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Champion of Champions 2016

This year's event, the first to be held at the Stanley Indoor Bowls Club, saw, for the first time ever, the five trophies being won by five different counties.


Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire began with wins, but as the day drew on, the key result turned out to be the draw in that session between Durham and Sunderland.

By the time the second games had been played, those two had gone to the top, as they won while the others either lost or missed a session.

And it was wins for those two again in the third session. The two of them still shared the top spot on 5 points, while Suffolk and Essex were a point behind, each having won two and lost one.

Sunderland won again as Durham sat out the next session. That put Sunderland top on with 7 points, Suffolk one point behind and Durham one point further back but with a game in hand.

The final session on Saturday saw wins for the leading contenders which meant that Sunderland led with 9 points from 5 games Durham were on 7 points and Suffolk and Cambridgeshire were both one point further back, but the three chasers all had a game in hand over the leader.

Sunday began with a big change as Sunderland recorded a first loss, to Suffolk. Durham and Cambridgeshire also won which meant that all four were covered by just one point.

And while Sunderland sat out the next session Durham, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire all took wins, so that with each of them having played the same number of games Durham held a one point advantage over Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, with Sunderland a point further back.

However the penultimate session saw Durham edged out by Northumberland to record a first loss of the weekend. Meanwhile Cambridgeshire beat Suffolk, putting them top on 12 points. And with Sunderland winning they and Durham were one point behind with one game to go.

The final games of the weekend fittingly saw the top 4 playing one another. Durham beat Suffolk and with Durham holding a big shot advantage Cambridgeshire would need a win over Sunderland to take the title. The game was as close as you might imagine with Cambridgeshire holding a one shot lead going into the last end, but that end was taken by Sunderland, by just one shot to draw the game and hand the title to Durham.

The top two finished on 13 points, with Durham 12 shots better than Cambridgeshire, Sunderland were one point behind and Suffolk two points further back in fourth.

Winner: Ian Clark (Durham)


With two games played it was Northumberland and Durham who were on top having won both their games. But it all looked much closer after the third session. Essex, Durham, Cambridgeshire and Northumberland had each won twice, but crucially the later two teams had only played twice so far, while the other two had won twice and lost once.

Essex won again in the enxt session to lead with 6 points, with Suffolk a point behind. But behind them Cambridgeshire, Northumberland and Durham were all on 4 points with a game in hand over the top two.

Saturday closed out with Essex winning again. They now had 8 points and a clear lead. Their nearest contenders were Suffolk who were three points adrift but had a game in hand, so Essex looked to be very much in the driving seat.

While Essex sat out Sunday's first session, Suffolk lost, so Sunderland were now Essex's nearest challengers, one point behind having played a game extra.

Things became clearer after the next session as the games played evened out. Essex won to go to 10 points, while Cambridgeshire and Durham also won to stay 2 points behind.

The penultimate session saw a huge 20-2 win for Essex, that kept them 2 points clear of Cambridgeshire and Durham and giving them a very handy 9 shot advantage.

And it was just as well as they fell to a narrow 7-6 loss. Meantime Durham won, but only 6-4 and Cambridgeshire lost to rule them out.

So after leading the whole way Essex finally took the win, but only by 14 shots over Durham, both teams finishing on 12 points. Sunderland finished in third on 11 points and Cambridgeshire 4th on 10 points.

Winners: Don & Maxine Poulter (Essex)


After two sessions it was Durham and Bedfordshire who led the way with two wins out of two. And one game later it was the still the much same, although each team had now lost once and had now been joined by Suffolk who had won both the games they had played so far.

The third session saw Bedfordshire take a clear lead as they took a third win. They were now 2 points clear of Cambridgeshire, Northumberland, Durham and Suffolk.

The final session of Saturday saw wins for Northumberland and Suffolk while Bedfordshire sat out. Those three teams were now all on 6 points, although Northumberland had played one game more. And one point further back Hertfordshire were still very much in with a shout.

