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On Sunday 4th September, Bedfordshire hosted the 2016 ECBA Triples at Needham Market.

There was a full entry of 40 teams representing Befordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertforshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The teams played in groups of 5 in the Round Robin Stage with the top 2 from each group progressing to the Knockout Stages.

Group 1
Claydon took the group win with 4 wins out of 4 while the runner-up spot wasn't decided until the final game. While Bealings B needed to win the game Brockdish needed only a draw, but Bealings took a resounding win to qualify.

Group 2
Reepham and Knodishall were the top 2 teams in the group and were seperated only by a closely fought game in which Reepham only just came out on top 5-4, giving them the group win.

Group 3
It was a clean sweep for Great Blakenham as they won all their games and the group. Clophill A lost to Blakenham but recorded wins in their other 3 games, although they were all close fough, to take second place.

Group 4
Tollgate took the group comfortably as they won all four games while the next best were 2 teams on 4 points. The runner-up spot finally going to Bealings A who edged out Littleport Village Hall B, courtesy of 5 extra shots.

Group 5
A very closely fought group saw first to fifth separated by just 2 points once all the games had been played. In the end it was Cotton End and Occold A who went through on 5 points each and with both of them having scored 26 shots it was Cotton End who, having conceeded 3 shots less, won the group.

Group 6
The group games finished with 2 teams on 6 points. Nayland and Kelsale B had each won three time and lost once. Nayland just got the group win by an extra couple of shots scored.

Group 7
It was Kelsale A who finished top of the group having won all 4 games and despite losing their first game Cockfield A won their remaining three to come home in a clear second place.

Group 8
Barking B topped the group, finishing undefeated with three wins and a draw. Cockfield B, with 3 wins and one loss finished as runners-up.

Knockout Stage
First Round
Clophill A
held on to beat former champions Reepham 6-5 despite dropping 2 on the last end.

Bealings A came from behind to force and extra end out of Gt Blakenham. And then looked down and out, several shots down with one wood left, but a perfect final wood from the Bealings skip drew on to the jack that had an opposition wood sitting just in front. However it wasn't the final wood of the game. Left with only one chance, needing a tight line to move the jack back, the Blakenham skip did exactly what was needed, snatching a 6-5 victory.

Tollgate were just ahead of Cotton End after 2 ends, but Cotton End won all the remaining 5 ends to finish 11-3 winners.

Kelsale B led Occold A 7-3 with an end to go but allowed Occold to draw level, force an extra end which Occold took to cap a remarkable comeback, winning 9-7.

Cockfield A were never in trouble against Nayland, leading from the start to take an 11-2 win.

Kelsale A went into the last end three shots ahead of Cockfield A who came close, but could only take a couple of shots on that final end as Kelsale just edged them out 5-4.

A rampant Barking B charged out of the gates and ran out 17-1 winners over Bealings B.

Knodishall A led Claydon after 3 ends, but Claydon won all the remaining ends to take the win 8-3.

Quarter Finals
An all Bedfordshire match saw Cotton End draw away from Clophill A in the middle part of the game to win 8-3.

Great Blakenham had a decent start against Occold A but found another gear late on as they clocked up 15 shots in the final 3 ends to record a huge 20-1 win.

After sharing the first 2 ends Claydon proved to be too good for Kelsale A as they wrapped up the game with an end to spare, winning 8-1.

With 3 ends played Cockfield A led Barking B 6-3, but Barking clawed their was back to take the lead with and end to go and kept Cockfield down to one on the last to win 8-7.

Semi Finals
Barking B against Claydon was an all Barking/Claydon affair, but not in the way you'd expect, with each team having 2 Barking and one Claydon player. And to no one's surprise it was closely fought. The first 4 ends saw just 4 shots scored, with Claydon leading 3-1. But Barking pulled it back and led for the first time, 4-3 going into the last end. However Claydon came back again, managing to hide the jack at the back of the carpet, leaving Barking with no way in, winning 5-4.

It had been a great performance for Cotton End to get this far, but in truth this match, against Great Blakenham, was over after the first 2 ends. By that time Blakenham were already 5-0 up. Although Cotton End retrieved some of the deficit they went into the last end needing an unlikely 3 just to draw level. However their opponents had things well in hand, winning that last end to take an 8-3 victory.

On the face of it this was an all Suffolk affair, however that wasn't quite the case, the Great Blakenham team actually consisted of Steven Cain (Blakenham), Neil Jolly (Brockley) and Jaxon McKenna (Sunderland).

Meanwhile the Claydon team was made up of Jim Goodrich (Claydon) and Mick Watkins & Andy Gilder from Barking.

Blakenham were off to another one of their strong starts, taking 3 on the first end, but Claydon reduced the gap to just 1 shot on the next end. Balkenham led 3-2.

The third end however stopped any Claydon comeback well and truly in it's tracks and Blakenham took 5 to propell themselves into an 8-2 lead.

Claydon, however were down but not out. They rebounded once again, taking 3 on the 4th end and another 1 on the 5th. With 2 ends still to go they were now only 2 shots behind.

The sixth end would be crucial and with all woods bowled it was a close and needed a measure, one shot either way would make a huge difference, but the two closest woods couldn't be seperated. No score, Blakenham were still 2 ahead.

And so it was down to the final end. Claydon had the chance to get to the jack first, but Blakenham had final wood. In the end Claydon couldn't manage it, Blakenham controlled the end, taking one more and finishing 9-6 ahead to take the title.

Steven Cain, Jaxon McKenna & Neil Jolly

Jim Goodrich, Andy Gilder & Mick Watkins

updated 05/09/16