ECBA Carpet Bowls
Monday 14th to Friday 18th May 2018
This year saw a record entry, with nearly
250 bowlers competing across the week for the three titles on
offer. That included a contingent once again from Norway, who
have given up on their national holiday to visit us, and an exceptionally
strong team from New Zealand who were not about to make a trip
half way around the world a wasted journey.
The week also saw a tri-nation international
between England, New Zealand and Norway, about which you can
read more here.
There were 58 teams playing across 12 groups
with the winners and 4 best runners-up making it through to the
The last 8 saw representation from Suffolk
(in 4 of the 8 teams), along with Northumberland, Bedfordshire,
Norfolk and two from New Zealand.
v Anderson/Compton/l'Ami/Low (New Zealand)
The Cutts team were were first
off the mark with one but the Kiwis were nicely in the lead two
ends later, following a two and a four, 6-1 up. Over the next
couple of ends they were pegged back to 6-4 but one more on the
6th end saw them go into the last with 3 shots in hand, enough
to allow them to drop one and progress with a 7-5 victory.
Diamond/Holmes/Mackie/Wright (New Zealand)
v Daniels/Walker (Suffolk/Bedfordshire)
The New Zealanders found themselves down all of 4 shots on the
first end, and with one wood to go on the next might have dropped
another 3 but for their last wood which took shot. Two ends later
they took with lead with a four themselves to go 6-4 up, the
next two ends were shared to make it 7-5 going into the last.
With 2 woods to go there was a 3-way measure with the home team
in with a chance of two, but an attempted blocker hung out too
wide and the Kiwis were into the head, took 1 and took the game
Cousins/Drane/Vaughan (Suffolk) v Hathaway/Hurley/West
The Cousins team picked up one on the first but ends 2, 3 and
4 were all about the West team as they picked up a 4 and then
another 4 and then yet another 4 to lead 12-1. That was enough
that they were able to drop the final 3 ends and still come home
comfortable winners. It was still technically possible for the
opposition to force an extra end, but they were only able to
pick up half of the 8 shots they needed. The game finished 12-8
v Goodrich/Hobbs/Jolly (Suffolk)
It was 1-1 after 2 ends, but it didn't stay close for long as
the Suffolk team picked up a massive 6 shots on the 3rd end.
They compounded this with a couple of twos to lead 10-1 with
2 ends to go. Two back to the Beds team on the 6th at least meant
that the final end had to be played, but the opposition were
never going to allow them to get close. The game ended 12-3.
Anderson/Compton/l'Ami/Low v Diamond/Holmes/Mackie/Wright
Unfortunately for New Zealanders the draw removed the possibility
of an all-Kiwi final. The only surprise was that the game was
not as close as one might have imagined. The Diamond team won
the first end with 2 with the l'Ami team gaining one back on
the next as the pattern was set for the game. They alternated
winning ends but crucially that meant that the Diamond team would
win 4 of the 7, even more significantly they were getting multiples
while the opposition were only getting ones. It was 7-2 after
5 ends and that was always likely to be enough. The game finished
8-3 to Diamond/Holmes/Mackie/Wright.
Hathaway/Hurley/West v Goodrich/Hobbs/Jolly
It was a similar story in this match with the two teams alternating
winning ends, this time though it was one end which would make
all the difference. Six of the ends produced just one shot either
way, but the third saw a score of 3 which was going to be the
difference at the end of the match and that end went to the Jolly
team who subsequently always had at least 2 shots in hand and
came home to a 6-3 win.
Ashley Diamond, Sheree Holmes, Suzanne
Mackie & Paul Wright (New Zealand) v Neil Jolly, Ally Hobbs,
Jim Goodrich & Sally Goodrich (Suffolk)
In what was pretty much a replay of one of the International
matches the game was bound to be close and that it turned out
to be, even if halfway through it looked to heading in only one
The Kiwis opened with two on the first
but the Suffolk team opened their account on the second with
one, went into the lead with a 3 on the next and repeated that
on the 4th end to make it 7-2 with 3 to go. It was a nice lead,
but the game wasn't over yet.
Ashley's team picked up a two on end 5
and on the 6th they forced the jack to the back of the carpet
and with a big barrier in front and lying 2 shots and a measure
down Neil couldn't find a way through, all he could do was to
remove the necessity of a measure on that 3rd wood and all of
a sudden the scores were level at 7-7 with one end to go, just
as it should be for a final.
And things looked to be going the Kiwi
way on the last, again the jack was forced back and the front
was starting to fill in, until Jim found a way in. In truth the
result was fortunate, but they all count, he punched one of his
won team's woods in to finish perfectly on the jack. After that
it was a case of stopping the opposition from getting there themselves,
blockers were applied and Ashley was forced to play a draw which
was perfectly weighted but just a touch too wide and Neil's team
had the victory, 8-7, to regain the title which they had last
won in 2015.
