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

No joy for Norfolk in National Singles

The first day of the National Championships at Melton Mowbray saw bowlers from all across the country competing for the coveted ESMBA National Singles Championship title. Unfortunately only three of the four Norfolk entries started the day as Simon Willies of Bob Carter was forced to withdraw following a knee operation and was replaced by Ryan Knight of Gloucestershire. All three remaining Norfolk bowlers successfully negotiated the group stages. Norfolk Singles Champion Chris Mann of Wymondham finished second in Group 9 after beating Richard Payne of Worcestershire 14-9 and Matthew Smith of Hampshire by 11-10. In his remaining game he lost by one shot to Jack Knight of Gloucestershire. Mark Linsdell, also of Wymondham, was second in Group 14 beating Russell Stallibrass of West Sussex by 11-8 and Devon’s Graham James by 10-7. His only defeat was by 9-7 against Terry Mead of Essex. Gary Best of Bob Carter was runner-up in Group 13 with wins against Cheshire’s Rob Mellor by 13-6 and Greater Manchester’s Bent Neilsen by 19-6. His only loss was by 10-8 against Devon’s Benny Bass. Well known names that failed to qualify from the group stages were Roger Wiggins of Oxfordshire, Chris Hopkins of Northants and West Mids stars Grant Soller and Jon Pitcher. The second round commenced at 3pm with Chris Mann playing Matty Worden of Cheshire, Mark Linsdell playing Humberside’s Simon Smith and Gary Best up against Hampshire’s Alistair McCrea. All Norfolk hopes though quickly evaporated as they struggled against in form opposition. Chris Mann was defeated 14-5 by Matty Worden, Mark Linsdell lost 12-5 to Simon Smith and Gary Best went down by 9-2 against Alistair McCrea. The new National Singles Champion is Benny Bass of Devon who beat Cornwall’s Peter Hore in the final.