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

Both Norfolk teams finish top of their I.C.C groups

After playing their last games in the Inter-County Championship group stages both Norfolk Premier and Norfolk “A” have finished top of their respective groups. There will have been some disappointment though as Norfolk Premier’s long unbeaten run, stretching back to the semi-final of the 2014-15 season, came to an end with a narrow 22-18 defeat in Essex. Norfolk began the opening singles games brightly with Gary Best leading Don Reed 8-1 after five ends while Chris Mann led Nigel Reed 6-0 with three ends on the board. Things went downhill from there though as Mann lost six of the next seven ends on his way to a 17-13 defeat while Best found himself level at 11-11 going into the last end where he dropped a single. In the pairs Simon Warnes & Jon Sparham have had a difficult season so far and will be disappointed to drop three shots on the final end to lose 14-13. The one bright spot was a superb showing by the young pairing of Morgan Warnes & Jack Pye who romped to a 20-4 victory and left their opponents shell-shocked. Another poor session followed as both David Lamb’s rink and Simon Willies’ rink went down by the identical score of 13-10 and Keith Cooke’s triple lost 10-6. Nigel Willard, Jason Woods & Melvin Woods of Carter provided the only win of session two beating Tony Ealham’s triple 14-6 after winning the last six ends. Back on came the singles and pairs for session three and this time honours were even. Morgan Warnes & Jack Pye finished a great day with another win but Jon Sparham’s pair slipped to their second defeat of the match. In the singles Gary Best returned to winning form beating Nigel Reed 21-12 but Chris Mann’s day went from bad to worse as he was beaten 23-8 by Dom Reed. A good last session was needed by Norfolk if they were to keep their pride intact and both triples won and secured the bonus points. Keith Cooke’s triple beat Tony Ealham 13-10 while Melvin Woods’ triple completed their second win of the day beating A Jones’ triple 14-6. Owen Cranston, Phil Watson, Neil Davidson & Simon Willies put on a cracking performance in the fours racing to a 14-2 win against a strong rink containing former World Pairs champion Babs Morokutti and the always impressive Steve Killington. Unfortunately Lewis Cranston, Rob Cranston, Jamie Forster & David Lamb were unable to maintain the momentum and they slumped to a heavy 20-7 defeat which left Essex collecting the bonus points for the fours and hanging on to secure a 22-18 home win on points. The result left Norfolk Premier top of Group 2 with 154 points, Essex as runners-up on 121 points, Surrey third on 107 and Northants bottom with just 98 points. Norfolk “A” started the day completely in command of their group but this was not to be a day to remember for them. The best performance for Norfolk “A” was by far that of Halvergate’s Donna, Ray & Steven Lamb who continued the form they showed away to Cambs by again winning both their games. Before the match Donna Lamb was presented with a plaque to mark her third game for Norfolk by NCSMBA President Brian Saunders. Other than that it was a below par showing by Norfolk. Mike Boswell won one singles game by 17-10, Jack Marshall & Sheila Bragg won a pairs game by 16-14, and in the rinks Terry Newby’s four won a game by 15-7 and Trevor Pinchen’s rink won their opening game 12-10. The Essex “A” team were in command throughout and deserved their surprisingly heavy win of 28-12. Norfolk “A” still finished the group stages as winners of “A” Section Group 2 with 154 points, Essex as runners-up with 141, Suffolk third on 98 and Cambridgeshire bottom with 87 points.