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

Mann and Davidson on collision course in UK Open

The much anticipated SMPT UK OPEN, the first ranking event of the season, will be held at Falcon Bowling & Social Club in Chelmsford on Saturday 24th August and Sunday 25th August and the draw has produced an early showdown between two of Norfolk’s finest singles bowlers. Chris Mann of Wymondham and Neil Davidson of Hempnall are drawn together in Group 27 and to make it even more tasty the talented Daniel Winmill of Somerset has also been drawn in the group which means that at least one of the three will not make it through to the knockout stage of the main competition. Mann will play Winmill at 10.40am on Saturday in a tough opening game while Neil Davidson will expect to beat Bill Burn in the same session. But at 3.40pm the two Norfolk bowlers will clash in a game that all local short mat followers will want to watch. Wymondham’s Jack Pye is in Group 5 where Welsh wizard Stephen Williams awaits at 2pm. Owen Cranston of County Council is in Group 31 and I fancy Owen to come out on top in this group which includes that old Northants warrior Chris Hopkins who never gives anything away. Jack Marshall of Wymondham took his game up to another level last winter and will fear no-one in Group 26. Simon Warnes of Horsford BC is in Group 17 which includes North Yorkshire’s Bronagh Toleman. Bronagh is living proof that short mat bowls provides a level playing field for both male and female bowlers and is more than capable of winning this event. Former Harling bowler Steve Easter, who now plies his trade for Wymondham, is drawn in Group 21 where he will face tough opposition in the shape of SMPT England Team bowlers Edward Sawbridge, & Mark Chittock and Swedish ace Christer Nordin. David Blundell of Wortwell will also face SMPT England team opposition in Group 1 where he will play James Trott. Defending champion Alex Kley of Dorset, who was only 17 years old when he lifted the title last season, is in Group 14 while Ireland’s Pauline Beattie is in Group 3. In Group 18 2017 champion Sam Harvey and fellow Welshman Martin Harries are the two to beat. Belgium’s Jonathan Payne, last year’s runner-up, and Ireland’s Mark Beattie will be the match to watch in Group 2. Group 22 will provide some top class bowls with 2013 champion Joseph Beattie from Ireland, England’s Lee Toleman, and Peter Roberts and Peter Hore all in action. 

National Triples Champions RS20

Thr reigning National Triples Champions Neil Davidson, Jack Marshall & Chris Mann will all be in action in the SMPT UK Open