118 Pairs were competing across 24 groups
with the winners and 8 best runners-up qualifying for Thursday's
By the time we were down to the last 8
we had one team each from West Sussex and New Zealand, six from
Suffolk and a Suffolk/Durham team.
Rita & Pete Runnacles (Suffolk)
v Sylvia Ballinger & Annette Iskett (West Sussex)
It was a strong start from the Suffolk team who picked up a couple
each on the first 2 ends and one more on the third, Sylvia &
Annette were off the mark with one on the 4th, but the Runnacles
got that back on the next to lead 6-1. However 2 ends later that
lead was all gone and the teams were level. But the Runnacles
held their nerve, picked up one on the 8th end and then one more
on the final end to win 8-6.
Paul & Sue Cousins (Suffolk) v Carl
Pearson & Sam Runnacles (Durham/Suffolk)
This one swung back and forth, after Paul & Sue scored one
on the first Carl & Sam picked up 3 over the next 2 ends.
Then it was the Cousins' turn with one, one, two to lead 5-3
with three to go, but Carl and Sam leveled up over the next 2
ends to go into the last all square. And with the Cousins having
the advantage of last wood they took one to win 6-5.
Sue & Steve Isles (Suffolk) v Grant
I'Ami & Suzanne Mackie (New Zealand)
Grant and Suzanne were off to a flier with 3 on the first end
and 4 ends in they were 7-1 up. However the Isles pulled it back
over the next 3 ends to 7-6. But their momentum was halted as
the Kiwis picked up a 2 and finished the game off with another
2 on the last to win 11-6.
Andy & Sue Gilder (Suffolk) v Sue
& Graham Davey (Suffolk)
Graham & Sue opened well and were 3 ahead after two. The
Gilders chipped back to one behind after another 2 ends but the
Daveys were still 4-3 up after 6 ends. The killer though was
end 7 as Andy & Sue picked up a vital 3 shots to put them
into the lead for the first time. And although Sue & Graham
leveled the scores on the next end, that luxury of having the
final wood saw the Gilders home, taking the one shot they needed
for a 7-6 win.
Grant I'Ami & Suzanne Mackie
v Paul & Sue Cousins
After the Cousins picked up 1 each on the first 2 ends the next
3 went to Grant & Suzanne to put them 4-2 up. However that
momentum was arrested in no uncertain terms by Paul & Sue.
They were ahead with a 3, extended the lead to 7-4 with a 2 and
finished the game off with another 3 to win 10-4 with an end
Rita & Pete Runnacles v Andy &
While the other game was all turned about at the end, this one
was all about the opening of the game. The Runnacles' could hardly
have made a better start, 3 on the first, followed by two twos
had them 7-0 up after 3. But Andy & Sue hit back with a 3
and a 1 to make it 7-4. The Runnacles' needed to stop the rot
and they did just that with a one which the Gilders matched on
the next, 8-5 with 2 ends to go. Turning the game around was
still possible but the Runnacles' weren't going to let that happen,
winning the last 2 ends for a 10-5 victory.
Paul & Sue Cousins v Rita &
With two very strong wins against tough opposition there would
be every reason to believe that this was going to be a closely
fought final, but sometimes things don't work out the way you
expect and sometimes one team can do no wrong and the other can't
catch a break. And that's how this one went.
Rita & Pete picked up one on the first,
a close start, but in hindsight the writing was on the wall on
the next as they got a full house, 4 shots gave them a 5-0 lead
and sadly the Cousins' never got a look in, it was all one way
traffic and nearly all over by the 6th end as the Runnacles'
led 11-0. One more on the 7th end put the Cousins' out of their
misery and the game was all over, 12-0 with 2 ends to spare.
Well though Rita and Pete played, the final
result could not be said to be representative of the relative
abilities of the two teams, but sometimes things just don't go
your way. It's sad when that has to happen in the final when
all eyes are on you, but the Runnacles certainly deserved their
In contrast to the Pairs and Rinks this
event is played on a straight knockout basis.
We began with 158 players who were whittled
down on Tuesday afternoon to 64 who then played down to the last
4 over Wednesday afternoon.
By the time we had reached the Quarter
Finals we had 3 players representing Suffolk, one each from Norfolk,
Bedfordshire and Sunderland and two from New Zealand.
Phyllis Sutton (Norfolk) v Sam Runnacles
Sam started well with 2 on the first end but Phyllis, last year's
runner-up, fired back to go level on the next end and then took
ends 3 and 4 to move into a 4-2 lead. However Sam edged back
to level over the next 2 ends, only for Phyllis to grab back
a 2 shot lead on the penultimate end. With the jack driven back
Sam was holding one and Phyllis was filling in the front, trying
to make it hard for her opposition to find a way in. But with
his final wood Sam came in with a counter which nudged the jack
to take 3 and snatch a last gasp win, 7-6.
