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


County Singles draw produces a corker of a group

The County Championship and National Championship programme begins this Sunday at Hingham Sports & Social Club with the coveted Norfolk Singles crown up for grabs. Earlier this week the draw was conducted by Competition Secretary Chris Mann and Assistant Competition Secretary Jon Sparham producing some very interesting groups. Last season former Kent star Gary Best re-located to Norfolk in time to compete in the championships and lost no time in adding the Norfolk Singles title to his array of achievements. Gary has been drawn out in one of the two groups of three, Group K, and is up against young Horsford BC starlet Morgan Warnes and Rob Cranston of County Council who was in superb form at the Potters Cup Weekend. I can’t see Gary Best slipping up at this stage but Warnes & Cranston are both capable of delivering a shock if they hit form on the day. In Group A last season’s runner-up Chris Mann faces his Wymondham clubmate Mark Linsdell as well as Horsford BC & Norfolk Premier bowler Simon Warnes. Elaine Oatway of First Bus makes up the group but will have her work cut out to progress further against these three. Group G catches the eye with four time singles champion John Turner along with father and son Norfolk Premier players Melly & Jason Woods. Karl Newby of Carleton Rode makes up this group that is sure to be followed closely. Wymondham’s Jack Pye has been in excellent form in the singles for Norfolk Premier this season and will be the player to beat in Group D. Melvyn Barker, also of Wymondham, looks favourite to finish second in a group that also includes David Blundell & Mike Tarrant. Group C should see ex England player Jamie Forster & Bob Oatway of First Bus progress ahead of Elaine Willies & Jason Martin. Halvergate & England bowler David Lamb finished runner-up in 2011 but this event has never been a great one for him. The draw for Group H has certainly been kind this time around though as he has three new bowlers from Thetford all his group, Peter Scarborough, Peter Harvey & Graham Wade. Norfolk Premier regulars Debbie Sparham & Simon Willies will expect to take the first two spots in Group B which also includes Thorpe Marriott’s Jenny Walker and Wymondham’s Hayley Stratton. Group F favourite is Norfolk County Team Captain Jon Sparham and he will face Janet Pinchen, Hevingham’s Steve Hall and 1986 runner-up George Clarke. Group E is a difficult one to predict but Robin Amos of Deaf Sports should finish top. Others in the group are John Jeffery, Roy Walker & Nigel Battley. Group I is a corker with four time champion and singles specialist Neil Davidson of Hempnall hungry for a fifth title. He has certainly not had an easy draw though as this group includes three talented Halvergate bowlers. Ex England player Keith Cooke has both the coolness and skill to trouble Davidson, Robbie Lamb has the experience of playing singles in the Norfolk Squad and young Ryan Fox is displaying maturity beyond his years in his first season playing for Norfolk. 2013 champion Nigel Willard is in Group J along with Billie Barker, Lesley Crowe & Lewis Cranston. Group L is another three bowler group with County Council’s Owen Cranston hot favourite to progress ahead of Steve Easter & David Knights. Defending champion Gary Best pictured.

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