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

Mark Linsdell bound for Belfast

Wymondham’s Mark Linsdell (pictured) will be Norfolk’s sole competitor in the SMPT Irish Open in Belfast. With Norfolk Premier beginning their I.C.C campaign against Kent Premier on the 16th October, and Norfolk “A” playing Suffolk the same day, the clash of dates has prevented other Norfolk players from entering. Mark Linsdell decided to rest from County bowls this winter so he was able to enter the Irish Open which is played over two days on the 15th & 16th October. The popular event has attracted a full entry of 216 bowlers who will play in 36 groups of six. As usual the top two in each group qualify for the knock-out section of the main cup competition. As to be expected the Irish Open will feature several of the most successful Irish players among the 151 Irish bowlers competing, and they will be expected to dominate proceedings. Mark Linsdell will be reasonably pleased with the draw which has placed him in Group 35. With Linsdell in that group are Cennydd Howell of Wales, Sandy McDonald of Scotland and Gerard Moen, Ciaran Green & Tanya Armstrong all of Ireland. Group 4 should provide some excellent matches with Ireland’s Joseph Beattie, P J Gallagher, Glenn Harvey & Andrew Robinson all taking part as well as Peter Roberts & Derek Coates. Certainly if anyone can stop an Irish victory it will be World Singles Champion Jonathan Payne of Belgium who is in Group 8. World Masters Champion Gary McNabb of Ireland is in Group 18, the eight time Irish Ladies Singles Champion Pauline Beattie is in Group 24, Ray Stubbs is in Group 6 and England’s Stephen Proctor is in Group 25. Proctor won the Norwegian Open in 2017 and is SMPT World Ranked number two. Five more noted Irish bowlers are Jal Richardson in Group 29, Mark Beattie in Group 10, PJ McCrossan in Group 34, Andrew Leckey in Group 20 and Ray Stubbs in Group 6. Cecil Dillon is in Group 17 and he will be keen to add to his previous success in SMPT events. England’s James Trott and Sweden’s Joel Hager meet in Group 30 while former ESMBA Chairman Chris Hopkins of Northants is drawn in Group 28. Two other England bowlers who could feature in the closing stages are Ed Sawbridge from Group 7 and Nigel Nicholls from Group 5. Whatever the eventual outcome one thing that looks certain is that once again the SMPT will provide another great weekend of bowls.

mark linsdell rs20