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This time last year there was so much snow about that some of our guests were unable even to join us. This year the weather was somewhat less seasonal but very much more agreeable.

Outside of the main event we gave everyone the chance to play some Fours games across Friday and Saturday evenings, as a warm-up to the main event.

Each team had 2 games each night and after day one we had 5 teams who came through with 2 wins out of 2.

Of the 4 teams that won both their games on Friday night, all but one were able to continue on to finish with perfect records.

Third place went to George & Joy Kitchen and Lynne & Alistair Kermath who took 36 shots from their 4 wins, second were Peggy Newton & Marie Pollen and Mike & Rita Daniels who finished on 40 shots, but 3 shots better than that and the winners of the competition were Ann Potter & Jill Quadling, Bill Wedgwood and Chris Tilbrook.

Game 1

We started off the weekend with a more than average number of sixes on a single end (costing us a fiver each time), which resulted in several very healthy scores to get a number of teams off to a great start.

Of the 21 teams who won their first game, 9 were already into double figures on shots.

Leading the way were last year's winners Valerie Game & Ken Drane on 17 shots, Alan & Josie Long and Mike Walker & Shirley Tilbrook, on 16 shots, Keith & Prim Hume on 13 shots and Linda Cornell & Janet Squares on 12 shots.

Game 2
Inevitably, for such an early stage in the proceedings, there was plenty of change with the second set of games having been played, foremost amongst which was the leaders losing.

Plenty of change at the top then, and we were already down to just 8 teams who had won both of their games.

Alan & Josie Long moved up to the top spot on 28 shots, followed by Linda Cornell and Janet Squares , whose husbands had also won 2 out of 2, had 24 shots. Joy Kitchen & Joy Spriggs were 3rd on 21 shots, Dave Cask & Jane Evans were on 18 and Keith & Prim Hume had 17 shots from their 2 wins, the same as Messrs Cornell and Squares. And the final pair of pairs on 4 points were Irene & Joe Woodward and Peter & Kay Masters.

Game 3
The midway point in the Round Robin stage of the weekend and although it was by the narrowest of margins the leaders, Alan & Josie Long, were able to keep their winning streak alive and thereby retain the top spot.

They were keeping company with an ever smaller number of teams, while teams that had started with a loss but won both of their next were starting to make their mark.

The teams that had made it this far without dropping a single point now numbered just 4. Behind the leaders were now Joy Kitchen & Joy Spriggs, Keith & Prim Hume and Peter & Kay Masters, all on 6 points.

And behind them there was a huge pack of 17 teams, all of whom had won 2 and lost one, including half a dozen who had begun the day with a loss.

Game 4
The end of Saturday's play and judging from past events, anyone who made it to this stage having won all there games, would be all but guaranteed a top 16 finish, thereby booking themselves a spot in Sunday afternoon's Knockout Stage. And with that final qualifying spot being held by a team who already had 2 losses to their name, those who hadn't dropped a point yet were looking fairly secure.

And the only teams that managed to do so at this stage were Alan & Josie Long, who had never been lower than second place all day, Joy Kitchen & Joy Spriggs, very much the surprise package of the day, and Keith & Prim Hume.

The chasing pack of 8 teams were all 2 points adrift and were led by Valerie Game & Ken Drane who had clawed they way back up after losing their second game, and Linda Cornell & Janet Squares who, despite losing their third game had never been outside the top 6.

Meanwhile at the opposite end of the spectrum everyone had finally managed to get off the mark. Usually there is at least one team who fails to score a point over the weekend, but this time around, everyone had managed at least a draw in their first 4 games.

Game 5
Sunday's first set of games was the point at which we would definitely see the first teams cement their places in the last 16.

And indeed we did, the top 3 teams continued on their winning runs and duly guaranteed their top 16 slots. Alan & Josie Long were still leading, Keith & Prim Hume edged into second and Joy Kitchen & Joy Spriggs were now third.

The next four teams, although not yet guaranteed to go through looked to be fairly safe and in fact were certain to qualify so long as they could manage at least a point from their final games. They were Valerie Game & Ken Drane, Linda Cornell & Janet Squares, Dave Cask & Jane Evans and Anita Swann & Rita Daniels who had been slowly working their way up after losing the first game fo the day.

After that it was every man from himself with a group of 12 teams on 6 points all looking as of they would be vying for one of the remaining 9 spots.

Game 6
The final Round Robin games.

After a great run of results Joy Kitchen & Joy Spriggs finally lost a game, but by now they were safely through. However the other 2 teams at the top finished with their 6th wins out of 6.

It came down to just a couple of shots in the end, but Alan & Josie Long came out on top, just ahead of Keith & Prim Hume.

Third place went to Dave Cask & Jane Evans who lost just one game, as did the two Joys and Anita Swann & Rita Daniels.

A further 2 points back, having won 4 and lost 2 games were Lin & Tony Cooke, Val Game & Ken Drane, Linda Cornell & Janet Squares, Gordon Bloomfield & John Whiting, Sybil Baldwin & Brenda Reed, Trish & Sam Agnew and Peter & Kay Masters.

