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The 8th edition of the Hemsby Pairs took place over the weekend of 4th to 7th April 2014.

The regular Friday and Saturday evening Fours warm-up saw only the Holland/Blundell and the Causton/Day/Agnew teams emerge unscathed from Friday night's games, although 2 other teams dropped only one point apiece and were more than in with a chance of taking the win.

The Causton/Day/Agnew team won their first Saturday game, while Holland/Blundell lost, and coming up on the outside were the Squares & Gunnells who won to go on to 5 points and in to second place.

A win in the final game would see Causton/Day Agnew win, but as it was they lost. And the same was true for the Squares/Gunnell team, except that they could only manage a draw. Both teams finished on 6 points, both teams had scored 26 shots and both teams had conceded 21 shots. So what of the Hollands & Blundells? They won to also finish on 6 points. And what of their shots? In the end all they needed were just 4 to win it and they got..... 13 to finish on top.

The 39 competing Pairs were divided up into 6 groups, 3 of 6 and 3 of 7. To ensure that everyone got to play the same number of games during the group stages, the teams in the groups of 6 played a 6th game against a team from another group.

Group 1
Lin & Tony Cooke
won their first 2 games to lead the group, but they were being matched by the surprise package of Sheila & Aubrey Mann who had done the same.

The two teams continued their winning ways into Saturday afternoon, both making it 3 wins out of 3 and taking them 3 points clear of the next best team.

Heading into the last games of the day the leaders looked well set, but there was still time for that to change and sure enough it did, for both teams, as they both recorded losses. Although they were still out in front they were now just 1 point clear of Bryn & Margaret Bowyer.

The two leaders met one another first thing on Sunday in what was bound to be a crunch game, whoever won would probably secure their progress into the Knockout Rounds. It was close early on, but the Cookes eventually took the win to give them a 2 point lead in the group and see them safely through.

Meanwhile, after a dodgy start to the weekend Jane Evans & Mike Walker took 2 big wins on Sunday to secure third place and a qualifying spot. Meanwhile Lin & Tony lost their final game, but had already done enough to qualify, which left the Bowyers to come through and win the group at the very last.

Group 2
Tony & Fay Turner
and Richard & Linda Cornell were quick out of the blocks, starting their weekend off with 2 wins a piece to make the early running. But while the Cornells took a third win, the Turners lost, leaving them tied for second with Dot & Syd Tanner.

The Cornells finished Saturday with a fourth win, one of only two teams to have done so, and led by 2 points from the Tanners who went into a clear second place by beating the Turners.

Having looked comfortable on Saturday the Cornells started Sunday with a loss and with the Tanners winning the two of them were now tied for the lead. Another win for the Tanners saw them win the group with the Cornells in second and the Turners sneaking through as the final qualifiers despite gaining just 6 points from their 6 games.

Group 3
Reigning champions Ron Dean & Paul Daniels and Trish & Sam Agnew both took a pair of wins on Saturday morning to share the early lead of the group. And the two teams then squared off against one another for their respective third games. The match ended in a draw to maintain the status quo in the group.

However the two teams were finally split in the fouth round. While Ron & Paul took another win to move on to 7 points, the Agnews lost to Ann & Alan Blundell, a result which left both pairs on 5 points and tied for second.

Ron & Paul had a poor start to Sunday by losing and with the Agnews and Blundells both winning there was now a 3-way tie for the lead.

The final set of games saw wins for all top 3 teams and with 9 points a piece they all qualified comfortably.

Group 4
Dougie Wright & Beryl Rogers
were off to a flying start with 2 wins to give them sole lead of the group. But their first game of Saturday afternoon saw them face their closest rivals Geoff & Margaret Holland who were sitting a point behind.

And it was the Hollands that won, leapfrogging Dougie & Beryl to take the lead of the group, while Ken Drane & Valerie Game won their second game to now tie for second place.

By the end of Saturday this was the only group without a clear leader and was by far the closest fought. Dougie & Beryl and Ken and Val were leading with 6 points, but just a point behind them were the Hollands and Alan & Josie Long.

Ken & Val started Sunday off with a win which, along with the other results, was enough to guarantee them qualification and a win in their final game which saw them winning the group by a clear 3 points from the Longs.

Group 5
Owen Alcock & Daphne Leggett
were the only team to win their first 2 games and as a consequence were the early leaders.

And they carried that good form into their third game, registering another win, however they were only one point ahead of both Peter & Kay Masters and Harold & Patricia Ball, who so far had dropped just a point each.

However Saturday ended with the Masters' beating Owen & Daphne and taking the top spot, while the Balls lost to drop them into third, 2 points off the lead.

Peter and Kay first game on Sunday was another win which took them on to 9 points and was sufficient to see them qualify with a game still to play.

A final win for Peter & Kay saw them secure the group win as the only team in all the groups not to have lost a group game. Harold & Patricia took one more win to come in as runners-up and Owen & Daphne came though in third.

