home ecba leagues championships the game rules linkscalendarcontact

Champion of Champions 2009

The 2009 ECBA Champion of Champions event was held over the weekend of 13th-14th June at the Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool.

The champions from each of the member counties, in the Singles, Pairs , Triples and Rinks, competed against one another to decide who would be this year's ECBA Champions.

The earliest stages of the Singles competition saw the closest running of any of the championships. With each team having played 2 games, everyone had dropped at least 1 point. The early leaders were South Tyneside and Sunderland, both on 3 points, while just 1 point behind were seven other teams.

The top two continued their unbeaten ways in game three, moving on to 5 points, while the chasing pack had thinned dramatically to just Northumberland and Suffolk, both having taken 2 wins each of their 3 games.

On into game 4 and Sunderland were the first to crack, losing to Northumberland, who now moved up to second, behind a still unbeaten South Tyneside who now enjoyed a 1 point lead.

However second and third positions were swapped once again as Northumberland lost. They were now joined on 6 points by Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, as Saturday's play ended. Sunderland were 1 point ahead of those 3 teams, on 7 points as they won, while South Tyneside were now a full 2 points clear at the top, having taken 9 out of 10 points on the day.

Moving on into Sunday's play, and having achieved a clear advantage it looked as if the title was South Tyneside's to lose, but things were to change with the very first games of the day as Cambridgeshire took their 4th consecutive win with victory over the overnight leaders. The rest of the chasing teams also won and once again the Singles was back to being the most closely contested of the championships. South Tyneside were now joined on 9 points by Sunderland, while Cambridgeshire, Northumberland and Suffolk were all just 1 point behind the joint leaders.

Having come together again it was not long before the leading pack thinned once more. Round 6 saw wins for Sunderland and Northumberland who were now on 11 and 10 points respectively, while the other 3 contenders all lost and fell away from the lead.

Having led through Sunday, it was now Sunderland's turn to falter as they lost to Cambridgeshire who were making a habit of knocking back the leaders. For the first time it was Northumberland that took the top spot, moving on to 12 points, one point clear.

Despite only just having taken the lead Northumberland enjoyed not just a 1 point lead, but a huge 16

shot advantage over Sunderland, which meant that unless something quite remarkable happened a draw would be sufficient for Northumberland to take the title.

As it was, the final game, ironically against South Tyneside, who had made so much of the early running, saw a win for Northumberland, taking them to 14 points and leaving them 1 point ahead of Sunderland who also finished with a win. Meanwhile Durham and Cambridgeshire played each other in the game which would settle 3rd place, a position which went to Durham with their victory and ended a good day for them which had seen them start all the way back in 8th place.

Click here for all the results

Ian Clark (Northumberland)


Cambridgeshire were the team making the early running in the Pairs. Only 2 games in and they were the only team to have won both games, a perfect record which remained intact as they also won their 3rd game. Just a point behind and still undefeated, were Suffolk.

It was the same story for Cambridgeshire in their fourth game, another win to maintain their 100% record, but their lead had now extended to 2 points as Suffolk lost and fell behind both Hertfordshire and Sunderland who were each now on 6 points.

It was not until Saturday's final game that Cambridgeshire made a slip, losing their perfect record with a draw against Suffolk. Their lead was now only 1 point as Hertfordshire won to go a clear second on 8 points, followed by Northumberland on 7.

Unfortunately Sunday did not start well for the erstwhile leaders as they lost to Sunderland and fell behind the new leaders Hertfordshire. Northumberland also won to join Cambridgeshire on 9 points and move into contention.

Hertfordshire continued their winning streak into game 7. They were now on 12 points, followed by Northumberland, 1 point back and Suffolk and Sunderland who also had wins and were now on 10 points.

However things were all about to change as Hertfordshire suffered defeat at the hands of a Cambridgeshire team who were coming off 2 back-to-back losses, while there was also a loss for Northumberland at the hands of Norfolk. All of which meant that Suffolk were now elevated to first place, having won again, and were now on 12 points, ahead of Hertfordshire on shots, while Cambridgeshire were suddenly back in contention, joining Northumberland just 1 point behind the top 2 teams.

