacles/ Andy Gilder who were unbeaten with four wins and a draw;
The triples of Rita Runnacles/ Nick Wood/ Tom Runnacles and Jim Goodrich/ Ralph Sadgrove/ Clint Watling who were also unbeaten with four wins and a draw.

Neil Jolly (County Captain)