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The seventh running of the Hemsby Pairs produced new winners once again this year.

Friday and Saturday evenings were taken up with a short Fours tournament. Each team had two games per night.

Following Friday's games there were 3 teams who were unbeaten, and two of those went on to make it 4 wins out of four, leaving it down to the shots to decide the winners.

Lin & Tony Cooke and Jim & Janet Squares completed their 4 wins with 30 shots to their names, but Brian & Grace Crump and Carol & Richard Phillips pipped them to the post by scoring 38 shots to crown them the winners.

As usual the event was run on a group basis, although this year the groups were larger than usual, with 8 teams in each, giving everyone 7 games in which to qualify for the knockout stages.

The top four teams from each group would go through, although finishing higher would give teams the advantage of a better seeding in the rounds that were to follow.

Group 1
This was the closest of the groups in the early stages. With each team having played 3 games there was still no clear leader as 5 teams had won 2 and lost one. They were, in order, Eileen & Doug Adamson, Peter & Diane Orrin, Ron Dean & Paul Daniels, Brenda Reed & Sylvie Vaughan and Alan & Ann Blundell.

However with 4 games played things changed. Although there was still no clear leader, the pack at the top of the group was down to just 3 teams, Eileen & Doug Adamson, Ron Dean & Paul Daniels and Alan & Ann Blundell.

Ron & Paul were the only ones of the leading group to win their fifth game, putting them into a 2 point lead. And with their fifth win they secured the group win with a game still to go. Behind them the Orrins, Adamsons and Blundells were all tied on 7 points.

Ron & Paul finished their games with another win to take them to 12 points. The Adamsons and Blundells finished 3 points back in second and third places respectively, while the Orrins finished fourth on 7 points.

Group 2
The clear leaders with 3 games played were Neil Tuckey & Michael Cooper, having won all 3. Sheila & Brian Foreman were also undefeated, but had drawn one of their games and were therefore a point adrift of the leaders, while Martin & Marilyn Bennet and Marjorie Bilton & Rita Daniels had both won 2 and lost 1.

Neil & Michael and the Foreman's continued their unbeaten runs with 4 games played and were on 8 and 7 points respectively, while Marjorie Bilton & Rita Daniels were clear in 3rd on 6 points.

Neil & Michael won their fifth game and went into a 2 point lead as the Foremans recorded their first loss.

However the next game had the top 2 teams playing one another and it saw the Foremans take a surprise win, although Neil and Michael stayed top.

Neil & Michael pulled themselves back together again for their final game, winning it to finish top on 12 points. The Foremans were a point behind in second, third place went to the Bennets who had finished strongly and the final qualifiers were Marjorie & Rita.

Group 3
Keith Cockings & Mick Rogers had won each of their first 3 games, putting themselves 2 points clear of their nearest opposition, who were Chris Nunn & Shirley Tilbrook, Valerie Game & Ken Drane and Margaret & Geoff Holland.

However the leaders recorded their first loss of the weekend in their next game while the other 3 leading teams won, pulling them back into what was now a group of 4 teams, all on 6 points.

Keith & Mick were back on the winning trail while Chris & Shirley were the only other team in the group to collect their fourth win, leaving those two teams clear at the top.

For their sixth games the top 2 teams played one another and it was Keith and Mick that came out on top, pushing Chris and Shirley back into a 3 way fight for the runner-up spot with Val & Ken and a fast rising Mike & Judy Easy.

Keith & Mick finally finished top on 12 points, Val & Ken were second with 10 points and Chris & Shirley and the Easys both finished on 8 points.

Group 4
Lin & Tony Cooke made the best start with 3 wins out of 3. One point behind them were Ernie & Sheila Bullock who were still unbeaten, while Mark Levell & Mike Daniels and Peter & Kay Masters were all a further point back, having both won 2 and lost 1.

The next round of games saw the Cookes knocked off their perch as the lost, although they were still in a clear second place. The Bullocks, however, continued their unbeaten run and were now a point clear at the top.

However the next round of games saw the positions reversed as the Cookes won and the Bullocks lost.

