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


Wymondham's AJ Brown top Norfolk player in UK Open Singles

AJ Brown, about to begin his first season as a Wymondham player in the Breckland League, was in sparkling form in the SMPT UK Open Singles held in Chelmsford at the weekend. He put together a superb run of nine straight wins before losing a close semi-final match against the eventual winner Alastair McCrea. Brown won Group 28 with maximum points with wins against Northern Ireland’s Glenn Harvey & Matthew Hamilton, a 12-5 win against Shannon Mead of the USA, a 12-7 win against Dennis Hjoberg of Sweden and finishing with a 23-5 win against England’s Shaun Morley. After defeating Bob Naylor and Saul Featherstone in the first two knock-out rounds he faced defending UK Open Singles champion Pauline Beattie of Northern Ireland in a crunch Last 16 encounter. Once again AJ Brown showed his class as he completed a 12-7 win to reach the quarter-finals where he was up against the highly rated Lawrence Moffatt. In his toughest game yet Brown emerged with a close 12-11 victory to reach the semi-finals. That was to prove the end of his magnificent run as he slipped to a 7-9 defeat against Alastair McCrea who went on to beat Gary McNabb 11-6 in the final to claim the title after making it eleven wins from eleven games. It was a perfect weekend for McCrea who has enjoyed much success in the sport including winning the ESMBA Open Triples in 2018 and also winning the World Fours title. Alastair McCrea started bowling when he was just eleven years old for his hometown club Ballinamallard Methodists but gave up bowling when he moved to England at 18. After a gap of 13 years he returned to short mat bowls in 2015 where he quickly made a name for himself. Also making it through the groups into the main UK Open competition was David Blundell who finished runner-up in Group 14 behind Sweden’s Bjarne Andersson. He won his first knock-out match by 10-9 against David McBride but then lost to Sam Harvey of Wales by 6-11. The Plate comp, for players finishing third and fourth in the groups, saw Carleton Rode’s Karl Newby make it all the way through to the quarter-finals before he lost to Mitchell Young. Karl will be pleased with his results though which included a 10-5 win against Andrew Coghlin of Wales and a 16-6 win against Mark Williams and will give him confidence for future events. Jason Woods of Halvergate finished third in Group 4 and won his first knock-out round in the Plate against Christopher Hillier of Wales but then lost to Mark Beattie by 10-4. Also in the Plate section was John Jeffery of Wymondham who opened the day with a 17-6 win against Grace Dooray and a 14-9 win against Bolivia’s Mario Iniguez Cueto. John lost in the first knock-out round against Richard Williams. Neil Davidson made a return to SMPT action and also finished third in Group 7 to qualify in the Plate. He had opened his campaign with a huge 21-2 win against Stijn Michiels of Belgium but identical 13-5 defeats against Eroll Morina of Sweden and England’s Craig Burgess followed. Neil lost his opening knock-out round game by 14-5 to Scotland’s Scott White. Wymondham’s Jack Pye was unlucky to be drawn out in Group 17 that included some other real contenders for the title. He started well with a 13-8 win against Ireland’s Gerard Moen and an 11-9 win against Jonathan Payne of Belgium but three defeats followed including a 6-13 loss to fellow England international Bronagh Toleman and a 5-12 defeat against Alex Kley who has seemed unbeatable in recent times. This left Jack in fifth place in the group and entry into the Shield Competition. Jack then reeled off six straight wins to win the Shield beating Billy Ray 10-9 in the final after defeating Trevor Tymon 11-9 in the semi-finals. Final Results. UK Open Singles Final Alastair McCrea 11 Gary McNabb 6. Plate Knock-Out Final Damian McCabe 13 Peter Roberts 11. Shield Knock-Out Final Jack Pye 10 Billy Ray 9.     

Pairs champs

 Wymondham stars AJ Brown and Jack Pye were in action at the weekend

alastair mccrea  



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