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

David Lamb retains Bure Singles title

The Bure Singles Championship Finals Night produced a repeat of last year with Halvergate’s David Lamb & East Tuddenham’s Chris Mann meeting in the final hosted by Horsford BC. It was an impressive last eight line-up that had qualified for the finals night and the draw for the quarter-finals, that was made immediately prior to the commencement of play, made sure that a couple of the favourites were bound to take an early bath. East Tuddenham’s Gary Best & Chris Mann were paired on mat one while Halvergate’s county stars Keith Cooke & David Lamb were set to meet on mat two. In the other quarter-finals East Tuddenham’s former West Mids favourite Simon Willies was drawn to play Woodbastwick and former Norfolk Premier bowler Peter Jablonowski while East Tuddenham and ex England bowler Melly Woods was drawn to play Steve Hall of Hevingham who had replaced Peter Fox of Horsford Heroes following his withdrawal. The first session saw Simon Willies make a flying start against Peter Jablonowski on mat two and by the sixth end the game was effectively over with Willies leading 13-1 in a game he eventually won 15-5. On mat one Melvin Woods proved too hot to handle for Steve Hall as he produced a 14-6 win. With four of the “big beasts” meeting in the second session of quarter-finals much tighter games were expected and spectators were not disappointed as two fascinating games were played out. David Lamb made a great start racing into a 6-1 lead against Keith Cooke after five ends but Cooke produced a determined comeback to cut the deficit to 7-4 with an end remaining. But try as he may Cooke could only score two shots on the last end leaving David Lamb with a 7-6 win and a place in the semi-finals. On mat one Gary Best took a single on the opening end against Chris Mann but the next two ends went Mann’s way as he built up a 5-1 lead. With both bowlers trading shot for shot Best pulled himself back into the game and by the seventh end it was all square at 6-6. But the next two ends saw the balance of power shift again as Mann scored counts of three on both the eighth & ninth ends to lead 12-6 and clinch the game with one end remaining. After the interval it was semi-final time and the match between Chris Mann & Melly Woods saw them tied at 5-5 after six ends. But after that Chris Mann did not drop another shot as he completed a 13-5 win and a place in the final yet again. The other semi-final between David Lamb & Simon Willies went to the wire. Lamb scored singles on the first three ends to lead 3-0 but Willies proved a tough opponent and with nine ends played this low scoring game was level at 5-5. With all to play for on the final end, and David Lamb holding shot, Simon Willies was tempted into using weight to try and snatch victory but the tactic failed and the defending champion David Lamb held on to his one shot to win 6-5 and set up a repeat of last year’s final. The mat was then moved into a neutral position diagonally across the floor for the final. With both players attempting to find the line on the first end David Lamb claimed a single. Lamb opened the second end by drawing a forehand bowl onto the jack and added a second and third to put Chris Mann under pressure. Mann then ran at the jack but hit the block and Lamb drew in to hold a full house. The head was still quite open but Chris Mann was slightly heavy with his attempted draw and his bowl ran past the head leaving Lamb 5-0 up. David Lamb was now in the groove and three excellent bowls saw him take control of the third end. Mann elected to attack but his shot only took one bowl out of the count. Lamb then drew his final bowl in to hold three again but Chris Mann finally got on the board by drawing in a perfect last wood. Mann opened the next end well and held two shots before Lamb ditched the jack leading to him scoring two shots and taking a decisive 7-1 lead. Chris Mann was now playing more like his normal self and came right back into the game taking three shots on the fifth end to cut the deficit to 7-4. He looked set for another good end on the sixth before David Lamb drew in a perfect final bowl to lead 8-4. On the seventh end Chris Mann settled for a single rejecting a chance to push the jack back for a possible three and another single followed on the eighth end to cut Lamb’s lead to 8-6. An intriguing penultimate end saw both players having to draw close to the ditch line with the jack just in the ditch. The result was Chris Mann emerging with two shots and the game was level at 8-8 going into the final end. David Lamb got the early advantage by drawing two bowls to the jack which forced an attacking bowl from Chris Mann. Although he ditched the jack the end was still wide open and a measure had to be called for to decide shot after all the bowls had been played. This left David Lamb with shot wood and he had retained the Bure Singles Championship title after an excellent final which also completed a hat-trick of Bure titles for Halvergate on successive evenings in the Bure Championships.

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