The Cookes next win saw them secure the group victory with a game in hand, while the Bullocks were now tied with Sam & Trish Agnew who were catching up after a slow start.

Lin & Tony finished with another win to make it 6 out of 7, well ahead of the rest, any of whom could have qualified going into the final round of games. As it was the rest of the qualifiers all finished on 7 points, the Masters made it with 45 shots, the Agnews on 40 shots and Jane Evans & Mike Walker, who had come from being nowhere overnight also had 40 shots to their name, just edging out the Bullocks by a couple of shots.

First Round

Even though the first part of the First Round featured all the group winners playing all the teams that had finished fourth, there were no run away victories, even though all those who had won their groups made it through.

Ron Dean & Paul Daniels came from 5-0 down to edge their game against Marjorie Bilton & Rita Daniels 7-6, by getting 3 on the last end. Neil Tuckey & Michael Cooper took until the third end to get into the lead against Peter & Diane Orrin, but controlled the game after that to win 8-3. Keith Cockings & Mick Rogers were always in control of their game against Jane Evans & Mike Walker as they eased their way to an 8-1 win, while Lin & Tony Cooke had the best of a close game with Mike & Judy Easy, taking the win 6-2.

And it was much the same story in the second part of the First Round. Val Game & Ken Drane had a close game against Sam & Trish Agnew, just edging it 5-3. Peter & Kay Masters match with Chris Nunn & Shirley Tilbrook went down to the last end with the Masters edging the game 7-6. Martin & Marilyn Bennet took an 8-4 win over Eileen & Doug Adamson, while the most clear cut result was Alan & Ann Blundell's 10-2 victory over Sheila & Brian Foreman.

Quarter Finals
After a couple of close ends Martin & Marilyn Bennet stretched their legs in the middle of their game against Keith Cockings & Mick Rogers, taking a 10-1 win.

Lin & Tony Cooke took the first end of their game against Alan & Ann Blundell, but the Blundells won the next 4 ends and took the game 10-6.

Neil Tuckey & Michael Cooper edged into an early lead against Peter & Kay Masters, then piled on the shots in the middle of the game and brought it home for an 11-2 win.

Without a 6 shot count on the second end for Ron Dean & Paul Daniels the result of their game against Val Game & Ken Drane would have been very different, as it was those shots held them in good stead, enabling them to hold on to win 10-5.

Alan & Ann Blundell
led Martin & Marilyn Bennet up to the 5th end, but not by much and the Bennets came on strong at the end, levelling the score on the 6th end and taking victory over the reigning champions 6-4.

Former champions Neil Tuckey & Michael Cooper were already 5-0 up after 2 ends against Ron Dean & Paul Daniels, but Ron & Paul dragged their way back up and into the lead with 4 consecutive winning ends (and some heroics from Ron), enabling them to defend on the last end and take a surprising 8-6 victory.

Despite winning the first 3 ends and having 4 shots in hand at that early stage Ron & Paul were never comfortably ahead of Martin & Marilyn. It was only a matter of time before the Bennets, who were the more consistent of the two pairs got themselves on the scoreboard.

And so it proved as the Bennets edged their way back into contention by winning each of the next 3 ends, to go into the last end just one shot in arrears.

And it looked like, at the very least, they were going to be taking the game into an extra end until Ron's penultimate wood which somehow got into the head and dropped itself safely in front of the jack with blocking woods on both hands. Martin was left with little but a miracle to hope for but sadly it wasn't forthcoming and Ron & Paul were able to forego their final wood and take the title with a 5-3 win.

Although Martin & Marilyn had on balance played the better bowls it was Ron and Paul who, not for the first time during the weekend, had had pretty much any good fortune that was going, and that was what made the difference in the end.

You can find all the results here.

And Finally
Although the numbers here this year were a little lower than before, it had no impact on the quality of the bowls which happily was probably as good as we have ever seen.

The draw made £265, another remarkable effort on behalf of the East Anglia Air Ambulance.

All of which made for another great weekend.

8th April 2013

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Our next event will be Lakeside, June 2013