home ecba leagues championships the game rules linkscalendarcontact


The 2017 English Rinks were hosted by Cambridgeshire on 16th April at Littleport Leisure Centre.

Unfortunately, owing to a clash with the Easter weekend, the entry was lower than we would normally expect, but there was plenty of quality to make up for the quantity, including the reigning champions who made the trip down from Durham. The entry also included teams from Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Essex, Bedfordshire and Norfolk.

The 15 teams were divided up into 3 groups of 5 and the smaller entry meant that the competitors would have the relative luxury of knowing that winning the group, being runners-up or being one of the best two third-placed teams would get them through to the knockout stages.

Group 1
Essex's Chelmer Village topped the group by winning all their games, although they didn't have an easy ride by any means, winning twice by a score of 8-7 and once 8-6.

Having lost on the last end to Chelmer, Littleport Village Hall (Cambs) won the rest of their games to finish comfortably in second place.

The remaining teams in the group all won 1 and lost 3 games, which wasn't enough to see any of them through.

Group 2
It was a clean sweep for Reepham Robins (Norfolk) as they won all four of their games, only being pushed in one fo the games.

The runner-up spot went to Littleport (Cambs) who lost just once, but each of their 3 wins had to be won on the last end and on each occasion the winning largin was just a single shot.

Although they lost to the top two teams Ramsey (Cambs) picked up narrow wins in their other two games and those 4 points were enough to see them through as the final qualifiers.

It is worth noting that half of the games played in the group were won by just a single shot so commiserations should go to Claydon (Suffolk) who suffered that misfortune three times.

Group 3
The holders from Durham had little difficulty in their group, winning all four games and didn't look liike losing any of them.

After a difficult start with a loss against Durham, which included dropping 4 on the first end, Kelsale (Suffolk) won their remaining games relatively comfortably and were through as runners-up.

Although they lost to the top 2 teams in the group Ellesmere (Cambs) had little difficulty in their other 2 games and were through as the best third placed team.

Quarter Finals
Chelmer Village
were off to a steady start against Littleport, picking up one shot on each of the first 3 ends, but a 2 on the 4th end put Littleport back in the game and a 4 on the next end saw the Cambridgeshire team sweep into a lead which they wouldn't relinquish as they finished 7-4 winners.

It was slow and steady for Kelsale as they established a lead over Reepham Robins bit by bit. There was never much in it between the two teams as Kelsale picked up one on the first end, two on the second, edging further away from their opponents, doing just enough to win each of the first 6 ends to go into the last end 7-0 up. Although Reepham won that final end they could only pick up a couple of shots and Kelsale were through.

Having only just played one another in their final group game the draw brought Durham and Ellesmere together once again. Their encounter only a few minutes before had been close up until the last couple of ends which had very much gone Durham's way. And they picked up exactly where they left off, 6 on the first end meant the game was pretty much over before it started as they went on to record a 23-0 victory.

The first few ends between Littleport Village Hall and Ramsey were close, it was just 2-1 to Littleport after 3 ends, but the next 3 ends saw the game move further and further out of Ramsey's reach as Littleport picked up 2,2 and 4. The game was done with and end still to play butthe Essex team played on to revoer a couple of shots, losing 10-3.

Up until this point Durham had looked unbeatable, but for the first time on the day they lost the opening end and were behind as Littleport Village Hall got the better start. The second end also went Littleport's way as they went 3-0 up. After that it was the team with the last wood who won the end. Durham were just 1 behind as they took 2, Littleport restored their lead with 2, Durham were just 1 behind with 2 and Littleport were back in front by 3 as they took 2 but crucially there was just an end to go. And once again Durham won the end as they bowled last but again they could do no better than 2 shots and the holders were out, 7-6.

For Kelsale it was business as usual, their Quarter Final had seen them getting shot and holding on to it and so it was against Littleport. The first 3 ends saw them taking a single shot away from then end, not a comfortable start, but a steady one. Littleport were never far away so it was safety first for Kelsale, doing whatever was needed to win the end. They took 2 on the 4th end and one more on the 5th to establish a 6 shot lead, finishing the game with a 3 on the 6th to win 9-0 with an end to go.

Littleport Village Hall
(Beryl & Colin Wicks and Barry & Maureen Giddens) v Kelsale/Brockley (Paul, Rita & Mike Daniels and Neil Jolly)

Fittingly for a final this game was as close as it could possibly be and well worth the wait for those that had stayed on to watch the game.

Littleport Village Hall took the first end, Kelsale kept it as close as they could and declined to bowl their last wood with no chance of improving their situation, Littleport led 1-0.

But the lead was short lived as Kelsale took 2 on the second end and another 2 on the third. At 4-1 to Kelsale they were looking good. However Littleport were back in with a 2 on end 4 and a switch to a longer jack saw them first level the score and then with 1 more on the sixth retake the lead and head into the final end 5-4 up.

The 7th end was another close one but Kelsale had one very lonely looking wood in the head holding shot and decided to commit to holding on to it by blocking in the hope of getting an extra end. The tactic worked, they kept the one shot, levelled the game at 5-5 and it was time for a decider.

Littleport won the toss and went for a long jack. Their first two woods were spot on, side by side right in front of the jack. The only thing to do was to move it which Kelsale did, taking the jack off back to a few inches from the back of the mat. They were still down but the jack was visible again.

Their fifth wood drew in between their opponents' bowls and sat a few inches in front of the jack to hold and they were looking good. However Colin's first wood was perfect, somehow pushing away Kelsale's best, leaning against it to hold and leaving the jack where it was.

Even though that side remained open, there was they possibility that Kelsale would either promote an opposition wood or take the jack off. The better option for their penultimate wood seemed to be the other hand where there was a Littleport wood perched at the back of the mat about a foot to the side foot to the side of the jack. The perfect shot would take that wood off and allow Kelsale's to drop in for shot, that was just what Neil played and Kelsale held.

Colin had to be bold with his last, the shot wood was safe from being removed or matched, but he was just a little wide, no change and Kelsale had the win 6-5.

It was exactly the way a final should go, all the way to an extra end and all played in the best spirit.

updated 17/04/17