"I am a Norfolk man and Glory in being so." Horatio Nelson

Norfolk bowlers set their sights on UK Open glory

The SMPT UK Open has a new home this year resulting in a shorter journey for Norfolk entrants for the event which takes place on Saturday 19th August and Sunday 20th August. Falcon Bowling and Social Club in Chelmsford is the chosen venue and eight Norfolk bowlers will be making the trip in their quest for glory. The draw has ensured that Wymondham’s Chris Mann will need to be on top form as he has Ireland’s Gary McNabb & Andrew Cockcroft for company in Group 22 as well as England’s highly rated Danny Winmill. Past records show that Mann is more than capable of beating anyone who dares to stand in his way. In last year’s event Mann came close to clinching the title but lost in the final against Scotland’s Lawrence Moffet. Hempnall star Neil Davidson, known as the Singles Specialist, is drawn in Group 5 which is an all English group apart from the Isle of Man’s number one bowler Stephen Gale. Davidson should finish in the top two in this group, probably with James Trott, and will be determined to achieve success in his favoured discipline. Wymondham’s Jack Pye, who reached the semi-final last year before being defeated by fellow Wymondham bowler Chris Mann, will be more than happy with the draw that has placed him in Group 19. Sam Harvey of Wales should provide his biggest test. Ali Akbar of the United Arab Emirates and Robert Kristiansen of Norway are among the others in Jack’s group but anything but a top two place would be seen as a disappointment for Pye. Talented young Connaught bowler Jack Marshall and Wymondham’s captain Mark Linsdell will meet head to head in Group 23 on Saturday afternoon at 6.10pm. The group also includes Tone Boe a member of Norway’s World Cup team, and fellow Norwegian Kietil Gronseth. East Tuddenham’s England international Simon Willies has not had the easiest draw in Group 10. Fellow Englishmen Chris Page, Ben Pay & Alex Kley will all have their eyes on a top two qualifying place as will Nick Evans of Wales and Willies will have to draw on all his vast experience to progress. John Jeffery of Wymondham is drawn in Group 8 where Jonathan Payne of Belgium, number 3 in the SMPT World Rankings, is the big fish while fellow Wymondham bowler Debbie Pye is in Group 17 where she will play, among others, Muhammad Abu Baker of United Arab Emirates, Lars Hansen of Sweden and Andrew Evans of Wales. Defending champion Lawrence Moffat of Scotland is in Group 18 and should progress with ease. The Irish stars will no doubt make their presence felt, Pauline Beattie is in Group 29, P.J Gallagher is in Group 12, Joe Beattie is in Group 14 and SMPT World ranked number 2 Mark Beattie is in Group 6. Welsh ace Stephen Williams is in Group 1 while Jonathan Payne of Belgium, ranked number 3 in the World, is in Group 8. Group 13 includes an entry from Poland, John Joseph Pajak. World number 8 Stephen Proctor of Cheshire & England is in Group 15.    

chris mann sized

           Chris Mann - Runner Up last time around hopes to go one better