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


National Championships - Norfolk runners-up in pairs & triples!

National Singles – Chris Mann makes it to semi-finals

Three of Norfolk’s four qualifiers in the National Singles made it through the group stages. Chris Mann of Wymondham was unbeaten with two wins and a draw in Group 12 which left him as the group winner. A tough match in the second round saw him face England and Northants bowler Ed Sawbridge but Chris emerged with an 8-6 win and followed that with a tight 8-7 victory against Peter Whale of West Sussex. In the quarter-finals Nathan Caines of West Mids provided the opposition in another tight match that Chris Mann won by just 10-9. The semi-finals saw Mann face Dorset’s Alex Kley and another great game went down to the last end where Chris Mann finally exited the competition with a 9-6 defeat. The Dorset bowler went on to clinch the ESMBA National Singles title beating Anthony Fautley of Essex 10-5 in the final. Chris Willies of East Tuddenham won Group 14 with three straight wins before also losing to Alex Kley in the first knock-out round. Gary Best of Bob Carter finished second in Group 7 but also went out in the first knock-out round losing 12-7 against Somerset’s Dan Winmill. Wymondham’s Jack Pye failed to make it through the group stages losing to both Rob Edwards of Surrey and Anthony Fautley of Essex with Jack’s only win coming against Hertfordshire’s Mark Spalding.


National Pairs – Jason Woods & Chris Willies runners-up

Jason Woods of Bob Carter and Chris Willies of East Tuddenham came so close to bringing a National Championship title back to Norfolk. Notable victories throughout the day included wins against Kent’s Jody Frampton and Richard Stagg, Cheshire’s Andy Carr and Adam Smith and Northants’ Steve McAlister and Ed Sawbridge before they lost in the final against Hampshire’s Jason McLean and Paul Goodman. When the disappointment of losing a National Final wears off they will be more than pleased with their excellent form throughout the day and their appearance in the final. Halvergate’s David Lamb and Ryan Fox qualified in second place in Group 7 but lost in the first knock-out round against Hertfordshire’s Darren Brown and Mark Spalding. Debbie and Jon Sparham of Wymondham also qualified in second place in Group 14 but lost their first knockout round game against Steve Killington and Peter Fautley of Essex. Wymondham’s Jack Pye and Hempnall’s Neil Davidson won group 16 but suffered a heavy 10-2 defeat in the first knock-out round against Karl Hudson and Dan Winmill of Somerset.


National Fours – first knock-out round proves fatal to Norfolk hopes

All four Norfolk rinks finished the first round as group winners and hopes were high of another good day for Norfolk but it was not to be. All four rinks were defeated in the second round. Morgan Warnes, Simon Warnes, Owen Cranston & Gary Best lost 11-6 to West Mids 1 while Jack Pye, Jon Sparham, Debbie Sparham & Chris Mann lost a close game by 8-6 to Gloucestershire 1. Simon Willies, Chris Willies, Jason Woods & Keith Cooke lost 8-6 to Cheshire 3 and Karl Newby, Robbie Lamb, Ryan Fox & David Lamb lost 8-5 to Humberside 3. Jon Pitcher, Allan Williams, Craig Strong & Ross Dunkley of the West Mids lifted the National Fours title with an 11-8 win against John Lax, Lawrence Moffat, Bronagh Toleman & Lee Toleman representing Cheshire.


National Triples – Rob Howlett, Simon Willies & Jason Woods runners-up

Three of Norfolk’s triples qualified from the group stages. The only early disappointment for Norfolk was the elimination of Norfolk Triples Champions Neil Davidson, Jack Pye & Chris Willies who failed to progress from Group 10. Claire Cranston, Owen Cranston & Chris Mann qualified from Group 13 as runners-up and safely navigated their way through Round 2 with a 9-6 win against the Dorset 3 triple. Round 3 saw them up against the powerful Northants triple of Ed Sawbridge, Chris Hopkins & Steve McAlister and after a tight game the Norfolk triple suffered an 11-9 defeat.    

Keith Cooke, Ryan Fox & David Lamb won Group 14 and were also successful in Round 2 where they beat James Trott’s Devon triple 10-9. Another Norfolk triple, Jason Woods, Simon Willies & Robert Howlett, also made it to Round 3 after winning Group 6. In Round 2 they stormed to a 14-4 win against Michael Rice’s Suffolk triple in an East Anglian derby. Unfortunately, in Round 3 Keith Cooke, Ryan Fox & David Lamb had to play Jason Woods, Simon Willies & Robert Howlett so one of the Norfolk triples were certain to be eliminated. After a tough game Robert Howlett, Simon Willies & Jason Woods emerged victorious with a narrow 11-10 win to reach the quarter-finals and become the last Norfolk triple still in the competition. A great performance in the quarter-finals saw them win 10-4 against Cheshire’s Adam Smith, Andy Carr & Scott Smith to leave Jason Woods dreaming of a second National Final appearance.   Steve McAlister’s Northant’s triple provided a mighty obstacle to this in the semi-finals but the Norfolk triple dug deep to produce an 8-5 win and earn their place in the National Triples Final. The other semi-final saw West Mids triple Ross Dunkley, Craig Strong & Jon Pitcher inflict a heavy 10-1 defeat on Richard Jeffery, Steve Jeffery & Robin Armstrong of West Sussex to send out a signal they had their sights on the title. Jason Woods’ triple drew first blood in the final taking two shots on the opening end but singles to Pitcher’s triple on the next two ends levelled the match. Short bowls left Jason Woods in trouble on the fourth and three shots were dropped leaving West Mids 5-2 up. The same problem left him in trouble again on the fifth end but a great last wood cut the damage to just one but Pitcher’s triple were now in the driving seat at 6-2 up. After the seventh end the West Mids triple led 9-4 but two shots to Norfolk on end eight kept the game alive. The last end was a cagey affair but the West Mids skip somehow got a bowl just behind the jack to make life difficult for the Norfolk skip. An attacking last bowl failed to find its mark and West Mids were champions. It has certainly been a good all round performance by Norfolk bowlers to earn two runners-up spots over the four days of the main National Finals as well as a semi-finalist in the singles. For Jason Woods of Bob Carter in particular it has been an incredible time reaching two finals in three days.   

pairs chris willies jason woods

Norfolk's Chris Willies & Jason Woods- Runners-up in National Pairs

Nat Triples 2022

Simon Willies, Jason Woods & Rob Howlett - National Triples Runner-Ups

singles alex kley

Alex Kley of Dorset - ESMBA Singles Champion 2022

Jason Woods 9 18 RS15

Jason Woods of Bob Carter - Two National Finals in three days 


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