On Sunday 10th
April, Norfolk hosted the 2016 Six Counties Championship, at
Braintree Leisure Centre.
Once again this
year it was another nailbiting finish with nothing decided until
the final session.
Right from the
start it was clear that Hertfordshire, who finished in last place
in 2015, were going to be contenders. With 3 sessions completed
they were on 20 points, having lost only 2 games as they took
10 points each from Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. They were
2 points clear of Suffolk who had lost 2 games to Cambridgeshire
and one to Essex. These two were already well ahead of Bedfordshire
and Norfolk (10 points), Essex (8 points) and Cambridgeshire
(6 points) who were struggling, although they now had Hertfordshire
and Suffolk out of the way.
The pair of sessions
in the middle of the day saw a change at the top as Suffolk took
all 12 points off Bedfordshire, while Hertfordshire only just
bettered Norfolk 7-5. That put Suffolk 3 points clear with 30
points and increased the gap between the top two and the rest
of the field. Norfolk were now 3rd (15 points) while Cambridgeshire's
position was much improved as they took 8 points off Essex. They
stayed 5th while Bedfordshire, unable to add to their tally dropped
to last place.
Over the next
couple of sessions the gap at the top first opened and then closed
back up and with one session and 4 games left to play Suffolk
were now up to 40 points having taken 8 off Norfolk. And with
Hertfordshire getting the same off Essex they were still 3 points
back, but importantly the final session would see 4 games between
the top two.
having got the best of their encounter with Bedfordshire (winning
8-4) were now up to third on 24 points. Norfolk had slipped back
to 4th (21 points), Essex were still 5th on 20 points and Bedfordshire
were on 14.
The final set
of games, then, would decide the outcome of the event. Suffolk
would need 3 points while Hertfordshire would need to win 3 of
the 4 games.
In the other
games Bedfordshire could only pick up 3 points against Essex,
leaving them 6th with 17 points. That in turn lifted Essex up
to 4th on 25 points, just ahead of Norfolk on shots, after they
shared the points with Cambridgeshire who finished 3rd, albeit
some way off the two leaders.
In the Herts
v Suffolk encounter on it was clear early on that one of the
games was going Suffolk's way. That one went to Suffolk 15-1
and was the first to finish, leaving them needing just one more
point. The second game to finish went from 4-4 at 7 ends to a
9-5 Herts victory, restoring the gap. Meanwhile in the other
two games could go either way with a small advantage being held
by Herts in one and Suffolk in the other. But it was Suffolk
who just managed to hold their nerve as they came from behind
to secure a 7-7 draw and the winning point in one game, and held
on to a 10-9 win in the other.
That left Suffolk
with a winning margin of 5 points, one that looks a good deal
more comfortable than it actually was as they fought off a very
strong challenge from Hertfordshire whose points tally would
have been enough to win the event last year.
A copy of all
the day's results can be downloaded here.