Paul Wright (New Zealand) v Sue Isles
In truth this game was over before it had barely started, Paul
picked up all 4 on the first end and did exactly the same on
the next. There seemed to be little that Sue could do to stop
Paul, as he took a single followed by twos on each of the next
two ends, taking it to 13-0. With only 3 ends to go and only
12 shots on offer it was officially all over, but Sue played
on regardless and on the 7th end finally got what she wanted
and broke her duck with a single. They played through to the
end with Paul picking up another 3 on the last to take an emphatic
Andy Gilder (Suffolk) v Daniel Walker
This was the closest game of the round with the clock running
out and only 7 ends played and with a total of 7 shots scored
between the two players. After each opened their account on the
first 2 ends Daniel pulled a little bit ahead with one on each
of the following 3 ends to lead 4-1 after five. Andy brought
it back to 4-2 on the next and made the most of what was going
to be the final end as he came in to hold 3 with his last, finding
himself in a winning position. However Daniel held his nerve
with his final wood, drawing in to cut Andy down to just one
and winning the game 4-3.
Michael Laydon (Sunderland) v Grant
I'Ami (New Zealand)
This game produced perhaps the best bowls of the round. Grant
opened with 2 which Michael pulled back over the next 2 ends.
However Grant was relentlessly finding the jack and Michael was
having to work hard to get it free of his opponents woods, but
he wasn't quite able to do so. Grant took the lead again on end
4 with a single, took 2 more on the next to lead 5-2 and time
and again put Michael under pressure with his opening woods.
He had one more on the 6th and Michael unable to prevent him
from scoring on the next it was all over with an end to go, 7-2
Daniel Walker v Grant l'Ami
Daniel started off with a shot on the first to take the lead,
but Grant was level on the next end and bit by bit edged away,
taking the next three ends, but crucially it was only with one
shot on each. Nevertheless he led 4-1 with three ends to go.
However it wasn't going to take much for Daniel to get back into
the game and he did just that on the next, picking up 2 to bring
him within a shot. Unfortunately the whistle went with the 7th
end being played so it would be the last. Grant held, but Daniel
managed to get the jack out of the head for match lie. Grant
had one wood left to save the game, a relatively straightforward
draw, if that can be said about any shot which will win or lose
a game. But Grant did exactly what was required, drew in fro
shot and took the game 5-3.
Sam Runnacles v Paul Wright
Much the same as the other semi-final it was tied 1-1 after 2
ends but one person pulled slowly away from the other, and again
it was the Kiwi. Paul took 2 on the second to take the lead and
then pulled away. There was never much in it but Sam was not
quite there as Paul took one each on the next 3 ends to lead
6-1. Again he whistle intervened to bring the game to an finish
one end short and although Sam won it, his task was impossible,
he took 1 and Paul finished the 6-2 winner.
Paul Wright v Grant l'Ami
An all Kiwi final showed what a formidable team New Zealand had
sent over for the Festival and the final produced some outstandingly
accurate bowls, showing that it was no fluke that the pair had
ended up here.
It was Paul who took the initiative, picking
up one each on the first two ends, although Grant brought it
back to level with a pair on the next end. Once again though
Paul was back in front, cancelling out Grant's score from the
previous end to go two back in front at 4-2 after 4 ends.
However it was at this point that Grant
began to turn the screw. One on the fifth end and then one more
on the next saw him level with 2 ends to go, but it was the penultimate
end that really set the seal on the game. Paul was not far away
but just couldn't find a way into the head as Grant took a huge
3. With one end to go grant could defend while Paul had to chase
and realistically, with the way Grant was bowling it was an all
but impossible task. And so it proved to be, Grant took one more
to take the title with an 8-4 win.
You can view the entire week's results
Trevor Rayner from New Zealand spent a
great deal of time shooting loads of videos all of which you
can view here.
And here is the Norwegian
Many thanks to all those who joined us
for the week, especially our overseas visitors. The Norwegian
players continue to improve and were unlucky not to have any
teams progress to the knockout stages, but they came tantalisingly
close. And massively outnumbered though they were the New Zealand
players were extremely impressive, all the more so when you consider
the differences between our game and theirs, they were represented
in the semi-finals of each discipline, two finals, and locked
out the Singles.
Norway, and we hope more Scandinavian players,
will be back next year and although the plan is for the full
New Zealand team to return in 4 years time, some of the team
are planning to be back next year, which is a tribute to everyone
who attended the event and who have made all of our overseas
visitors feel so welcome.