Group 6
Right from the start it looked as if the fight for the group win was going to come down to a tussle between John Whiting & Gordon Bloomfield and Neil Tuckey & Michael Cooper. Both teams had maximum points after their first pair of games and were already 2 points clear of the rest.

And it was the same story in the next set of games, as the two teams headed for a showdown in Saturday's final game still tied for the lead.

A win for one or the other of them would set them up well for the Sunday and it was Neil & Michael who took a decisive 12-6 win to see them finish the day unbeaten. Despite the loss John & Gordon were still in a clear second place.

Neil & Michael began Sunday with another win which gave them automatic qualification, but stumbled in their last, although they had done enough to win the group ahead of John & Gordon, by just 3 shots.

First Round

Ann & Alan Blundell's win over Alan & Josie Long had it's basis in a 6 shot haul early on in the game, they went on to a 12-2 win.

Neil Tuckey & Michael Cooper were 3 all with 2 ends to go against Jane Evans & Mike Walker, but the final ends very very stong for Neil & Michael who took the win 10-3.

The only team not to lose a game took on the team that came in as the final qualifiers in the game between Peter & Kay Masters and Tony & Fay Turner and as might have been predicted it went against form. It had to go down to the final end and indeed the final wood but the Turners took the game 6-5.

Richard & Linda Cornell were have the best of their game against Bryn & Margaret Bowyer, but sealed victory with a 5 on the penultimate end, winning 9-1.

Reigning champions Ron Dean & Paul Daniels were outplayed by Harold & Patricia Ball, despite taking the first end they lost 10-3.

A 4 on the 4th end for Lin & Tony Cooke put them in good stead against Gordon Bloomfield & John Whiting, but the next end saw that advantage more than wiped out as Gordon & John took a 5, holding on to win 8-6.

Ken Drane & Val Game and Owen Alcock & Daphne Leggett had to go in to extra time to settle their game. The early woods in that end were telling and Owen was not able to break into the head. Ken & Val won 8-5.

The advantage in the game between Syd & Dot Tanner and Sam & Trish Agnew switched back and forth between the 2 teams and it was all square at 6-6 with an end to go at which point victory was sealed by the Agnews with 2 shots which sealed the win.

Quarter Finals
Gordon Bloomfield & John Whiting put up a good fight against Neil Tuckey & Michael Cooper, but their opposition were just too strong for them. Although they ran them closer than in their previous encounter Tuckey & Cooper had an answer for everything that their opposition had to offer and were able to take a controlled 7-4 win.

As if doing it once wasn't enough Tony & Fay Turner upset the form book once more. This time their victims were Harold & Patricia Ball who hardly got a look in after the first couple of ends. The Turners won 8-3.

Ken Drane & Val Game were once again in convincing form as they pushed aside Richard & Linda Cornell 7-2. And it was much the same for Ann & Alan Blundell as they ran out 11-3 winners over Sam & Trish Agnew.

Semi Finals
The jack going off on the first end of the game between Ken Drane & Val Game and Neil Tuckey & Michael Cooper set the tone for the rest of the game. That gave Neil & Michael the early advantage and they didn't look back. On the second end Ken could do no better than cut the count down to 3 and at that point the writing was on the wall. For Neil & Michael it was just a matter of covering off the big counts after than and in doing so they were still able to extend the lead, finally taking a convincing 9-1 victory.

And the story was much the same in the other match. After a good run the wheels finally came off the Turner bus as Tony & Fay fell victim to Ann & Alan Blundell. Too many wasted woods early on in the game was their downfall. Once Ann & Alan were out in front they just kept extending their lead, wrapping the game up with an end to go and finishing impressive 13-1 winners.

There would be no new name on the winners trophy this year as either the 2011 or 2012 champions were going to be the first repeat winners of the Hemsby Pairs.

But first things first, Ann & Alan did not bowl badly by any means, in fact they bowled very well, but Michael and particularly Neil were in superb form once again. A terrific last wood on the first end to play the shot wood off and leave himself with 3 was the first indication that Neil was not going to let this one go.

A small error of judgement meant that a big count was lost on the second end but Neil & Michael still took one.

A great last wood on the third finally got the Blundells on the scoreboard. And the same thing happened on the fourth but this time it was Neil who took the shot.

The fifth end also went the way of Tuckey & Cooper, this time for 2 and by now they were 7-1 up.

The penultimate end was a win for the Blundells, but it was just by a single shot and going into the last end with a 5 shot defecit and with the opposition having final wood it was an almost impossible ask.

And so it proved to be. Neil and Michael took a single to come home 8-2 winners.

On any other day against any other opposition Ann & Alan who in all probability would have been good enough to take the title, as evidenced by the way they swept through the preceeding rounds, but not today and not against two very deserving winners.

The full results can be found here.

As usual many thanks to everyone who was involved over the weekend and for helping us to raise another £256 via the raffle to add to the tally already donated to the East Anglia Air Ambualance.

10th April 2014

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Our next event will be Hayling Island, June 2014