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


Simon Willies and Melly Woods win Bure Pairs Championship final

Simon Willies & Melvin Woods of East Tuddenham are the new Bure Pairs Champions after defeating favourites, and defending champions, Josh Baxter and Keith Cooke of Halvergate in the final at Horsford BC. When the draw for the quarter-finals was made prior to the first session all four qualifying Halvergate pairs were drawn apart making an all Halvergate semi-final a possibility but that was not how it turned out despite a great first session for them. On mat one Josh Baxter & Keith Cooke faced Woodbastwick’s David Brawn & Derek Sheldrake and a surprise result looked on the cards as the outsiders moved into a 5-1 lead after four ends. The defending champs enjoyed a good fifth end scoring three shots but then dropped a single on the sixth to trail 6-4. The penultimate end proved to be the turning point as Brawn and Sheldrake failed to get a bowl into the head and Baxter & Cooke scored five shots to take a 9-6 lead into the final end. A single on the last end took them into the semi-finals with a 10-6 win but the Woodbastwick pair will be disappointed that they let victory slip out of their hands due to one bad end. On mat two Halvergate’s Jason Woods and David Lamb were up against Hevingham’s David Sharpe and Steve Hall. This proved to be a very close game with both pairs winning four ends. Woods & Lamb led 6-3 after five ends but with one end to go Sharpe & Hall had pulled level with the score at 6-6. When David Lamb stepped up to play the last wood of the game Hevingham held shot but an attacking bowl by Lamb proved hugely successful and they took three shots for a 9-6 win.  The second session of quarter-finals saw Simon Willies & Melly Woods facing Halvergate’s Kerry Greenacre and Ryan Fox. Ryan was given rousing applause by spectators when he walked on the mat in recognition of him winning the National Under 18’s title at the weekend in Daventry. But the Halvergate pair struggled from the off as they failed to get to grips with Horsford’s difficult mat 2 and Willies & Woods led 8-1 after four ends. As the game progressed Greenacre and Fox started to get more into the game and the East Tuddenham pair found their lead being cut. Going into the last end they still led by 8-5 but the Halvergate pair could only conjure up two shots and lost by just 8-7. Another Halvergate pair were eliminated by an East Tuddenham pair on mat one as Robin Amos & Robert Howlett beat Ray and Robbie Lamb 7-6. The Lambs looked in control at 5-1 up after three ends but five shots earned by Amos & Howlett over the next three ends gave them a 6-5 lead with two ends remaining. A single by the Lambs made it 6-6 going into the last end but the East Tuddenham pair took a single to win 7-6. In the semi-finals Simon Willies & Melly Woods played Jason Woods & David Lamb in a father versus son battle. This time it was father who came out on top as the experienced pairing of Simon Willies & Melly Woods cruised to a 7-2 win to reach the final. On mat two Baxter & Cooke were in super form against Robin Amos and Robert Howlett and a 9-2 win reflects their performance. The final was played on a re-positioned mat and Simon Willies & Melly Woods took first blood scoring a single on the opening end against Josh Baxter & Keith Cooke, despite Baxter getting the better of Willies from the lead positions. A superb forehand bowl by Melly Woods with his second wood took shot and despite a good effort by Keith Cooke he failed to change the situation. After Baxter again started brightly Melly Woods was forced into attack mood and he earned his pair two more shots and a 3-0 lead. Simon Willies play a significant role on the third end with his third bowl leaving his pair holding two shots. After Melly Woods drew in another shot Keith Cooke played an attacking bowl and was somewhat fortunate to come out of it with shot. Woods failed to retrieve the end and the defending champions were on the scoreboard but at 3-1 down. A busy fourth end saw Baxter opening up the head with an attacking bowl before Willies drew shot with his third wood and it was down to the skips. Cooke’s first bowl moved the jack again but the East Tuddenham pair still held two shots. Melly Woods then ditched the jack before Cooke knocked Halvergate’s toucher into the ditch but they were still one down. A backhand attacking bowl by Cooke killed Tuddenham’s holding bowl but Melly Woods’ last bowl resulted in the umpire being called in to measure. This resulted in a no scoring end when he could not separate the bowls. The fifth end saw Simon Willies dominating the game from the lead position drawing in three super bowls to put the Halvergate pair under pressure. The end resulted in Willies & Woods taking two more shots for a 5-1 lead. The sixth end proved to be the longest of the night. After Simon Willies again outdrew Josh Baxter the Halvergate player resorted to weight and managed to kill the end. On the replayed end Willies again outdrew Baxter and the young Halvergate star used weight again but knocked the jack to the edge of the mat. With more Halvergate bowls drawn in Melly Woods attacked on his backhand and the jack was knocked off the mat yet again. The sixth end was started for the third time and Simon Willies, now playing at the top of his game and in impressive form, drew in a super opening bowl and followed up with two more excellent bowls. Josh Baxter was forced to go on the attack once again and cut Tuddenham down to just one. But Melly Woods then played a perfect backhand shot to take the jack into the ditch, leaving his bowl sitting on the jack, for a count of three and an 8-1 lead. On the penultimate end Simon Willies drew another toucher with his first bowl but Baxter then ditched the jack. The defending champions knew they needed more than a single on this end but that was all they could get and Simon Willies & Melly Woods were happy to take an 8-2 lead into the last end. On the final end Baxter lost his second bowl into the ditch, and as they needed a full house to force an extra end, he attacked the jack with his next wood and killed the end. On the replayed end the Halvergate pair never had the opportunity to give themselves a chance of a big last end and Willies & Woods were happy to concede a single that left them celebrating success with an 8-3 win. It was the second time Melly Woods had won this title but for Simon Willies it was his first Bure Pairs Championship title. Pictured are East Tuddenham's Melly Woods and Simon Willies and Halvergate's Keith Cooke and Josh Baxter. 

Bure Pairs 1 RS15

bure pairs 2 RS15

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