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


Norfolk Over 60's win in memory of Geoff

Norfolk Over 60s visit to play Friends of Essex at their new home venue at Laindon Community Centre produced a match to remember. Following the passing of long time Norfolk Over 60’s captain Geoff Payne the Norfolk Over 60’s Organiser Teresa Goldsmith told her team to win this one for Geoff and a remarkable final session saw Norfolk stage an incredible comeback when all seemed lost. Both teams comprised of 40 bowlers, eight triples and eight pairs, all playing four games apiece at the eight mat venue and Friends of Essex were wearing their impressive new tops. The first session saw the triples in action with Friends of Essex making a flying start winning on five mats while Norfolk won two games and the remaining game was drawn leaving Essex 11-5 up. The second session saw the pairs on the mats and this session was drawn with four wins apiece. Norfolk’s triples improved in the third session just edging it gaining 9 points against 7 by winning on four mats and drawing on one. But session 4 saw Norfolk storm into the lead as the pairs won on six of the eight mats to give Norfolk a 34-30 lead. Once again though the match took a dramatic turn as the Essex triples dominated session 5 winning on six mats and drawing on one while Norfolk collected just one win. This gave the home side a 43-37 lead. Norfolk hopes that their pairs would pull them back into the lead in session 6 were dashed as the session was drawn with four wins apiece leaving Essex 51-45 up on points with two sessions remaining. Things got worse for the visitors in the penultimate session as the Norfolk Over 60s triples went down by 10 points to 6 which gave Friends of Essex a commanding 61-51 points lead going into the final session of pairs. A miracle was needed to save the day and it certainly happened as Norfolk’s pairs produced wins across all eight mats, scoring 105 shots against just 45, to see Norfolk complete a  67-61 points win, 549-503 on shots. Geoff would have been delighted by this result as was newly appointed captain Steve Easter. Steve had a great first game as captain leading by example, playing with fellow Wymondham bowler Melvyn Barker their pair reeled off four straight wins of 16-3, 14-4, 10-6 & 21-3. Jill Hayman & George Hume of East Harling also produced maximum points with wins of 11-10, 12-11, 7-5 & 21-5 while Val Vardy & Tony Oram won three games out of four. Norfolk’s triples found points harder to come by with their leading triple scoring five points out of eight as Nigel James, David Chadwick & Jane James won their first game 8-3, lost their second 6-8 and drew their third game 8-8. Selwyn Goldsmith came in for Jane James in their last game which they won 13-8. It was an emotional day for Teresa Goldsmith, a close friend of Geoff Payne, who played the final session of pairs as replacement for skip Glen Hume and using Geoff’s bowls Teresa skipped her pair to a 9-8 win. At the close of play Friends of Essex organiser Tony Ealham and Norfolk Over 60s Organiser Teresa Goldsmith thanked all those who had helped on the day including Bob & Carol Taylor who kept up the supply of tea and coffee and iced water in the scorching temperature on one of the years hottest days. Days like these are what makes short mat bowls a pleasure to play with two sides, who have deep respect for each other, playing to the best of their abilities in a great friendly atmosphere. The return match at Hingham Sports & Social Club is scheduled to take place on Sunday 20th August when hopefully it will be slightly cooler!


Maximum points for Melvyn Barker and the new captain Steve Easter


Organisers Tony Ealham & Teresa Goldsmith with Steve Easter


Norfolk Over 60's Organiser Teresa playing with Geoff's bowls


Pre-match 1st Leg line-up as Friends of Essex entertain Norfolk Over 60's in their annual challenge

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