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

Barkers reach semi-finals in National Over 55's Pairs

Wymondham’s Billie & Melvyn Barker got close to National Championship glory as they reached the semi-finals of the National Over 55 Pairs. In the group stages three of Norfolk’s four qualifiers made it through to the knock-out stages. Tony Ottewell & Mike Smail of Forncett came top of their group but then went down by 11-4 against Devon’s Lorraine Axtell & Graham Jones. Richard Broad of Shropham & Sheila Bragg of Connaught came second in their group but then lost 11-7 to Robin Armstrong & Andy Smith of West Sussex. Elaine Willies of East Tuddenham & Robert Howlett of Bob Carter finished third in their group so failed to go through. Billie Barker & Melvyn Barker qualified in second place in their group but that was the start of their journey to the semi-finals. They then beat Surrey’s Eric Williams & David Matthews by 10-4 in the last 32 round before beating Lorraine Axtell & Graham Jones of Devon in the last 16. Dorset’s Sue & Steve Stanton were their opponents in the quarter-finals and a close game ended 10-9 to the Norfolk pair. That left Richard Rose & Richard Payne of Worcestershire standing in their way of a place in the final but a tight game finished 10-8 in favour of the Worcestershire pairing. In the final Mike Wright & Steve Puttock of Hampshire lifted the title beating Rose & Payne 8-4. The previous day the National Mixed Fours were played with Jenny Walker of Thorpe Marriott and Donna Lamb, Keith Cooke & David Lamb of Halvergate representing Norfolk but they unfortunately failed to qualify through to the main competition from the group stages. The National Singles Championships will be played on Thursday 11th April, the National Pairs on Friday 12th April, the National Fours on Saturday 13th April and finally the National Triples on Sunday 14th April.