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


Mann & Linsdell reach last 16 in SMPT UK Open

SMPT UK Open - Group Stages

The group stages of the SMPT UK Open included eight Norfolk players with three of them, Chris Mann, Jack Pye & Neil Davidson, seen as potential winners. Wymondham’s Jack Pye made easy work of Group 19 winning all his games. These included a 25-3 win against Ali Akbar of the United Arab Emirates and a 17-9 win against Robert Kristianson of Norway. Pye’s fellow Wymondham bowler Chris Mann opened in Group 22 with a 10-7 win against Northern Ireland star Andrew Cockcroft but suffered a damaging 17-9 loss against another top Irish bowler Gary McNabb in his second game. Mann quickly put this behind him though winning his remaining three games to claim second place in the group behind McNabb and a place in the UK Open Cup knockout. For those not familiar with the SMPT events the top two in each group qualify for the main competition knockouts, the next best bowlers in the groups qualify for the Plate event knockouts and the rest play for the Shield which is a kind of wooden spoon event. Neil Davidson of Hempnall won his first game in Group 5 but then defeats against Stephen Gale of the Isle of Man and England’s James Trott wrecked his chances of UK Open glory as he found himself in the Plate knock-out round. To make matters worse he now found he was facing SMPT World ranked number 2 Mark Beattie of Northern Ireland who was another shock casualty of the group stages. Wymondham’s Mark Linsdell lost his opening two games in Group 23 against Norway’s Kjetil Gronseth and England’s Luke Jolly but staged a great recovery winning his last three games to claim second place in the group and a match against Matt Sifford in the Cup Knock-outs. This was great news for Wymondham who now had three players through to the main event. John Jeffery of Wymondham finished third in Group 8 to make the Plate knock-outs. The three other Norfolk entrants all found themselves in the Shield knock-outs. Simon Willies of East Tuddenham finished fifth in Group 10 after a poor start which saw him lose by 22-5 to Alex Kley. Willies would now play Zohaib Shafqut of the UAE in the first knock-out round. Connaught’s Jack Marshall finished fifth in Group 23 after losing four of his five games and would now play Suzanne Lidholm of Sweden. Wymondham’s Debbie Pye suffered four heavy defeats in Group 17 although her spirits would have been raised after beating Muhammad Abu Baker of the United Arab Emirates 29-2 and the fact that she had a bye straight through to the second knock-out round of the Plate event. The competition certainly proved to be a learning curve for the United Arab Emirate bowlers who found themselves on the wrong side of some particularly heavy score-lines.


UK Open Cup Knock Outs – Last 64

Chris Mann made it through to the Last 32 with a convincing 14-6 win against Peter Roberts. Mark Linsdell became the second Wymondham bowler through to the next round of the main competition when he beat Matt Sifford 11-6. Unfortunately Jack Pye failed to make it a Wymondham hat-trick as he tasted defeat for the first time this weekend losing by just one shot against Liam Smith.


UK Open Plate Knock Outs – Last 64

Neil Davidson’s weekend came to an abrupt halt after Mark Beattie of Northern Ireland triumphed 14-9 in their encounter. It was also the end of the line for John Jeffery as he was beaten 10-8 by Suzanne Steele of Belgium and Norfolk had now lost all interest in the Plate Competition!


UK Open Shield Knock Outs – Last 64

Jack Marshall will have gained confidence after beating Sweden’s Susanne Lidholm 13-6 to claim a place in the Last 32 against Greg Wade. England international Simon Willies made easy work of beating Zohaib Shafqat of United Arab Emirates 25-3. Debbie Pye was given a bye through to the next round.

UK Open Shield Knock Outs – Last 32

Debbie Pye is through to the Last 16 after a 12-8 win against Roger Hammond of France. Also through is Simon Willies who beat Paula Geens of Belgium 12-10. Jack Marshall is eliminated though after losing 13-6 to Greg Wade.

UK Open Shield Knock Outs – Last 16

Simon Willies is still in the hunt after beating Wendy Ford by 8-7 but Debbie Pye is out after losing 13-9 against Greg Wade.


UK Open Cup Knock Outs – Last 32

Chris Mann is up against Kjetil Gronseth of Norway who inflicted a 12-9 defeat on Mark Linsdell in the group stages and storms to a terrific 18-3 win. Maybe Chris Mann feels it’s his day today after earlier winning the target bowls competition! Mark Linsdell is drawn to play Irish ace Gary McNabb who beat Chris Mann 17-9 in the group stages and Mark produces one of his best ever results winning 10-9.

UK Open Shield Knock Outs – Last 8

It’s the end of a long weekend for Simon Willies as he goes down by 13-8 against Kirsty Hatch of Wales.

UK Open Cup Knock Outs – Last 16

Chris Mann plays Andrew Evans for a place in the quarter-finals and comes so close as he loses by just 9-8 and Mark Linsdell fails to repeat his success of the previous round as he goes down by 10-4 to Sam Harvey. It’s the end of the road for Chris & Mark but both Wymondham players did Norfolk proud to reach this stage in a strong international field.  

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