High scoring win could be too little
Middleton Cup BowlsEssex 129 Suffolk 97Essex beat Suffolk by 32 shots - and collected 20 points to the visitors' two - in their Group 2b Middleton Cup clash at Essex County BC but Norfolk's win over Hertfordshire by the same points margin makes them favourites to go forward to the quarter finals.
Middleton Cup Bowls
Essex beat Suffolk by 32 shots - and collected 20 points to the visitors' two - in their Group 2b Middleton Cup clash at Essex County BC but Norfolk's win over Hertfordshire by the same points margin makes them favourites to go forward to the quarter finals. Only big wins by Essex against Hertfordshire and Suffolk over Norfolk in their final games on July 8 can stop Norfolk progressing.
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Essex opened strongly to take a 14 shot lead after five ends with the Ian Middlemast rink scoring 11 shots without reply from Colin Rumsby's quartet.
At 10 ends Suffolk had clawed back the deficit to two shots thanks mainly to Mark Royal's rink who were 15-6 up against Joe Stamper but apart from the Middlemast rink, there was very little between the other four rinks.
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By the 15th, Essex had increased their lead to 17, with only Royal, 22-9, and Alan Barnes, 14-11, in front for Suffolk. Between the 15th and 18th the margin narrowed but simultaneous counts across the board saw Essex surge ahead to lead by 26.
With the 10 points for the overall win almost guaranteed, attention turned to the rinks in close contention for the individual two points per rink. First to finish was Jamie Holms who secured a four-shot win over David Wellington and a count of six by Nigel Smith on the 18th, when he had been all-square, gave him the cushion to win by that margin over Barnes.
The Stamper rink restored some of their pride to score 8-2 over the final six ends to lose by seven. On rink one, John Tully and Alan Barnes were separated by a single shot going into the last end but a double gave Tully a three-shot win.
Middlemast continued to dominate his match and ran out top rink with a 31-8 win. The final rink to finish was the Steve Pickford and Clive Webb encounter. Webb had trailed Steve Pickford by 17-8 at the 15th but his four came strong over the final ends but it was Pickford who finally won by three shots.