Bowls: Good Suffolk win ahead of derby
SUFFOLK travelled to Watford to play Hertfordshire in their first match in this season's Liberty Trophy campaign.The early trials had enabled the Suffolk selectors to make one or two improvements to last year's successful side.
SUFFOLK travelled to Watford to play Hertfordshire in their first match in this season's Liberty Trophy campaign.
The early trials had enabled the Suffolk selectors to make one or two improvements to last year's successful side.
Four rinks were retained en bloc and two new rinks were built around experienced players.
Suffolk went into an early lead and at five ends were seven shots ahead.
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By 10 ends the lead had been increased to 14 shorts with the score at 55-41 and then Herts began a spirited fight back and they had moved into a single shot lead at 15 ends.
They improved this to a lead of three and pressure was building on the Suffolk bowlers who dug deep and responded with counts of seven from John Chalk's rink and five from Carl Finbow's rink.
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At 18 ends Suffolk had advanced to 102-93 and they finished strongly to run out winners by 17 shots with the final score 122-105.
On rink one, Andrew Friend and his colleagues, Mark Todd, Mark Cole and John Catchpole went into an early lead 11-4 but then slipped, losing 14 shots over the next four ends but they rallied to close only six shots adrift at 17-23.
Mark Royal's rink with Stuart Fuller and Calvern Kemp from Mid Suffolk and Martin Rumball from the Risbygate club in Bury St Eds had a close game throughout and despite dropping a poor five in the middle of the match finished only three behind at 16-19.
On the next rink a tactical switch saw John Rednall return to his international position of lead with Colin Gathercole recalled and Julian Poole and Colin Rumsby at the back.
Many very tight heads were bowled on this rink and Herts' skip Mark Yelland played exceptionally well to inflict a two-shot defeat on the Suffolk stars.
On rink four John Chalk was reunited with his former partner Peter Baggott from Sole Bay and with the father and son duo of Steve and Liam Botten from Haverhill at the front.
They looked strong on paper but they found themselves trailing 9-19 after 12 ends.
However, they began to find the pace of the green and scored 4, 1, 3, 7 to lead 24-19 but slipped a trifle over the last five ends to finish equal at 25-all.
The county fours champions from Stowmarket of Carl Finbow with Jamie Bloom, Ian Clouting, and Bob King were in devastating form and trounced Herts' Jim Allen and his colleagues 30-7.
Finbow was back to his tigerish form after a quiet season last year.
On rink six the new combination of David Wood with Lee Rowland, Philip Last and Shaun Cook, took a while to settle down and after 12 ends they were losing by 5-13 but they slowly gained in confidence and scored 16 shots while only conceding three over the final nine ends.
So with a 17-shot victory Suffolk go through to play their old adversary Norfolk in three weeks' time.
This will be a fabulous contest, with Norfolk firm favourites as they have won this competition twice in the last three years.
However, team captain Chris Southgate believes Suffolk can win if all bowlers play at their peak.