Close though it was Suffolk had a healthy 9 shot advantage over Hertfordshire and knew that any win was

all but certain to secure them the title. However their final opponents, Sunderland, had other ideas, as they secured the tie and scuppered Suffolk's chances.

Meanwhile Hertfordshire had fallen well behind in their game against Essex, which meant that Northumberland had the chance to sneak through. But although Northumberland did indeed win to finish on 13 points, Hertfordshire dug deep to come back and win their game at the last gasp and take the title with a final tally of 14 points, leaving Suffolk and Sunderland in 3rd and 4th places respectively, each on 12 points.

Click here for all the results

Craig Hearn & Mary Cobbold (Hertfordshire)


The early leaders in the Triples competition were Cambridgeshire, just ahead of Sunderland on shots, both teams having won their first 2 games. But a loss for Cambridgeshire in their third game allowed Sunderland to take the lead as they maintained their perfect record.

The fourth round of games saw things change back as Sunderland lost, slipping down to second, behind Cambridgeshire on shots. Both teams were now on 6 points, with Durham and Suffolk close behind on 5 points.

Saturday's fifth and final round of games saw Sunderland win to finish the day on 8 points, while Cambridgeshire lost, leaving them on 6 points, along with Essex and Northumberland.

Sunday's opening round of games saw Sunderland continue with their winning ways, moving on to 10 points, while of their 3 closest rivals only Essex were able to gain any points, their win taking them to 8 points and a clear second place.

Round seven gave Sunderland their 6th win of the weekend, while Essex moved on to 10 points. Meanwhile Suffolk and Norfolk each of whom had had disappointing Saturdays, had won both of their Sunday games and were now 3rd and 4th on 9 and 8 points respectively.

The penultimate round of games proved crucial as Sunderland won again to move on to 14 points,

while their closest rivals Essex and Suffolk played one another. It was a game which would go the way of Suffolk, pushing them up into second place, but it also left Sunderland with what was, with just one game to go, an unassailable 3 point lead.

In the end Sunderland needed the buffer which they had worked so hard for as they came up against and lost to a resurgent Norfolk who were able to secure 3rd place. Second place went to Suffolk who finished with another win to give them 13 points, one short of Sunderland's tally. Essex also finished with a win to take them to 12 points, although they didn't have enough shots to overtake Norfolk and ended up in 4th place.

Click here for all the results

Allan Howe, Neal Ridley & Eve Warren


Hertfordshire and Suffolk were the two teams making the early running in the Fours as the two teams won both of their first 2 games. But it was Hertfordshire who were clear leaders by the end of the third round of games, beating Suffolk to move on to 6 points, 2 clear of Suffolk, Norfolk and Durham.

And in the fourth round it was now Durham's turn to fall victim to Hertfordshire, albeit by the narrowest of margins. Norfolk won their third game to now move into a clear second place, still 2 points back from the leaders.

The fifth and final round of Saturday's play brought yet another win for Hertfordshire, allowing them to end the day with a 100% record, the only team in any of the competitions to be able to do so. And with Norfolk losing, they now had a 4 point advantage, with Durham joining Norfolk on 6 points.

The start of Sunday saw Hertfordshire take their record to 6 wins out of 6. Meanwhile Durham were in a clear second place, some 4 points adrift, with Suffolk and Cambridgeshire 1 point further back in third place.

It took all the way up until game 7 for Hertfordshire to finally slip, losing to Cambridgeshire who now

moved up to second place on 9 points, along with Durham, but both teams were still 3 points behind the leaders with only 2 games left to go.

One more win was going to do it for Hertfordshire and that was just what they did, taking themselves to 14 points and the title, with Cambridgeshire now in a clear second place on 11 points, while Sunderland had gone to 3rd on 10 points, following 3 straight wins.

Luckily, with the title already in their pockets Hertfordshire could afford to lose their last game, which they duly did, narrowly, to Norfolk. Even so they still came home 2 points clear of Cambridgeshire, while Durham just edged out Sunderland to finish 3rd.