While the start of Sunday saw Northumberland and Suffolk win to share the top spot, things changed hugely with the next session which saw both those two lose, allowing Sunderland to go top on shots as they won. The three teams were all on 8 points, with Northumberland having played one game more.

Hertfordshire vs Sunderland was the big game of the penultimate session. It eventually went the way of Herts and with the way the other results panned out that took them to the top on 9 points, but behind them there were five teams on 8 points all, theoretically, still in with a chance.

Herts needed a win and that was what they got, an emphatic 16-5 victory meant that they finished on 11 points and even though Cambridgeshire, Sunderland and Northumberland all won, they could accumulate no more than 10 points and finished in second, third and fourth places respectively.

Winners: Peter, Mick & Marilyn Cook (Hertfordshire)


The Norfolk team already had a clear lead after just two games, having won twice. Their closest competitors were Sunderland who had taken one win and one draw.

Norfolk made it three out of three in the next session to further extend their lead, while Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire shared second having registered two wins and a draw.

However Norfolk's unbeaten streak was not to last as they recorded a loss, and with Suffolk and Sunderland winning again those two moved to within a point of the leaders, with a game in hand.

Saturday's final session saw another loss for Norfolk, while wins for Suffolk and Sunderland lifted them to the top with 7 points each. Hertfordshire also won, moving them on to six points. Those three teams had each played one game fewer than Norfolk who looked to have slipped out of contention.

Suffolk and Sunderland kept up the pace on Sunday, each winning their opening two games. And with 6 games played by each they were now on 11 points and three clear of Hertfordshire.

Then all of a sudden a slip. Defeats for Suffolk at the hands of Norfolk and Sunderland to Hertfordshire. They had enough of a margin over the rest that they maintained their top spots, although they still held the top two spots, but now Hertfordshire were just a point adrift, had a shot advantage and were suddenly in with a chance.

However Hertfordshire dropped out of the running as they lost their final game to Bedfordshire and Sunderland fell to a resurgent Norfolk, leaving Suffolk to pick up a comfortable win and take the title.

They finished on 13 points, Sunderland stayed second on 11 while Herfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk finished in that order, all on 10 points.

Winners: Andy & Sue Gilder and Mick & Shirley Watkins (Suffolk)


Durham began well with a good first session, dropping just one point from their first 4 games. And they held that lead as the day went on, although things closed up considerably. By the early afternoon Durham led the way but Suffolk, Sunderland and Cambridgeshire were all within 3 points of them.

The next session saw the number of games played evening out to give a truer picture of where eveyone stood. And it was Suffolk who took the lead from Durham for the first time. Nevertheless there was still only 6 points from first to sixth placed Essex.

As the day finished it was Sunderland who hit the top, they finished on 25 points, one point ahead of Suffolk, but crucially Suffolk had two games in hand. Those two had established a small lead over the rest, but behind them it was still very close. Third were Hertfordshire (20 points), fourth were Durham (19 pts) and fifth and sixth were Durham and Cambridgeshire (18 pts).

It was still nip and tuck between Sunderland and Suffolk with the first few sessions played on Sunday and they were starting to slowly edge away from the rest. However a disasterous session for Suffolk saw them slip away, while Cambridgeshire won all theirs to move within a point of leaders Sunderland.

The final set of games saw Sunderland scored 5 out of a possible 8 points to finish on 44, Cambridgeshire, however, could do no better than match that and finished on 43.

Although neither Sunderland nor Cambridgeshire took and of the individual titles they both produced extremely consistent performances, with Sunderland's one second and 3 third placed finishes just beating Cambridgeshire's 2 seconds and 2 fourths and saw them pick up the title for the 5th time in 8 years.

Winners: Sunderland

You can find all the weekend's results
here and a list of the previous winners here.

Special thanks go to Robert MacDonald for his photographs which can be found here.

updated 06/06/16