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Champion of Champions 2012

The 2012 ECBA Champion of Champions event was held over the weekend of 9th-10th June at the Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool.

The competition already had a clear leader with only 2 games played. Only Sunderland had won both of their first 2 games, putting them a point clear of Cambridgeshire and Northumberland who could only manage a win and a draw.

After 4 games Sunderland still led the way, having won all their games. The only other undefeated team left were Cambridgeshire, having dropped just one point. Third place was held by Essex who were on 6 points, just one further back. These 3 were clear of the rest and it already looked as if one of them would be the eventual winners.

By the end of Saturday's play, with 5 games played, we were down to 2 clear leaders. Sunderland had maintained their perfect record through the day and were on 10 points, while Cambridgeshire were just 1 point behind. The best of the rest could manage no more than 6 points.

Sunderland continued their winning run into Sunday's first game, but Cambridgeshire lost, allowing Sunderland to extend their lead to a more comfortable 3 points with just 3 games to go.

Sunderland's 7th win out of 7 saw them take an unassailable lead as their closest rivals failed to keep up. Cambridgeshire lost again, causing them to fall behind both Durham and Northumberland, albeit just on shots. The upshot was that while Sunderland were now on 14 points, the best that anyone else could manage was 9 points, giving them an unassailable lead with 2 games still to go.

Despite the job already having been completed Sunderland rounded off a perfect weekend with 2 more wins to complete a perfect record of 9 wins out of 9, finishing a massive 7 points clear of both runners-up Durham and third placed Northumberland, a tremendous achievement.

Winner: Martin Campbell (Sunderland)

There were double winning starts for Northumberland, Cambridgeshire, Durham and Sunderland. With all of the other teams having already recorded at least one loss, these 4 teams were already 2 points clear of the rest of the field.

It was not until everyone had played 4 times that clear leaders emerged. Cambridgeshire had dropped just one point so far, however,the chasing trio of Northumberland, Durham and Sunderland were only 1 point behind.

Five games into the competition and with Saturday's games completed Cambridgeshire still led. They had another win under their belts and had moved on to 9 points, but it was now only Sunderland who were able to keep in touch. Their 8 point tally put them in a clear second place while no one else had more than 6 points, so it looked as if Sunday's play was going to be a two horse race.

The top 2 teams took on one another in Sunday's opening game which was going to be crucial to the outcome of the event. And it was Cambridgeshire come out on top, maintaining their unbeaten record and lifting them 3 points clear of Sunderland and Northumberland.

The next two games saw Northumberland lose twice to fall out of contention and behind Suffolk, while Sunderland recorded two wins, however the leaders matched this, allowing them to take an unbeatable 3 point lead into the last round of games.

The top two teams finished off with wins, Cambridgeshire finishing unbeaten on 17 points, 3 points clear of Sunderland while Suffolk were a further 4 points back in third.

Winners: Ian Blunsten & Amy Foulkes (Cambridgeshire)

The joint leaders after 2 games were South Tyneside and Durham who ere the only teams to have won 2 out of 2.

However by the time the third set of games were completed Durham were out on their own and with 4 games under their belts Durham were already 3 points clear. They had won all of their games and were sitting on 8 points, while the best of the rest were Suffolk and Cambridgeshire who were on just 5 points, while a further 4 teams were on 4 points. Already it looked as if everyone else was playing for the runner-up spot.

Saturday's final game saw Durham make their first slip, a draw with Hertfordshire gave them their first dropped point of the weekend. However they held a 2 point lead over Suffolk who were now on their own in second place.

The top 2 teams both had 2 wins at the start of Sunday's play, while behind them the field was spreading out, leaving Essex in third place.

However, while Durham took another win in their penultimate game Suffolk lost to Essex which meant that the two of them swapped places in the standings while that result put Durham 3 points ahead with one game to go, assuring them of title.

Durham duly won their final game against Essex, to finish the weekend unbeaten. However that loss dropped Essex all the way back down to 4th place as both Suffolk and Sunderland won to leap over them and finish second and third respectively.

Winners: Carl Pearson, Stephen Walker & David Storey (Durham)

There was a 3-way tie for the lead with 2 games played, between Northumberland, Suffolk and Durham, each of whom had won both their games.

However with 4 games played the clear leaders were the still undefeated Suffolk team, while Northumberland and Durham sat 2 points behind.

Suffolk finished Saturday off with their 5th win. They still held a 2 point lead although it was now Durham were alone in 2nd place as Northumberland lost to fall away from the lead battle.

Suffolk and Durham both recorded wins in Sunday's opening round of games, they were on 12 and 10 points respectively. That pair of teams were now some way ahead of a group of 4 teams who were on 6 points, fighting it out for 3rd place.

The crunch game came in the next round as the top 2 played one another. A loss for Durham would see them out of the race, but a win would put them right back into the hunt for the title. And it was Durham that came out on top to see them draw level on points with Suffolk.

The penultimate set of games saw Durham go on to record another win while Suffolk lost again, taking Durham into a 2 point lead with just a game to go.

Sadly it was at this point that the North Tyneside rink had to pull out of the competition. One of their players had fallen ill, meaning that they were unable to complete their games. Unfortunately that last game was to have been against Suffolk and might therefore have been crucial to the outcome of the event.

After some discussion it was agreed by the Durham and Suffolk teams, in conjunction with the Chairman, that the fairest thing to do would be to remove all of North Tyneside's results from the competition. This left Suffolk and Durham level on points with Suffolk already having completed their games and Durham needing only a half dozen shots to secure the title.

As it was Durham recorded a comfortable win which meant that they would have finished top regardless of whatever Suffolk's result had been if they had been able to play their last game. Durham finished on 14 points, Suffolk on 12 and Northumberland finished in 3rd on 10 points.

Winners: John Leonard Jr, Stephen Templeton, Ian Clarke & John Leonard Snr (Durham)

With the exception of one session where Northumberland briefly took the lead, Durham spent the whole of Saturday in the lead.

At various points their advantage was as much as 3 points, but by the close of play their lead was just a single point over Cambridgeshire.

They were on 28 and 27 points respectively, while third place was a tie between Sunderland and Suffolk who were on 24 points, followed by Northumberland and Essex who each had 22 points.

On into Sunday and it was quickly becoming a two horse race. Durham still led that way, but it was Sunderland who now emerged from the pack to be their closest rivals.

Sunderland then took the lead after the penultimate round of games and finally hung on to a 2 point lead to take the title. They finished on 50 points, while Durham were on 48 points, both teams well ahead of the third placed team Northumberland who were on 40 points.

You can find a full set of results here.

updated 19/06/12