Click here for all the results

Rob Washbrooke, Neil Tuckey,
Martin Jenness & Sandra Gammage


With only one round of games completed Sunderland had already leapt out into an early lead, 4 wins out of 4 already putting them 3 points ahead of the best of the rest in the form of Suffolk.

However their perfect record was not to last long as they gained only 3 points in the next round, albeit sufficient to stay a single point ahead of Suffolk. And it was a lead which they were able to hang on to with 3 rounds completed, having moved their tally onto 17 points with Suffolk on 16 and Cambridgeshire moving into 3rd on 14 points.

It was then the turn of Cambridgeshire to make their move as the top two faltered in the 4th round. They took 7 points out of a possible 8 to move onto 21 points and now led Sunderland by virtue of their superior shots. Hertfordshire now moved into third on 20 points having just taken 4 wins out of 4.

Saturday's final games saw the same 3 teams finishing at the top, although their respective positions had now changed. Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire were lying on 26 points with Sunderland just 1 point behind.

However, as on Saturday, Sunderland once again came out firing all guns at the start of the next day's play. The maximum 8 points from round 6 took them to the top once more, on 33 points. Hertfordshire were just 1 point back, while both Suffolk and Cambridgeshire had moved onto 30 points and were still in contention.

The seventh round saw Sunderland maintain their breakneck pace with another 4 wins, while everyone else faltered. They had moved onto 41 points and were now a full 5 points clear of Hertfordshire with Suffolk one more point further back.

Remarkably, although the leaders could only manage 4 points in the event's penultimate round, they nonetheless managed to increase their lead, now 6 points clear of Suffolk and 7 ahead of Cambridgeshire, the only two teams who had any sort of chance of catching Sunderland.

It was going to require a remarkable turn around for Sunderland to lose, but that didn't happen, at least not

for the leaders as they finished on 50 points, 6 clear of the nearest oppostion, who turned out to be neither of the teams who had been closest before the round began.

In fact it was Northumberland who suddenly leapt up from 5th to finish as runners-up. Their maximum haul of 8 points was enough to take them past Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, in one fell swoop.

Behind the eventual winners the contest for the runner-up slot was very closely fought, with six counties covered by a mere 5 points, which only goes to show how impressive Sunderland's performance was, with none of their teams failing to finish outside the top 4 of their particular discipline.

Click here for all the results

Martin Campbell, Lavinia McGahan,
Colin Young, Kevin Hutchinson,
Alan Sharp, Olwen Grey, Tom Haram,
Allan Howe, Neal Ridley & Eve Warren


Chairman's Report
This was another successful weekend with all 10 counties represented in all of the disciplines.

There were quite a few new faces representing their clubs and counties and this was very refreshing to see.

The singles was won by Ian Clark from Northumberland, this was a very tight discipline and any one of three players went into the last game with a possibility of winning but Ian managed to win his game to take the title. By winning the singles Ian has now won in all of the disciplines.

The pairs were won by Mary Cobbold and Craig Hearn from Hertfordshire, again this went right to the wire with the Northumberland pair very much in the frame.

Sometimes experience can be a formidable weapon and Craig has been in these positions on more than one occasion and very ably supported by his bowling partner Mary went on to win their last game while Northumberland lost theirs. It is worth noting that Craig has also won in every discipline.

The triples were won by Eve Warren, Allan Howe and Neil Ridley from Sunderland, the Suffolk triple gave them a good run for their money and made it yet another exciting final round of games. Again there was an abundance of experience in the Sunderland triple and they managed to hold off the challenge and go on to win.

The rinks were won by Rob Washbrook, Neil Tuckey, Martin Jenness and Sandra Gammage from Hertfordshire. This was the only discipline where there were two clear points between the winners and runners up but looking at the scores it was still very close.

The team competition was won by Sunderland with 50 points a very good team effort.

All of the games seemed to be played in a good friendly atmosphere and despite not having as many regular county players there the standard of bowling remained as high as ever.

We look forward to next year and wish all bowlers the best of luck in their quest to qualify for the 2010 Champion of Champions.

Tony Cuthbert

Photographs courtesy of Shirley Watkins

updated 20/06/09