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


I.C.C Latest News

It has certainly been a strange Inter-County Championship season with the sport affected by the pandemic, but the knock-out stages are now in sight without the glut of cancellations that could have happened. Whether in the light of the continued advance of the Omicron variant the season can be completed is yet to be seen. This year’s format of playing matches home and away simultaneously, with eight to ten players per team at each venue, has been met with mixed reaction from bowlers with some citing a lack of atmosphere and the difficulty of engendering team spirit with only half the team there. If the format, or one similar, is retained for next season I fear it will lead to a declining number of participating counties due to the financial implications of funding a County Squad with fewer bowlers present at each venue. This week the ESMBA has launched a survey to seek bowlers opinions on the future of the Inter-County Championships, it is hoped that many will respond with their own ideas whether it is a brand new concept or a return to the tried and tested formula that was in place for many years. The survey can be found on the ESMBA website, make sure that your opinions and thoughts are taken into account.

It has been a disappointing season for Norfolk’s County Squad with neither Norfolk Premier or Norfolk “A” qualifying for the knock-out stages. Norfolk Premier finished second in a three team Group 2 that was won by Kent on 54 points, with Norfolk Premier just five points behind them and Surrey eight points adrift of Norfolk. The semi-finals will be played on the weekend of 12th and 13th March with Kent Premier playing Group 1 winners Dorset. Group 3 winners and firm favourites West Mids Premier will face Group 1 runners-up West Sussex. The final will be played at Solihull on 3rd April.  In the “A” Team competition Norfolk struggled throughout in Group 1 that included Kent “A”, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. The quarter-final draw sees Group 1 winners Kent playing Group 2 runners-up Somerset. Group 2 winners Dorset will play either Cambs or Suffolk depending on which of the East Anglian counties finish as runners-up in Group 1. Hertfordshire finished well clear at the top of Group 3 and will play Group 4 runners-up Worcestershire. In the remaining quarter-final tie Group 4 winners West Mids “A” will face Group 3 runners-up West Sussex.

Norfolk County Team Manager Simon Willies has stated that his management team has decided that due to the different circumstances this season, and for getting people back to playing competitive bowls, he will be entering both Norfolk teams into the Consolation sections of the I.C.C. Norfolk Premier would go into the semi-finals to be played at a neutral venue, possibly Solihull, while Norfolk “A” would face a quarter-final tie played on a home and away basis. The draw for the Consolation competition will be made by the 3rd January once Counties have informed the I.C.C Competition Secretary whether they wish to participate, they need to do this by 31st December.         

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