Lynne & Alistair Kermath, Brian & Sheila Foreman and Sylvia Disley and Les Buckton were the next group, finishing on 7 points. The final spot would have gone to Mike Walker & Shirley Tilbrook who were the best of the teams to have won 3 and lost 3, but unfortunately Sylvia and Les were unable to play on in the afternoon, so their replacements were Mike & Judy Easy, one of 3 teams to finish on 6 points and 44 shots, but managed to make there way through by virtue of having conceded 5 less shots than their rivals.

Knockout Stages
Round 1
Most of the games went to form, but there were one or two surprises. One of those was not Alan & Josie Long against Mike & Judy Easy. The Longs won 8-3, but it was a game which all hinged on the third end which yielded a decisive 4 shots.

Gordon Bloomfield & John Whiting were 4 shots up after a couple of ends, but Linda Cornell & Janet Squares clawed their way back to take the lead, although it was level again with one end to go, which the ladies duly won to take the game 7-5.

Anita Swann & Rita Daniels' game against Peter & Kay Masters swung first one way and then the other and was another one to be decided on the last end as Anita & Rita took 2 shots to go from 1 down to win by 1 shot.

Joy Kitchen & Joy Spriggs had enjoyed a great run of results through Saturday and on into Sunday morning, but had lost their last Round Robin game and now fell at the first hurdle against Lynne & Alistair Kermath in a game which fell away from them in a last three ends which saw them go from 4-2 up to finally losing 10-4.

Keith & Prim Hume had looked untouchable through the Round Robin games and seemed to have their tie against Mike Walker & Shirley Tilbrook nicely sewn up 5 ends in and 7-1 up. Even having lost 2 shots on the penultimate end they still looked to be in a very strong position. But not only did they loose the last end they lost 5 shots, enough to lose the game 7-8.

Val Game & Ken Drane were already 7-0 up after 2 ends against Sybil Baldwin & Brenda Reed and were able to cruise home to a 10-2 victory.

Lin & Tony Cooke were also never in danger, after taking 5 on the first end they were able to a comfortable 11-3 win over Trish & Sam Agnew.

By the time Brian & Sheila Foreman got on the board against Dave Cask & Jane Evans, the game was already decided. They took 2 on the last end, to lose 11-2.

Quarter Finals
Alan & Josie Long
continued their very strong run of form against Linda Cornell & Janet Squares. Even after taking all 6 shots on the first end, they continued on to take an impressive 19-3 win, the biggest score of the weekend.

Mike Walker & Shirley Tilbrook took themselves into a nice 6-2 lead after 4 ends, against Val Game & Ken Drane. The next end though, the lead had been pulled back to 6-5 and Val & Ken seemed to be back in the game. However Mike & Shirley replied immediatly with 5 shots on the next end to put the game all but out of reach. It ended 11-6 in Mike & Shirley's favour.

Anita Swann & Rita Daniels led Lynne & Alistair Kermath well into their match, but 4 shots on the penultimate end saw a 2 shot deficit turn into a 2 shot advantage for the Kermaths and they were able to take the last end, finally winning 8-5.

The biggest turnaround though was left to Lin & Tony Cooke who were 5-0 down to Dave Cask & Jane Evans after 4 ends but took all six on the next to suddenly take the lead. And the one shot they took on the next end meant that they could afford to drop one on the last and still take the game 7-6.

Lynne & Alistair Kermath
were unlucky enough to be drawn against Alan & Josie Long who were playing some great bowls. And whilst they ran the Longs pretty much as close as anyone else had over the weekend, they were still unable to defeat them. The ends were all close, but the majority of them went the way of the Longs who finished 8-1 winners, although that was hardly a fair reflection of the closeness of the game.

In contrast the result of the game between Mike Walker & Shirley Tilbrook and Lin & Tony Cooke was truly in doubt all they way through. At 4 ends it was just 3-2 in favour of the Cookes, but Mike & Shirley took 4 ends to take what looked like a good lead at 6-3 and only 2 ends to go. But Lin & Tony were right back to level as they took 3 on the penultimate end and then clung on to a single shot on the last to take the win and make it through to their 3rd final with us, although they were still looking for their first win against a pair who already had one win under their belts.

With the two teams having played so well to reach this stage the Final promised much and it is certainly true to say that the game more than lived up to it's promise.

Alan and Josie took the first end with a single shot, but Lin & Tony responded with 3 on the nest to take the lead. The Longs were back even on the next end and with 2 more were 5-3 up 4 ends in. But the Cookes arrested their opponent's momentum with another 3 to propel themselves back into the lead by one shot.

The penultimate end also looked to be going the way of Lin & Tony, but Alan nicked it with his final wood, taking 2 shots to regain the lead by a single shot.

Down to the final end then, and the game could still have gone either way. The Longs gained the early advantage, kept it tight and took one shot to finish 8-6 up in one of the best finals we have had the pleasure to witness.

The win gave the Longs their second win with us, while the Cookes were left as runners-up for the third time.

You can find all the results here.

And Finally
Many thanks to everyone who joined us and for helping us to raise a record sum of nearly
£400 for the East Anglia Air Ambulance.

5th December 2011

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Our next event will be Hemsby, April 2012